Since 2011, 64 true freshmen quarterbacks have combined to go 120–190 when they have started a game. That’s a .387 win percentage — which if you think about it — isn’t that bad for a bunch of 18 and 19 year-olds starting right out of high school. But on the road, is where the numbers tell a different story.
It’s almost predictable given the large crowds and pressure that quarterbacks face away from home, but true freshmen have gone a woeful 33–104 in road games since the start of the 2011 season.
That’s a number that doesn’t bode well for a crop of true freshmen quarterbacks who will all be looking for their first career road wins on Saturday.
Miami’s Brad Kaaya travels to Georgia Tech, LSU’s Brandon Harris is slated to start at No. 5 Auburn and Wake Forest’s John Wolford will try to do the unthinkable and dethrone No. 1 Florida State in Tallahassee. Then you also have Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes — who as of Wednesday — could start at Kansas State in favor of the injured Davis Webb.
Four true freshmen quarterbacks, all starting on the road. But who has the best chance of winning this weekend?
Well that certainly wouldn’t be Wolford or Harris.
In that same 2011-to-now time frame, true freshmen quarterbacks are 7–56 against ranked teams. More importantly, they are 0–20 against Top-10 opponents, with a poor 19–25 touchdown-to-interception ratio in those games.
So if you’re thinking of hammering that +255 LSU money line, just remember, recent results aren’t in your favor with Harris in the Tigers’ huddle. The same could be said about Wolford and that plush +18000 money line — but that was a given.
That leaves us with just Kaaya and Mahomes (assuming he starts) in the best shape for a win.
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury had plenty of success with first-year players under center last season, after juggling the act Webb and walk-on Baker Mayfield. Those two combined to go 8–5 as true freshmen, with wins against two ranked opponents (which rivaled what Christian Hackenbeger was able to do at Penn State).
But this year the Red Raiders have struggled and Mahomes — who’s thrown just five passes to date — will have to overshadow a Tech defense that is giving up a BIG 12-worst 38.8 points per game this season.
That doesn’t sound as favorable as what Kaaya will face at Georgia Tech.
Kaaya is part of an ACC freshman class of quarterbacks that has already seen four true freshmen start games this season. He’s 0–2 on the road, with a loss to Louisville and another to then-No. 24 ranked Nebraska, but it should be noted that the last true freshman quarterback to start for the Hurricanes was Stephen Morris, and his first road win was at Georgia Tech.
Maybe the grass of Bobby Dodd Stadium will prove to be fruitful once again, especially against a Yellow Jacket’s team that ranks 12th in the ACC in total defense.
But in the end, who knows if any of these true freshmen can win on the road this weekend. History shows that the numbers are certianly against them and so far this season, the six true freshmen quarterbacks that have started, are a combined 1–6 away from home.
Think I missed something? Have a question? Drop me a line on Twitter: @andrewrivins or by email: email@example.com. I’ve also included the stats for those 20 starts by true freshmen against top-10 ranked teams the past two seasons.
True freshmen quarterbacks against the Top-10 since 2011 — all losses:
Jared Goff (California)
No. 4 Ohio State — 31–53, 371 yards, 3 TD, INT
@ No. 2 Oregon — 3–7, 11 yards
@ No.10 Stanford — 10–19, 194 yards, TD
Danny Etling (Purdue)
No. 4 Ohio State — 13–29, 89 yards, INT
Christian Hackenberg (Penn. State)
@ No. 4 Ohio State — 12–23, 112 yards, TD, 2 INT
Baker Mayfield (Texas Tech)
No. 4 Baylor (neutral site) — 28–51, 314 yards, 4 TD, 3 INT
Joshua Dobbs (Tennessee)
@ No. 10 Missouri — 26–42, 240 yards, 2 INT
No. 7 Auburn — 16–25, 128 yards, INT
Perry Hills (Maryland)
@ No. 8 West Virginia — 20–29, 305 yards, 3 TD, INT
Shawn Petty (Maryland) [Scout team LB turned QB]
@ No. 10 Clemson — 6–12, 41 yards, TD
No. 10 Florida State — 8–19, 136 yards, 2 TD
Wes Lunt (Oklahoma State)
@ No. 3 Kansas State — 11–20, 184 yards, TD, 3 INT
Travis Wilson (Utah)
@ No. 8 Oregon State — 15–28, 172 yards, TD, 2 INT
Johnathan Wallace (Auburn)
No. 5 Georgia — 15–22, 181 yards, INT
@ No. 2 Alabama — 5–14, 71 yards, 2 INT
David Ash (Texas)
@ No. 6 Oklahoma State — 22–44, 139 yards, 2 INT
Brett Smith (Wyoming)
@ No. 7 Nebraska — 17–33, 166 yards, 2 TD, INT
@ No. 7 Boise State — 17–25–78 yards, TD, INT
Jacoby Brissett (Florida)
@ No. 1 LSU — 8–14, 94 yards, TD, 2 INT
Justin Worley (Tennessee)
@ No. 8 Arkansas — 15–29, 208 yards, INT