Josh Rosen vs Sam Darnold: By the numbers

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The All PAC-12 votes placed Sam Darnold on the first team, with Josh Rosen on the second team.

That collective crying and gnashing of teeth you heard this morning was the announcements of the All-Pac-12 Conference team. Not surprisingly the two quarterbacks picked by conference officials were UCLA Bruin’s Josh Rosen and USC Trojan’s Sam Darnold.

Both players have been compared to each other all year after the emergence of Darnold last year as a freshman, and it seems now that the season is over people want to continue argue who truly was the better quarterback.

Part of the consternation today was the fact that to many (read Bruins fans) were surprised that Darnold was chosen as the 1st team All-Pac-12 QB, while Rosen was named as part of the 2nd team. Well the selection process did not sit well with Bruins fans, ex-players, current players, and a the partridge in my pear tree.

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I was a little surprised as well. Most games I watched it seemed Rosen was the more polished and NFL ready QB, while Darnold had the ability to make things happen with his athleticism at times struggled with inefficiency and a lack making the simple play.

So I looked at the numbers and to my surprise it does seem that the PAC-12 got it right. Sam Darnold was better than Josh Rosen this year if you look at the numbers.

If you looked at PAC-12 play the comparison went like this:

Darnold’s numbers included 63.4% pass percentage, 2,872 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, seven interceptions, and a 54.6 passer rating.

As for Rosen, he finished with a 61.4% pass percentage, 2,434  passing yards, 13 touchdowns, eight interceptions, and a 135.8 passer rating,

Based on those raw numbers, Darnold was more efficient and threw for more yards and touchdowns, while throwing less interceptions. As someone pointed out on social media to me when I tweeted this out, it was unfair to Rosen because he missed two and a half games in PAC-12 play.

This was true so I looked up their stats against common opponents, and lo and behold it looks like both quarterbacks faced the same five opponents in PAC-12 play. It took out the Washington game, in which Rosen left early due to injury and the Trojans didn’t play, while it also meant Darnold’s worst game was taken out because the Bruins did not play Washington State.

Neither was unfairly hindered.

And despite the fact that Rosen was taken out of the Cal game after one half, I had to use the average of Darnold’s stats against Stanford because he played them twice.

So again, looking at the raw numbers, here is what I got for their five common games in conference against Arizona, Arizona State, California, Colorado, and Stanford:

Darnold had a 66.4% pass percentage, 1,493 passing yards, 12 touchdowns, three intercepitons, and a  218.2 rating. His best-rated game came against Stanford.

Meanwhile, Rosen posted a 62.4% pass percentage, 1,611 passing yards, seven touchdowns, and a 203.2 rating. His best-rated game came against California.

This time, Rosen threw for more yards but that didn’t necessarily translate to more scores and Darnold was still the more efficient passer with with less interceptions and his highest rated game was against a better opponent.

It should also be noted that while Rosen was 3-2 against common opponents, Darnold lead his team to a perfect record against the five teams.

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Both quarterbacks have talent and abilities that could translate to the next level, the constant comparisons could be grating and tiresome. All things considered though the numbers bore out and Sam Darnold was deserving of his status of 1st team All-PAC-12 over Josh Rosen.