In a recent article a writer picked University of Cincinnati quarterback Dustin Grutza as the eighth quarterback in the Big East Conference. In some conference Grutza could say he's in the middle of the pack, but the Big East only has eight teams and coming in last is something the Maysville, Kentucky native is not use to.
As a redshirt freshman in 2005 Dustin Grutza played in eleven games as a first year starter. He posted a QB efficiency rating of 111.14 having thrown the ball 300 times and completing 168 or 56.0% of his passes. With 11 interceptions to go with 11 touchdowns fans knew improvement would come and Grutza would be the favorite the next season to win the quarterback job in a battle against Nick Davila.
The 2006 season would see Dustin battle Davila and win the starting job. Playing in 12 games, Dustin improved on most of his numbers by posting a QB efficiency rating of 123.46 having thrown the ball only 225 times and completing 137 or 60.9% of his passes. The biggest problem for Dustin was his touchdown to interception ratio as he only tossed 9 scores but 13 interceptions. By the time the season ended Davila was on his heels playing a major role in one of the biggest wins in Bearcats modern football history over Rutgers.
Just after the regular season ended a coaching change placed Dustin behind Nick Davila as Brian Kelly looked to win a bowl game against Western Michigan. Grutza never looked back knowing Davila would be gone in the spring and he'd be back in the forefront for the job.
In two seasons Dustin Grutza played in 23 games and passed for 3,431 yards. The Bearcats continued to become a better team and fans hoped that 2007 it would all come together.
Things did come together as a short lived rule by the NCAA allowed for Ben Mauk to leave Wake Forest and become a Bearcat. Mauk knew coming in he'd have to battle Grutza for the starting job and fans or coaches didn't know if the Kenton, Ohio native would be able to perform on the field coming of a major injury.
Mauk would struggle with pain and strength in his arm but posted numbers in one season Bearcat fans had hoped for when Brian Kelly was hired. While Mauk became a national story Dustin Grutza was a team guy and found himself called upon when Mauk couldn't go against Miami Ohio.
A surprise start showed fans that Dustin Grutza could do some good things in Brian Kelly's offense and in 3 games he would post a QB efficiency rating of 160.89 passing the ball 55 times and completing 39 with 4 touchdowns and "NO" interceptions.
After three seasons Dustin Grutza has played in a total of 26 games, passed for 3,863 yards with 24 touchdowns and interceptions to his name. Not great, but not so bad to make you the eighth quarterback in an eight-player field.
While it would be hard to argue with players like Patrick White, Matt Grothe and Mike Teel, the rest of the conference has many question marks at the position.
Keep in mind the Bearcats are poised to have one of the best if not the best defense in the Big East and college football this fall. Dustin Grutza must do like he did in his start against Miami Ohio and keep opposing teams defenses honest while the defense provides great field position and scores off the turnovers like they did last season.
While fans and members of the media may have little faith, Dustin Grutza just smiles when asked about being the last quarterback in the conference.
Do you think he knows something everyone else is missing?
Don't get me wrong, a Ben Mauk return would give the Bearcats a major ace in the hand as he's proven he understands the offense designed by Brian Kelly and capable of posting record high numbers. Mauk would provide a spark of energy to the fan base looking for a follow-up of only the second ten win season in school history.
Cross your fingers and say an extra prayer until the NCAA makes up its mind. But in the mean time have a little faith in Dustin Grutza as he may just surprise everyone with his play on the field.
Ye Have Little Faith
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