Christian Ponder: 167-270(61.9%), 1,817 yards, 17/8. 6.73 yards per attempt.
E.J. Manuel: 31-47(66%), 489 yards, 2/2. 10.4 yards per attempt.
John Brantley: 188-304(61.9%), 1,968 yards, 8/8. 6.47 yards per attempt
Jordan Reed: 16-29, 180 yards, 3/1. 40-186, 56 TD rushing.
Trey Burton: 4-5, 83 yards, 0/1. 64-316, 11 TD rushing. 29-182, 1 TD receiving.
It is scary(from the FSU side) to see that Ponder's numbers are so similar to Brantley's. They are different offenses trying to do different things, but neither QB has gotten the ball down the field effectively(enough). Both entered the season with high expectations.
UF is likely to play all three quarterbacks in some capacity. Recently they seem to have found a spark with Reed and Burton is best described as an offensive player; he will line up at QB, WR, RB, HB, all over the place. There is some trickeration there and FSU needs to be prepared.
This is the signature game for Ponder. Leaving the field as a winner against UF--and breaking a six game losing streak in the process--would give the gritty senior his moment in the sun. While his Heisman chances ended early, he has had his moments. His ability to get BIG yards with his feet is very under-rated.
Brantley's skill set is simply not ideal for the Gator offense, therefore he struggles at times. He has really shied away from throwing the ball down the field, thus UF has missed that big play capability that they are known for on the outside. It also has allowed defenses to play UF more aggressively than in the past. He can throw the football and a win here would really go a long way to making this season palatable for one of the sport's toughest fanbases.
Ponder's inconsistency has been maddening at times, largely because this was both his and FSU's "money year". Still he has thrown 17 TDs to Brantley's eight and he has done it less attempts. Burton makes up for it with his 11 rushing TDs.
At the end of the day, both teams expected better QB play this year. Wide receiver play for both teams has been spotty at times and that has not helped the situation. UF's ability to provide a few different looks is attractive, but the bottom line is that none have been particular effective.
Ponder is more experienced and he is at home, he deserves a slight edge over UFs trifecta.
Edge: Florida State
The Future: Even with his struggles, it would seem likely that Brantley is the UF starter in 2011. Reed, Burton, and freshmen Jeff Driskel will certainly push him and provide better fits talent wise.
It would seem to be a major upset if Manuel is not the starter in 2011 for FSU. He has performed admirably the past two years and seems right on track to take over. Redshirt Clint Trickett will push him.