Columbia, SC-- It’s not that Dylan Thompson is a quiet guy. In fact, coming in to take questions from the media, he looks like any other guy in the room. At 6’3, he hardly towers over too many people; at 218 pounds, he’s not a physical hulking figure. He’s pretty…average. But don’t let his size or his demeanor casual, easy-going demeanor fool you: Dylan Thompson wants to win.
“Week 1 didn’t go like we wanted, obviously, but we’ve won three since then. That’s what we want to do: win games.” Thompson, who drew some criticism after a less-than-spectacular performance against Texas A&M, has since thrown for the 2nd most yards in conference, and follows only Kenny Hill (Texas A&M, 13) and Maty Mauk (Missouri, 14) for touchdowns thrown.
Part of the early criticism is drawn from the legend of the last Carolina signal-caller, Connor Shaw.
Shaw, who is the winningest quarterback is University of South Carolina history, is best known for his ability to extend plays and protect the football, throwing only 1 interception last season. Thompson, though, is a different style of quarterback and player. Shaw, with his iconic closely shaved hair and aura of intensity, always seemed to walk-and play- with a chip on his shoulder. Thompson is more relaxed on and off the field.
“I trust that God’s in control, no matter what…if that’s me playing great, or playing poorly, that’s it.”
Both quarterbacks have shown leadership ability, though. Shaw lead Carolina through three 11-win seasons, the best record in Carolina history, as well as three of the five consecutive wins against Clemson. Oh, yea…he was also undefeated at home.
Thompson immediately lost the pressure of maintaining that streak, dropping his first start of his senior campaign. But, that may not be a bad thing. Since losing to Texas A&M, Thompson has quietly throw for 774 yards, 7 touchdowns, and only 2 interceptions.
But that isn’t even the best part. Forget that with a win over TA&MU, Thompson would probably be in the Heisman discussion. Forget that his passer efficiency rating averages at 150.7. You can even forget the fact that his 11-3 TD-interception ratio is still one of the best in the SEC. The best part is how he’s doing it.
Thompson has touchdown passes to 6 individual players (5 WRs, 1 TE) and has completions to 12 players. His 88 for 142 completion ratio puts him at a 62.0% completion rate, and he’s averaging 285 yards/game. On this track, Dylan is set to throw 33 TDs this year, and have over 3,300 yards passing. This would put him well ahead of even the great Todd Ellis in terms of yards and touchdowns.
But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. With a tough game against SEC East rival Missouri, a game that Dylan joked, “added to the legend of Connor Shaw”, ahead, Thompson is focused on nothing but his team.
“I don’t get to call plays, I just run them.”
Hopefully, he can keep his trend of improvement- and winning- up on Saturday.
Saturday’s game is at 7pm ET, on ESPN.