OXFORD, Miss. — When the Rebels march into Little Rock this coming Saturday to face Arkansas, they’ll do so with this week’s top-rated quarterback in ESPN’s Total QBR, Jordan Ta’amu.
After a 374-yard passing performance and a win over Louisiana-Monroe, the Ole Miss quarterback sits atop the ESPN Total QBR rankings for this week with a score of 98.7. Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa leads the Total QBR for the season.
The Ole Miss offense broke a school record for total yards (826) in Saturday’s 70-21 win over the Warhawks—and Ta’amu’s numbers reflect his outstanding play.
Against ULM, Ta’amu finished 21-24 for 374 yards passing and 3 touchdowns through the air in the Homecoming win. He also rushed for 63 yards on 6 attempts and scored two rushing touchdowns. (Click here for box score.)
And did we mention Ta’amu only played in the first half of the game?
What is ‘Total QBR?’
So what is Total QBR and how does it differ from passer efficiency ratings? ESPN explains the two as follows:
“Unlike NCAA Passer Efficiency, which uses only box score statistics, Total QBR accounts for what a quarterback does on a play-by-play level, meaning it accounts for down, distance, field position, as well as the clock and score.
A 5-yard gain on third-and-4 is a good play, whereas a 5-yard gain on third-and-14 isn’t. A 20-yard touchdown pass when tied in the second quarter means more than a 20-yard touchdown pass when down 30 points late in the fourth quarter. QBR accounts for those things using analysis that turns traditional productivity into points on the scoreboard and wins in the standings.”
The Total QBR also accounts for a quarterback’s ability to scramble, his ability to run on designed rush plays, how well he avoids sacks, drawing and committing penalties, and all-important fumbles, which can be significant for quarterbacks.
Ta’amu’s numbers off the chart
After six games in 2018, Ta’amu has completed 64.2% of his passes (120-187) for 1,911 yards, throwing 13 touchdowns with only 4 interceptions. He’s averaging 15.92 yards per completion.
The only other Ole Miss quarterback to ever sit atop the weekly Total QBR rankings, dating back to the origin of the rankings in 2004, is Jeremiah Masoli. In week four of 2010, Masoli scored a 98.9 to lead the nation after the Rebels defeated Fresno State, 55-38.
With past winners of the Total QBR competition such as Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck, Sam Bradford, Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota, and Baker Mayfield (winner of the last two years’ overall season Total QBR), it is clear just how phenomenally Ta’amu played in Saturday’s win.
Ta’amu’s ascension to the top of this week’s rankings bodes well for the Rebels as they enter the remaining gauntlet of SEC play, beginning with Saturday’s game against Arkansas.
Ole Miss vs Arkansas
The Rebels and Razorbacks will kick off at 6:30 p.m. (CT) in Little Rock this coming Saturday, October 13. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.