Dak’s Legacy on the Line


There are college football players that come around rarely that have the ability to define a program.  Bo Jackson at Auburn, Hershel Walker at Georgia, Tim Tebow at Florida, Peyton Manning at Tennessee, and I could go on for a while.  These are the players whose jerseys are still to this day being worn by fans on their respective campuses.  Three of those four players mentioned have won the Heisman Trophy, and the other one is arguably the best quarterback to ever play the game.  With that being said, one cannot simply add Dak Prescott into that group…or can you. Now you can’t compare Prescott with running backs obviously, but lets dive into the QB comparisons.

When you compare Prescott’s numbers to Manning’s at UT, things get interesting.  Peyton Manning’s best season as far as completion percentage was 64.2% during his sophomore season, while Prescott is completing passes at a 66.7% clip this season.  Manning’s best season yardage wise was his senior season, throwing for 3819 yards.  Dak is on pace to finish with 3396 yards passing and 604 yards rushing, for a grand total of exactly 4000 yards on the season.  And let’s not forget that this is not Dak’s best season, as that came in 2014 when he totaled 4470 yards.  That is 616 yards better than Peyton’s best season.

To take this a step further, Manning’s best touchdown total in a season came again in his senior season, in which he had 36 passing TD’s and 3 rushing TD’s (shocking, I know), for a grand total of 39 TD’s.  In 2014, Prescott found the endzone a total of 42 times: 27 passing, 14 rushing, and 1 receiving.  Prescott is on pace for 36 total touchdowns in 2015, so still not too shabby.  Then possibly the most telling stat of all, career total touchdowns.  Peyton Manning was a 3 year starter for the Vols and finished a stellar career with 101 total touchdowns, good for a tie for 4th place all time in the SEC.  Dak has owned soul possession of the starting job for just 2 years, and with at least 4 games left in his career, totals 100 touchdowns.  Say what you will, but the numbers speak for themselves.

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Now lets look at one of the most popular QB’s to ever play the game, Tim Tebow.  When every sorority girl in the country knows your name, you know you have made it big time.  The Heisman Trophy winner’s best season as far as yardage was 2007: 3286 passing yards and 895 rushing yards, totaling 4181 yards.  Once again, Dak finishes his best season to date with 4470.  Tebow completed passes at a 67.8% clip in his senior season.  As mentioned earlier Prescott is completing passes at a 66.7%, falling just shy of Tebow.  Tebow sits atop of the SEC all time total TD list with 145.  Tebow was a 3 year starter at Florida.  If Prescott were handed the sole reigns of the offense in 2013, there is not telling where he would be on the list.  But that is strictly speculation.  Again, the numbers speak for themselves.

There is one thing that all of these legendary players have in common: the each own a SEC championship.  Now the road for Dak to get to the SEC Championship game is not an easy one, but it is there nonetheless.  In order to even have the opportunity to play in Atlanta, the Bulldogs will have to go through the mighty Crimson Tide of Alabama.  The Bulldogs haven’t beaten the Tide since back-to-back victories in 2006-07.  That’s right, Sylvester Croom beat Nick Saban in 2007.  Just keep that in mind when you are having a bad day.  That fact is always good for a nice chuckle.  Those Alabama teams were simply not the same Alabama teams that we have grown accustomed to.

This Alabama team shuts down Heisman front runners to 31 yards on 19 carries.  This Alabama team holds opponents to 265.3 yards per game.  But this Alabama team also turns the ball over 5 times in a single game.  This Alabama team is very one dimensional, even if that one dimension is the best backfield in the country.  This Alabama team is beatable. Lets look at the stats that truly matter.  Alabama scores 33.1 points per game while giving up 16.3 points per game.  Mississippi State scores 34.7 points per game and gives up 17.2 points per game.  You can argue all day that other stats matter, but the true stat comes down to points.  The Dawgs and Tide are extremely close in both of these statistical categories.

When two teams are close on paper, I look to the field.  I ask myself, “Who is the best player on the field?”  My answer will shock some of you.  Most people will automatically think Derrick Henry or Reggie Ragland or another player on Bama’s endless list of 5 star talent.  There is a difference between most NFL ready player and best player on the field.  Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel were not NFL ready when they played in college (or in the NFL for that matter), but they were the best players on the football field every time they suited up.  Dak Prescott will be the best player on the field Saturday afternoon.  He is going to have to play like it.  Many remember last year when the Dawgs were #1 in the country and lost in Tuscaloosa 25-20 to the Tide, ending the hope for a long lost national title.  No one remembers that game more that Dak.  He knows that he played poorly in that game, and he will be out for revenge.  A win over Bama is seemingly the only thing that Dak is lacking in a very decorated career at State.  Look for Dak to come out and play the game of his life on Saturday.  It may not be his best statistically, but this game could be the game that defines his legacy if he walks away with a win.

There is no doubt that the #15 jerseys will be worn for years to come on fall Saturdays in Starkville.  He is unquestionably the best player to ever suit up for the maroon and white.  The question is, will Dak be able to join the Mount Rushmore of SEC football.  With a win on Saturday, he will be well on his way.