If you took a look at Twitter or asked any Indiana fan who happened to be watching the Hoosiers’ football game against Indiana State, the starting quarterback question was solved on Friday night.
The Answer: Tayven Jackson.
Jackson completed 18 of his 21 passing attempts against the Sycamores for 236 yards and may have had a passing touchdown on a beautiful deep ball had it not been called back by an offensive penalty.
That’s a completion percentage of .857, good for third best all-time in program history, per Indiana Athletics. He’s only the second Indiana quarterback all-time with a completion percentage over .800 on over 20 pass attempts. The other, Peyton Ramsey, accomplished this on two occasions.
His quarterback rating of 72.3 was good for fourth in the Big Ten behind Penn State’s Drew Allar, Ohio State’s Kyle McCord and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy. Of that top four all but McCarthy faced an FCS opponent.
Jackson registered a PFF offensive grade of 91.6 with a passing grade of 93.2. When I went to see if any Indiana quarterback had logged a PFF passing grade of 93 or better I got all the way to Nate Sudfeld without finding one. So, do with that information what you will.
Jackson was perfect on throws within ten yards of the line of scrimmage, going 13/13. He was 1/2 on throws between ten and twenty yards of the LOS and 2/4 on those over twenty yards beyond the LOS.
He was pressured on seven of his 23 dropbacks, completing four of his five attempts against pressure for 36 yards.
Now if you throw all those numbers out and just watched the game, he looked incredibly solid. He throws a great ball with a tight spiral and is able to do so while standing tall in the pocket and into less-than-ideal windows as he did here:
A penalty erased it, but this was a dime from Tayven Jackson to Cam Camper for 54 yards pic.twitter.com/eRdHvOiUAt— Video from: @TSV__1 (@TSV__1) September 8, 2023
He led each and every drive that ended with a touchdown and scored one of his own on the ground. In the lens of the quarterback competition he isn’t the runner that Sorsby is but man he can make some throws.
As stated in a previous piece I get why this was a competition. However, I believe Jackson earned the right to start against Louisville. With it being his second collegiate start, there could be some growing pains.
Starting receivers Cam Camper and E.J. Williams left the game with injuries and, due to the new Big Ten availability reports, Tom Allen won’t be commenting on them during his weekly media availabilities until those reports are out. We won’t know about that situation until they release. Omar Cooper showed out on Friday and he’ll be back home in Indianapolis for the game, so there’s some bright side there.
All that being said, Jackson looked great and it’ll be interesting to see how his season unfolds.