No one's doubting Jeremiah Masoli now. Unless they're reading the weather report.
After three poor passing performances in a row to start off the 2009 season, Oregon's junior quarterback shut his doubters up on Saturday, finishing a marksman-esque 21-of-25 for 253 yards, 3 TDs, no interceptions and a career-high 148.4 passer rating in the Ducks' 42-3 drubbing of Cal.
It was arguably Masoli's best passing performance of his 16-game Oregon career. It was also arguably the nicest game-day weather the signal caller has seen in one and a half seasons with the Ducks.
But not every performance has been this sunny. In fact, a few were downright dreary.
Last year, the Ducks visited Berkeley amid one of the heaviest downpours in recent memory. At halftime, it seemed like Memorial Stadium was at risk of sliding into the bay. Masoli managed just 44 yards and 2 interceptions on 7-of-21 passing, as well as an abysmal 2.8 passer rating, the worst of his career. By comparison, Cal quarterbacks Nate Longshore and Kevin Riley combined for 216 yards on 20-of-39 passing with 2 touchdowns and an interception, as the Bears sunk the Ducks, 26-16.
But one game doesn't mark a trend. If only it were one game.
Masoli has played in wet conditions only two other times in his career: Games against Stanford last season and Utah last weekend. Most Oregon fans remember the Stanford game either as the turning point in his young career or as the game he was heavily booed for a poor second-half performance. Actually, his performance wasn't half bad, at least statistically. He finished 11-of-21 for 144 yards and a touchdown. He also led the Ducks on their final drive, capping off a come-from-behind win over the Cardinal on LeGarrette Blount's late TD run, 35-28. But it certainly wasn't his best performance through the air.
The Utah game, amid heavy mist, didn't have as many bright spots. Although the Ducks managed to squeeze out a win, no doubt partially fueled by Masoli's legs (he rushed for 47 yards and 2 TDs), his passing statline was far from Heisman-worthy. Masoli finished 4-of-16 for 95 yards and an interception with a 25.8 passer rating. Apparently when it rains it pours, even when it isn't raining.
But the trend becomes clearer over the course of his entire Oregon career. When the temperature's been moderate (between 60-80 degrees) with clear skies, Masoli is 95-of-148 (64.2%) with 1,313 yards (8.87 yards/attempt), 12 TDs, 2 INTs and a 113.9 passer rating. He's also 7-1 in those games, including last year's Boise State game, which he only played a quarter of before being knocked out after a late hit.
When the weather outside's been frightful (either hot and humid or wet), however, Masoli is seemingly a different quarterback. In the seven games with less than perfect weather, he's 70-of-154 (45.5%) with 4.97 yards per attempt, 2 TDs, 5 INTs and a 51.5 passer rating. He's 4-3 in those games.
The only outlier was Masoli's outstanding performance at Arizona last year. However, it was merely a dry, cool 52 degrees, hardly considered poor weather for a team's passing game.
And it hasn't just been about his passer rating, but more prominently his accuracy. Four of his five lowest completion percentages came amid poor weather: Utah (misty; 25%) this season, and UCLA (the coldest game; 26.3%), Cal (heavy rain; 33.3%) and Stanford (rain; 52.9%) last season. The fifth lowest was the Boise State debacle just three weeks ago (51.9%).
Is all of this cause for concern as winter nears? Possibly. The Ducks have four more games at home: USC in late October, Arizona State in mid-November, and the Civil War in early December. But there's also Oregon's visit to dreary Seattle on Oct. 24. A much-improved Washington team could benefit greatly from rainy weather.
And then there's this weekend's game against Washington State. After a dominant performance against Cal last weekend, Masoli and the Ducks will try to avoid a letdown against freshman quarterback Jeff Tuil and a potentially revitalized Wazzu team.
And the weather report looks grim: High of 61 degrees with showers.
Fortunately, it never rains on Autzen Stadium.
|8/30/08||7:11 PM||67||Mostly Sunny||13 MPH||W 44-10||9||17||126||52.9||7.41||2||0||0||48||116.3|
|9/6/08||12:37 PM||71||Sunny||10 MPH||W 66-24||7||11||67||63.6||6.09||0||0||1||24||80.5|
|9/20/08||12:30 PM||60||Mostly Sunny||5 MPH||L 37-32||3||4||27||75||6.75||0||0||0||12||92.7|
|9/27/08||3:15 PM||77||Clear||5 MPH||W 63-14||9||16||161||56.3||10.06||2||0||1||36||130.5|
|10/25/08||7:05 PM||79||Clear||4 MPH||W 54-20||17||26||147||65.4||5.65||1||1||1||27||76.9|
|11/29/08||4:07 PM||62||Sunny||0 MPH||W 65-38||11||17||274||64.7||16.12||3||0||3||76||147.7|
|12/30/08||5:00 PM||60||Clear||8 MPH||W 42-31||18||32||258||56.3||8.06||1||1||2||50||80|
|9/26/09||12:30 PM||71||Sunny||8 MPH||W 42-3||21||25||253||84||10.12||3||0||0||36||148.4|
|10/4/08||5:00 PM||66||Cloudy||3 MPH||L 44-10||18||29||156||62.1||5.38||0||1||2||21||61.9|
|10/11/08||7:15 PM||52||Partly Cloudy||6 MPH||W 31-24||5||19||42||26.3||2.21||1||0||3||24||57.1|
|11/1/08||12:30 PM||61||Heavy rain||Swirling||L 26-16||7||21||44||33.3||2.1||0||2||1||11||2.8|
|11/8/08||12:30 PM||56||Rain||10 MPH||W 35-28||11||21||144||52.4||6.86||1||0||0||45||90.2|
|9/3/09||7:15 PM||88||Partly Cloudy||10 MPH||L 19-8||14||27||121||51.9||4.48||0||1||1||27||48.5|
|9/12/09||7:15 PM||83||Partly Cloudy||6 MPH||W 38-36||11||21||163||52.4||7.76||0||0||3||40||78.1|
|9/19/09||12:30 PM||62||Misty||3 MPH||W 31-24||4||16||95||25||5.94||0||1||1||58||25.8|
Writer's note: All data was compiled manually using game notes at GoDucks.com. Please note any errors in the comments.