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Russell Wilson Breaks the Turnover Curve for ACC Quarterbacks

NC State's Russell Wilson is the reigning ACC rookie of the year, first-team All-ACC quarterback and king of turnover efficiency. Wilson fumbled eight times in ACC play in 2008, but lost only one of them. That, combined with only interception made him responsible for two interceptions in league games.

Wilson was head and shoulders ahead of any other returning ACC quarterback in turnover efficiency categories last year. He turned the ball over twice, tied with North Carolina's TJ Yates for fewest in league play, and was involved in the second-most plays (throwing and passing) with 308 behind Virginia's Marc Verica at 318.

But Verica was at the opposite end of the spectrum in ball security. He was responsible for 16 turnovers (13 INTs and three fumbles) in his 318 plays. After the jump, you'll see how the returning ACC quarterbacks fared taking care of the ball.

Remember, all of these tables are for league games only. First, we'll look at plays per turnover.

(Plays - number of pass attempts and rushing attempts; TO - number of interceptions and fumbles lost; PPTO - plays per turnover)

QBs Plays Per Turnover (ACC Games Only)
Player Plays TO PPTO
Russell Wilson NCS 308 2 154.0
Chris Turner UMD 301 6 50.2
Thaddeus Lewis DU 251 6 41.8
Riley Skinner WFU 281 7 40.1
TJ Yates UNC 75 2 37.5
Tyrod Taylor VT 209 8 26.1
Josh Nesbitt GT 206 8 25.8
Christian Ponder FSU 303 12 25.3
Jacory Harris MIA 142 6 23.7
Marc Verica UVA 318 16 19.9
Average 2394 73 32.8

Wilson blows everyone else out of the water in this stat. It's not fair, really. He destroys the curve and the league average. The Hokies' Tyrod Taylor was just below the league average in plays per turnover but didn't fair nearly as well in yards per turnover. Once again, Russell makes everyone look bad in this category.

(Yds - Total yards, passing plus rushing; TO - interceptions and fumbles lost; YPTO - yards per turnover)

QBs Yds Per Turnover (ACC Games Only)
Player Yds TO YPTO
Russell Wilson NCS 1856 2 928.0
Chris Turner UMD 1638 6 273.0
TJ Yates UNC 462 2 231.0
Thaddeus Lewis DU 1267 6 211.2
Riley Skinner WFU 1354 7 193.4
Jacory Harris MIA 857 6 142.8
Josh Nesbitt GT 1054 8 131.8
Tyrod Taylor VT 1036 8 129.5
Christian Ponder FSU 1551 12 129.3
Marc Verica UVA 1616 16 101.0
Average 12691 73 173.8

Tyrod dips all the way to eighth among the returning quarterbacks in yards per turnover. It gets even worse when we look at touchdown to turnover ratio. Again, Wilson. Again, he was kind of good in this category.

(TD - number or passing and rushing touchdowns; TO - interceptions and fumbles lost; Rat - number of touchdowns for each turnover)

QBs TD:TO Ratio (ACC Games Only)
Player TD TO Rat
Russell Wilson NCS 17 2 8.500
TJ Yates UNC 4 2 2.000
Thaddeus Lewis DU 10 6 1.667
Jacory Harris MIA 10 6 1.667
Chris Turner UMD 7 6 1.167
Riley Skinner WFU 7 7 1.000
Josh Nesbitt GT 7 8 0.875
Christian Ponder FSU 10 12 0.833
Tyrod Taylor VT 6 8 0.750
Marc Verica UVA 8 16 0.500
Average 86 73 1.178

Tyrod was only better than Verica, who just wasn't very good at keep the ball away from the other team in 2008. We can only hope these number are indicative of a sophomore slump for Tyrod. As you'll see in our final table, his numbers were actually pretty good in 2007.

Tyrod's 2008 turnover efficiency numbers shouldn't be indicative of how good or bad a quarterback he is. He had a bad year when it came to ball security last year, but it isn't a trend.

Tyrod Taylor Turnover Efficiency (ACC Games Only)
Year Plays Yards TD TO PPTO YPTO TD:TO
2007 142 495 8 3 47.3 165.0 2.667
2008 209 1036 6 8 26.1 129.5 0.750
Career 351 1531 14 11 31.9 139.2 1.273

If you plug Tyrod's 2007 efficiency numbers into the 2008 tables, he would be third in plays per turnover, sixth in yards per turnover and second in touchdown to turnover ratio. The Hokies will obviously need his 2009 numbers to mirror those of his freshman year. I don't think Tech's defense will be as good as it was the last two seasons and it will be up to Tyrod and the offense to win more than its share of games this year.

Looking at the other ACC quarterbacks, the turnover efficiency numbers are more evidence that Wilson is the best quarterback in the league. However, they could also mean Turner is a better quarterback than I give him credit for. They also show Jacory Harris to be a high-risk, high-reward quarterback. His touchdown to turnover ratio and yards to turnover ratio are fairly explosive. But he turned the ball over on at a high rate on a per play basis.

If Wilson had lost a few more of those eight fumbles, his numbers wouldn't look nearly as gaudy. But as it is he's like the one kid who made a 98 on the (What's a class people with a real major would have taken? Chemistry? We'll go with chemistry.) chemistry exam and destroyed the curve. Everyone else looks bad in comparison.