In the shadow of Touchdown Jesus at Notre Dame Stadium a savior named Crist is possibly emerging. Remember his name is Crist not Christ, so don’t expect miracles right away. But Notre Dame junior QB Dayne Crist is putting up numbers that have been much better than anyone would expect given his lack of prior experience. He’s made only six career starts, all this season, and for a program that’s transitioning to a new coach and a new field general in 2010, his solid consistency within those six starts is a welcome comfort.
After going 24-39 for 242 with a touchdown pass and no picks versus Pitt, Crist discussed his progress.
“It’s still a work in progress, I would say. It’s still continuing to develop. We did some good things today and did some things that we’d like to correct,” he said.
By Paul M. Banks
The signal caller has completed 58.8% of his passes (137 of 233) for 1,600 yards and 11 touchdowns, four interceptions and a passing efficiency of 128.86. He is ranked among the top 20 FBS quarterbacks in completions, total passing yards (t-14th, 1,358 with Northwestern‘s Dan Persa) and passing yards per game.
Not a single quarterback in the FBS is ranked ahead of Crist in total passing yards that has started fewer career games than Crist, so indeed the ceiling is high in South Bend. He entered this year following reconstructive knee surgery, but so far his numbers and production indicate that his knee is just fine.
Crist, a five-star recruit from Canoga Park, California, set career-highs in completions (32), attempts (55), passing yards (369) and touchdown passes (four) against a currently undefeated and very good Michigan State team last month.
This was significant because no Irish quarterback has ever thrown for more touchdown passes in his first career start on the road. Crist’s 32 completions, 55 attempts and four touchdown passes rank tied for fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, in Notre Dame single-game history.
Pitt Coach Dave Wannstedt noticed Crist’s abilities as well.
“I thought he made good decisions. He didn’t turn the ball over. He didn’t throw it into coverage. I thought he played very well,” he said.
Crist knows that within all the good, there was still some bad on Saturday, and that he still has work to do.
“On offense, happy the way we were able to execute in certain tempos and everything like that. But it wasn’t completely clean. We sputtered at times, and we’ll go and try and correct those mistakes,” Crist said.
And the most encouraging sign for ND fans is that Crist compares very favorably versus the more notable ND quarterbacks during their first five career starts.Think of all the highly publicized quarterbacks in ND history:
Brady Quinn, Jimmy Clausen, Joe Theismann, Steve Beuerlein. There’s even a subgroup of stars who all wore the same number (#3)- Joe Montana, Rick Mirer, Ron Powlus. Here’s how Crist stacks up versus four of those big names through their first five games.
Crist Clausen Quinn Powlus Montana Theismann
Comp. % 58.2 60.9 45.8 57.8 37.0 55.3
Yards 1358 524 1023 916 378 619
TD passes 10 1 4 12 1 5
Ints 4 3 10 4 8 8
Efficiency 129.9 96.8 85.1 157.4 63.1 124.3
Paul M. Banks is President and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com
He also does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com
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