5 College Quarterbacks To Watch In the Second Half Of The Season
October 14th, 2010-  By Bryan Cross

Cameron Newton-  Auburn

Newton has gotten the Tigers out to a perfect 6-0 start behind solid play through the air, as well as with his legs.  Newton is one of the most dynamic players in the Southeastern Conference, with opposing defenses having to respect the potential for him to escape and rack up the rush yards.  Newton leads the Tigers in both passing and receiving yards.  He has thrown for 1,138 yards and 12 touchdowns this College Football Season, while rushing for 672 yards and nine touchdowns.  Newton averages six-and-a-half yards per rush.  Last week against Kentucky, he rushed for nearly 200 yards and tabbed four touchdowns in a close 37-34 win.  As a result, the Tigers are undefeated and ranked seventh in the country.  The second half of the year is not going to be easy however, as Auburn has dates with Arkansas, LSU and Alabama.  If the Tigers are to continue winning, it will be because of Newton.

Taylor Martinez- Nebraska

The redshirt freshman quarterback has turned the Cornhusker offense around from 99th last season, to seventh this season.  Nebraska ranks second in the country in rushing offense, largely due to Martinez, who leads the team in that department with 737 yards and 12 touchdowns.  His 11 yard-per-carry average leads the nation.  While the Nebraska offense is based largely on rushing, Martinez has been effective through the air, throwing for 660 yards and three touchdowns.  His performances through the first six weeks of the season have vaulted him into the conversation for the Heisman Trophy on USA Online Sportsbooks.  The Cornhuskers will get Texas at home this week, with the Big XII conference championship game still weighing heavily from a season ago.  With the defense continuing to play well, and the offense now clicking, Martinez will be the key to any successes Nebraska may have this season.

Stephen Garcia- South Carolina

The South Carolina Gamecocks are at the top of the SEC East division.  That, has not been a common spot for the Gamecocks over the course of the last several seasons with Florida and Georgia in the division.  But with the Bulldogs struggling, and the Gators dropping two-straight, that is exactly where South Carolina finds themselves.  South Carolina is fresh off the biggest regular season win in school history, defeating No.1 Alabama 35-21 at home last Saturday.  Quarterback Stephen Garcia has been a big reason the Gamecocks are 5-1, and primed to make a run at the East division.  The mistake-prone quarterback has shown development and maturity as a senior this season, throwing for eight touchdowns to just three interceptions.  While he doesn’t wow anyone with his stats, he is nonetheless the cornerstone the rest of the way for South Carolina.  The Gamecocks now have the target on their back, and still have a meeting with Florida later in the year.

Christian Ponder- Florida State

The Seminoles’ senior quarterback was a popular preseason Heisman candidate.  After a 30-point loss to Oklahoma on the road in week two however, his name fell off the map.  Now, Ponder and Florida State have fought their way back to a No.16 ranking and 5-1 on the year after a 45-17 win over Miami last week.  Ponder isn’t putting up the numbers many thought he could, but is playing really good football, making the correct reads, and getting the right plays called.  The Seminoles are actually getting it done in the run game, which is a welcomed surprise in Tallahassee.  Still, the Seminoles will live and die with the play of Ponder on offense.  Florida State has several big games on the horizon, including a Thursday night showdown on the road against North Carolina State, homes games against ACC foes Clemson and North Carolina, and the season finale in Tallahassee against the Gators.

Kirk Cousins-

The Michigan State Spartans were not on many radars as a favorite to win the Big 10 conference this season.  Six weeks into the year though, quarterback Kirk Cousins has the Spartans ranked No.13 in the country, and undefeated on the year after a big win over Michigan last week.  Cousins has thrown for 1,416 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.  The Spartans are well-balanced on offense, and Cousins has been a big part of that.  Michigan State already has wins over Wisconsin and Michigan and do not have to face Ohio State this season.  Cousins play will likely dictate the rest of the season for the Spartans, as the productive passing game has led to the open holes in the run game.

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