The Numbers Don’t Do Jake Heaps Justice

Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Jake Heaps’s stat line against the New Mexico State Aggies wasn’t flashy. Nevertheless, Heaps should get credit for playing a good game.

Heaps finished the game with this stat line: 21-36 (58.3%), 238 yards, 4 TD, 1 Int., 145.0 Pass Eff. Typically, a quarterback should complete a minimum of 60% of his passes, average at least 8.0 yards per attempt, and have a pass efficiency rating of at least 150.0 to say he played a good game. In this case, the numbers don’t do Jake Heaps justice.

Despite the substandard stats, Heaps deserves credit for a good game for seven reasons:
  1. He led BYU to a score on its first possession.
  2. He successfully ran the two minute offense at the end of the first half.
  3. He helped BYU extend the lead to pull away from the opponent.
  4. He moved BYU into scoring position on the first drive of the second half.
  5. He directed two touchdown drives 80 yards or longer.
  6. He evaded a heavy rush and made a great pass to JD Falslev for a touchdown.
  7. He helped BYU convert 71.4% of 14 third downs.
All seven reasons are good indicators of success (wins), and the quarterback is responsible for making these things happen. Heaps was not doing these things the first five games of the season.

A look at how Heaps specifically contributed on third down is particularly enlightening. Heaps completed 5 of 8 passes (62.5%) for 64 yards (8.0 yards per attempt).  On third down, Heaps met the minimum thresholds for completion percentage and yards per attempt. Most importantly, all five completions were for first downs. That means BYU had a third down conversion percentage of 62.5% when Heaps threw the ball. That is phenomenal. (Georgia Tech is currently best in the nation converting 54.41% of third downs.)

While Heaps still needs to improve his completion percentage and yards per attempt if BYU is going to consistently win with him at quarterback, he provided enough intangible benefits against New Mexico State to receive credit for a good performance.

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