By Brian Murphy
Boise State junior quarterback Joe Southwick emerged from Saturday's Spring Game as the favorite to be the starter when the Broncos open the 2012 season against Michigan State on Aug. 31.
Southwick, the backup to Kellen Moore last year, got the most snaps in the scrimmage and threw twice as many passes as any of the other three quarterbacks competing to replace Moore.
If the 6-foot-1, 191-pounder from Danville, Calif., continues to play like he did Saturday, I don't see how anyone can wrest the job from him.
Southwick led the No. 1 offense to a touchdown on the first drive of the scrimmage before a crowd of more than 17,000 at Bronco Stadium. He also led Boise State to a field goal.
Then, with dinner and showers on the line for the winners, Southwick guided the No. 2 offense to a game-winning touchdown with 54 seconds left. The offense won 22-19.
Southwick celebrated his 18-yard touchdown pass to receiver Chris Potter by raising up his arms, asking the fans to cheer and pumping his fists.
Southwick finished the game 14-of-19 for 145 yards and one touchdown. He had a 155.16 quarterback rating.
"He needs a situation like that probably more than the other guys because he's been around running the base stuff. That's a great opportunity to get a situation we don't see everyday," Boise State coach Chris Petersen said of Southwick's final drive.
Southwick and the other quarterback contenders — sophomore Grant Hedrick, redshirt freshman Jimmy Laughrea and true freshman Nick Patti — were off-limits to the media as they have been all spring.
"We've told them they're all capable of being the quarterback here. 'Don't worry about the guy next to you. Just worry about playing your best and it will work out how it's supposed to,' " Petersen said.
Patti — who certainly captured the imagination of Boise State fans who are eager to see another four-year starter like Moore — was the other impressive quarterback Saturday. The 5-foot-11 freshman from Orlando, Fla., threw a 35-yard touchdown to receiver Troy Ware. The pass was into a stiff wind.
"He might be the most impressive guy in the quarterback race right now just from being around such a short time and just throwing as much as we did, to be able to call a snap count, call the cadence, call the play and execute," Petersen said.
Patti finished 4-of-8 for 60 yards and one touchdown. His QB rating was 154.25.
In my opinion, Patti will only play if he wins the starting job. If not, it makes sense to redshirt Patti, who could certainly benefit from running the scout team and learning the Broncos' complex offense.
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