So here’s the deal: Zach Maynard is not a terrible quarterback. He is certainly not a Joe Ayoob or Nate Longshore, and for that the Cal faithful won’t call for his head.
However, he’s never going to be Aaron Rodgers. Hate to break it to you, Zach. But all dreams must die.
So, that being said, Maynard performed just on par with mediocre in Saturday’s abysmal showcase against Southern Utah.
Here are his stats: He went 17-for-23 and 229 yards. He also had 39 yards rushing. That looks pretty decent for a man who will never be the second coming of Christ — I mean Aaron Rodgers.
But I’m demanding you do a double-take right now. Scan over those stats again. And remember, who exactly was Cal playing on Saturday?
That’s right. The Thunderbirds. An FCS team. And for three whole quarters, the Thunderbirds held Cal to an exasperatingly close game.
Maynard shouldn’t be 17-for-23. He should be 23-for-23 and about three billion yards. His team should have trampled and extinguished Southern Utah.
Instead, he had one sack and one interception. What’s up with that? How was his line unable to prevent an opponent from breaking through?
And that interception? It’s actually laughably unbelievable. Pull a Tedford and look at the tape. After Maynard passes to freshman phenom Chris Harper, the latter runs it all the way to the end zone — only to have it called back for a penalty.
So what does Maynard do? He tries to outsmart the lesser foe and call the same exact play again. And do you know what happens?
A Thunderbird comes tearing out of nowhere — seriously, where was the offensive line? — and grabs Maynard’s pass out of the air. Not so much grabs as completely denies its forward trajectory.
Now, let’s examine Southern Utah’s quarterback, Brad Sorensen. There’s actually legitimate talk that Sorensen is an NFL prospect — which is more than Maynard can say of himself.
Sorensen’s numbers from Saturday were commendable: 31-for-45 and 292 yards. He also had a Hail Mary pass that left me impressed; hey, I’m a sucker for a good Hollywood-esque play.
He managed to not only keep up with Maynard but definitely surpass him as far as polish goes. Sorensen appeared in control throughout the game.
Maynard, meanwhile, had one memorable play in which he scrambled out of the pocket — will he ever find comfort there? — and nearly caused major loss of yards before finding a receiver. Scrambles don’t deserve completions, plain and simple.
Don’t let the final lopsided 50-31 score dumbfound you. Cal didn’t show up on Saturday.
Cal football: Where struggling against Southern Utah happened.
Annie Gerlach is the sports editor. Contact her at email@example.com.