Sophomores standards soar as Ash mirrors the legends

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David Ash has passed for 703 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions in the first three games of his sophomore year, and has led the Longhorns to a 3-0 record to begin the year.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Sophomore year varies the most of any student-athlete’s college career, especially for quarterbacks. Freshmen hot off their emergence onto the college football scene will either continue to dominate or suffer the dreaded “sophomore slump.” You see it every year. However, the slump trend seems to be fading as sophomore quarterbacks claimed three of the past five Heisman Trophies, whereas before 2006 a second-year player had never won the coveted award.

When David Ash didn’t put up stellar numbers as a freshman in 2011, he really had nowhere to go but up. The Longhorns’ signal caller certainly has wowed the Texas faithful thus far. So how does Ash’s sophomore campaign compare to the first three games of other Longhorn legends’ second year on the Forty Acres? Let’s take a look at the stats.

Through three games this season, Ash has thrown for 703 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. Ash ranks fourth in the nation in passing efficiency (190.5) and has a 74 percent completion rating, third-best. Ash compiled a 259.06 quarterback rating against Ole Miss, which sits at the third highest rating this season among FBS quarterbacks. Ash has also received a multitude of weekly national quarterback awards.

Through the first three games of 2007, sophomore quarterback Colt McCoy passed for 721 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions. McCoy had a 67 percent completion rating and a passing efficiency score of 121. His Longhorns sat at 3-0, too.

In his first three games of 2004, second-year man Vince Young passed for 464 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions. Young had a passing efficiency mark of 149 and a 59 percent completion rating. Texas, as in its 2007 and 2012 seasons, was 3-0 after defeating North Texas, Arkansas and Rice.

Judging by these numbers, Ash is solidly in the mix among two of the greatest quarterbacks in Texas history and he also has the best numbers. While the sophomore-led Vince Young and Colt McCoy Longhorn teams faced arguably tougher preseason schedules, numbers don’t lie. Yet, neither of those two players received as much scrutiny as Ash has.

If this current trend continues, Ash is on track for 2,809 yards and 25 touchdowns, numbers that Texas fans have only dreamed about since 2009. In 2007, McCoy finished the year with 3,303 yards, 22 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Many believed McCoy was in store for a “sophomore slump” after his spectacular freshman campaign and slow start the following season. In 2004, Young finished with 1,849 yards passing, 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Young also rushed for 1,079 yards and 14 touchdowns. Ash has shown off his wheels this season, too, with a 49-yard touchdown burst versus New Mexico.

Numbers aside, it looks like the Longhorns have finally found their man under center. As Texas progresses into the heart of one of the toughest schedules in college football, Ash’s true talent will become clear.