I’ll be the first to admit: I didn’t think Anthony Brown was the correct choice for Oregon football’s QB1 in 2021.
There was just too much uncertainty with his arm talent and decision-making that I believed giving a younger guy with a higher ceiling would do wonders for this talented Oregon team. I didn’t think that Brown would be a guy that could lead this team on the road against Ohio State and come away with a win.
Those thoughts didn’t change after Week 1.
Brown was decent against Fresno State, completing 15-of-24 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown. He did rush for 56 yards, including the game-winning scamper with just minutes left, but the offense struggled under his control.
Was it his fault? No, but the passing attack wasn’t exactly turning heads.
All it took was his gutsy performance against Ohio State to change my tune and the opinions of countless others who have doubted him. He wasn’t perfect, by any means, as he completed less than 50 percent of his throws on the day, but he didn’t make any mistakes, avoided pressure all afternoon long with his legs, and made some big-time throws.
Ohio State would be the first to tell you: Brown will be a problem for defenses this season.
The senior quarterback passed for 236 yards and two touchdowns on 17-of-35 completions and he added another 65 yards on the ground. He totaled 301 yards on the day and made sure he didn’t make any back-breaking mistakes that could flip the momentum and turn into easy Buckeye points. That’s really all you can ask for in a starting quarterback.
While some of us might like the upside of a Ty Thompson, Robby Ashford, or Jay Butterfield, this is Brown’s team and he’s proven that over the first two weeks.
And I’m happy to eat all the crow.
The sky is the limit for Oregon football with Brown as QB1
Brown may not have the pure passing ability of Thompson or the explosiveness of Ashford, but he has a good combination of both on a smaller scale to go along with his leadership and calmness on the big stage. He didn’t let the national stage on the road against the No. 3 team in the country get to him. He remained composed and I don’t think the other guys would have been so cool under pressure.
Oregon has few games left on the schedule against teams that really pose problems. Stanford could be tough to start October, but the Cardinal have more questions than answers. UCLA is going to be very tough on Oct. 23, but maybe we’re over-valuing wins over Hawaii and LSU. Colorado is decent, but not quite contender-level. And finally, Washington and Utah look very beatable.
If Brown can go on the road and beat Ohio State, there’s not a game left on the schedule that he can’t handle. If he can improve that accuracy, he’s going to be All-Pac-12 and I’ll have even more crow to eat.