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  • How the ‘Big Three’ stack up, and whose stock is rising and whose NFL draft stock is falling among college football’s top quarterbacks
By Albert Breer
October 03, 2017

Top of the Class:

1. Sam Darnold, USC (27-50, 358 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT vs. Utah): Darnold showed an ability to lift the guys around him—a critical quality—in bringing USC back from a 14-point deficit and leading three drives that covered more than 85 yards. His stock is steady right now.

2. Josh Rosen, UCLA (20-34, 219 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs vs. Arizona): Rosen got knocked around and threw three interceptions, then responded after the game that he “just didn’t play well, at all.” Watch him talk to the press postgame. His frustration is visible.

3. Josh Allen, Wyoming (18-26, 208 yards, TD, INT vs. Utah State): There were some great signs of progress here. Allen was hit a lot and kept coming, and his second effort on a goal-line keeper for the Cowboys’ first score showed the kind of grit coaches want in their field general.

Helped Himself: Clayton Thorson, Northwestern. Here’s a new name that I heard discussed in an NFL context for the first time. The Wildcat junior took a beating against Penn State but bounced back this week, throwing for 293 yards and a touchdown in a convincing win over Maryland. Yes, there were two picks in there, and he’s had interception issues all season. But the tools are there, and the next couple games—at home against Iowa and Michigan State—should be interesting tests.

Hurt Himself: Luke Falk, Washington State. I’ll start with this: Falk wound up higher on my above quarterback list than I thought he would, and the former walk-on is a fantastic story. Thing is, he can’t afford to have too many sideways efforts like he did on Friday night, with an average Cal defense picking him off five times and keeping the Cougars out of the end zone all night.

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