Sep 28, 2013; Eugene, OR, USA; California Golden Bears quarterback Zach Kline (8) throws the ball in the first half against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
Sorry this post is coming out so late, but really, I wasn’t sure who to plug in as the MVP from this past game. I could easily pick any one of the Oregon Duck players, I could take the Oregon fan base for braving it through the horrible weather, or I could give the MVP to everyone who watched that horrible game. However, the guy I wanted to give the MVP to was Zach Kline.
Zach Kline played a horrible game. I was completely disappointed with his performance from a football standpoint. But, I wanted to give him the award, because in his first game, Kline had to deal with a tough rainstorm that kept the ball from being easy to grip, he had to deal with being thrown in during a one-sided game that was un-winnable and he had to deal with one of the best defenses in the nation.
Kline was among the favorites to take the vacant starting quarterback spot on the depth chart this spring. When he lost out, it was a big surprise. But what made it an even bigger deal, was that it was a true freshman that won the job. Then, he wasn’t even the primary backup to the true freshman. Articles began to circulate about his potential departure from the program.
So, watching Kline run out onto the Autzen Stadium field on Saturday as Sonny Dykes (unjustifiably) yanked his starter after just six pass attempts, I was floored.
He had some nice passes, but a mix of the rain, the opponent and the setting (not to mention that this was Kline’s first game action) really did Kline no justice. He had wobbly passes, a few lofted chucks that resembled a pee-wee league throw more than the throw of an Under Armor All-American.
I don’t think the passes were purely his fault. I think it was a no-win situation. But, that makes this choice all the easier. Kline gutted out a no win situation, one where he had to deal with the best defense in the nation, at their home stadium, in front of a full house and under the worst possible conditions. And he still went out there, passing for 165 yards on 18-of-37 passing and a touchdown.
This game, though unimpressive in my eyes (and really unfair to Jared Goff) has propelled Zach Kline back into the starting quarterback picture. Congrats, Zach, for becoming part of the big picture going forward.