The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

QB room shines in win over Northern Colorado

Trio of arms showcase talent in blowout
Cam Ward and Emmett Brown talk during warm-ups the Northern Colorado game, Sept. 16.

Three players took snaps behind center for WSU football during the blowout win over Northern Colorado Saturday, with all three looking competent in leading Ben Arbuckle’s offense despite slightly different playstyles. 

Starting QB Cam Ward saw the bulk of the snaps as expected, playing the entire first half and building an impressive 43-7 lead for the Cougs, which allowed for his backups and potential future starters of the team to get some genuine game reps. 

In his half of play, Ward looked sharp. He completed 77% of his passes, going 20-of-26 for 327 and four passing TDs. Adding a rushing TD in the mix, his five total TDs continue his strong start to the season as an under-the-radar Heisman contender. 

He really only missed a single throw and even had another potential TD pass dropped by a wide-open Lincoln Victor in the back of the endzone. 

“Cam was phenomenal, he was sharp,” head coach Jake Dickert said.  

Coming in to start the second half and playing several series, backup QB John Mateer stood out as one of just not the best performers of the three QBs but one of the standouts of everyone on WSU. 

“John came out and he was really sharp in his series,” Dickert said. “His efficiency of the offense [stood out]. Really proud of him.”

Mateer balled out to the tune of going 7-for-8 passing for 138 yards and two TDs. His 314.9 QB rating was nearly 100 points higher than Ward’s, thanks in part to his incredibly efficient 88% completion percentage. 

“It was great. They let me let it loose today, which was a lot of fun,” Mateer said. “I was still questioning if I could play at this level. Now I feel pretty confident.” 

While only putting in 19 rushing yards, Mateer proved his capabilities of moving around the pocket and extending plays. He had a play in which he scrambled out of the pocket and reversed field before eventually picking up a first down, running nearly triple the yards he ended up picking up in forward progress. 

John Mateer dances around the Northern Colorado defense on long-running gain, Sept. 16.

While has made appearances in all three games, he has been utilized as an option QB on runs, with this game being the first time he got to let loose and show off his arm in a game setting at the college level.

“Totally different than practice. It’s all scripted and everyone knows what’s going to happen. Out there, it’s really important, it builds confidence and character,” Mateer said.

The final QB to get reps in was freshman Emmett Brown, who got to take the team on a couple of drives to close out the game and the big 64-21 win for WSU. While only finishing 2-of-4 for 14 yards and an interception, his reads proved better than his stats. 

Brown, with the help of big rushing gains, had the Cougs looking poised to breach 70 points before a ball got tipped at the line of scrimmage and fell unceremoniously into the hands of a Northern Colorado defender. 

Mateer said it was the right read by Brown and it just got unluckily tipped, but that at the end of the day is just football. 

Despite not getting the same reps in practice as the two above him on the depth chart, he proved his ability to make reads and lead an offense down the field, regardless of the outcome. 

“He’s been a really good friend. He doesn’t get all the reps in practice, but he takes advantage of the ones he does. He’s a really good buddy. We might go play cards after this. It was good to see him get in,” Mateer said. 

While the beginning of Pac-12 play means that we have likely seen the last of Brown for the 2023 season and Mateer will be utilized on no more than a couple of plays per game, Saturday’s showcase will be the first in-game introduction to Cougs fans of the two guys fighting for the starting role of the WSU QB once Ward leaves the program.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2024 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.