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South African rugby in 2004

first_img10 January 2005South African rugby in 2003 and South African rugby in 2004 belonged not one year apart – there were light years between them. Thankfully for the game’s legions of fans, the shift in fortunes was in the right direction.The aftermath of the World Cup failure in 2003 and questions of racism in the sport led to a changing of the guard that runs the game, and a change of Springbok coach that most would surely agree has proved to be a great success.Brian van Rooyen took over from Rian Oberholzer as CEO of Sarfu. While his autocratic style and occasional about-faces on issues have not endeared him to all, it cannot be denied that the game is in a healthier state under Van Rooyen than it was before he took over at the top.The decision to appoint Jake White to coach the Springboks proved to be a masterstroke. From an atmosphere of distrust – an “us against them” laager mentality – and poor results on the field, the Boks have evolved into a united team that has produced the kind of results that the demanding South African rugby fan, justifiably or unjustifiably, demands.2004 brought with it South Africa’s second Tri-Nations title in the tightest-fought competition to date as each team won twice at home and lost twice away from home.The Springboks, though, came close away from home and, very encouragingly, found an attacking edge that saw them top the try-scoring charts and with that earn enough bonus points to sneak the win ahead of Australia, with New Zealand in third place.It was, indeed, a remarkable turnaround from the directionless, angry rugby of 2003.Let’s take a closer look at the stars of 2004.Player of the Year: Schalk BurgerThis choice is an easy one. It is hard to argue with the four major awards the all-action blond-haired flanker won. Burger was named South African Player of the Year, the International Rugby Players’ Association’s (IRPA) Player of the Year and the IRPA Best Newcomer, as well as – the cherry on the top – the IRB International Rugby Player of the Year.So, why did he win all those awards? Probably at the top of the list of reasons would be Burger’s performances in the Tri-Nations when, up against some of the finest loose forwards in the game, he dominated the competition with powerful, industrious and effective performances that many would have thought impossible for such a big man (1.93 metres tall and 106 kilograms).The man dubbed “the Incredible Schalk” added a new dimension to the play of loose-forwards just when it seemed the standard couldn’t really be improved on.After all, in the Tri-Nations alone, there were already recognised world-class players such as George Smith, Phil Waugh, Richie McCaw and Marty Holah. Yet Burger, at age 21, turned the Tri-Nations on its head.He also enjoyed a very good Super 12 competition, but his play suffered later in the year when the Springboks undertook yet another end-of-season tour – this time of the United Kingdom and Argentina – that drained the last bit of energy left in the tired bodies of players who had begun their competitive fixtures way back at the end of February.One must question, as has been done many times before, the wisdom of such tours.Special mention: Victor MatfieldVictor Matfield and Jake White got off to a shaky start – no doubt some of the problems were due to a contractual dispute the Blue Bulls’ lock had with SA Rugby – but White also believed Matfield was capable of better performances than he had delivered so far in his career.On that point it would appear that the Bok coach was right, because Matfield lifted his game to new heights in 2004.He is a remarkably gifted athlete for such a big man, and if there was one guarantee in the Springboks’ matches it was that Matfield would win his lineout ball, while giving the other teams fits when they had the put-in to the lineout. As the year wore on his command of the lineouts became more imperious.Where Matfield lifted his game considerably – and it helped that he was partnered by his very physical Blue Bulls teammate Bakkies Botha when playing for the Boks – was in the tight phases. In the past he had been accused of spending too much time away from the rucks and mauls, but in 2004, it seemed, Matfield found a good balance.He produced a very skilled game in all departments, all over the field, and his Tri-Nations winning try against Australia at the Absa Stadium in Durban provided possibly the biggest highlight of the year for South African fans.Most overlooked player: Ettienne BothaThe player who, in my book, deserves special mention wasn’t considered good enough to make the Springboks squad in either the Tri-Nations or the end-of-season tour.Blue Bulls’ centre Ettiene Botha set the domestic scene on fire with a string of electrifying performances that helped catapult the Pretoria-based team to a successful defence of their Currie Cup title.Give Springbok coach Jake White his due, he stuck by the players that served him well in the Tri-Nations when he selected the team to tour at the end of the year, but after Botha’s scintillating season, surely he could have won a place as one of the five centres in the team.The thing is, Botha’s sustained excellence was on display week after week against the very players that White selected ahead of him. It didn’t drop off when he was confronted by a “big gun”, and he regularly made game-changing breaks or scored game-changing tries.Botha’s 18 tries – one short of Carel du Plessis’ record of 19 – were something to behold, and it was somewhat disturbing that he wasn’t considered good enough to make the Springbok squad yet he was good enough to be named Currie Cup Player of the Year.There is something about that decision that doesn’t sit right. Either Botha didn’t deserve the award, or he deserved to be awarded his national colours; in my opinion, it’s clear he deserved the award. Enough said.Best Test performance: SA vs New Zealand (Ellis Park, Johannesburg)The Springboks’ best performance of the year came in front of the side’s talisman, Nelson Mandela, in front of a full house of expectant fans at Ellis Park. Their 40-26 victory over the All Blacks was their first over the Kiwis since 2000, and it also put the Boks in position to win the Tri-Nations title, which they went on to do with a good win over Australia in Durban the following week.It wasn’t just the fact that South Africa won that resonated with the fans, but the manner in which they achieved the victory. It is not every day that the All Blacks are beaten, and it is certainly a rare feat to score five tries against the New Zealand national team. Add to that the fact that Percy Montgomery had an off-day with the boot, and the Boks could have reached 50 points.Yet it wasn’t a runaway victory. Six minutes in, John Smit and co found themselves 10-nil behind after the visitors had scored a penalty and a brilliant try by Mil Muliaina, which Andrew Mehrtens converted.Marius Joubert, though, pulled the Springboks back into the contest with the first of his three tries, which equaled the record against the All Blacks, previously set by Ray Mordt back in 1981 in the infamous flour-bomb Test.South Africa managed to open up a six-point gap at 19-13 after further tries from Breyton Paulse and another from Joubert, but the Kiwis clawed their way back through a penalty by Andrew Mehrtens, who made it 19-16.Montgomery put South Africa 22-16 in front with a penalty, but the New Zealanders retook the lead when Joe Rokocoko sliced through SA’s defences for a try that Mehrtens goaled, to make it 23-22 New Zealand.Back came the Boks, with Montgomery nailing a penalty to give SA a 25-23 lead. Mehrtens made it a one-point game with another penalty that put the All Blacks 26-25 ahead, but then came a grandstand finish from South Africa.First, Joubert punched a huge hole in the Kiwi defences and then popped up a pass for Jean de Villiers to put South Africa back in front at 30-26. Importantly, it was the Springboks’ fourth try of the match, which secured for them a bonus point; at the conclusion of the competition it would be bonus points that secured the title for South Africa.Then Montgomery extended the South African lead to seven points with a long-range kick and then, with only four minutes left, Jacques Cronje, on as a substitute for Joe van Niekerk, set up Joubert for his third try, which he dotted down under the uprights.Montgomery’s conversion made it 40-26 to the Boks, and a whole nation once again believed that the Springboks could be world beaters.The victory over the All Blacks also meant South Africa became the first holders of the new Freedom Cup, which was introduced to celebrate 10 years of democracy in the rainbow nation.Worst Test performance: SA vs England (Twickenham)This was one of those games; it had barely started and one could see that England would win for the sixth successive time over South Africa.The Springboks could do little right, making rhythm-breaking error after error. And up front the big Bok pack was strangely incapable of dealing with the driving mauls of the English. Even in the tight phases, the Boks were on the back foot. Clearly, from the start of the game, this was a team that was out of sorts.England were without the commanding figure of Jonny Wilkinson at flyhalf, but his replacement, Charlie Hodgson, blossomed behind a dominant pack to contribute 27 points in a convincing 32-16 England victory.For the third match in succession on the end-of-season tour, South Africa looked tired but, worse than that, it appeared they had not yet adjusted to the conditions, and facing the world champions that sealed their fate.On a positive note, Bryan Habana came on late in the game and scored a try with his first touch of the ball. In the next game against Scotland, the flying newcomer would confirm his massive promise with a two-try effort.That ray of light at the end of the contest, though, couldn’t hide the fact that it was by far South Africa’s worst test performance of 2004.Newcomer of the year: Bryan HabanaBryan Habana began the season starring for the South African under-21 team at the World Cup. Although they were well beaten 49-27 by eventual winners New Zealand in pool play – the Kiwis would go on to crush Ireland 49-17 in the final – Habana showed his pace with a hat-trick of tries as NZ outscored SA seven tries to five.Habana didn’t play in the Super 12, but later in the season, when he cracked the nod for the Lions’ Currie Cup team, he excelled, crossing the tryline 10 times and showing a devastating burst of speed that left defenders floundering in his wake.The champions, the Blue Bulls, liked what they saw of him in the Currie Cup and moved to sign him for the 2005 season, where the potential of his pairing with Ettienne Botha is huge.Springbok coach Jake White recognised something special in Habana and pulled him into his Tri-Nations squad, where the versatile backline speedster had a chance to reap the benefits of the Springbok experience.He wasn’t a first choice option on the Boks’ end-of-season tour, but when he came on as a substitute against England he scored with his first touch of the ball. Against Scotland the following week he touched down twice.Not only that, Habana impressed with his very physical defence despite his being somewhat undersized by today’s standards of centres and wings.After a draining tour, far too late in an extended season in which many stalwarts struggled to find form, it was clear that the find of the tour was Bryan Habana. And when one considers that he started the season playing for SA under-21, and missed out on Super 12 action, it was definitely a case of a meteoric rise for him.Coach of the year: Jake WhiteHeyneke Meyer deserves mention for leading his Blue Bulls to a convincing defence of their Currie Cup title, but Jake White takes this honour because he brought back the world’s belief in Springbok rugby. It is hard to argue with his award as IRB International Coach of the Year. It was an one he richly deserved.The quick turnaround of people’s perception of the Boks – from the bad boys of world rugby to the exciting new talent – is down to White’s vision in identifying the right players, and his ability to communicate what he wants to those players. Some recent Springbok coaches failed miserably in that vital aspect of their job.By the end of the year, White had led the Springboks to nine wins and four defeats. The successes included victories over New Zealand for the first time since 2000, over Australia, Ireland (twice), the tough Pacific Islanders, Wales (twice), Argentina and Scotland.All the losses were away from home, to New Zealand by two points, to Australia by four points, to Ireland by five points, and in the sole really disappointing game of 2004, by 16 points to England.Obviously away form is something the Boks need to work at, but the signs are good that the team is moving in the right direction. Thanks, Jake.Provincial upset of the year: Griquas vs Sharks (Kimberley)Griquas are usually tough customers in Kimberley, but heading into their clash with the Sharks they had been thrashed 79-31 at home by Western Province and 63-6 by the same team in Cape Town. They had lost six of eight matches. The Sharks, meanwhile, had downed WP 29-18 in Durban.When the final whistle blew on the Griquas versus Sharks encounter, however, it was Griquas who came away with four points and a 33-24 win. And they were full value for their victory.Just how Griquas managed to pick themselves up and beat the most consistent team in the Currie Cup over the past decade is difficult to understand, but they clearly didn’t take a step back for the visitors.Both teams managed three tries apiece, but with the Griquas’ pack forcing the Sharks onto the back foot, the Natalians made plenty of errors for which they were made to pay by the accurate boot of Braam van Straaten.Even so, the home side’s win came after they fell 10-0 behind, which goes to show how much they eventually dominated the contest.Provincial game of the Year: Blue Bulls vs Western Province (Pretoria)The two teams met in the final round of the round robin competition in Pretoria and Western Province needed a positive result to clinch second spot on the log. It proved to be an epic encounter, with both teams scoring five tries in a 36-all draw as Province achieved their aim.Played in front of a packed stadium of 52 000, the match had it all, including Ettienne Botha scoring twice to show the Springbok selectors – to no avail – that he belonged in the green and gold.Early on the Blue Bulls led 14-0 thanks to those two Botha tries, but when Bulls’ hooker Danie Coetzee was sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes the visitors made the champions pay in a big way.They ran in four tries while he was off, all just before half time, to take a good-looking 26-14 lead into the break. First it was Breyton Paulse going over, followed by De Wet Barry, Jean de Villiers, and Marius Joubert.The Bulls, however, who before the game had been accused of fielding a second-string line-up because they had rested some of their stars (they would qualify top of the table regardless of the outcome), had no plans to lie down and surrender.They came out firing on all cylinders in the second half, taking the fight to Western Province in the forwards. Pedrie Wannenberg and Warren Brosnihan pulled the Bulls back into the contest with tries for the Blue Bulls, and when Morne Steyn landed a penalty with four minutes left the scores were level at 29-all.Western Province, desperate for the points they needed for a home semi-final, hit back with a great try that was rounded off by De Villiers near the uprights. The successful conversion from Gaffie du Toit put WP 36-29 ahead, but the Blue Bulls were not done.They attacked mightily, forcing Province to concede penalty after penalty, which resulted in two yellow cards, for prop Pat Barnard and lock Johan van Zyl.The home team then made them pay, carrying the ball through 14 phases, prodding and prying left and right until Western Province finally ran out of defenders and Steyn flew over for the try. His conversion leveled the scores at 36-all and brought down the curtain on a great contest.Feel-good moment of the year: SA wins the Tri-NationsAfter the troubles of 2003 – Kamp Staaldraad and the World Cup wipeout – South Africa’s return to rugby respectability was confirmed when the Springboks clinched the Tri-Nations title in Durban in front of a deliriously happy crowd.I was lucky enough to be in the crowd that day. The energy of the expectations and hopes was electric, and when those dreams were realised with a 23-19 win over Australia the feel-good vibe that erupted was a joy to experience.The Tri-Nations title proved that the talent in South Africa that everyone knows exists can be moulded into a winning Springbok team, something that had become a little unclear in recent years.Optimism is now the key word for South African rugby fans as they cast their eyes to 2005.2004 Currie Cup Log 1. Blue Bulls 562. Western Province 463. Cheetahs 454. Lions 455. Sharks 336. Griquas 287. Pumas 238. Eagles 13 Currie Cup Top Scorers Willem de Waal (Cheetahs) 192Derick Hougaard (Blue Bulls) 188Braam van Straaten (Griquas) 143Nel Fourie (Lions) 138Conrad Barnard (Sharks) 137Gaffie du Toit (Western Province) 97 Currie Cup Top Try Scorers Ettienne Botha (Blue Bulls) 18Egon Seconds (Western Province) 13Giscard Pieters (Pumas) 12Bryan Habana (Lions) 10Breyton Paulse (Western Province) 10John Daniels (Lions) 9Frikkie Welsh (Blue Bulls) 9 Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

GulfNav Eyes Expansion in Northern Emirates

first_imgzoom Dubai-based shipping company Gulf Navigation Holding (GulfNav) is looking to expand its operations in the northern region of the United Arab Emirates with a set of maritime activities under the GNH Northern Project.A consortium consisting of GulfNav and two members of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) group, namely, Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group and Qingdao Beihai Shipbuilding Heavy Industry, has started to review and finalize the plans for the start of the project.GulfNav said that the maritime activities would include ship building, ship repair and offshore platforms, equipment and services, logistics, marine specialized operations and global mobile ship repair and services including a float and during voyage.The GNH Northern project will be developed in three phases and as part of future business expansion and growth conceived and approved by the board of Directors of GNH under its “change and transformation” plans, which intends development and expansion of GNH’s infrastructure in the northern coast and deep waters areas including the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea, the Indian subcontinent, Eastern Africa and the Red Sea.The first phase of the project will include development and upgrade of capacity of existing facilities and a Floating Dock, as well as the development of specialized mobile cranes working remotely for all types of ships and offshore platforms.“We are working on creating partnerships as part of GNH’s global expansion and development strategy and to establish ourselves are market leaders in all areas of the maritime sector and to diversify sources of our income and create value for our shareholders,” Khamis Juma Buamim, GNH Board Member, MD & GROUP CEO said.last_img read more

Dawson Creek RCMP looking for missing 49 year old

first_imgUPDATE – Dec 24, 2018 – The RCMP confirmed that the 49-year-old male reported missing has been located, and he is safe and sound. Thanks to the media and public for your assistance.DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – The Dawson Creek RCMP are requesting the public’s assistance in locating a missing Dawson Creek man.Kenneth Law, 49 years old, was reported missing to the Dawson Creek RCMP on December 11th, when he was last seen at the hospital. Law has had sporadic contact with family but has not revealed his location. The Dawson Creek RCMP are concerned about Law’s well being as he may require medication.LAW is described as:CaucasianSkinny buildThinning grey hair5’10Blue eyesLast seen wearing:Black toqueBlack jacketBlack sweatpantsWhite runnersBlack carry on suitcaseBlue backpackAnyone with information on Law’s location is requested to contact the Dawson Creek RCMP at 250-784-3700 or if you wish to remain anonymous please contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.last_img read more

‘Fraudster settlement scheme’ being run: Cong

first_imgNew Delhi: The Congress on Saturday hit out at the government over the British media reports on Nirav Modi and alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is running a “fraudster settlement yojana”. Taking to Twitter, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said, “The video of fugitive #NiravModi in London shows an uncanny similarity between him & his bhai, PM Modi. Both have looted India and are called Modi. Both refuse to answer any questions. Both believe they are above the law. Both will face justice.” Also Read – Squadrons which participated in Balakot air strike awarded citations on IAF DayCongress’ Chief Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said: “Fugitive Nirav Modi has been seen enjoying in London… First loot Rs 23,000 crore from banks, then run away from the country without any checks, mock the CBI and the ED, and then make a comfortable home in a Rs 75 crore flat. Modi is there, so it is possible,” he claimed. Ex-FM P Chidambaram tweeted, “When Lalit Modi stayed on in the UK, I wrote to the UK Chancellor that he should be sent back to India. Mrs Sushma Swaraj mocked me for writing letters,” he said in a tweet. Now Nirav Modi is walking on the streets of London. Will Mrs Sushma Swaraj swoop down, pluck him off the street and bring him back to India?”last_img read more

US sanctions-hit Venezuela suspends oil exports to India

first_imgBAKU: Venezuela has suspended its oil exports to India and views Russia and China as its main export destinations, the Azeri energy ministry said on Tuesday, citing Venezuela’s oil minister. The Azeri ministry issued the statement on Tuesday following talks in Baku between Azerbaijan’s energy minister and Venezuelan oil minister and president of state-run oil company PDVSA, Manuel Quevedo. “At the meeting… Quevedo said in order to prevent a sharp reduction, various measures are being implemented and diversification of the export market is underway,” the statement said. “Russia and China are seen as the main destinations because of the suspension of oil exports to India,” the statement said. The Indian market has been crucial for Venezuela’s economy because it has historically been the second-largest cash-paying customer for the OPEC country’s crude, behind the United States. Earlier this year, the United States imposed heavy sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry and has pressed India to stop buying Venezuelan oil. OPEC and other oil ministers met in Baku in talks over the weekend that ended on Monday.last_img read more

SBI puts NPAs worth Rs 424 crore on sale via auction

first_imgNew Delhi: State-run State Bank of India (SBI) said on Tuesday that it has put non-performing assets (NPAs or bad loans) worth Rs 423.67 crore on auction to recover unpaid dues. The accounts — Kamachi Industries owes Rs 364.80 crore and SNS Starch has Rs 58.87 crore due – to SBI, the bank said. The bidding for these properties will start on April 25. SBI, the country’s largest lender, has been active as well on NPA recovery channels outside the insolvency process . Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal The bank is looking to sell all of these stressed assets on a 100 per cent cash-basis, but the actual realisation will depend on the reserve price and bids received from the buyers. The SBI has seen its asset quality improve in the current fiscal. The percentage of its net NPAs eased to 3.95 per cent in the third quarter of the last fiscal, from 4.84 per cent in the previous quarter. Last month, the bank had put NPAs worth Rs 6,169 crore on auction.last_img read more

7 Bangladeshi nationals held with dollars worth Rs 5.14 cr

first_imgKolkata: Seven Bangladeshi nationals were recently arrested at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) Airport with a large amount of foreign currency. Officers of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) grew suspicious when the airport officials were checking bags.The money was spotted during the scanning of luggage. According to sources, on Wednesday morning, when the luggage of the flyers was being checked for a Dhaka-bound flight, the on duty Central Industrial Security Force officer had some suspicion about a few bags after he saw their images on the scanner screen. To investigate the matter, the officer decided to check the baggage physically. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAfter opening the luggage nothing suspicious was found. Later, during a thorough check a small false space were found at the bottom of the every luggage bag. Immediately, the bottom of the luggage bags were cut open and the Central Industrial Security Force officer found a huge amount of foreign currency inside them. Seven passengers were immediately detained and taken to the Central Industrial Security Force custody. They have been asked to submit valid documents in support of carrying such a huge amount of foreign currency. As they were not able to produce any document, the money was confiscated and all seven of them have been handed over to the customs authority. Later, customs authority arrested the accused persons. A source informed that the total amount of the seized money is valued at $7.43 lakh, which is worth Rs 5.14 crore. On Saturday morning, a Bangladeshi national identified as Alam Sah was arrested with $ 70,000 which is worth Rs 47.42 lakh. The dollars were hidden inside a false compartment at the bottom of his bag.last_img read more

With popular dialogues, Sunny begins Gurdaspur campaign

first_imgGurdaspur (Punjab), April 29 (IANS) With his popular dialogues “Yeh dhai kilo ka haathi hai” and “Hindustan Zindabad Tha, Zindabad hai aur Zindabad Rahega” to lure people, Bollywood actor Sunny Deol started his campaign for the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat on Monday after filling his nomination papers as the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate. Filing his nomination under his real name of Ajay Singh Dharmendra Deol, Sunny Deol declared assets worth Rs 87 crore. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra Singh This includes movable assets of Rs 66.19 crore, including cash in hand of Rs 42 lakhs with him and his wife. He has declared immovable assets of Rs 21 crore. At the time of filling if his nomination papers, the 62-year-old actor was accompanied by his actor brother Bobby Deol and Punjab BJP President Shwait Malik. Sunny Deol and other BJP leaders later addressed a rally in Gurdaspur town where the actor spoke for about four minutes and recited his popular dailogues from his hit films “Gadar”, “Damini” and “Border”. “I am new in the field of politics but I can assure you that I will work for the development of the Gurdaspur constituency,” he said. Sunny Deol faces tough competition from the sitting Congress MP and Punjab Congress President Sunil Kumar Jakhar.last_img read more

Is Deshaun Watson Better Than Lamar Jackson Depends On What Skills You

Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson stirred up some mild controversy last week when he declared that he — not Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, who won this year’s Heisman Trophy — was the best player in all of college football.“I’m the best player in the country,” Watson told reporters on Dec. 19. “That’s how I think. That’s how I feel. You know, people have their own way of voting.”Although Watson won his second straight Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s most outstanding QB this season, he ended up second behind Jackson in the Heisman voting. And the O’Brien-Heisman split — “best quarterback” vs. “best player” — is pretty much the heart of Watson’s rivalry with Jackson.In the traditional sense of the QB role, Watson was probably a better pure passer than Jackson this season. Watson threw for 524 more yards, had a higher passing efficiency rating (according to the NCAA’s formula) and contributed many more expected points added (EPA) in the air than Jackson did. More to the point, Watson had a vastly superior completion percentage (68 percent to 58 percent), threw fewer of his passes off-target (11 percent vs. 15 percent), and was notably better in the short-to-intermediate passing game. He beat Jackson in Total QBR (81.2 to 76.9) on passes that traveled 15 or fewer yards through the air — plays that accounted for about three-quarters of each QB’s total attempts — and a higher percentage of Watson’s passing yards also came after his receivers caught the ball, a healthy indicator in the type of quick-passing game Clemson employs.As a result of all that controlled passing, Clemson’s aerial attack was more efficient than Louisville’s this year. The Tigers ranked fifth among Power Five conference teams in passing EPA, piling up about 40 percent more expected points per game via the pass than the 12th-ranked Cardinals.Still, Jackson made up the difference as an all-around QB. He generated nearly 70 more yards of total offense per game than Watson, thanks in large part to his mobility — Jackson rushed for an incredible 1,538 yards, the most of any Heisman-winning quarterback ever (as well as the second-most by a 3,000-yard passer).1That is, since at least 2000, which is as far back as Sports-Reference.com’s Play Index can search — but also probably even earlier, since I couldn’t find a season in their earlier data that even came close to matching Jackson’s 2016 output. Watson’s no slouch as a runner — he gained 524 yards on the ground, which ranked 15th among qualified FBS QBs — but Jackson probably had the best dual-threat season in college history. When we factor in Jackson’s huge workload in the running game, he had a slightly better Total QBR than Watson on the season, and he generated about 31 percent more total EPA per game than Watson did.Jackson even had Watson beat in a couple of important passing categories. First, Jackson threw 24 percent fewer interceptions per attempt than Watson did. (Despite his accuracy, Watson has had a problem with picks all year — though his overall game is still so good that it’s hard to say even the picks are a real problem.) And although Watson had the superior overall passing numbers, Jackson had a better year throwing the ball deep. Not only did he do it more — 14 percent of Jackson’s throws traveled at least 25 yards in the air, versus 9 percent for Watson — but he also had a better QBR (77.8 to 71.1) on those long tosses. Watson was more surgical in his deep strikes, with a sterling 8-0 TD-INT ratio on throws of 25 or more yards (Jackson’s mark was a more pedestrian 9-6), but he also spent a significant amount of his time setting up bubble screens with passes at or behind the line of scrimmage. Twenty-seven percent of Watson’s passes were for zero or fewer air yards, compared with 17 percent for Jackson.All told, many of the differences between Jackson and Watson simply come down to the trade-offs a QB makes playing in different offenses. While both teams call their share of zone-read plays, Louisville’s offense asks Jackson to keep the ball and run with it more than Clemson’s does of Watson. (There’s also a school of thought that says this was by design, and that Watson will be unleashed as a runner in the College Football Playoff, so stay tuned.) The Cardinals are a more run-oriented team than the Tigers anyway, and that allows them to exploit defenses for more big plays down the field when Jackson does throw. Clemson, meanwhile, is more set up to control the field through short passing and the selective use of Watson’s running and deep-throwing skills.The big takeaway, then, is that although the two quarterbacks played pretty different styles this season, they both arrived at a similar place in terms of overall production. So the question of who is the nation’s true best player might just boil down to preference: Do you like running QBs who throw a bunch of deep bombs, or do you prefer more pocket-oriented accurate passers who can also run when necessary?If I were starting a team, I’d flip a coin. read more