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An Ode to QB1

Photo by Chad Mitchell

The Field General. The Senior. The Dual Threat. The Game Manager’s Game Manager. No. 11. The Dreamboat.

Or, more precisely: QB1.

The bubble screens. The skinny posts. The sideline outs. The sideline gos. More bubble screens. The option dive keepers. The perfectly-executed option pitches. The TE seam throws. And, of course, the way you turn your hips so effortlessly to avoid pressure and keep plays alive.

/Swoons/

Two (shared) Sun Belt titles in App State’s first four seasons playing FB$ ball – and, remember, that first year technically didn’t count since transitioning schools can’t win the conference. So, two trophies in the first three real seasons playing for-profit Big Boy Foo$ball.

Lamb piloted the Mountaineers to wins in its first two bowl games as a member of the FB$ division. He hoisted the 2016 Camellia Bowl MVP trophy.

Is this a love letter to the Greatest App State QB Ever Other Than Armanti?

Maybe. I dunno. Probably. So what if it is?!

Your blogger isn’t trying to rewrite history. Not going to ignore or gloss over past criticisms in this very space. To be sure, it wasn’t always this way between this App Fan and the Black and Gold Yellow Clark Kent.

(Sorry, Armanti is our Superman. Always will be.)

Lamb was a young QB once. And he played like it. Lots of forced throws downfield, and he had to learn – the hard way – to just chuck the damn thing out of bounds and live to play another down. His career stats would indicate No. 11 is about the same quarterback he was during his freshman season – categories like completion percentage and QB rating are comparable.

He’s thrown for about 300 more yards this season than his next-best campaign, showing he’s become smarter with his reads and where he throws the ball. Then there’s the TD passes column: 27 so far in 2017, four away from tying his 31-scoring toss 2015 season. And far outpacing 2014 (17) and 2016 (just 15).

He’s the nation’s 46th-best QB in terms of passing yards (2,606), 16th-best in passing efficiency (153.9), and 14th-best in All The Land with 27 scoring tosses.

(Toledo’s gunslinging QB Logan Woodside is one TD toss better. More on the Rockets as gametime approaches.)

Lamb has become one of the Group of Five’s best QBs. And he’ll be missed.

The line on the career stats page that jumps out at us and really tells the story of Lamb’s maturation process has a low number: 6. That’s the number of times he’s thrown the ball to opposing teams this season. And, let’s be real, a number of those were due to shoddy protection by his OL (Is the #BandOfBrothers still a thing?).

During his freshman and sophomore campaigns, Lamb threw 9 picks both years. We admit it, there were times we cringed when No. 11 faked a handoff to Marcus Cox (#BeastMode), not sure where the pigskin would end up.

QB1 got better. We no longer cringe. Now, we crave.

His growth as a dual threat, also impressive. Lamb is averaging an eye-popping 7.7 yards-per-carry this season, and has kept several key drives alive bailed out the Mountaineers with his faster-than-you’d-think legs. He’s already set a career high in 2017 with 539 yards on land FieldTurf. There’s an outside shot he gets to the 600-yard mark during The Night Before The Night Before Christmas Bowl.

/whistles…/

At some point early in the Dollar General Bowl (a.k.a. defacto first-round Group of Five Playoff game in another universe), he’ll surpass 200 completions in a single season for the first time. We suspect he’ll come close to tying his career-high TD passes total.

As Lamb’s patience, poise and precision improved, we watched as he turned a 2016 campaign that began with a green and very shaky WR corps into a #FunBelt championship and a Camellia Bowl win. His stats weren’t stellar that season, but it might have been Lamb’s finest work in an App uniform.

Simply put, 2017 has been a fitting final season for Lamb, the kind he deserved – no, the kind he earned.

So, No. 11, Give ‘Em Hell on Christmas Eve Eve. And, given your pedigree, perhaps we’ll see you again in Black and Gold Yellow. Perhaps three or four head coaches down the road, this former Coach on the Field will become the Mountaineers head football coach.

Never say never, folks. Thanks, QB1. You earned our respect. (Just do that dreamy hip-turn-escape move one more time – for this App Fan – against the Rockets…) #BeatToledo

–Appstradamus

 

Enjoy this photo gallery of select Taylor Lamb moments courtesy of Chad Mitchell Photography.

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