Stillwater, Okla. Sure, Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden wants to outplay fellow quarterback and NFL prospect Nick Foles of Arizona this week.
That’s because the quarterback that plays better usually wins the game.
“You want to be the best quarterback on the field. Whether that’s throwing the ball 20 times or 50 times or however many yards, it doesn’t matter. I think as a quarterback, at the end of the day, you just look at that W or that L,” Weeden said Monday, his background as a former minor-league pitcher showing through.
Weeden and Foles were among the participants at the Manning Camp for elite quarterbacks this offseason. While getting tips on what to expect as they work toward the NFL draft, they spent some time making small talk and discussing the oddity that teams from different conferences will play twice in a nine-month span.
Oklahoma State beat Arizona 36-10 in the Alamo Bowl in December, with Weeden throwing for 240 yards and two touchdowns. Foles had 280 yards and one TD pass, but also threw three interceptions.
The rematch is a Thursday night showcase.
“We’ll say, ‘What’s up?’ to each other before and after the game, and I want him to play well,” Weeden said. “I just want to score more points than they do.”
In Week 1 of the college football season, no quarterback threw for more yards than Foles. He had 412 on 34-for-42 passing with a career-high five touchdowns and no picks against Northern Arizona. Weeden was 24-of-39 for 388 yards, with three TDs and three interceptions.
“Everybody is going to have to play well in the secondary,” Wildcats coach Mike Stoops said. “This quarterback is a big-time player and a big-time thrower of the football, so your precision needs to be even better than it was a week ago.”
Weeden classified the two seniors as similar players who run similar offenses.
“He’s a lot like me. He’s a bigger, taller guy that’s not real, real mobile,” said Weeden, who at 6-foot-4 is an inch shorter than Foles. “He can make plays with his feet, but he stands in the pocket and throws the ball around real well.
“A big arm, can make all the throws.”
There’s a good chance that whoever has the better game head-to-head will end up leading the nation in passing after two weeks.
“I don’t look at it like that. I want to do it just because I want to put our team in a better position to win,” Weeden said. “You always want to be the best quarterback on the field. ... It’s just human nature. Obviously, I want to go out, build off last week, take the good and learn from the bad mistakes I made and move on and throw for more yards and have a better night.
“I don’t look at it like I want to throw for more yards than Nick. I just want to have a better night and hopefully win the game.”
Just because Weeden’s team got the better of Foles’ Wildcats in December doesn’t mean it’ll happen again. Safety Markelle Martin, who returned an interception for a touchdown in the Alamo Bowl, said Foles looks “fresher” early this season and delivered a couple passes against Northern Arizona that were impossible to defend.
“Just where he’s placing the ball, you can tell the difference,” Martin said.
Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Bill Young called Foles “one of the better ones in the country.”
“He’s played in a lot of games, so any time you compete against a quarterback that’s got a number of games of experience, you’re always concerned about that,” Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said. “But he throws the ball well, he’s been accurate and throws the deep ball well. He’s got nice touch, he lays it up and lets them go get it.”