Fresno State Football: Why Jake Haener Should Be Offensive Player Of The Year

Fresno State Football: Why Jake Haener Should Be Offensive Player Of The Year

Fresno State

Fresno State Football: Why Jake Haener Should Be Offensive Player Of The Year

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Fresno State Football: Why Jake Haener Should Be Offensive Player of the Year


The Bulldogs got a glimpse at their post-Haener future this year, which made his time on the field that much more impressive.


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Absence made the heart grow fonder.

On every front, choosing Mountain West football’s players of the year looks like a difficult task. With record-breaking performances and surprises abound, a number of athletes have an argument to come out on top.

Here’s the thing, though. Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener was just flat out better than everyone else — offense, defense, special teams, minding the Gatorade cooler, you name it — when he played. More than that, the Red Wave got a long look at what life might be like, if they’re not careful, once he’s moved on for good this winter. All of that should make for a very convincing case as the conference’s offensive player of the year.

Let’s start with the cold hard numbers. Heading into Saturday’s championship game, here’s where Haener ranks among the 17 Mountain West quarterbacks who have at least 75 pass attempts in a number of categories:

  • Pass attempts per game: 35.9 (first)
  • Completion percentage: 73.5% (first)
  • Passing touchdowns: 17 (second)
  • Interception rate: 1.045% (second, by 0.001%, for the record)
  • Passing yards: 2,432 (second)
  • Yards per attempt: 8.5 (third)
  • Pass plays of 20 or more yards: 35 (second)
  • Passer rating: 162.16 (first)
  • QBR: 73.0 (second)
  • Pro Football Focus passing grade: 90.9 (first)

The one game that Haener lost as a starter this year, at home to Oregon State, was hardly his fault, either. In case you forgot, he completed 29-of-45 passes for 360 yards and a touchdown. That, by the way, was one of six games in which he cleared 300 passing yards this season; by comparison, San Jose State’s Chevan Cordeiro has three such games, Boise State’s Taylen Green and UNLV’s Doug Brumfield have one each.

Did I mention that Jake Haener played in just eight games? He, of course, suffered a high ankle sprain in September which knocked him out for four weeks and, not coincidentally, the Bulldogs’ passing offense struggled in his absence: Backup Logan Fife completed 70% of his 120 pass attempts, but he also managed only 7.4 yards per throw and had two touchdowns against a 5% interception rate.

More to the point, the name of the game is lighting up the scoreboard and Fresno State mustered only 23 points per game in his absence. In the eight games Haener started, the Bulldogs averaged 34.9 points. Oh, and he set a conference record for consecutive games with at least one passing touchdown, too:

If he’s selected by my peers and/or by the conference media, I’m almost certain that Haener would be the first player of the year ever to have missed significant time to injury, but you won’t be able to say he didn’t earn it.

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