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March Badness Round One, Fumble Region: Jared Lorenzen vs C.J. Brown


Jared Lorenzen runs the ball for yardage
That’s no’s a quarterback.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

No. 1 Jared Lorenzen

Ah, the Hefty Lefty. J-Load. The Pillsbury Throwboy. Battleship Lorenzen. A quarterback by any other nickname just would not be anything like Jared Lorenzen. We love to talk about quarterbacks in a singular sense. "There’s never been anybody quite like [player]" has been said about a lot of people, but there is nobody for whom it is more true than Lorenzen. He stood 6-4 and was listed at 290 pounds in Kentucky’s media guide — a weight that was almost certainly generous by 15 or 20 pounds. And he started four consecutive seasons for the University of Kentucky, over three different head coaches.

What was good: Everything about Lorenzen was unconventional, from his girth to his number 22. True story, the first time I ever saw him play as a true freshman in Tiger Stadium, the first words out of my mouth were "Jesus, Kentucky has a huge fullback this year."

Even his play. You thought nothing of watching Lorenzen shrug off a defensive lineman — he was usually bigger than them — to complete a pass. And he was just athletic enough to tease you as to what he might have been with his weight in check. His unique skills made him hell on a short timeline, such as the comeback he led against the Tigers in the fourth quarter before The Bluegrass Miracle. He threw four touchdown passes in that game, and finished his career with 78, plus another 12 rushing scores to go with more than 10,000 passing yards.

What was bad: Well...back to that LSU-Kentucky game in 2002. Yeah, Lorenzen did throw four touchdowns, but he only completed 12 out of 26 passes on the day. Overall, Lorenzen finished his career with a 56.9 completion rate, despite playing in the quarterback-friendly Air Raid, along with a whopping 41 interceptions. He usually played on bad teams, and he was often forced to take a lot of chances in leading the Wildcats back, but the same tendencies that could make him a dangerous playmaker led to a ton of incredibly zesty mistakes. Picks thrown across his body, occasionally even with his right hand instead of his left. Lorenzen took his shot. But he didn’t hit many.

No. 4 C.J. Brown

I’ll let our resident Marylander Jake Nazar break down Brown.

What I loved about C.J. Brown: Brown went from being one of the worst QB's in college football to being a Maryland legend in the span of about one month. In 2014 he led Maryland to their first ever road wins over Penn State and Michigan, in the span of three weeks. In 2013 he led them to their first win over Virginia Tech in Blacksburg since 1949, with a diving TD in overtime to clinch it. He fractured his shoulder in 2010, tore his ACL in 2012, and started two more seasons after that. He was a tremendous runner, rushing for 1,701 yards and 25 touchdowns in his career, and was even ranked seventh in the nation in rushing yards per attempt in 2011. He's first in Maryland history in total touchdowns accounted for, and second all-time in total yards.

What I hated about C.J. Brown: Brown really couldn't throw the ball. In each of those three big wins he threw for less than 200 yards, and his highest completion percentage was 54. That’s also his career completion rate, and his career pass efficiency rating is 118.4. He threw 23 career interceptions to just 33 TDs, he once played four straight games with a sub-100 passer rating in 2013, and later had a five-game streak of sub-100 rating games in 2014. He had inexplicable fumble problems, and he contributed to the wasting of Stefon Diggs' college career.

He was for all intents and purposes a terrible college QB, and yet also Maryland's best and most memorable QB in a decade, maybe more.