Break down the stats below and you'll find it's pretty close to a draw so far between these two young quarterbacks. Marve has a better percentage and averages two yards per game more. Ponder's thrown for more yards and is one TD ahead. Visible tattoos may be the only big edge that Marve has. The Canes QB has monogrammed biceps (an R on one, M on the other).
Looking beyond the numbers, who has what it takes to prevail Saturday in their first big rivalry game? Here's an opinion from our UM analyst, Kartik at Canes Rising. Agree or diagree, we respect his opinions. He's surprisingly objective, respects the Noles (hates the gates), and is tough on the team he covers.
We asked him: After watching both Marve and Ponder this season, how do you compare the two?
Florida State currently has more talent all over the field than Miami does, except at one very key position: that’s QB. With EJ Manuel out of the equation until next season I would take Robert Marve in a heartbeat over any of FSU’s QBs. Marve to me has been the most impressive Quarterback Miami has had this quickly in his career since Bernie Kosar. Marve is more complete at this stage than Gino Toretta or Ken Dorsey were as Freshmen.
Marve is a superb athlete. As Miami fans learned with Kyle Wright, being athletic can be overrated at the QB position, however. Where Marve is already better as a freshman than Wright was as a senior is in his decision making. Marve has a quick release and has already learned to look off his receivers to find the 2nd or 3rd option on broken plays. Wright never learned this in his five years at Miami, and either would take a sack or turn the ball over when forced to abandon his primary receiver on a route.
Marve makes lightning quick decisions when flushed out of the pocket: he can throw on the run as could Wright or Kirby Freeman but unlike the two former Cane QBs, he’s decisive when scrambling. The talent level at Miami still lags behind Florida State, Clemson, Virginia Tech and perhaps a few other ACC schools. But having a QB of Marve’s caliber will probably keep Miami in some conference games this season that they by all rights should be blown out of.
Sad to say but Christian Ponder has been a disappointment from my vantage point. I really believed that he would be an upgrade over Drew Weatherford but I have yet to see much from him. He has happy feet in my estimation: he cannot sit in the pocket deliver a ball and take a hit. Until his final two drives versus Wake Forest, I really liked what DeVontry Richardson brought for FSU. He was moving the offense and had Greg Carr not given up on a deep route, Richardson likely would have hit him for the go ahead TD. If Carr doesn’t mysteriously pull up on that play, I think we’re talking about Richardson starting the rest of the season. After that miscue, Richardson pressed and tried to force something to happen, resulting in two interceptions late against a very good Wake secondary.
I really think Jimbo Fisher should have given Richardson a series or two versus Colorado. With the running game doing well thanks to Antoine Smith, but Ponder missing open guys again, Richardson deserved a look.
I also think it is unfortunate Drew Weatherford ends his career this way. Had Florida State done a better job of pass blocking or recruiting prior to hiring Rick Trickett, we could be talking about Weatheford in the same realm as Danny Kannell and Thad Busby. FSU QBs somewhat limited athletically that made good decisions and delivered a good ball. But Weatherford was doomed because of FSU’s porous offensive line more than anything in my estimation and that’s why Ponder and Richardson are better options than him this season.