Predicting Michael O'Connor

    Michael O'Connor is next up for the Calgary Stampeders after Bo Levi Mitchell suffered a leg injury. Though O'Connor is not totally a rookie, I thought it would be interesting to look at what to expect from a first-time starting QB, based on how others have done in their first CFL start. 
    To start, a few caveats. I have a rudimentary way to check who the starting QB is (looking at first throws, runs, etc), but it is possible that someone snuck through the cracks and either had a start before, or were put in very early on in the game. With that said, here's a graph of first time starter performances. Worth noting that for the most part, passing value correlates much more positively with winning than rushing value. 
    Highlighted are the five best and worst performances by a first-time starter, using a metric to get passing and rushing down to a single value. Funnily enough, Bo Levi Mitchell owns the best first-time starting performance, putting on a clinic, going 29/34 with 376 yards and 3 TDs in 2013. The boxscore can be seen here. 
    The other highlighted best & worst performances are linked below: 
    Dan Lefevour
    21/30 for 361 yards & 1 TD, 109 rushing yards & 1 TD.
    James Franklin
    29/38 for 335 yards & 1 TD, 51 rushing yards & 1 TD.
    Cody Fajardo
    26/33 for 357 yards & 2 TDs, 1 rushing TD.
    Rakeem Cato
    20/25 for 241 yards & 3 TDs.
    Andrew Buckley
    13/18 for 120 yards, 1 INT, 4 Sacks.
    Matt Shiltz
    7/16 for 96 yards, 3 INTs, 4 Sacks.
    Johnny Manziel
    11/20 for 104 yards, 4 INTs, 1 Sack.
    Tino Sunseri
    9/22 for 88 yards, 1 INT, 6 Sacks.
    Ryan Dinwiddie
    8/15 for 83 yards, 3 INTs, 2 Sacks.
    All told, it really is a dice roll of what a first-time starter is going to look like. On average, a typical stat-line is 20/31 for 180 yards, with a touchdown pass, an interception, and 2 sacks against, but clearly there is significant upside for a great game, and significant downside for a bad game. Normally, though, the first-time starter has a below-average game.
    In fact, the above "worst games" exclude low pass attempt games, including some hilarious ones. Saskatchewan's Seth Doege once went 3/9 with 3 picks and a sack before he was yanked for the aforementioned Tino Sunseri, who went on to throw for 274 yards and a TD.
    Montreal fill-in QB Josh Neiswander went 1/3 for 3 yards and an interception and then was replaced by Tanner Marsh, who came in to throw for 329 yards on 14/32 passing and 4 INTs. Oh, and somehow, Montreal ended up winning the game, after a 57 yard pass with 9 seconds left set up the game winning field goal. 
    If history is any indication, we are in for an entertaining game on Friday night.