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So..You Want to Compare Tanner Mordecai vs. Graham Mertz, Do You?!?

Let’s take a look at Tanner Mordecai vs. Graham Mertz’s performances under center thus far, shall we?



Wisconsin Badgers football quarterback Tanner Mordecai scrambles against Rutgers
Oct 7, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Tanner Mordecai (8) rushes with the football during the first quarter against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been a lot of scuttlebutt around Wisconsin Badgers Twitter comparing Tanner Mordecai to Graham Mertz. I want to say this is beyond dumb to do…unequivocally.

But if you’re curious, come to the right place for a WHOLISTIC COMPARISON, which is right here with ME!

Tanner Mordecai vs. Graham Mertz Basic Stats:

Tanner Mordecai:

  1. TD Rate: 1.9%
  2. INT Rate: 1.9%
  3. BIG PLAY RATE: 0%
  4. QBR: 56.7 (75th/135) via
  5. Passer Rating: 120.6 (90th/114) via

Graham Mertz:

  1. TD Rate: 5.14%
  2. INT Rate: 1.14%
  3. BIG PLAY RATE: 4%
  4. QBR: 65.3 (45th/135)
  5. Passer Rating: 165.4 (20th/114)

Wisconsin Badgers statistical showdown: Tanner Mordecai vs. Graham Mertz

EPA Mordecai v. Mertz:

Wisconsin Badgers statistical showdown: Tanner Mordecai vs. Graham Mertz

Wisconsin Badgers statistical showdown: Tanner Mordecai vs. Graham Mertz

What am I trying to highlight here? There is NO DOUBT Graham is having a better year than Tanner Mordecai from a Basic Statistical Standpoint!!! But these are OUTCOME Metrics. Which we all know hides some of what’s going on!

WR Neutral QB Metric Mordecai v. Mertz:

Wisconsin Badgers statistical showdown: Tanner Mordecai vs. Graham Mertz

What we can see here is that Mordecai is pushing the ball much further downfield, yet his On Target % is right on Par with Mertz!

But wait, how could their On-Target % be similar & Mordecai is pushing the ball much further downfield. His Passing #’s should be as good if not BETTER!!

Enter the Badger WRs…and their impact!

Wisconsin Badgers statistical showdown: Tanner Mordecai vs. Graham Mertz

Mertz is getting about a 6% LIFT in his COMP % over and above his On-Target %! That means his WRs are MAKING PLAY!! While Mordecai’s On-TGT % is 5% ABOVE his COMP %. That’s an 11% differential…just massive!

It worsens when you account for the types of passes our WRs are dropping. Medium & Deep Routes (Air Yards 10-20 & >20 Air Yards). Tanner Mordecai has not been helped when you’re trying to compare his Passing Efficiency!!

I mean it even goes to YAC/REC, where Mertz is getting an extra 0.7 Yards/Reception from his Florida WRs incremental to what Mertz is getting. Nothing crazy but significant enough to call out!

So yes, if you go strictly by the numbers. Graham is having a much better year than Mordecai. Add the context, and it paints a much different picture.

However you want to put it: Graham’s getting A LOT more help, or Mordecai’s getting No help.

One has to be added into the calculus when comparing these players on their performance THIS YEAR!!

QB Play is Much More than Passer Rating – Mordecai vs. Mertz:

Avoid Sacks…AT ALL COST:

Tanner Mordecai has really good feet for a QB. This isn’t more highlighted vs. Mertz than in his 3% Lower Sack Rate & 9% Lower Sack-Pressure Rate. The ability to stay on your feet and avoid or limit sacks…especially when you’re underderess. Is one of the major differences in their QB Play. In the Dairy Raid, and our ELITE ability to run the ball, when we do decide to throw on 1st or 2nd Down maintain or To-Go Distance at the very least is imperative! Mertz was and continues to be poor in that area, Mordecai is much much better!

Mordecai’s got Sweet Feet!:

I’m calling this the QB Rushing – Efficient Frontier

(Rushing YPG = X Axis)

(Rushing YPA = YPA)

It’s looking at how productive a QB is Rushing the Football, but also how efficient is he in that pursuit! You can see Mordecai isn’t in that ELITE Category of Rushing QBs (60+ YPG & >4 YPA). But I’d say he’s in the next tier!

Where’s Graham? Well, he’s maybe one of the most immobile QBs in CFB. We’ve only begun to see the impact Mordecai’s legs can have! This added dimension hasn’t been extremely flashy but boy has it been effective when needed! But in terms of “Flash” or “Big Plays”, Tanner Mordecai has Mertz beat in that regard also.

The Most Important QB Statistic of ALL?


Let’s dispell with the comparisons…

Let’s root for Graham Mertz, I’m elated to see his TD/INT Ratio & Passing efficiency at its highest level in his Career!

Let’s be glad that Tanner Mordecai is our QB, it’s a matter of time before our WRs start making big plays for him. Because once you couple that with our Run-Game & Tanner’s “Sweet Feet” he’s going to start looking the part. And Wisconsin Football will continue to do what its been doing this year with Tanner at the Helm…WIN GAMES!

Which is *checks notes* the most important part!

On Wisconsin!

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Gard Your Fickell is a leading authority on Wisconsin Badgers analytics, specializing in dissecting the intricate data behind football and basketball. With a deep passion for the game and an analytical mindset, Gard Your Fickell offers readers a unique perspective on the Badgers performance.