INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson left college together, were drafted in the same class, made the playoffs as rookies and wound up going to the Pro Bowl together.
On Sunday, for the first time, the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year runners-up to Robert Griffin III will finally get their first chance to match wits on the football field.
“It’s going to be a fun game. It’s going to be a great opportunity, obviously,” Wilson said. “He (Luck) shows so much leadership and so much poise out there. So that’s the great thing about him. For me, at the end of the day, we’re playing the Indianapolis Colts.”
Everyone else, of course, will be watching to see how these young stars handle the big stage. So far, they’ve done everything right.
Last season, Luck and Wilson were unmitigated success stories, and this season, they’ve debunked the myth of the sophomore slump.
Luck has a better completion percentage, fewer interceptions and has seen his quarterback rating improve from 76.5 to 91.9. Of course, he’d be content to keep the Colts (3-1) atop the AFC South.
And though Wilson is on pace to throw for a few more interceptions, a few less touchdowns and a slightly lower completion percentage this season, Seattle is off to its first 4-0 start and is now the early front-runner to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
Luck is impressed.
“I think he’s very underrated as a dropback passer,” the Colts quarterback said. “He can make all of the throws, you see it when you watch games, and I think he’s as impressive just dropping back and going through his reads as he is rolling out and making plays happen.”
Luck is 2-1 against his second-year colleagues, beating Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden as a rookie before losing to Tannehill in Week 2.
Wilson is 1-1 against the 2012 rookie quarterbacks, losing to Tannehill on the road last season before beating RG3 in the playoffs.
Who’s better? That depends on the fan base — and who has the postgame celebration at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Five things to watch Sunday afternoon:
RUN OR PASS: Who’s the better runner? Wilson, usually considered the more mobile quarterback, ran for 489 yards last season and has already compiled 131 yards rushing in 2013. Luck, considered the pocket passer, has a higher per-carry average (7.9 to 4.9) and has run for nearly twice as many touchdowns as Wilson (7-4) in their first 20 games.
ANYTHING YOU CAN DO…: Last year, the Seahawks proved they had one of the league’s top defenses, and they’ve done nothing to disappoint in 2013. They’re allowing 11.8 points per game and now have a chance to sweep Houston and Indy on the road. The Colts’ defense may be on the verge of taking the kind of step Seattle did last year. Indy is looking for a third straight strong performance after yielding 10 total points and forcing five combined turnovers in back-to-back road wins.
KODAK MOMENT: Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis have poster-sized photos hanging outside Lucas Oil Stadium. This weekend, the two fan favorites could give everyone a game to remember. Wayne needs 10 receptions to become the ninth player in league history with 1,000 catches. Mathis needs one more sack to join Dwight Freeney as the second player in franchise history with 100. And it may be their only shot to do it at home because the Colts visit San Diego in Week 6.
BALANCING ACT: Seattle began its resurgence after making a midseason trade with Buffalo for Marshawn Lynch in 2010. Since then, Lynch led Seattle to the playoffs in 2010, went to the Pro Bowl in 2011 and was a key cog in last year’s playoff run. Indy is hoping for similar results after completing a trade for 2012 first-round pick Trent Richardson 2½ weeks ago. Richardson has scored in each of his first two games with Indy and has helped the Colts top 150 yards rushing both times.
FAMILIAR FACES: This game will be sort of a Pac-12 reunion for Luck. He has three college teammates on the Colts: tight end Coby Fleener, safety Delano Howell and practice squad receiver Griff Whalen. He’ll also face two college teammates on the opposite sideline Sunday: cornerback Richard Sherman and receiver Doug Baldwin.
Former Southern California coach Pete Carroll lost his only previous meeting with Luck 55-21.
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