THIBODAUX, La. -- With the benefit of an accurate deep ball, Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion took the 2014 Manning Passing Academy Air-It-Out Challenge on Saturday night, an accuracy contest pitting most of the nation's most talented college quarterbacks.
Mannion was perfect in connecting with nine of nine targets to win the contest in four rounds, beating South Alabama quarterback Brandon Bridge in the finals.
NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks regarded Mannion as the nation's No. 5 quarterback in an early look at prospects set to lead the college game this fall.
The field of more than 40 college quarterbacks was narrowed when each was required to hit moving golf carts at distances of 10 and 20 yards across the field, plus a sideline cart that "went long." The golf-cart drivers, protected by Papa John's Pizza signs on either side of their carts, were nevertheless pummeled by a few pass attempts that managed to reach the inside of the carts.
Only eight QBs qualified by hitting all three targets, with most of the field struggling to hit the usually underthrown deep cart. Mannion, Bridge, USC's Cody Kessler, Tennessee's Justin Worley, Dartmouth's Dalyn Williams, Colorado's Sefu Liufau, Duke's Anthony Boone and BYU's Taysom Hill were the eight to advance to quarterfinal play.
Mannion then went 2-for-2 in each of three elimination rounds, throwing to the 20-yard cart and the deep cart, to take the competition. Kessler, Bridge and Worley joined Mannion in the semifinals. Mannion finished the competition 4-for-4 on the deep pass that eliminated the likes of Baylor's Bryce Petty and Oregon's Marcus Mariota in the first round.