B1G QB rankings entering Week 10: Let's go Brendan! Northwestern's Sullivan, Indiana's Sorsby stand out
For a third straight week, no Big Ten quarterback threw for 300 yards.
Penn State’s Drew Allar threw his first interception after 311 career passes without one. Ohio State’s Kyle McCord, like Allar a first-year starter, threw 2 picks — and lost a fumble. All in the first half. Nebraska’s Heinrich Haarberg lost 2 fumbles. All 3 of their teams won, with just enough decent QB play to offset the mistakes.
But in this weird year for quarterback play in the B1G, it was actually 2 guys named Brendan who stood out in Week 9.
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Brendan Sullivan threw for 265 yards and 2 TDs to lead Northwestern to an upset of 2-TD favorite Maryland. Brendan Sorsby threw for 269 and 3 TDs as 30.5-point dog Indiana pushed Penn State to the brink before falling 33-24. Not bad for a couple guys who haven’t been full-season starters.
Who knows what next week will bring.
Here’s a breakdown of the current starters in the B1G heading into a weekend with all 14 teams in action:
14. Deacon Hill, Iowa
Week 9: Bye
Season: 61.0 ypg, 37.8%, 2 TDs, 3 INTs, 74.98 rating
The 6-3, 258-pound redshirt sophomore spent the off week, we assume, hunkering down with OC Brian Ferentz trying to decipher how to attack defenses without much in the way of weapons. Since replacing injured starter Cade McNamara, the transfer from Wisconsin has provided no answers. Hill, a Californian, spent 2020-22 with the Badgers, never throwing a pass. How bad can fellow RS sophomore Joe Labas be?
Up next: at Northwestern
13. Athan Kaliakmanis, Minnesota
Week 9: vs. Michigan State (W, 27-12), 14-22, 200 yards, TD, INT
Season: 140.4 ypg, 54.6%, 7 TDs, 7 INTs, 111.17 rating
The Gophers had a running back come out of nowhere to rack up 204 yards on the ground, setting up play-action that allowed Kaliakmanis to have one of his more efficient outings of the season.
Up next: vs. Illinois
12. Katin Houser, Michigan State
Week 9: at Minnesota (L, 27-12), 12-22, 117 yards
Season: 72.7 ypg, 57.3%, 2 TDs, 2 INT, 108.27 rating
Making his third start since replacing Noah Kim, the 2022 4-star recruit gave way in the fourth quarter to true freshman Sam Leavitt, who went 8-of-12 for 73 yards with a TD and an INT, and also ran for a team-high 52 yards.
Up next: vs. Nebraska
11. Braedyn Locke, Wisconsin
Week 9: vs. Ohio State (L, 24-10), 18-39, 165 yards, TD
Season: 133.8 ypg, 49.5%, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 97.16 rating
Starting a 2nd time for injured SMU transfer Tanner Mordecai, Locke struggled like almost all QBs have against an Ohio State defense that looks plenty legit this season.
Up next: at Indiana
10. Hudson Card, Purdue
Week 9: at Nebraska (L, 31-14), 16-32, 100 yards, TD, 2 INTs
Season: 214.6 ypg, 59.4%, 8 TDs, 7 INTs, 115.69 rating
The transfer from Texas is 2-6 as the Boilermakers’ starter and looked overwhelmed against an extremely aggressive Huskers defense. It’ll only get worse next weekend.
Up next: at Michigan
9. Brendan Sorsby, Indiana
Week 9: at Penn State (L, 33-24), 13-19, 269 yards, 3 TDs, INT
Season: 114.8 ypg, 53.7%, 6 TDs, 1 INTs, 123.77 rating
Sorsby put up an incredibly solid effort and took advantage of some blown coverages to become the first QB this season to throw for multiple touchdowns against Penn State. He threw a fourth-quarter TD pass the very next play after taking a hit to the shoulder that had him wincing. He also dodged bullets to limit the Nittany Lions to 3 sacks. Assuming the shoulder is okay, he should make a 3rd straight start ahead of Tennessee transfer Tayven Jackson next weekend.
Up next: vs. Wisconsin
8. Brendan Sullivan, Northwestern
Week 9: vs. Maryland (W, 33-27), 16-23, 265 yards, 2 TDs
Season: 90.4 ypg, 63.9%, 5 TDs, 2 INTs, 145.85 rating
Starting again for injured Cincinnati transfer Ben Bryant, Sullivan may have won the job. In addition to the passing numbers, he led the team with 56 rushing yards — despite taking 5 sacks for 12 yards.
Up next: vs. Iowa
7. Gavin Wimsatt, Rutgers
Week 9: Bye
Season: 141.8 ypg, 50.3%, 7 TDs, 4 INTs, 111.25 rating
Coming off a record rushing game for a Scarlet Knights quarterback (143 yards, 8.9 per carry, 3 TDs), Wimsatt gets to test his unconventional game against a top-5 opponent. It’s almost certainly not going to go well against Ohio State this weekend, but the redshirt sophomore maximizes Rutgers’ limited offensive potential.
Up next: vs. Ohio State
6. Luke Altmyer, Illinois
Week 9: Bye
Season: 208.9 ypg, 63.2%, 10 TDs, 9 INTs, 128.19 rating
Outside of a 4-INT game against Penn State, the transfer from Ole Miss has played reasonably well for an Illini team struggling in a bunch of other areas. In addition to the passing numbers, Altmyer ranks No. 2 on the team with 301 rushing yards. He and OC Barry Lunney Jr. will try to put it all together for a mid-pack B1G West showdown Saturday.
Up next: at Minnesota
5. Heinrich Haarberg, Nebraska
Week 9: vs. Purdue (W, 31-14), 6-11, 122 yards, 2 TDs
Season: 104.8 ypg, 51.6%, 7 TDs, 4 INTs, 120.56 rating
Haarberg started his 6th straight game, game-managing the Huskers to a dominant, defense-led victory over the Boilermakers. He’s now 5-1 since replacing a then-injured Jeff Sims, and his dual-threat game seems to be what Matt Rhule needs in his debut season as head coach. He added 22 rushing yards, well below his team-leading average, and he’ll have to clean up the 2 lost fumbles.
Up next: at Michigan State
4. Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland
Week 9: at Northwestern (L, 33-27), 30-47, 274, 3 TDs, INT
Season: 275.0 ypg, 63.9%, 19 TDs, 6 INTs, 143.41 rating
The 5th-year senior became Maryland’s first 10,000-yard passer, but it came in a 3rd straight loss that ensures that he’ll never get the Terrapins into the Top 25. Close but not quite has been the story of Tagovailoa’s stint in College Park following a transfer from Alabama in 2020. Six sacks thwarted his effort, which doesn’t bode well for next weekend.
Up next: vs. Penn State
3. Drew Allar, Penn State
Week 9: vs. Indiana (W, 33-24), 20-31, 210 yards, 3 TDs, INT
Season: 206.9 ypg, 61.4%, 16 TDs, 1 INT, 136.15 rating
The 2022 5-star recruit bounced back from his 1st INT as a Nittany Lion to hit a 57-yard go-ahead TD strike to KeAndre Lambert-Smith, his only reliable wide receiver. It was a solid bounce-back from a rough outing at Ohio State.
Up next: at Maryland
2. Kyle McCord, Ohio State
Week 9: at Wisconsin (W, 24-10), 17-26, 226 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
Season: 270.4 ypg, 64.1%, 14 TDs, 3 INTs, 160.13 rating
McCord turned the ball over 3 times in the first half — 2 picks and a fumble — but managed to find Marvin Harrison Jr. enough (6-123-2) to get the undefeated Buckeyes past the Badgers.
Up next: at Rutgers
1. JJ McCarthy, Michigan
Week 9: Bye
Season: 224.9 ypg, 78.1%, 18 TDs, 3 INTs, 199.13 rating
The 6-3, 200-pound junior has ascended to favorite status in the Heisman race by virtue of his string of uber-efficient stat lines against overmatched opponents. He’ll post another one this Saturday at home, then face the first of 2 real tests the following weekend at Penn State. His full arsenal has been on display in October, including a running element (168 yards on the season, 5.1 per carry) that keeps defenses honest.
Up next: vs. Purdue