Odd, weird, bizarre. Running low on synonyms to describe quarterback play in this strangest of seasons in the Big Ten.

In the marquee matchup of Week 11 in the league, Michigan and Penn State dialed their quarterbacks back to lukewarm, one team more purposefully than the other. Neither JJ McCarthy nor Drew Allar threw for more than 70 yards.

Elsewhere, in a matchup only minor bowl scouts and hardy Illinois fans could love, first-time starter John Paddock threw for 507 yards in a 48-45 overtime victory over visiting Indiana. Champaign, everyone?

Here’s how off the charts that is: No one had thrown for even 400 yards previously this season in the Big Ten. Teams’ leading passers have produced more games of less than 100 yards than ones of 300+.

B1G individual passing games so far in 2023

300+ yards: 11
200-299 yards: 50
100-199 yards: 64
< 100 yards: 15

The kicker? Paddock isn’t even assured of starting next week at Iowa. Starter Luke Altmyer should be fully healed from his injury by then, leaving Bret Bielema with a decision. The mobile, dual-threat Altmyer might actually be the better choice against Iowa’s defense. But how do you pull a guy who has produced late-game heroics 2 weeks in a row?

And what to do with that if you’re the guy tasked with ranking B1G QBs for a website? What do you do with McCarthy and Allar, who looked feeble Saturday compared to, of all people, Iowa’s Deacon Hill?

From bad to good, here’s where the current starters in the B1G stand with 2 weeks of regular-season play remaining:

14. Deacon Hill, Iowa

Week 11: vs. Rutgers (W, 22-0), 20-31, 223 yards, TD, INT
Season: 79.4 ypg, 46.5%, 4 TDs, 5 INTs, 90.47 rating

The 6-3, 258-pound redshirt sophomore topped 200 passing yards for the first time. But throttle your excitement; this game stood at 6-0 entering the fourth quarter. Still, the Hawkeyes posted their best offensive yardage output of the season. Progress.

Up next: vs. Illinois

13. Katin Houser, Michigan State

Week 11: at Ohio State (L, 38-3), 12-24, 92 yards, TD
Season: 85.1 ypg, 57.1%, 3 TDs, 2 INT, 109.95 rating

Making his fifth start since replacing Noah Kim, the 2022 4-star recruit and his Spartans stood no chance against the unbeaten Buckeyes.

Up next: at Indiana

12. Gavin Wimsatt, Rutgers

Week 11: at Iowa (L, 22-0), 7-18, 93 yards, INT
Season: 135.6 ypg, 48.2%, 8 TDs, 6 INTs, 105.48 rating

Wimsatt couldn’t provide any help with his legs (-2 rushing yards), and he’s not a good enough passer to be one-dimensional — especially against Iowa.

Up next: at Penn State

11. Heinrich Haarberg, Nebraska

Week 11: vs. Maryland (L, 13-10), 1-5, 0 yards, INT
Season: 96.7 ypg, 49.0%, 7 TDs, 7 INTs, 106.58 rating

Haarberg exited early with an ankle sprain and is limited this week in practice. He still might start at Wisconsin, though, because backups Jeff Sims and Chubba Purdy both committed costly turnovers in the ugly loss to the Terps. Nebraska has coughed up the ball an FBS-worst 27 times, and the QBs have been the main culprits. Haarberg was as high as No. 5 in these rankings early in the season because of standout rushing numbers. Without his ground game, he’s ordinary at best.

Up next: at Wisconsin

10. Athan Kaliakmanis, Minnesota

Week 11: at Purdue (L, 49-30), 18-42, 292 yards, 3 TDs
Season: 158.2 ypg, 52.2%, 13 TDs, 7 INTs, 117.73 rating

Kaliakmanis couldn’t produce points as fast as the Gophers’ injury-plagued defense was giving them up, but he did improve on his previous best yardage total of 2023 by 92 yards.

Up next: at Ohio State

9. Tanner Mordecai, Wisconsin

Week 11: vs. Northwestern (L, 24-10), 31-45, 255 yards
Season: 197.4 ypg, 64.7%, 3 TDs, 3 INTs, 118.30 rating

Mordecai returned after missing 3 games with an injury. The Badgers moved the ball but couldn’t finish, which was a problem when Braedyn Locke was running the offense as well. Phil Longo’s offense will try to top 14 points for the first time in 4 weeks in Saturday’s home game.

Up next: vs. Nebraska

8. Hudson Card, Purdue

Week 11: vs. Minnesota (W, 49-30), 17-25, 251 yards, 3 TDs
Season: 211.2 ypg, 58.6%, 12 TDs, 8 INTs, 119.34 rating

Having already faced both of the B1G’s Big 2 this year, Card surely must have enjoyed carving up Minnesota’s depleted defense. The Gophers also gave up 353 rushing yards in the game, so take the passing totals with a grain of salt. Still, the Texas transfer was solid for a 7-loss team playing out the string.

Up next: at Northwestern

7. Ben Bryant, Northwestern

Week 11: at Wisconsin (W, 24-10), 18-26, 195 yards, 2 TDs
Season: 186.8 ypg, 60.4%, 8 TDs, 3 INTs, 121.70 rating

Bryant returned from injury and efficiently took care of business in a key victory over the Badgers. It looks like he’ll remain the starter ahead of capable backup Brendan Sullivan as the 5-5 Wildcats seek bowl eligibility.

Up next: vs. Purdue

6. Brendan Sorsby, Indiana

Week 11: at Illinois (L, 48-45), 22-33, 289 yards, 3 TDs, INT
Season: 145.5 ypg, 57.6%, 10 TDs, 2 INTs, 131.26 rating

Sorsby has followed up a strong effort in a loss to Penn State with 2 more solid outings. He’s been a bright spot since taking over for good from Tennessee transfer Tayven Jackson.

Up next: vs. Michigan State

5. John Paddock, Illinois

Week 11: vs. Indiana (W, 48-45), 24-36, 507 yards, 4 TDs, INT
Season: 145.8 ypg, 62.9%, 6 TDs, 1 INT, 190.37 rating

A week after going 3-for-3 for 85 yards on a game-winning drive, the transfer from Ball State upped the ante. Subbing for injured Luke Altmyer, Paddock posted the 2nd best passing game in school history, behind only Dave Wilson’s 621-yard day in 1980 against Ohio State. The clock strikes midnight, eligibility-wise, after this season for the 6-0, 190-pound Paddock. It won’t be surprising if redshirt sophomore Altmyer is back at QB1 this weekend.

Up next: at Iowa

4. Drew Allar, Penn State

Week 11: vs. Michigan (L, 24-15), 10-22, 70 yards, TD
Season: 196.5 ypg, 61.6%, 21 TDs, 1 INT, 136.56 rating

The 2022 5-star recruit again looked rough on the big stage, this time at home. The offense hasn’t blossomed around him, which led to the firing of OC Mike Yurcich. Allar is still a teen-ager and a first-year starter, and has been impressive at times against the dregs of the Big Ten. The upside is still there.

Up next: vs. Rutgers

3. Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland

Week 11: at Nebraska (W, 13-10), 27-40, 283, TD, INT
Season: 276.9 ypg, 65.3%, 22 TDs, 8 INTs, 142.45 rating

The 5th-year senior, as has been the case often in his 4-year starting career, posted solid numbers but didn’t dominate the game. The Huskers gave the game away more than Tagovailoa and the Terps took it. Tua’s little brother gets 1 more appearance on the big-game B1G stage this Saturday.

Up next: vs. Michigan

2. JJ McCarthy, Michigan

Week 11: at Penn State (W, 24-15), 7-8, 60 yards
Season: 219.4 ypg, 76.2%, 18 TDs, 3 INTs, 187.25 rating

McCarthy hasn’t thrown a TD pass the past 2 weeks, and didn’t throw an official pass at all over the final 36+ minutes against Penn State. He’s team-first all the way, and will flash his all-around game again when it’s needed. But for now, we’re dropping him from the top spot in our rankings. It’ll all be settled on the field on Nov. 25.

Up next: at Maryland

1. Kyle McCord, Ohio State

Week 11: vs. Michigan State (W, 38-3), 24-31, 335 yards, 3 TDs
Season: 268.7 ypg, 66.3%, 20 TDs, 4 INTs, 164.83 rating

McCord posted his B1G-best 3rd 300-yard passing game of the season, and did so in little more than 1 half of football. After a slow start to the season, the junior is now fully in sync with Marvin Harrison Jr. (7-149-2, plus a rushing TD).

Up next: vs. Minnesota