B1G QB rankings entering Week 6: Ah, Lia, here we go again!
In a league full of game-managers, Maryland gunslinger Taulia Tagovailoa stands out.
Ah, Lia, here we go again. Donnie Iris, if you please:
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Now where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, way back in last year’s preseason, when we had Tagovailoa ranked 3rd behind CJ Stroud and Aidan O’Connell and introduced young readers to an obscure 1980s’ musical dork.
Saturday, Maryland’s 4th-year starter threw for 5 TDs and ran for another as his team wiped out Indiana 44-17 to improve to 5-0. AP poll voters weren’t impressed, ranking the Terps 26th and thus denying them their 1st Top 25 ranking since Lia’s arrival in 2020. But the 352-yard passing game got our attention, and we’re doing our part to hype next week’s battle of B1G unbeatens when Maryland travels to Ohio State. That’s why you’ll see a shakeup to the top of our weekly QB list.
14. Deacon Hill, Iowa
Week 5: vs. Michigan State (W, 26-16), 11-27, 115 yards, TD, INT
Season: 41.0 ypg, 42.9%, TD, INT, 85.94 rating
Is there a worse place to be next man up at quarterback than Iowa? After Cade McNamara was carted off the field early, Hill did just enough to complement Cooper DeJean (70-yard punt return TD, plus INT in end zone to thwart an MSU scoring chance). McNamara went 3-of-5 for 46 yards, leaving his season stats at 101.0 passing yards per game, 51.1% complement rate, 4 TDs, 3 INTs and a 106.24 rating. Hill will be hard pressed to do better leading the nation’s 132nd-ranked offense for OC Brian Ferentz. But it appears he has the job, as the prognosis for McNamara is not good.
Up next: vs. Purdue
13. Tayven Jackson, Indiana
Week 5: at Maryland (L, 44-17), 17-29, 113 yards, INT
Season: 172.4 ypg, 61.7%, 2 TDs, 3 INTs, 125.23 rating
Jackson, a transfer from Tennessee, still has to face Michigan and Penn State in B1G East matchups, so the worst may be yet to come.
Up next: Bye
12. Athan Kaliakmanis, Minnesota
Week 5: vs. Louisiana (W, 35-24), 12-14, 146 yards, 2 TDs, INT
Season: 149.0 ypg, 58.7%, 5 TDs, 4 INTs, 117.43 rating
Kaliakmanis also ran 10 times for 17 yards and a score, as the Gophers’ plodding offense creaked out 347 yards and held the ball for more than 35 minutes. That’s probably not going to work against the next opponent.
Up next: vs. Michigan
11. Noah Kim, Michigan State
Week 5: at Iowa (L, 26-16), 25-44, 193 yards, 3 INTs
Season: 218.0 ypg, 56.9%, 6 TDs, 6 INTs, 118.99 rating
Kim has fallen off since the axing of Mel Tucker as head coach, and things got really ugly in a loss to Iowa. He averaged more yards per attempt as a runner (5.8) than a passer (4.4). It’ll be interesting to see if Kim survives the bye week as the starter, as former 4-star Katin Houser waits in the wings.
Up next: Bye
10. Luke Altmyer, Illinois
Week 5: at Purdue (L, 44-19), 16-25, 202 yards, TD
Season: 215.2 ypg, 65.0%, 5 TDs, 7 INTs, 129.99 rating
The transfer from Ole Miss added 29 yards on the ground despite taking 5 sacks that lost 29 yards. He fumbled twice, losing 1 of them, but otherwise provided a line Bret Bielema usually will take. But the Illini defense has fallen off, allowing 406 yards and 25 first downs in this one.
Up next: vs. Nebraska
9. Heinrich Haarberg, Nebraska
Week 5: vs. Michigan (L, 45-7), 14-25, 199 yards, INT
Season: 95.4 ypg, 52.8%, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 123.98 rating
Haarberg started in place of Jeff Sims for a 3rd straight week and posted decent numbers considering the opponent. But he couldn’t aid the ground game a week after romping for 157 rushing yards in a win over Louisiana Tech, netting -2 yards.
Up next: at Illinois
8. Gavin Wimsatt, Rutgers
Week 5: vs. Wagner (W, 52-3), 12-19, 146 yards, TD
Season: 146.6 ypg, 53.8%, 5 TDs, 1 INT, 125.54 rating
Wimsatt also rushed for 2 TDs as the Scarlet Knights beat up a weakling a week after being one against No. 2 Michigan. Wimsatt and Rutgers didn’t turn the ball over, and have only done so 3 times all year. The QB play is rarely pretty in Piscataway, but that’s the nature of Rutgers under Greg Schiano.
Up next: at Wisconsin
7. Ben Bryant, Northwestern
Week 5: vs. Penn State (L, 41-13), 14-25, 122 yards
Season: 185.2 ypg, 59.0%, 6 TDs, 3 INTs, 115.90 rating
The transfer from Cincinnati kept his cool and avoided turnovers despite being victimized for 5 of Penn State’s 7 sacks. He scored the Cats’ only TD on a 1-yard sneak, and had his huge-underdog team in the game before some dubious decisions by interim coach David Braun. But he landed hard on his right shoulder on 1 of those sacks, and missed the final 12 minutes of the game. Brendan Sullivan took over, and he might have to start in next weekend’s gimme vs. Howard.
Up next: vs. Howard
6. Hudson Card, Purdue
Week 5: vs. Illinois (W, 44-19), 18-26, 217 yards, 2 TDs
Season: 248.8 ypg, 63.8%, 5 TDs, 3 INTs, 129.87 rating
The transfer from Texas, who leads the B1G in pass attempts, put together an economical outing and got plenty of help from the running game as the Boilermakers rolled to a needed B1G West victory. Card is forming a bond with top WR Deion Burks, who had 83 yards and a TD on 5 catches.
Up next: at Iowa
5. Tanner Mordecai, Wisconsin
Week 5: Bye
Season: 219.3 ypg, 66.4%, 2 TDs, 3 INTs, 124.44 rating
The transfer from SMU and the coaching staff are figuring out the new offense together, creating a dual-threat aspect that Mordecai is embracing. He has 103 yards on almost 3 per carry, and 4 rushing TDs. The key to winning the West will be to protect the ball. Do that, and the rest will fall in place for the guy who threw for 72 TDs and more than 7,000 yards over the past 2 seasons with SMU.
Up next: vs. Rutgers
4. Drew Allar, Penn State
Week 5: at Northwestern (W, 41-13), 18-33, 189 yards, TD
Season: 218.4 ypg, 64.6%, 9 TDs, 0 INTs, 141.41 rating
The 2022 5-star recruit played another turnover-free game, extending his career-opening streak to 5 starts and 15 appearances. But the rareness of big plays or even vertical attempts is becoming an issue. Allar threw for sub-200 yards for a second straight game, an no secondary receiver has stepped up to complement KeAndre Lambert-Smith.
Up next: Bye
3. JJ McCarthy, Michigan
Week 5: at Nebraska (W, 45-7), 12-16, 156 yards, 2 TDs; 30 yards rushing, TD
Season: 214.2 ypg, 79.0%, 10 TDs, 3 INTs, 190.45 rating
McCarthy boasts the 3nd best completion percentage in the country and the 5th best QB rating. The counting stats would be higher if they needed to be, but Michigan can go a long way on defense and running game alone. A 17-1 record as the Wolverines’ starting QB is the count JJ cares about.
Up next: at Minnesota
2. Kyle McCord, Ohio State
Week 5: Bye
Season: 263.8 ypg, 65.5%, 6 TDs, 1 INT, 159.66 rating
McCord led a clutch drive to beat Notre Dame the previous weekend, but he and the offense are far from hitting on all cylinders. The off week should help Marvin Harrison Jr. to get fully healthy and new OC Brian Hartline to fine-tune his approach. Even with those caveats, McCord is the only B1G QB other than Tagovailoa averaging better than 250 passing yards per game.
Up next: vs. Maryland
1. Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland
Week 5: vs. Indiana (W, 44-17), 23-34, 352 yards, 5 TDs
Season: 292.8 ypg, 65.7%, 13 TDs, 3 INTs, 160.28 rating
The 5th-year senior also ran for a score, leading the Terps to their 5th straight victory — all of them by at least 18 points. He’s healthy and playing the best ball of his career heading into a trip to No. 4 Ohio State. He leads the B1G in passing yards per game (292.8) and passing TDs (13), ranking 16th and 11th nationally in those categories.
Up next: at Ohio State