B1G QB rankings entering Week 9: JJ McCarthy, Kyle McCord solidify top 2 spots
The 14-team Big Ten has a big 2, and Drew Allar and Penn State couldn’t do anything to change that narrative on Saturday.
Kyle McCord and Ohio State got the better of the Nittany Lions and their 5-star first-year starter, essentially because McCord and the Buckeyes have the best wide receiver in the country in Marvin Harrison Jr. and Penn State does not.
McCord and Michigan’s JJ McCarthy both threw for nearly 300 yards Saturday, with the Michigan quarterback doing so in 3 quarters of a 49-0 rout of Michigan State.
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Thanks to McCarthy’s early exit, the B1G went a second consecutive week without a 300-yard passer after having just 1 (McCord) in Week 6.
With 2 teams on their bye week, the B1G had 12 starting QBs in action Saturday, and 7 of them threw for 126 or fewer yards. At least a few of them augmented their output with strong efforts on the ground, and that’s factored in to our rankings.
Here’s a breakdown of the current starters in the B1G heading into a weekend with 5 league matchups and 4 teams on byes.
14. Deacon Hill, Iowa
Week 8: vs. Minnesota (L, 12-10), 10-28, 116 yards, INT
Season: 61.0 ypg, 37.8%, 2 TDs, 3 INTs, 74.98 rating
Supposedly, the injured Cade McNamara plans to come back to this next year. But for now, Hill has to run Iowa’s offense, which amassed 127 total yards in a loss even Cooper DeJean and the defense couldn’t save. Hill’s numbers are tragic, but this remains a chicken or egg question — except that we know OC Brian Ferentz came to Iowa first. The Hawkeyes fall to 0-2 as a Top 25 team this season, a distinction they probably won’t have to deal with again.
Up next: Bye
13. Athan Kaliakmanis, Minnesota
Week 8: at Iowa (W, 12-10), 10-25, 126 yards
Season: 131.9 ypg, 53.4%, 6 TDs, 6 INTs, 106.43 rating
Kaliakmanis won the war of attrition against Deacon Hill and Iowa in a matchup of the 2 worst passing offenses outside of the military academies. He did make a 39-yard connection with Daniel Jackson to set up the Gophers’ game-winning 4th field goal.
Up next: vs. Michigan State
12. Brendan Sorsby, Indiana
Week 8: vs. Rutgers (L, 31-14), 15-31, 126 yards, TD
Season: 84.0 ypg, 50.6%, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 101.32 rating
Sorsby, starting for the first time since Week 1, added 11 rushes for 49 yards and a TD, so he put all of the Hoosiers’ points on the board. But the offense still racked up only 279 yards. It’s unclear if prior starter Tayven Jackson is hurt or just out of favor, but the transfer from Tennessee didn’t play Saturday.
Up next: at Penn State
11. Brendan Sullivan, Northwestern
Week 8: at Nebraska (L, 17-9), 12-23, 176 yards, INT
Season: 61.3 ypg, 61.4%, 3 TDs, 2 INTs, 125.98 rating
Starting again for injured Cincinnati transfer Ben Bryant, Sullivan didn’t have much of a chance, absorbing 7 sacks for 49 yards in losses.
Up next: vs. Maryland
10. Katin Houser, Michigan State
Week 8: vs. Michigan (L, 49-0), 12-22, 101 yards, INT
Season: 65.3 ypg, 58.2%, 2 TDs, 2 INT, 111.24 rating
Making his second start, the 2022 4-star recruit didn’t have many answers against the top scoring defense in the country.
Up next: at Minnesota
9. Gavin Wimsatt, Rutgers
Week 8: at Indiana (W, 31-14), 5-12, 39 yards
Season: 141.8 ypg, 50.3%, 7 TDs, 4 INTs, 111.25 rating
Don’t let the passing stats fool you, Wimsatt led the Knights to this victory. He had TD runs of 1, 1 and 80 yards as part of 143-yard rushing day. That’s a school record for a Rutgers quarterback. Rutgers hasn’t been bowl-eligible this early in a season in more than a decade. Wimsatt made it happen, however unconventionally.
Up next: Bye
8. Braedyn Locke, Wisconsin
Week 8: at Illinois (W, 25-21), 21-41, 240 yards, 2 TDs
Season: 123.3 ypg, 51.4%, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 100.95 rating
Taking the reins from injured SMU transfer Tanner Mordecai, Locke passed for 2 TDs and a 2-point conversion in an 18-point 4th quarter rally from a 21-7 deficit. No bad for a redshirt freshman making his first start.
Up next: vs. Ohio State
7. Hudson Card, Purdue
Week 8: Bye
Season: 231.0 ypg, 60.6%, 7 TDs, 5 INTs, 121.10 rating
The transfer from Texas is 2-5 as the Boilermakers’ starter, but the issues are more team-wide than QB-centric.
Up next: at Nebraska
6. Luke Altmyer, Illinois
Week 8: vs. Wisconsin (L, 25-21), 13-21, 100 yards, 2 TDs
Season: 208.9 ypg, 63.2%, 10 TDs, 9 INTs, 128.19 rating
The transfer from Ole Miss also rushed for a team-high 100 yards in an effort that seemed plenty good enough until the Illini defense gave up 18 points in the fourth quarter.
Up next: Bye
5. Heinrich Haarberg, Nebraska
Week 8: vs. Northwestern (W, 17-9), 8-17, 85 yards, TD, 2 INTs
Season: 102.3 ypg, 51.3%, 5 TDs, 4 INTs, 112.07 rating
Haarberg started his 5th straight game, looking rough as a passer but running for 72 yards and a score. He’s now 4-1 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. The 6-5, 215-pound sophomore from Kearney leads the team in passing yards and TDs and also rushing yards (424) and TDs (4).
Up next: vs. Purdue
4. Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland
Week 8: Bye
Season: 275.1 ypg, 63.9%, 16 TDs, 5 INTs, 146.02 rating
The 5th-year senior needs 95 passing yards to reach 10,000 as a college player and 195 to reach the milestone as a Terp. He should hit those marks this weekend.
Up next: at Northwestern
3. Drew Allar, Penn State
Week 8: at Ohio State (L, 20-12), 18-42, 191 yards, TD
Season: 206.4 ypg, 61.0%, 13 TDs, 0 INTs, 134.56 rating
The 2022 5-star recruit has yet to commit a turnover in college through 17 appearances, 283 pass attempts, 59 rush attempts and however many handoffs. But there’s not much else positive to say about his first really big B1G showdown. Penn State’s limited receiving corps did him no favors, but Allar added nothing with his legs (-23 rushing yards, including 4 sacks taken for 36 yards in losses). Head coach James Franklin and OC Mike Yurcich share the blame — and give credit to the OSU defense. But the former 5-star recruit and first-year starter looked very ordinary in this one.
Up next: vs. Indiana
2. Kyle McCord, Ohio State
Week 8: vs. Penn State (W, 20-12), 22-35, 286 yards, TD
Season: 276.7 ypg, 63.9%, 12 TDs, 1 INT, 161.61 rating
McCord’s comfort level working with standout WR Marvin Harrison Jr. continues to grow. Harrison had his 5th 100-yard outing in the past 6 games, and McCord has not thrown a pick since Week 1, with 12 TD passes since then. Facing his toughest test yet against Penn State’s aggressive defense, McCord relied on Harrison (11-162, TD) and slowly gained momentum for himself and his offense.
Up next: at Wisconsin
1. JJ McCarthy, Michigan
Week 8: at Michigan State (W, 49-0), 21-27, 287 yards, 4 TDs
Season: 224.9 ypg, 78.1%, 18 TDs, 3 INTs, 199.13 rating
The 6-3, 200-pound junior put up another uber-efficient stat line as the Wolverines put another light year between themselves and the last team to beat them in a B1G matchup. The Heisman campaign is again gaining steam, though we’re still wondering what happened in McCarthy’s 3-INT game against Bowling Green. He has been dominant since then, stringing 5 blowout league victories and ascending to the top of the B1G in touchdown passes. He remains No. 2 in the country in completion percentage and QB rating.
Up next: Bye