Big Ten quarterback rankings entering Week 6: Okay, we were wrong about Tanner Morgan.
Tanner Morgan implodes and CJ Stroud turns into a handoff machine. JJ McCarthy can’t hit the long ball.
Can’t anyone in the Big Ten play quarterback with flair and verve? Or at least consistency?
You know it’s a strange week when only 2 Big Ten quarterbacks throw for 2 touchdowns and Iowa’s Spencer Petras cranks out more passing yards than all but 3 of his league brethren. Let’s blame the weather and move on. After all, several of the games were played along the path of Ian’s downpours.
Still, there’s going to be more jumping around in these rankings than at a Wisconsin game heading to the fourth quarter. Morgan will drop from No. 2 after throwing 3 picks in Minnesota’s first loss of the season. Maryland’s Taulia Tagovailoa, seemingly set up to make a splash in the coming weeks, hops back up a few spots after getting Maryland to 4-1. Illinois’ Tommy DeVito gets a boost off another solid game-manager effort that stunned Wisconsin and got the Illini to 4-1.
Heading into Week 6, this is our assessment of the B1G quarterback hierarchy:
14. Spencer Petras, Iowa
Week 5 stats: 21-31, 246 yards, TD
Season: 55.2%, 154.0 ypg, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 109.02 rating
With his best outing of the year, Petras bumped his QB rating above 100 for the first time this season. He still made a few bad throws Saturday, but he was far from Iowa’s biggest problem against No. 4 Michigan. The coaching staff is not helping him. Patrick Mahomes would struggle in that system.
13. Evan Simon, Rutgers
Week 5 stats: 10-19, 74 yards, TD, INT
Season: 61.8%, 141.5 ypg, 3 TDs, 2 INTs, 121.85 rating
A week after a 300-yard passing game against Iowa, Simon returned to form against No. 3 Ohio State. Reality is starting to smack the overachieving Scarlet Knights and their sophomore fill-in quarterback in the face. Still waiting for updates on Noah Vedral.
12. Graham Mertz, Wisconsin
Week 5 stats: 17-32, 206 yards, TD, 2 INT
Season: 63.2%, 199.4 ypg, 6 TDs, 5 INTs, 151.02 rating
The former highly-regarded 4-star recruit just hasn’t been a good fit at Wisconsin. Fans can only hope the 3rd-year starter fares better under interim coach Jim Leonhard than he did in his final game under Paul Chryst, a 34-10 loss to Illinois.
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11. Connor Bazelak, Indiana
Week 5 stats: 22-44, 223 yards, TD, INT
Season: 52.8%, 278.8 ypg, 8 TDs, 5 INTs, 107.11 rating
The Missouri transfer and his offense got blanked after halftime in Lincoln. With 2 straight losses and Michigan on deck, things aren’t looking so good for Bazelak or the Hoosiers.
10. Payton Thorne, Michigan State
Week 5 stats: 27-44, 221 yards, TD
Season: 64.2%, 224.2 ypg, 8 TDs, 6 INTs, 131.22 rating
Michigan State is faltering badly, and Thorne stands at the forefront of the struggles. Though he didn’t add to his B1G-high interception total, he couldn’t spark the Spartans’ suddenly one-dimensional offense either. The team displayed problems in all phases in its 27-13 loss to Maryland, including the Thorne-led offense getting shut out in the second half.
9. Ryan Hilinski, Northwestern
Week 5 stats: 15-37, 210 yards, TD, INT
Season: 59.0%, 285.8 ypg, 6 TDs, 4 INTs, 118.40 rating
Four straight losses, the latest to Penn State, has taken the last of the shine off of Hilinski’s hot start to the season. After putting up monster stats through 2 games, the former transfer from South Carolina has cooled off considerably. It won’t get any easier, as the Wildcats will likely be underdogs in all 7 of their remaining B1G games.
8. Casey Thompson, Nebraska
Week 5 stats: 18-27, 270 yards, 2 TDs, INT
Season stats: 65.3%, 253.0 ypg, 7 TDs, 4 INTs, 149.55 rating
The transfer from Texas, like interim coach Mickey Joseph, looked much more comfortable and prepared coming off Nebraska’s bye week. Thompson and the demoralized Huskers salvaged some dignity with a 35-21 victory over Indiana. Nebraska (2-3, 1-1) is right back in the thick of the B1G West race, and might just have a capable leader at QB.
7. Tanner Morgan, Minnesota
Week 5 stats: 18-33, 257 yards, 3 INTs
Season: 70.5%, 228.6 ypg, 7 TDs, 4 INTs, 169.75 rating
With stud RB Mohamed Ibrahim out with an injury, the Golden Gophers really need their 6th-year senior quarterback to step up against Purdue. He did not. All of his and the team’s buzz from a 4-0 start got blown to bits in a 20-10 loss at home.
6. Sean Clifford, Penn State
Week 5 stats: 10-20, 140 yards, TD, INT
Season: 62%, 206.0 ypg, 9 TDs, 2 INTs, 143.95 rating
A steady downpour dampened the results, but the 6th-year senior also had some rough moments. He made 1 big-time throw on a deep ball that set up a breathing-room FG in a 17-7 win over Northwestern, but otherwise scattershot while posting season-lows in completions and yards.
5. Tommy DeVito, Illinois
Week 5 stats: 18-24, 167 yards
Season: 69.9%, 224.2 ypg, 9 TDs, 2 INTs, 148.29 rating
The Syracuse transfer has stabilized the QB position for Bret Bielema, posting solid stats through the Illini’s 4-1 start. His steady leadership and 3 rushing TDs helped the Illini blast Wisconsin 34-10 and separate Paul Chryst from his job. With Chase Brown leading the Power 5 conferences in rushing, DeVito knows his complementary role and is executing it at a high level.
4. Aidan O’Connell, Purdue
Week 5 stats: 27-40, 199 yards, 2 INTs
Season: 64.9%, 299.8 ypg, 8 TDs, 3 INTs, 134.54 rating
O’Connell returned from an injury and battled at less than 100 percent in a 20-10 road upset of Minnesota. Purdue won with defense, but having its veteran leader back under center had to provide some comfort for the whole squad.
3. Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland
Week 5 stats: 32-41, 314 yards, TD
Season: 75.5%, 283.2 ypg, 8 TDs, 4 INTs, 161.85 rating
Tagovailoa ripped up Michigan State’s porous pass defense a week after being stymied by Michigan, proving his chops against unranked underdogs yet again. With Purdue, Indiana and Northwestern as the next 3 teams on the schedule, Tagovailoa has a chance to pump up his own notoriety and gain the Terps some buzz and a Top 25 ranking. Now’s the time for the junior 3rd-year starter.
2. JJ McCarthy, Michigan
Week 5 stats: 18-24, 155 yards, TD
Season: 78.6%, 169.6 ypg, 6 TDs, 186.94 rating
McCarthy played mistake-free but unspectacular football in his first Big Ten road start. He ceded the spotlight to running back Blake Corum, again, in a 27-14 victory over Iowa. His completion rate dropped a bit but still ranks No. 1 in the nation.
1. CJ Stroud, Ohio State
Week 5 stats: 13-22, 154 yards, 2 TDs, INT
Season: 68.7%, 275.s ypg, 18 TDs, 2 INTs, 196.26 rating
A Heisman candidate, Stroud did his campaign no favors. Against Rutgers, he did what for him is the equivalent of taking a week off, posting season lows in attempts and passing yards. The weather and Miyan Williams’ dominant running factored in. Stroud will be fine going forward.