It’s been somewhat of a puzzling season for Big Ten quarterbacks through five weeks.

Two quarterbacks that were on plenty of preseason lists of Heisman Trophy candidates – Nebraska’s Adrian Martinez and Michigan’s Shea Patterson – have had rocky starts and failed to perform anywhere near that level of expectation. Ohio State’s Justin Fields stands alone as the clear-cut best quarterback in the league, and along with Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor, has a legitimate chance at going to New York as a Heisman finalist.

Behinds Fields, a crop of less-heralded Big Ten quarterbacks had some of their best games in their respective careers.

— Sean Clifford (Penn State): 26 of 31 for 398 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT; 7 rushse for 54 yards, TD

— Brian Lewerke (Michigan State): 18 of 36 for 300 yards and 3 TDs; 12 rushes for 78 yards

— Tanner Morgan (Minnesota): 21 of 22 for 396 yards and 4 TDs

— Michael Penix Jr. (Indiana): 33 of 42 for 286 yards and 3 TDs; 2 rushes for -4 yards, TD

So, let’s play a little game and pretend you own a moderate amount of stock in these four quarterbacks. Are you buying more stock because you think their value is going up over the next two months? Are you selling because you think this is the apex (or near the apex) of their value? Or are you holding steady for another week or two to gather more information?

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Here’s what I’m doing:

Buy: Sean Clifford

Clifford just looks the part, doesn’t he? The redshirt sophomore hasn’t been perfect by any means, but the way he shredded Maryland’s defense had to have coaches around the league going, “Uh oh.” Let’s not forget that was his first road start, too. And it was against Pro Football Focus’ eighth-ranked defense heading into Week 4. All he did was account for four touchdowns in the first half in staking Penn State to a 38-0 halftime lead in front of a sold-out crowd in primetime.

Clifford, who is replacing Trace McSorley, has nine touchdown passes and one interception through four games. He moves well, meaning he can pick up yards on the ground and shift the pocket on roll-outs.

I think he is the second-best quarterback in the Big Ten right now, behind only Fields. I’m excited to see what else he can do in leading a talented, deep offensive unit and a defense that will have his back.

Sell: Brian Lewerke

Lewerke made winning plays against Indiana, and that’s all you can hope for from your quarterback. The pass to Darrell Stewart Jr. for 44 yards and the 30-yard run to the 1 on the final drive were what you need out of your senior quarterback in crunch time — especially in a conference game in which you are favored by 14 points. But hey, I think the offense owed the defense just a little, right?

While Lewerke is having a bounce-back season (10 TD passes, 1 INT) after a dreadful junior year, I’m still selling. Lewerke is who he is at this point, and thats an inaccurate passer who shows flashes and can occasionally win games. For as great as he was Saturday, he completed just 50 percent of his passes. His completion percentage is 59.8 percent this year — the highest of his career — and that’s still only 85th best in the country. He is 67th in the country in yards per attempt (7.6) and 64th in passer efficiency (141.6).

Look at Lewerke’s next three games: at Ohio State, at Wisconsin, vs. Penn State. All of them are top 25 defenses. It’s going to be tough to replicate that production moving forward.

Hold steady: Tanner Morgan

As you can tell from the box score, Morgan was simply terrific. He won that game for Minnesota by getting the ball to Rashod Bateman, Chris Autman-Bell and Tyler Johnson. That’s his job, and he was nearly flawless in doing so. He now has 10 touchdown passes and two interceptions this season after finishing with a 9-6 TD-INT ratio last season.

But here’s why I’m holding. Purdue’s defense was painfully overmatched. It usually is. Of the four quarterbacks who have faced Purdue this season, three have had their best game against the Boilermakers. Nevada’s Carson Strong threw for 395 yards and three touchdowns against Purdue; in his three games since, he is averaging 144.7 yards per game with no touchdown passes and five interceptions. Vanderbilt’s Riely Neal threw for 378 yards, two touchdowns and an interception against Purdue; in his other three games, he is averaging 160 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. The point is, a lot of quarterbacks are shredding Purdue, and it doesn’t necessarily lead to future success.

Now, does that mean Morgan isn’t having an incredible season? Of course not. He is fourth in the country in passer efficiency, ahead of names like Fields, Clifford, Justin Herbert, Sam Ehlinger and Jake Fromm. He’s also overcome a shaky offensive line, having been sacked 15 times (tied for the eighth-most in the country). Morgan is going to feast again Saturday going against an Illinois defense that just let up 674 yards to Nebraska last week.

The real test, though, are the final four games: Penn State, at Iowa, at Northwestern, Wisconsin. All four of those defenses are in the top 25 of ESPN’s defensive efficiency metric, with Wisconsin at No. 1. Thus far, Morgan has faced only one defense in the top 90 (Fresno State, 36th). So Morgan should continue his standout season for the next month, but it is a very challenging closing stretch.

Hold steady: Michael Penix Jr.

It looks like IU has something in Penix Jr., who completed 20 passes in a row. Some of those were only a few yards in front of the line of scrimmage, sure. But some of those throws were big-time plays, like the 11-yard touchdown pass to Whop Philyor with 2:00 remaining to tie the game.

It’s still so early in Penix’s career. He beat out last year’s starter Peyton Ramsey, but he got hurt against Eastern Illinois, so this was only his second full game. Penix made some poor throws against Ball State resulting in two interceptions, but the talent was clearly there as he threw for 326 yards. And Penix showcased that ability against one of the nation’s top defenses in Michigan State, a unit that hadn’t allowed more than 24 points in eight straight games. If Penix can stay healthy (he also tore his ACL last year), the arrow is definitely pointing up.