Ranking quarterbacks is a pretty tough thing to do through the first month of the season. With so many teams scheduling cupcakes early in the year, almost everyone looks good and stats are usually astronomical. Usually it takes at least a month to get a better grasp on what each guy can actually do under center.
Keep that in mind when you scroll down the list.
A lot of quarterbacks have looked really good through two weeks. A few of the highly-touted guys haven’t quite lived up to the hype. All of that is taken into consideration.
Here’s where I’m ranking the 14 B1G quarterbacks two weeks into the season:
14. Hunter Johnson, Northwestern
Last week: OFF
With Northwestern having an off week, Johnson didn’t get the chance to erase that dreadful performance in the opener against Stanford and change our minds. We’ll see how he does against UNLV.
Last week: No. 14
13. McLane Carter, Rutgers
Last week vs. #20 Iowa: 5-of-15 — 22 yards — 0 TD — 1 INT
Five completions, 22 yards and an interception. Carter struggled with throwing into coverage last week against UMass, too. He’s struggled to keep the ball away from the defense through two games and couldn’t find a receiver on Saturday against the Hawkeyes. To make matters worse, he suffered a concussion in the 30-0 loss to Iowa.
Last week: No. 13
12. Shea Patterson, Michigan
Last week vs. Army: 19-of-29 — 207 yards — 0 TD — 0 INT
Guess what? Patterson is nowhere close to the 12th-best quarterback in the league, but he’s certainly played like it in Michigan’s first two games. Some of that has been play-calling, and part of it may be contributed to him battling a lower body injury in Week 1 against Middle Tennessee. Either way, he’s struggled to hang on to the football and hasn’t been overly impressed. Michigan needs more from their senior.
Last week: No. 3
11. Adrian Martinez, Nebraska
Last week vs. Colorado: 16-of-26 — 290 yards — 2 TD — 1 INT
All the comments I made about Patterson can pretty much apply to Martinez, too. He’s extremely talented, but hasn’t shown it yet. To be fair, Nebraska’s offensive line has been really bad, which is forcing the sophomore to make quick decisions or take off and run before he’s found an opening. This isn’t all on Martinez. But for a Heisman candidate to have as many interceptions as touchdowns (2) in games against South Alabama and Colorado isn’t going to cut it.
Last week: No. 11
10. Tanner Morgan, Minnesota
Last week vs. Fresno State: 16-of-23 — 234 yards — 2 TD — 0 INT
Let’s be honest here for a second, Morgan gets a boost on this list because he’s surrounded by a ton of excellent receivers. It makes the life of the Gophers’ quarterback so much easier with Rashod Bateman, Tyler Johnson and Chris Autman-Bell making plays. In tight situations in the first two weeks, Morgan has stayed composed and found a way to get Minnesota to 2-0. There’s something to be said for that.
Last week: No. 12
9. Michael Penix Jr., Indiana
Last week vs. Eastern Illinois — 14-of-20 — 197 yards — 2 TD — 0 INT
It only took two weeks for us to see the Penix that everyone was talking about in Bloomington. He cleaned things up against Eastern Illinois, didn’t commit any turnovers and got the ball into the hands of his playmakers. Next Saturday, we’ll find out if Penix is really worthy of the No. 9 spot with Ohio State coming to Bloomington for a B1G showdown.
Last week: No. 10
8. Brian Lewerke, Michigan State
Last week vs. Western Michigan: 23-of-32 — 314 yards — 3 TD — 1 INT
When Lewerke is protected and doesn’t have to scramble for his life, he can be one of the better quarterbacks in the B1G. He showed that against Western Michigan, albeit that isn’t the best of opponents. Throwing for over 300 yards is something Lewerke is capable of doing on a weekly basis, but a lot of that depends on his offensive line. It’s just two weeks, but the senior quarterback has been solid for the Spartans.
Last week: No. 8
7. Jack Coan, Wisconsin
Last week vs. Central Michigan: 26-of-33 — 363 yards — 3 TD — 0 INT
A Wisconsin quarterback? In the top half of the B1G? Yep. Again, this is probably more because of the level of competition the Badgers have faced thus far, but Coan has answered the call through two weeks for the Badgers. He’s currently the B1G’s second-leading passer and hasn’t thrown an interception. What more could Paul Chryst ask for after two games?
Last week: No. 9
6. Brandon Peters, Illinois
Last week vs. UConn: 24-of-35 — 227 yards — 4 TD — 1 INT
When was the last time an Illinois quarterback threw four touchdown passes in a single game? It has to be over 100 years ago, right? OK, maybe not that long. Give some credit to Peters, who started the game against UConn by throwing an early pick-six. A lot of his predecessors probably would’ve allowed that play to dictate the rest of the game. Peters responded with an excellent performance. They’ve got a good one in Champaign.
Last week: No. 6
5. Elijah Sindelar, Purdue
Last week vs. Vanderbilt: 34-of-52 — 509 yards — 5 TD — 1 INT
Purdue has played two games and Sindelar has almost thrown for 1,000 yards (934). It’s somewhat surprising his arm hasn’t fallen off yet. There’s a lot of pressure on Sindelar running the offense, particularly with no running game to speak of, forcing him to throw the ball a heck of a lot. It was good to see him bounce back for a big day after a rough second half in Reno last week. When Sindelar is in a rhythm, Purdue’s offense can really produce.
Last week: No. 7
4. Sean Clifford, Penn State
Last week vs. Buffalo: 16-of-22 — 279 yards — 4 TD — 0 INT
Competition hasn’t been all that tough for Penn State, but for a first-time starter to play mistake-free football through two games, and get the job done with his arm and his legs is pretty difficult. Clifford has lived up to the challenge, though. We should find out a lot more about this cat on Saturday in a rivalry game against Pitt. These are the kind of games where Trace McSorley really shined. Will Clifford have that same type of performance?
Last week: No. 4
3. Josh Jackson, Maryland
Last week vs. #21 Syracuse: 21-of-38 — 296 yards — 3 TD — 1 INT
Life is so much easier for a B1G quarterback when you have a stable of running backs who establish a prolific rushing attack. It really opens things u in the passing game. Jackson has reaped the benefit of that through his first two games as Maryland’s starter. Right now, it’s hard to deny that the addition of Jackson is a huge reason why the Terps are averaging more than 70 points per game through the first two contests of the season.
Last week: No. 5
2. Nate Stanley, Iowa
Last week vs. Rutgers: 16-of-28 — 236 yards — 3 TD — 0 INT
Stanley has been Mr. Consistency for the Hawkeyes in two games, and yes I know its Miami (OH) and Rutgers. The senior has six touchdown passes and no interceptions, but more importantly, has shown a much better ability to stretch the field than the last two seasons. A lot of that is credited to some really good receivers, but Stanley still has to put the ball on the spot. Like a lot of QBs on this list, we’ll get a chance to see Stanley encounter his first big challenge of the year this Saturday, with Iowa traveling to Ames to take on Iowa State.
Last week: No. 2
1. Justin Fields, Ohio State
Last week vs. Cincinnati: 20-of-25 — 224 yards — 2 TD — 0 INT
We weren’t supposed to compare Fields to Dwayne Haskins, but he’s looked equally as talented through two games. Six passing touchdowns, three rushing scores, a 76 percent completion rate and no turnovers. Pretty good for a first-time quarterback stepping into one of the most pressure-filled positions in college football. He’ll take his talent on the road this weekend in a B1G clash against Indiana. A big performance on Saturday, we could be taking the Heisman Trophy conversation to a new level.
Last week: No. 1