I’m taking a bit of a new approach this week.
With a few B1G quarterbacks sitting out due to injuries this week, I’ve decided those players — and their replacements — won’t be ranked. That will be the process moving forward. Players who are on an off week will still find their names on the list, but trying to incorporate an injured quarterback, or a team’s backup, can make things a little more difficult.
We cool with that? Good.
There were some outstanding performances under center again last week, and some not-so-great outings, as well. It’s still early in the season and the competition as varied, so getting a gauge on some of these guys is still a little tough. But I’ll give it my best shot.
Here are the B1G QB rankings headed into Week 4:
Unranked this week
Elijah Sindelar, Purdue
Michael Penix Jr., Indiana
12. McLane Carter, Rutgers
Last week: OFF
Rutgers was idle last week. We’ll see if Carter is cleared for Saturday’s game against Boston College after sustaining a concussion against Iowa two Saturdays ago.
Last week: No. 13
11. Hunter Johnson, Northwestern
Last week vs. UNLV: 12-of-25 — 165 yards — 1 TD — 1 INT
It wasn’t the best performance you could ask for, but Johnson looked a little more comfortable against UNLV than he did on the road against Stanford. It’s also difficult to get a good gauge on the first-time starter, because Northwestern had an off week after the season opener. We’ll find out an awful lot about Johnson this week, with a nasty Michigan State defense coming to town.
Last week: No. 14
10. Shea Patterson, Michigan
Last week: OFF
Patterson hasn’t looked good through two games and didn’t get the chance to improve on Saturday. He’ll have a big chance to take a leap forward this weekend in an important road game against Wisconsin.
Last week: No. 12
9. Tanner Morgan, Minnesota
Last week vs. Ga. Southern: 19-of-31 — 289 yards — 3 TD — 1 INT
While Morgan hasn’t been outstanding through three games, he’s been poised at the end of games. Enough so to lead the offense to three-straight game-winning drives, getting the Gophers off to a 3-0 start. Morgan has made his share of mistakes throughout the course of the non-conference schedule, but he’s come through in winning time, especially the last two weeks against Fresno State and Georgia Southern.
Last week: No. 10
8. Jack Coan, Wisconsin
Last week: OFF
The biggest test of Coan’s young career is on the horizon. He could make a big climb or take a huge fall after playing Michigan this weekend.
Last week: No. 7
7. Brian Lewerke, Michigan State
Last week vs. Arizona State: 24-of-38 — 291 yards — 0 TD — 0 INT
Can we honestly get a clean grasp of Lewerke’s talent level? He helped the Spartans move the ball down the field against Arizona State, but penalties and play-calling really hindered MSU’s ability to score. He’s looked better through three games this year than all of last season, but it’s not translating to any points, at least not this week.
Last week: No. 8
6. Adrian Martinez, Nebraska
Last week vs. Northern Illinois: 16-of-27 — 257 yards — 2 TD — 0 INT
For the first time this season, we saw the Martinez we thought we’d see on the field every single week. Maybe now he’ll be able to get into a bit of rhythm now that he had a big game against Northern Illinois. He still has to deal with an offensive line that’s struggling, which could be an issue all season. But Martinez was more accurate and made better decisions this week.
Last week: No. 11
5. Josh Jackson, Maryland
Last week vs. Temple: 15-of-38 — 183 yards — 1 TD — 1 INT
This was a horrible game for Jackson, but after two big weeks, he’s getting a bit of a pass, here. Temple brought the best defense Jackson has seen and Maryland didn’t have as much success running the football as it did in its first two games. That was a problem for the passing game. Overall, Jackson has still played pretty well, but we’ll find out if he deserves to be ranked this high with B1G play just around the corner.
Last week: No. 3
4. Brandon Peters, Illinois
Last week vs. Eastern Michigan: 22-of-37 — 297 yards — 2 TD — 1 INT
Under any other quarterback Illinois has had over the last three years or so, the Illini wouldn’t have even had a shot at getting back into the game when trailing 31-17. But Peters led Illinois on back-to-back touchdown drives to tie the game up in the fourth quarter, it just wasn’t enough to get the win. He’s going to keep the Illini in a lot of games, just because of his ability to find receivers when they need it most.
Last week: No. 6
3. Sean Clifford, Penn State
Last week vs. Pitt: 14-of-30 — 222 yards — 0 TD — 0 INT
Clifford’s outing against Pitt was his worst of the season, but you know what he didn’t do? Turn the ball over. That proved to be a key for the Nittany Lions in a 17-10 win over Pitt. He didn’t account for any touchdowns and picked up very little yardage with his legs. But there’s something to be said for playing three games without an interception, especially in a hard-fought rivalry game.
Last week: No. 4
2. Nate Stanley, Iowa
Last week vs. Iowa State: 22-of-35 — 201 yards — 0 TD — 0 INT
Saturday’s game against Iowa State is exactly what you want to see from a senior quarterback. Playing a road game against a rival with a few weather delays could’ve easily affective Stanley’s mentality. Instead, he completed 22 of his 35 passes, rushed for Iowa’s only touchdown and didn’t turn the football over, despite this being a sloppy contest. After three games, Stanley looks like the QB Iowa needs to win a division title.
Last week: No. 2
1. Justin Fields, Ohio State
Last week vs. Indiana: 14-of-24 — 199 yards — 3 TD — 0 INT
In his first three games as a starter, Fields has accounted for 13 touchdowns and no interceptions. The Buckeyes are a perfect 3-0 and dismantled B1G East foe Indiana. Any concerns about playing a road game or quality opponents have pretty much been silenced. Ohio State has the real deal under center.
Last week: No. 1