It was a rough week for the Big Ten, and it was no different for the quarterbacks. There were very few impressive performances and many disappointing games by otherwise top quarterbacks.
The conference suffered one of its worst weekends of football in recent memory and many top team faltered in games they should have won. The conference has opened up for any team to take the lead, and for right now, Michigan State is the early favorite.
Here are the conferences best quarterbacks following week two of play.
1. Braxton Miller, Ohio State Last week: 4
Miller has been impressive so far for the Buckeyes and is a big reason why they are one of just five undefeated teams left in the Big Ten. He followed up a solid week one win with a victory over Central Florida 31-16 and a performance that didn’t disappoint. Miller completed 18 of 24 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown. He did have an interception but it wasn’t costly, he made up for the one blemish with his running game. He ran the ball an astounding 27 times for 141 yards and three touchdowns. Great numbers for a dual-threat.
Season: 32-48, 362 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
2. Taylor Martinez, Nebraska Last week: 1
Martinez was the No. 1 quarterback in my power rankings last week after a stellar five touchdown performance. This week he would tell you that he didn’t play his best, losing to UCLA on the road, 36-30, and having trouble finding open receivers. He was 17-31 with 179 yards and an interception, but once again made plays with his legs, running the ball 13 times for 112 yards and a touchdown. The Bruins were a tough opponent, but not one that should have knocked the Cornhuskers out of the rankings. He will need an all-around performance this week in order to win back the top spot.
Season: 43-65, 533 yards, 5 TD, 1 INT
3. Andrew Maxwell, Michigan State Last week: 8
Maxwell was probably the most improved quarterback this week, jumping from the eighth spot to the top three. At the start of the game against Central Michigan, he looked a bit inaccurate and intimidated in his first career road start. He settled in as the game progressed and completed 20 of 31 passes for 275 yards and his first two touchdowns of the season. Maxwell could find himself at the top of the power rankings come next week if he continues to mature and gain confidence.
Season: 42-69, 523 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT
4. Denard Robinson, Michigan Last week: 10
Denard has heard every criticism in the books and it’s only the second week of the season. The Wolverines struggled to pull away from Air Force on Saturday in Ann Arbor and edged out a close victory, 31-25. Denard dazzled the crowd with his electrifying ground attack, running the ball 20 times for 218 yards and two touchdowns. He wasn’t too bad through the air either, completing 14-25 for 208 yards and two touchdowns. There could be some trouble in Ann Arbor, however, if they rely on his legs instead of his arm to win games, injuries happen that way.
Season: 25-51, 408 yards, 3 TD, 3 INT
5. Robert Marve, Purdue Last week: 3
Marve is one of the biggest surprises in the conference and saw his stock rise to an all-time high last week after a solid 295 yard performance in a win. This week happened to be one he would like to forget, but most likely won’t be able to. Marve suffered a torn ACL this week, the third time the senior quarterback has torn his ACL, ending his season and his college career. Purdue will have to go on without their leader and it won’t be an easy task. The only reason he dropped in the power rankings is because of the injury, but before he got hurt he was 11-18 passing with 119 yards and a touchdown against Notre Dame. Despite Marve’s injury, he is still a top three quarterback in the conference.
Season: 41-56, 414 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT
6. MarQueis Gray, Minnesota Last week: 6
Gray is a solid Big Ten quarterback. He can run, he can pass and he is a leader for the Gophers that are coming off a poor season under new coach, Jerry Kill. Gray has the Gophers looking very solid through two weeks of play, blowing out New Hampshire this week, 41-7. With a score like that, you would think Gray would have had a field day through the air, but that wasn’t the case. He threw just eight passes, completing six of them for 100 yards and two touchdowns. What was more impressive was his ability to get out of the pocket and pick up yards, running 17 times for 109 yards and two touchdowns.
Season: 23-38, 369 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT
7. Danny O’Brien, Wisconsin Last week: 2
Wisconsin may have been the biggest disappointment of week two. The offense was out of sync while the defense held their own. The offense should be the best in the conference, scoring almost at will last season with Montee Ball racking up touchdown after touchdown. Russell Wilson is gone, however, and new quarterback Danny O’Brien is still trying to adjust. The senior quarterback was just 20-38 for 172 yards with one touchdown and one interception to add to his stats in a terrible 10-7 loss to Oregon State. He will continue to grasp the offense as the season goes on, but for now, he finds himself in the bottom half of the power rankings.
Season: 39-61, 391 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT
8. Matt McGloin, Penn State Last week: 11
McGloin leads the Nittany Lion nation into battle every week after a treacherous offseason. He deserves more credit than he actually receives after his solid play, but with the team almost falling apart after last season’s scandal, it has been hard to find consistent targets at receiver. Even starting running back, Silas Redd, transferred to USC in the offseason and hurt the team’s chances at weekly victories. Although they have a postseason ban, McGloin continues to play his heart out. The Nittany Lions lost another heartbreaker to Virginia last week, 17-16, and McGloin completed 19 of 35 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns. His rise in the power rankings is noticeable, but not enough to keep his team afloat.
Season: 46-83, 457 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT
9. James Vandenberg, Iowa Last week: 5
Vandenberg has lost to in-state rival Iowa State for the second straight year after an close yet uneventful 9-6 game on the road. Vandenberg was supposed to be one of the conferences best quarterbacks this season but has failed to live up to the hype through two games. He failed to impress on Saturday, completing less than half of his passing(20-42) for 236 yards and two interceptions. He has yet to throw a touchdown in the young season and that is a cause for concern for Iowa. If he can’t lead his team to the endzone consistently, the Hawkeyes could be in trouble going into conference play. Vandenberg saw one of the biggest drops in this weeks rankings, but has the potential to be a top three quarterback.
Season: 41-75, 365 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT
10. Kain Colter, Northwestern Last week: 9
I’m not so sure what to make of Kain Colter so far for the Wildcats. He has split time with backup sophomore quarterback Trevor Siemian and has looked lost at times passing the ball. Siemian on the other hand looks fantastic through the air, leading Northwestern to a week one victory in the final drive against Syracuse. Colter has the upper hand in this mini “quarterback battle”, however, being a dual-threat. Colter was just 7-15 on Saturday in a win against Vanderbilt, with a measly 42 yards through the air. His ground game was easily more impressive, running the ball 13 times for 66 yards and a touchdown. He will need to put everything together this week if he wants to make sure he is the starting pitcher throughout the season.
Season: 21-36, 177 yards, 2 TD
11. Cameron Coffman, Indiana Last week: N/A
This is kind of a last second addition. Coffman is filling in for the injured Tre Roberson who was having a solid season but broke his leg, finding himself out for 5-6 months. Coffman looked good when called on unexpectedly, throwing the ball 22 times and completing 16 of them with a touchdown. He will try to lead the 2-0 Hoosiers for the rest of the season and make sure they don’t end up missing a bowl game for yet another year. If Coffman progresses with this opportunity, they will have a hard time keeping him off the field next year.
Season: 16-22, 159 yards, 1 TD
12. Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois Last week: 12
Scheelhaase didn’t play in week two against Arizona State due to an ankle injury, and he was lucky he didn’t. The Illini got beat down in the desert, losing 45-14 behind the play of backup quarterback Reilly O’Toole. Illinois will need Scheelhaase to play like he did two seasons ago as a freshman if they want any success this year. He is probable this week against Charleston Southern and will need to play if he wants to avoid being last in the power rankings once again. He has the potential to climb to the top five, but as for now, nothing impressive enough to move him up.
Season: 11-18, 126 yards, 1 TD