Image Credit:

5 Big Time QB’s in the Big Ten

It is said that quarterback is THE most important position on the football field, with offensive success revolving around the solid play of a savvy signal-caller.

In the Big Ten, five quarterbacks return in 2022 that had successful campaigns in 2021, with all five passing for over 3,000 yards.

C.J. Stroud (6–3, 218, Sophomore), Ohio State

As a freshman in 2021, Stroud looked like the second coming of Dwayne Haskins (rest in peace) and led an offense that scored 45 points per game.

Stroud threw for 4435 yards, 44 TDs, and only 6 INTs (in 441 pass attempts). He completed 71.9% of his passes and averaged 369 passing yards per game. Those numbers were good enough for a #3 ranking in the FBS.

Image Credit:

Stroud posted six games with over 300 yards passing and four games with 400 yards passing.

The Rose Bowl

Stroud led the Buckeyes to a Rose Bowl berth against PAC-12 champion Utah. The game was a battle for the ages, but Stroud led Ohio State to a 48–45 victory. Stroud was 37 of 46 passing (80%) for 573 yards and 6 touchdowns.

On the year, Stroud posted 2 games with 4 passing TDs, 3 games with 5 passing TDs, and 2 games throwing for 6 TDs.

Going into the 2022 Season

Stroud is going to have a few weapons back to throw to in star WR Jackson Smith-Njigba (95 catches, 1606 yards, and 9 TDs) and WR Marvin Harrison Jr. (12-yard average, 3 TDs) who looks ready to take the next step in becoming another in a long line of great Ohio State receivers.

Throw in RB TreVeyon Henderson (312 yards receiving, 4 TDs) and the Buckeye passing offense is going to be just as potent as last season.

Week 1 Opponent

The Buckeyes face off against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame on September 3rd.

Taulia Tagovailoa (5–11, 200 Junior), Maryland

In a record-setting season, Tagovailoa led the Terps to a 7–6 record and a bowl berth. He set the following single-season records:

  • 3860 passing yards
  • 328 pass completions
  • 69% completion percentage
  • 26 passing TDs
  • Seven 300-yard passing games

He threw for 419 yards and 2 TDs in a 38–35 win over Indiana.

Tagovailoa threw 11 INTs on the season, with almost half of that total coming in a brutal 37-point loss to Iowa. But over his last seven games though, he only threw three INTs.

Image Credit:

New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Tagovailoa garnered the MVP award of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl after going 20 of 24 (83%) for 265 yards and 2 TDs. in a 54–10 win over Virginia Tech.

Going into the 2022 Season

He will have dependable targets back to throw to in WR Rakim Jarrett (62 catches, 829 yards, 5 TDs, 13-yard average) and WR Dontay Demus, Jr. (28 catches 507 yards, 3 TDs, 18-yard average in 6 games). Demus was lost for the remainder of the season due to injury.

Week 1 Opponent

The Terps host Buffalo to kick off the season on Saturday, September 3rd.

Aidan O’Connell (6–3, 210, Senior), Purdue

O’Connell is back as the starter for a third year. He passed for 3708 yards and 28 touchdowns but did throw 11 INTs. O’Connell completed 70.8% of his passes and ranked #9 in the FBS with 309 passing yards per game.

Image Credit:

The Purdue passing offense ranked second in the Big Ten at 355 yards per game. O’Connell posted five games of over 300 yards passing, two games of over 500 yards passing, one game with 5 passing TDs, and one game with 6 touchdown passes.

He went five straight weeks without throwing a INT.

The Music City Bowl

Against Tennessee in the Music City Bowl, O’Connell threw for 534 yards, 5 touchdowns and 3 INTs and led the Boilermakers to a 48–45 win to finish the season at 9–4, their highest win total in almost two decades.

Going into the 2022 Season

Due to academic issues and injuries in the wide receiver room, O’Connell will throw to WR TJ Sheffield (36 catches, 325 yards, 5 TDs), Mershawn Rice, and Deion Burks.

Week 1 Opponent

The conference schedule starts off hot right out of the gate as Purdue hosts the Nittany Lions of Penn State in a Thursday night game on September 1st.

Payton Thorne (6–2, 210, Junior), Michigan State

Thorne led the Spartans to eight straight wins to start the season before losing to Purdue. He passed for 3233 yards and a school-record 27 TDs, and 10 INTs., and completed 60% of his passes.

Image Credit:

Thorne posted 3 games with over 300 yards passing and 3 games with 4 passing TDs.

The Chick-fil-A Bowl

Michigan State went 3–2 over the last five games to earn a bid to a New Year’s Six bowl. They accepted a bid to the Chick-fil-A Bowl to take on Pitt.

Thorne passed for 354 yards and a TD in a 31–21 win over the Panthers. He threw the ball 50 times in the game and threw 1 INT.

The Spartans finished the year at 11–2 and ranked #9 in the final AP Poll.

Going into the 2022 Season

Thorne will have 1000-yard receiver Jayden Reed back as his #1 target. Reed caught 59 of Thorne’s passes for 1026 yards and 10 TDs. He averaged 17 yards per catch.

Reed had 6 catches for 80 yards and 2 TDs in the win over Pitt.

Week 1 Opponent

Michigan State hosts Western Michigan on Friday night, September 2nd.

Sean Clifford (6–2, 219 Senior), Penn State

Over the last three season, super senior Sean Clifford has started 33 games at quarterback for the Nittany Lions. He is one of three payers in school history who have gained more than 8000 yards of total offense.

Image Credit:

In 2021, Clifford passed for 3107 yards, 21 TDs, and 8 INTs. He completed 61% of his passes.

He posted three games with over 300 yards passing and three games with 3 passing touchdowns. Over a four week stretch, Clifford did not throw an INT.

Against Villanova, Clifford passed for 401 yards and 4 TDs in a 38–17 win.

The Outback Bowl

In one of his worst games of the season, Clifford was just 14 of 32 for 195 yards and a touchdown (2 INTs) in 24–10 loss to Arkansas in the Outback Bowl.

Going into the 2022 Season

Clifford will have some experienced and productive receivers to throw to in WR Parker Washington (64 catches, 820 yards, 4 TDs) and Western Kentucky transfer Mitchell Tinsley (87 catches, 1402 yards, and 14 TDs).

Week 1 Opponent

The Nittany Lions start conference play right off the bat in a Thursday night game September 1st on the road at Purdue.

Thanks for reading

Material for this article was sourced from, and Athlon’s College Football Preview Magazine, Vol.28/2022.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Tony Thomas

Tony Thomas


I’m a Grandparent, military veteran, and college football junkie. I operate the website Email: