As the football season inches closer, it’s habit to want to dig into the schedule and get to know the teams Iowa will be facing in 2017. Additionally, it’s nice to know what the Hawkeyes are up against from an individual-talent standpoint.
Today, we are taking a look at the Top 5 quarterbacks Iowa will face in 2017, along with a couple of other guys the Hawkeye D may not want to sleep on.
5. Clayton Thorson, Northwestern
Thorson is the most unorthodox dual-threat quarterback I’ve ever seen. His frame doesn’t lend itself to opponents looking for him to tuck the ball and run, but he frequently does just that – and he’s not bad at it. The 6-4, 220-pounder has thrown for over 4700 yards, 29 touchdowns and 18 interceptions during his two-year collegiate career this far. He has also carried the ball 197 times for 495 yards and 10 scores, which aren’t gaudy numbers, but enough to consider Thorson a legitimate running threat on any given play.
In the two games he’s played against Iowa so far, he has a record of 1-1, completing 35 of 65 passes for 289 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
4. David Blough, Purdue
Blough is one of the more underrated signal-callers in the nation – thanks largely to the uniform he wears. In not quite two full seasons as a starter, the Texas native thrown for nearly 5,000 yards, 35 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. He has topped the 250-yard mark through the air nine times.
Most of his interceptions can be attributed to shoddy line play, forcing him to get rid of the ball earlier than he’d like to do. That said – as Nebraska found out in 2015 – Blough can be deadly accurate when given time. That year, he completed 28 of 43 attempts against the Blackshirts for 274 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions en route to a 55-45 Purdue victory.
3. Josh Allen, Wyoming
Allen was kicked around by some draft analysts as a guy who could be the first quarterback taken overall in the 2017 NFL Draft had he declared. Well, he didn’t, and he’ll be live and in person in Iowa City to face the Hawkeyes in their season opener. The prototypical pocket passer has all of the physical tools and football IQ to dissect any college defense he faces.
He broke out last season, completing 56 percent of his passes for 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He’ll be more than just a formidable test for a young Iowa secondary.
2. J.T. Barrett, Ohio State
Barrett is about as big of a household name as you’ll find in college football in 2017. He’s been in the limelight for the better part of the last three seasons, helping guide Ohio State back to the Mount Rushmore of the sport.
The senior signal-caller is built like a running back and blessed with the athleticism to play that position. He’s also very cerebral and has the ability to make every throw. Cliché as it sounds; you really do need to pick your poison when trying to stop Barrett. He’s put up over 6,300 passing yards, nearly 2,500 rushing yards and accounted for exactly 100 touchdowns for the Buckeyes during his tenure in Columbus.
1. Trace McSorely, Penn State
One year ago, nobody would have dreamed of sliding McSorely into this slot. One season, one Big Ten East title, one Big Ten Conference championship and one Rose Bowl shootout with everybody’s All-American later and the kid under center in Happy Valley is the Big Man in the conference.
McSorely brings a linebacker’s mentality to the quarterback position – fitting for a quarterback at Linebacker U. He seems to will his team to victory – much like C.J. Beathard did during his time in Iowa City.
He really only has a single season of stats to be judged by, but those 2016 numbers (3,614 passing yard, 29 touchdowns, 8 interceptions) combined with his intangibles set him apart.
Don’t sleep on: Wisconsin’s Alex Hornibrook and Nebraska’s Tanner Lee