Predicting every Big Ten football team’s starting quarterback for 2022

The Big Ten football season is over and the playoffs were quite successful with a 6-4 conference, capped by the classic and spectacular victory for Ohio State over Utah at the Rose Bowl (thanks for nothing yet the Michigan).

Over the next few weeks – and hell, who are we kidding – for the next few months and beyond, we’ll be looking ahead. Sometimes it will be Buckeye specific, and other times we’ll dive into the whole Big Ten conference. In fact, we’re doing it now by predicting who will be the starting quarterback for each team in the conference in 2022.

Some, like Ohio State, are easy to get along with, while we’ll have to make a call with others depending on the reading that comes up and where some quarterbacks have the potential to go.

Here’s our call on who will be the starting quarterback for each Big Ten football team in 2022.

Illinois fighter Illini – Artur Sitkowski

October 23, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, United States; Illinois Fighting Illini quarterback Artur Sitkowski (9) runs with the ball against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the first half at Beaver Stadium. Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The situation

Sitkowski was given the keys to the starting point last season but suffered a broken arm and was lost for the season. He should be back for another race.

Statistics last season

74 of 148 (50.0%), 704 yards, 6 TDs, 2 INT

Indiana Hoosiers – Jack Tuttle

November 13, 2021; Bloomington, Indiana, United States; Indiana Hoosiers quarterback Jack Tuttle (14) before the Rutgers game against the Scarlet Knights at Memorial Stadium. Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

The situation

Michael Penix, Jr. has entered the transfer portal and that means this team will likely be Jack Tuttles’. He has shown his ability to throw the ball into the field and has the experience to lead the offense.

Statistics last season

45 of 87 (51.7%), 423 yards, 2 TDs, 5 INT

Iowa Hawkeyes – Spencer Petras

Iowa sophomore quarterback Spencer Petras shoots a second quarterback shot against Wisconsin on Saturday, December 12, 2020, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The situation

There is no doubt that Petras will be the starter next year, barring unforeseen circumstances. The offense hasn’t exactly buzzed under his leadership, but should be more of a threat with a year of experience.

Statistics last season

165 of 288 (57.3%), 1,880 yards, 10 touchdowns, 9 INT

Maryland Terrapins – Taulia Tagovailoa

November 7, 2020; University Park, Pennsylvania, United States; Maryland Terrapins quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa (3) runs with the ball against the Penn State Nittany Lions in the fourth quarter at Beaver Stadium. Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The situation

Taulia Tagovailoa is back for another season, and if he has shown what he can be at the top of the ceiling, he just needs to be more consistent. Either way, it should be his team to lead in 2022.

Statistics last season

328 of 474 (69.2%), 3,860 yards, 26 touchdowns, 11 INT

Michigan Wolverine – Cade McNamara

Michigan QB Cade McNamara

Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara (12) looks on before passing a pass against Western Michigan during the first half on Saturday, September 4, 2021, at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The situation

Despite using JJ McCarthy in some packages, Cade McNamara has assimilated well to the best option under center this season. There will be a competition with the more mobile McCarthy given a starting chance, but it’s hard to pull off what McNamara has been doing this season. He should be the guy again with McCarthy still coming in every now and then for a different look.

Statistics last season

210 of 327 (64.2%), 2,576 yards, 15 touchdowns, 6 INT

Michigan State Spartans Payton Thorne

Michigan State Spartans quarterback Payton Thorne (10) kicks the ball against the Maryland Terrapins in the first half of action on Saturday, November 13, 2021 at Spartan Stadium. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The situation

Thorne was the surprising winner of the starting post last season and had one whale per year. He’s back and will be the guy without too much drama.

Statistics last season

235 of 389 (60.4%), 3,240 yards, 27 touchdowns, 10 INT

Minnesota Golden Gopher – Tanner Morgan

November 20, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States; Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan (2) steps back for a first-half assist against the Purdue Boilermakers at TCF Bank Stadium. Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The situation

Tanner Morgan has announced a return for an additional year of eligibility and there is no doubt that he will be the starter with the experience and talent he brings to the program.

Statistics last season

149 of 249 (59.8%), 2,044 yards, 10 TDs, 9 INT

Nebraska Cornhuskers – Casey Thompson

November 26, 2021; Austin, Texas, United States; Texas Longhorns quarterback Casey Thompson (11) throws a pass during the first half against the Kansas State Wildcats at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

The situation

It’s going to be weird to watch a Nebraska game without Adrian Martinez under center, but he entered the transfer portal and won’t be with the schedule. Former Texas quarterback Casey Thompson returns the other way on the freeway from the transfer portal. Look for him to take over and be the guy next year for Scott Frost.

Statistics last season

165 of 261 (63.2%), 2,113 yards, 24 touchdowns, 9 INT

Northwestern Wildcats, Ryan Hilinski

October 30, 2021; Evanston, Illinois, United States; Northwestern Wildcats quarterback Ryan Hilinski (12) passes the ball in the first half against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Ryan Field. Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

The situation

Ryan Hilinski and Andrew Marty have split their time during the season, but with Marty on the way, Hilinski is expected to be online to start next year.

Statistics last season

95 of 176 (54.0%), 978 yards, 3 TDs, 4 INT

Ohio State Buckeyes – CJ Stroud

Ohio State football breaks five Rose Bowl records in win over Utah

Sat Jan 1, 2022; Pasadena, California, United States; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback CJ Stroud (7) celebrates after a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the 108th Rose Bowl game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Utah Utes at the Rose Bowl. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The situation

Of course, Stroud will be the clear owner next year. You don’t put on the show he’s put on this season, including going to New York as a Heisman finalist, and you don’t get a grip on the starting work. It should be another fun campaign in 2022 for the OSU offense.

Statistics last season

317 of 441 (71.9%), 4,435 yards, 44 touchdowns, 6 INT

Penn State Nittany Lions – Sean Clifford

Ohio State vs. Penn State: Behind Enemy Lines with Nittany Lions Wire

October 23, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, United States; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) runs with the ball against the Illinois Fighting Illini during overtime at Beaver Stadium. Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The situation

Sean Clifford started the 2021 season on fire, then caught the injury bug and struggled to find consistency finishing the year. Still, he’s a seasoned starter and will be the guy next year.

Statistics last season

261 of 428 (61.0%), 3,860 yards, 21 touchdowns, 8 INT

Purdue Boilermakers – Aidan O’Connell

Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell waves to his receivers before taking the shot in the third quarter against Iowa on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The situation

O’Connell has had a hugely productive year in 2021 and returns to that base in 2022. It’s his team and Purdue’s offense should hum into the passing game again.

Statistics last season

314 of 440 (71.6%), 3,712 yards, 28 touchdowns, 11 INT

Rutgers Scarlet Knights – Gavin Wimsatt

Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Gavin Wimsatt (9) throws the ball during the fourth quarter on Friday, December 31, 2021 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. Deacons Wake Forest Demon and Rutgers Scarlet Knights faced off in the 2021 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. Wake Forest defeated Rutgers 38-10. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

The situation

Noah Vedral is the returning starter, but Gavin Wimsatt is the future in the post with much greater potential and a ton of hype. Whether Vedral starts the year or not, it looks like Wimsatt has to be the guy to give the team the best chance of winning as the season progresses.

Statistics last season

9 of 21 (42.9%), 45 yards, 0 touchdowns, 2 INT

Wisconsin Badgers – Graham Mertz

Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz (5) scores a second quarter touchdown against the Army on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin Samantha Madar / USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

The situation

Graham Mertz may not have found the sweet spot of consistency yet, but he still has the best arm and best talent of any quarterback that Madison has come across in recent memory. He will be the leader of this team again, and if he can bottle all that potential, it will definitely marry a whale from a racing game and be a problem for the rest of the league.

Statistics last season

169 of 284 (59.5%), 1,958 yards, 10 TDs, 11 INT

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