Discover more from The Ypsilanti Eleven
MAC QB1 Power Rankings: "Go F***'n Zips, Baby"
Akron's QB slides up, Buffalo's slides [way] down
#1 Dequan Finn - Toledo
Dequan Finn stats (season): 131/207 passing (63.3%), 1,601 yards (7.7 Y/A), 15 TD, 6 INT; 89 rush att., 489 yards (5.49 avg.), 5 rush TD
Dequan Finn is the only quarterback playing for an undefeated (in-conference) MAC team, and is coming off of a respectable game over Buffalo (12/19, 176 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), but if we’re being honest, Finn didn’t need to play at a super high level when the rest of the team around him took care of business. Finn hasn’t been consistently spectacular this season and is still at #1 only because Brett Gabbert is out for the year. But Finn’s leading his MAC team to a perfect conference season right now and no other program can say that about their QB right now. Finn has the most passing TD (15) in the MAC, highest QBR (146.37) among active starters, and has the best rushing season for a MAC QB too (89 rush, 489 yards, 5 TD).
#2 Kurtis Rourke - Ohio
Kurtis Rourke stats (season): 147/233 passing (63.1%), 1,656 yards (7.1 Y/A), 10 TD, 5 INT; 46 rush att., 195 yards (4.24 avg.), 2 rush TD
Even after the Miami loss, I can’t really slide Rourke down until I feel very comfortable with somebody else coming up to #2 on this list. Rourke’s clearly not playing up to his 100% self and hasn’t been all year. He hasn’t overwhelmed defenses in the same ways that he did last year, but he’s still, easily, one of the top QBs in this conference — none of his MAC games this year have been below a 60% passing mark. Rourke wears a lot of responsibility already for how the NIU game was lost, but I don’t think he’s exactly the reason this team lost to Miami.
#3 Rocky Lombardi - Northern Illinois
Rocky Lombardi stats (season): 138/237 passing (58.2%), 1,658 yards (7 Y/A), 9 TD, 5 INT; 47 rush att., 43 yards (0.91 avg.), 3 rush TD
Considering just how big and thick the snow came down, I’m so thankful that we all got the incredibly Midwestern experience of seeing a Lombardi in that snow game. No, it wasn’t the biggest snowfall we’ve ever seen for MACtion, but it sure was quite an experience for anybody to come home from trick-or-treating to see what kind of snow mid-Michigan saw on October 31.
The heavy stuff didn’t last long, and the shoveled-up yard markers were visible the rest of the way. Lombardi owes Trayvon Rudolph a steak dinner for taking a screen pass 72 yards to the house to break into CMU’s big lead, and Grayson Barnes helped out with another screen-play score to make it a 37-24 game in the fourth quarter. Then Lombardi played strong through its 74-yard drive to make it a one-score game. But with just over a minute left, Lombardi threw an interception at midfield for CMU to effectively run the clock out. A commendable performance up until the interception (20/35, 298 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT, 31 rush yards).
#4 Hayden Wolff - Western Michigan
Hayden Wolff stats (season): 88/132 passing (66.7%), 867 yards (6.6 Y/A), 5 TD, 2 INT; 23 rush att., 47 yards (2.04 avg.), 2 rush TD
If we’re only reading box scores, Hayden Wolff was out-played by Austin Smith at EMU. But EMU got waxed by Western, and Wolff’s 15/26 for 169 yards and 1 TD makes more sense when you remember just how short of a field WMU played on. There were six drives that started on the 50-yard line or better, and scored two safeties with its defense. Wolff didn’t need to have the game of his life, but he still had a fine day despite a low (for him) 57.7% completion rate.
#5 Aveon Smith - Miami OH
Aveon Smith stats (season): 11/23 passing (47.8%), 163 yards (7.1 Y/A), 1 TD, 0 INT; 23 rush att., 71 yards (3.09 avg.), 1 rush TD
Big game for Aveon Smith to play one of the toughest defenses in the league to a victory. Guess it helps when he also sees one of the tougher defenses in the MAC on a regular basis at practice. Smith was 7/10 passing for 103 passing yards with 1 passing and 1 rushing touchdown, and posted a QB rating of 172.3.
#6 Jase Bauer - Central Michigan
Jase Bauer stats (season): 124/213 passing (58.2%), 1,337 yards (6.3 Y/A), 6 TD, 6 INT; 90 rush att., 329 yards (3.66 avg.), 9 rush TD
Jase Bauer, the winner of the aforementioned Big, Thick Snow Game, is responsible for 3 TD scored against the Huskies with more rush attempts than passes. I don’t love Bauer’s passing game, but he’s stood upright long enough and has been a strong enough runner to warrant him moving up on this list.
#7 Austin Smith, when healthy - Eastern Michigan
Austin Smith stats (season): 123/215 passing (57.2%), 1,334 yards (6.2 Y/A), 7 TD, 6 INT; 80 rush att., 96 yards (1.2 avg.), 1 rush TD
Austin Smith didn’t get the start on Saturday, but it wasn’t necessarily due to a benching. Smith, now with heavily-taped ankles, wasn’t as available for practice as much as Ike Udengwu III was, and Udengwu got his first start of the season. However, without any production out of Udengwu (6/10 passing, 58 yards) and an in-game eye-poking/injury suffered, Smith, who got the late thumbs-up from EMU’s medical team to play, was the third QB EMU fielded after Cam’Ron McCoy threw an interception early in the second quarter.
Without being able to play to his full ability, Smith ended up having, maybe, his best day throwing the football past the sticks. Smith was 15/25 passing for 231 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. That was the first time Smith threw for 200 yards in a game.
#8 Jeff Undercuffler - Akron
Jeff Undercuffler stats (season): 83/135 passing (61.5%), 896 yards (6.6 Y/A), 4 TD, 6 INT)
After a 21-point fourth quarter for Akron to come back and beat Kent State for the Wagon Wheel, there’s really only one thing to say: “Go Fuck’n Zips, Baby.”
Undercuffler’s not exactly Charlie Frye 2.0 out there, but I will honor his 23/39 for 298 yards-passing performance against the Flashes, especially since too many QBs this year have had too much trouble putting up that kind of a stat line.
#9 Cole Snyder - Buffalo
Cole Snyder stats (season): 172/311 passing (55.3%), 1,683 yards (5.4 Y/A), 12 TD, 9 INT; 55 rush att., 76 yards (1.38 avg.), 1 rush TD
It’s time to finally slide Cole Snyder down on this list. Since his 33% passing day against Bowling Green, he was 54.5% at Kent State, then 34.1% on Tuesday at Toledo. He threw only one touchdown pass in the month of October and has the second-worst yards per attempt average among MAC starters (5.4).
#10 Connor Bazelak - Bowling Green
Connor Bazelak stats (season): 94/162 passing (58%), 1,018 yards (6.3 Y/A), 7 TD, 6 INT; 25 rush att., -47 yards (-1.88 avg.), 1 rush TD
Connor Bazelak has had a very uninspiring season behind center for the Falcons. Since the Georgia Tech upset, he was 8/17 passing against Miami, 6/11 against Akron, and 13/21 over Ball State. To show you how much of a liability he is running the football, Bazelak’s -208 rushing yards is the worst mark of starting MAC QBs this year.
#11 Tommy Ulatowski - Kent State
Tommy Ulatowski stats (season): 34/71 passing (47.9%), 437 yards (6.2 Y/A), 6 TD, 1 INT; 35 rush att., 123 yards (3.51 avg.), 1 rush TD
To Tommy Ulatowski’s credit, he played a solid game with four total touchdowns against Akron. The issue is that the offense didn’t keep its foot down on the pedal in the fourth quarter and let the Zips come back and score 21 unanswered points.
#12 Kiael Kelly - Ball State
Kiael Kelly (season): 33/66 passing (50%), 300 yards (4.5 Y/A), 0 TD, 1 INT; 85 rush att., 434 yards (5.11 avg.), 4 rush TD
I think Kiael Kelly has the juice, but I know for a fact that he doesn’t have much production this year. It’s a broken year all around him at Ball State, and he certainly has more potential than sitting at the bottom of this list. But for now, it only makes sense to have him down at the bottom.