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MAC QB1 Power Rankings: Ohio's Kurtis Rourke with 500 completions and counting
EMU's Austin Smith moves up, so does Western Michigan's quarterback (even though their QB1 sat out last week).
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#1 Kurtis Rourke - Ohio
Kurtis Rourke stats (season): 76/119 passing (63.9%), 909 yards (7.6 Y/A), 8 TD, 2 INT; 27 rush att., 133 yards (4.93 avg.), 1 TD
In a blowout performance over Kent State, Kurtis Rourke completed his 500th career pass, just the third Ohio Bobcat to reach that milestone.
Like I said before, Rourke’s going to be sitting up top of this list probably for the rest of the year until I absolutely need to put somebody else up here. He was a clean 20/32 passing for 300 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT vs. Kent State, and added his first rushing score of the year.
#2 Dequan Finn - Toledo
Dequann Finn stats (season): 88/133 passing (66.2%), 1,099 yards (8.3 Y/A), 12 TD, 5 INT; 62 rush att.; 413 yards (6.66 avg.), 4 rush TD
Dequan Finn torched UMass’ defense with his legs on Saturday. His 172 yards on the ground is the most by a UT QB, and has the season’s highest completion percentage of all the full-time MAC starters at 66.2%.
But should he have done more damage through the air against UMass? The Minutemen were without two starting corners and a safety, and Finn still finished 15/23 with a yards-per-attempt average of just 6.04 yards, 2 TD and 1 INT. Maybe it doesn’t matter when you rush for 383 yards as a team and win by a ton on the road, but
#3 Brett Gabbert - Miami OH
Brett Gabbert stats (season): 77/124 passing, (62.1%), 1,232 yards (9.9 Y/A), 12 TD, 3 INT; 36 rush att., 113 rush yards (3.14 avg.), 0 rush TD
This season, Brett Gabbert’s had games with completion percentages in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, but I still wouldn’t call him an inconsistent passer. Gabbert hasn’t thrown an interception in any of the last three games and has MAC-leading marks in QB rating (172.64), yards per attempt (9.9), and average depth of target (12.8). Against BG, Gabbert was 15/18 throwing with 2 TD and 47 rushing yards.
#4 Rocky Lombardi - Northern Illinois
Rocky Lombardi stats (season): 82/146 passing, (56.2%), 1015 yards (7 Y/A), 5 TD, 4 INT; 30 rush att., -8 rush yards (-0.27 avg.), 2 rush TD
Northern Illinois absolutely demolished Akron over the weekend in a revenge game. Akron beat the Huskies last year, but NIU wasn’t having any of it this time. Rocky Lombardi two throwing scores in the first half (game: 10/15, 191 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT) and wasn’t really needed on the ground. Antario Brown had 280 rushing yards on 13 carries (21.5 avg.) and scored 4 times. Over the last two games, Lombardi is 31 for 46 passing (67.4%) for 449 yards (9.76 Y/A) with 4 TD and 0 INT.
#5 Cole Snyder - Buffalo
Cole Snyder stats (season): 135/222 passing, (60.8%), 1307 yards (5.9 Y/A), 11 TD, 4 INT; 41 rush att., 41 rush yards (1 avg.), 0 rush TD
Cole Snyder is the only quarterback in the MAC that’s consistently played in every game for their team since last season. Injuries have taken away playing time from all of the quarterbacks listed above Snyder at some point last year (and for a little bit of this year, with Rourke), and most of the quarterbacks listed below Snyder on here are new to the MAC scene.
Snyder’s a pretty good athlete out there, so I’m not surprised to see why Buffalo has stuck with him since the move from Rutgers. But he’s not asked to throw many deep shots (7.6 avg. depth of target, per Pro Football Focus) and that might explain why UB’s offense is tied for the MAC lead in third-down attempts (92 plays, 29 conversions).
#6 Treyson Bourguet - Western Michigan
Treyson Bourguet stats (season): 51/93 passing (54.8%), 676 yards (7.3 Y/A), 4 TD, 1 INT; 31 rush att., 53 yards (1.71 avg.)
Jack Salopek stats (season): 42/63 passing, (66.7%), 316 yards (5 Y/A), 1 TD, 2 INT; 18 rush att., 38 rush yards (2.11 avg.), 0 rush TD
Hayden Wolff stats (season): 30/44 passing, (68.%), 309 yards (7 Y/A), 3 TD, 1 INT)
WMU didn’t even play its starting QB Saturday, but I’m really happy with how the backup played at Mississippi State and I don’t love how other QBs in the MAC fared at the same time. So some changes had to happen in here, and one of them is having WMU’s QB1 move up from #9 to #6.
To wrap up non-conference play in the middle of the season, Western Michigan didn’t use QB Treysoun Bourget, RB Jalen Buckley, or D-lineman Marshawn Kneeland, preventing possible injuries for them at Mississippi State. At QB, Jack Salopek got the start, but Hayden Wolff stole the show once he hit the field. He was 27/35 for 262 yards, 3 TD and 1 INT and it was only his second game played with his new team.
#7 Layne Hatcher - Ball State
Layne Hatcher stats (season): 61/95 passing, (64.2%), 565 yards (5.9 Y/A), 4 TD, 1 INT; 20 rush att., -53 rush yards (-2.65 avg.), 1 rush TD
Kiael Kelly (season): 7/15 passing, (46.7%), 95 yards (6.3 Y/A), 0 TD, 0 INT; 32 rush att., 181 rush yards (5.66 avg.), 0 rush TD
Ball State seems like it wants to keep Layne Hatcher as the primary, passing QB with Kiael Kelly coming in for plays that require more mobility. Hatcher certainly had more success playing at Western Michigan than it did at Eastern Michigan. Hatcher has the second-highest passing percentage of the MAC QB1’s and the lowest interception rate (1.05%), but his average depth of target is lower than any of the QBs (6.7) and is a huge liability with his feet.
#8 Jase Bauer - Central Michigan
Jase Bauer stats (season): 79/134 passing, (59%), 879 yards (6.6 Y/A), 4 TD, 4 INT; 40 rush att., 139 rush yards (3.48 avg.), 6 rush TD
Jase Bauer was asked to throw the ball 49 times against Buffalo last week.
Throwing the football almost 50 times maybe isn’t what CMU had in mind coming into the road trip to Buffalo, but the Chips were seriously limited on the ground (no RB finished above 27 rush yards), and the Bulls got off to a big lead early. All three of Bauer’s interceptions thrown were to the same guy and two of them were returned for touchdowns. Simply not Bauer’s day and his season totals as a passer are pretty average, but he’s still so threatening on the ground.
#9 Austin Smith - Eastern Michigan
Austin Smith stats (season): 85/139 passing, (61.2%), 834 yards (6 Y/A), 5 TD, 3 INT; 60 rush att., 100 rush yards (1.67 avg.), 1 rush TD
Austin Smith is still missing some wide-open throws on the field, but he’s still playing much better over these last two games than he did in the previous three. But Smith’s biggest problem is that he’s still prone to getting sacked too much (11.3% sack rate). Over the last two games, Smith is 38/54 passing (70.3%) with 3 TD and 0 INT, but went from 71 rush yards at CMU to -20 at home to Ball State.
#10 Connor Bazelak - Bowling Green
Connor Bazelak stats (season): 75/130 passing, (57.7%), 821 yards (6.3 Y/A), 4 TD, 6 INT; 17 rush att., -33 rush yards (-1.94 avg.), 1 rush TD
Camden Orth stats (season): 18/30 passing, (60%), 214 yards (7.1 Y/A), 1 TD, 2 INT; 23 rush att., 44 rush yards (1.91 avg.), 1 rush TD
I don’t need to justify the placement of BG’s starting quarterback with any more information outside of his interception thrown to Miami over the weekend. Just one throw from Connor Bazelak made me forget that Bowling Green ever beat Georgia Tech. (Then I remembered when I watched the Georgia Tech-Miami FL game).
#11 Tahj Bullock - Akron
Jeff Undercuffler stats (season): 88/133 passing (66.2%), 722 yards (5.4 Y/A), 3 TD, 3 INT; 61 rush att.; 215 yards (3.52 avg.), 2 rush TD
Tahj Bullock stats (season): 19/35 passing, (54.3%), 146 yards (4.2 Y/A), 1 TD, 1 INT; 30 rush att., 61 rush yards (2.03 avg.), 2 rush TD
Didn’t expect Tahj Bullock to be the guy after D.J. Irons was DQ’d from the season (ACL tear), but Joe Moorhead gave the Virginia Tech transfer the ball against Northern Illinois. Bullock can play some, but he’s still so green to the scene and didn’t get a chance to do much of anything against NIU.
#12 Michael Alaimo - Kent State
Michael Alaimo stats (season): 70/122 passing, (57.4%), 870 yards (7.1 Y/A), 2 TD, 4 INT; 46 rush att., -52 rush yards (-1.13 avg.), 1 rush TD
Michael Alaimo was sacked six times against Ohio, that’s a total of 21 times this year he’s been brought down (13.3% sack rate). Good on him to get his first TD pass against an FBS school over the weekend, but this team’s not talented enough to let him have any more success than what he’s already seeing.