As each week passes in college football season, more questions and unknowns become answered. Contenders turn into pretenders and surprise teams officially turn into contenders. The same rings true for quarterbacks. Some QBs play really well against lower level talent and struggle against elite talent, some are mediocre or average against any level of talent, some play up or down to their competition, and some straight up ball regardless who they are going up against. It is important to also mention that some QBs are hurt by the lack of talent around them and some look better than they are by how good the talent around them is. Since we are only entering Week 2, we have a lot of unknowns at the quarterback position for multiple schools. We will dive into 5 of the most interesting match ups going into Week 2 for Group of 5 QBs. The list is in no specific order.
- Blake Barnett, South Florida vs Georgia Tech – The former five star-recruit out of high school who has made stops at Alabama and Arizona State stared his first game for the Bulls this past week against Elon. Barnett looked great against the FCS opponent throwing for 305yds and 3tds, while adding 31yds on the ground and a rushing score. Georgia Tech held FCS opponent Alcorn State to 0 points Week 1. Georgia Tech’s defense is a big step up for USF and Barnett. This is not a make or break game for Barnett, but we should have a better idea what to expect from Barnett against better competition after this game. However, it is important to remember that this will only be Barnett’s third career start at the college level. Georgia Tech is about a 3-point favorite going in.
- D’Eriq King, UH vs Arizona – This will be just an interesting game overall with all the other storylines surrounding the game (Sumlin going up against his former school, Tate’s down performance Week 1, etc). With Arizona dropping the opening game Week 1, they can’t afford a loss to Group of 5 school UH. UH struggled a bit Week 1 against Rice, but eventually found their groove and won by 18 points. King did not have to use his legs much to beat Rice, but against Arizona I think that will be a different story. Look for King to run a bit more against Arizona than he did against Rice, which in theory could open up some passing lanes for him. This should be a good test for King in what will be his first start against a Power 5 school.
- Ty Gangi, Nevada vs Vanderbilt – Gangi had a strong performance Week 1 against FCS opponent Portland State throwing for 342yds and 3tds with his team winning 72-19. Vanderbilt held a good offensive Middle Tennessee State team to 7 points during a Week 1 victory. Gangi had a strong year last year throwing for 25tds and over 2,700yds through the air. I am high on Gangi this year and expect him to have a strong senior season. I think most people feel like Gangi will play well during conference play, but this will be a fun game to watch to see how he does against an SEC defense. Vanderbilt is better this year then given credit for.
- Justice Hansen, Arkansas State vs Alabama – First off, I don’t think there is any reason to dive into Bama’s defense, anyone reading this article knows all they need to know about how good Bama is. As long as Saban is there, they will be a top defense year in and year out. Hansen had 6tds against FCS opponent Southeast Missouri State Week 1. Hansen is the best QB in the Sun-Belt and is arguably one of the top QBs from any Group of 5 Conference. He is a big, athletic, strong armed QB who will have a shot to play at the next level. Bama is obviously a huge favorite here, but I still think it will be interesting to watch. Regardless how the game goes, Hansen will still be considered one of the best QBs from the Group of 5. However, if they put up a good fight against Bama it will be largely due to Hansen’s play and people may start considering him as the best QB from the Group of 5.
- Marcus McMaryion, Fresno State vs Minnesota – Fresno opened up with FCS Idaho (used to be in the FBS) Week 1 and won 79-13. Last year was McMaryion’s first full season starting and he put up good numbers throwing for over 2,700yds and 14tds. He also added over 300yds on the ground and 4 rushing scores. McMaryion should have a good senior season, but is probably the QB on this list that I know least about, so I am looking forward to seeing how he plays against a Minnesota defense that only gave up 10 points to New Mexico State Week 1.
Hansen, Gangi, and McMaryion are the only QBs on this list to have at least a full year of starting experience under their belt. King only started a handful of games last year and as previously mentioned, this will be Barnett’s third career collegiate start. I think each QB on this list will end up having a good season, but we should know more about King and Barnett after this week, and it will be fun to watch Hansen, Gangi, and McMaryion go up against Power 5 defenses.