At least three Big Ten quarterbacks will make their first career starts this week -- potentially four, if Michigan goes with redshirt sophomore Wilton Speight.
Some might surprise this week, some might disappoint. While we don’t know what to fully expect quite yet, we thought we’d look ahead this week by first looking back at the quarterbacks who preceded these first-time starters. Did a great first game act as an omen for a great passing season? Were most able to pull out a win? Did a solid defense doom their debuts?
We looked at the three most recent QBs to start a game for each team and then glanced back at their first career starts. So, without further ado, here's a look at those past signal-callers, along with the current QBs poised to make their first starts:
Set to make first start: QB Richard Lagow, RS junior, 6-foot-6, 237
at Florida International (2015 total defense: No. 75), Sept. 1
The strong-armed Lagow came into Bloomington as the nation’s top-rated junior-college quarterback, and coach Kevin Wilson publicly named him the starter just a few days ago. “To me, he’s playing the best,” Wilson told reporters.
Who came before him:
Nate Sudfeld, Sept. 14, 2013, vs. Bowling Green (No. 10 total defense), W 42-10: After a season sitting behind Cameron Coffman, Sudfeld came in and played nearly perfectly in his first start. He finished 17-of-26 for 335 yards, 2 TDs and no interceptions.
Zander Diamont, Oct. 18, 2014, vs. Michigan State (No. 8 total defense), L 56-17: Diamont, a true freshman, was thrown into the fire after injuries to Sudfeld and backup Chris Covington. He struggled by going 5-of-15 for 11 passing yards and also racking up minus-12 rushing yards.
Tre Roberson, Oct. 22, 2011, at Iowa (No. 60 total defense), L 45-24: After Edward Wright-Baker was dominated by Wisconsin, and Gunner Kiel decommitted, this became Roberson’s team. He finished 16-of-24 for 197 yards and a TD against Iowa, while adding 84 yards on the ground. The defense didn’t do him any favors.
Set to make first start:QB Wilton Speight, RS sophomore, 6-6, 243 OR John O’Korn, RS junior, 6-4, 215
vs. Hawaii (2015 total defense: No. 107), Sept. 3
Jim Harbaugh may know whom his starting quarterback is -- but no one else seems to. “Coach Harbaugh keeps everything a secret,” cornerback Jourdan Lewis said. If Speight gets the nod, the opener would be his first career start. O’Korn has already started 16 career games for Houston.
Who came before them:
Jake Rudock (with Iowa), Aug. 31, 2013, vs. Northern Illinois (No. 78 total defense), L 30-27: With the score tied in the closing minutes, Rudock threw a crucial pick and the Huskies parlayed that into a last-second, game-winning field goal. Rudock finished 21-of-37 for 256 yards, one TD and two interceptions. He also added 20 rushing yards and a score.
Devin Gardner, Nov. 3, 2012, at Minnesota (No. 33 total defense), W 35-13: With an injury to Denard Robinson, Gardner stepped in and turned in a QBR of 93.6. He went 12-of-18 with 234 yards, two TDs, one INT -- and rushed for 21 yards and a score. Four of Michigan’s TD drives went for 75 yards or more.
Shane Morris, Dec. 28, 2013, vs. Kansas State (No. 26 total defense) in Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, L 31-14: Morris started off well enough under a conservative game plan, but U-M couldn’t finish drives. Morris went 24-of-38 for 196 yards and one pick. He also led the team in rushing with 43 yards. “We didn’t play well enough in a lot of areas,” then-coach Brady Hoke said after the game.
Set to make first start:QB Trace McSorley, RS sophomore, 6-foot, 205
vs. Kent State (2015 total defense: No. 29), Sept. 3
McSorley saw limited time last season, but made his biggest impact after replacing an injured Christian Hackenberg in the TaxSlayer Bowl. He finished 14-of-27 for 142 yards and two touchdowns against Georgia’s No. 1 pass defense. The dual-threat won the starting job last week.
Who came before him:
Christian Hackenberg, Sept. 1, 2013, vs. Syracuse (No. 33 total defense) at MetLife Stadium, W 23-17: Hackenberg was eased into the starting job as Penn State opted for a more conservative game plan in the opener. Hackenberg finished by going 22-of-31 for 278 yards, two TDs and two INTs.
Matt McGloin, Oct. 30, 2010, vs. Michigan (No. 110 total defense), W 41-31: He became the first former walk-on to start under Joe Paterno, although his performance still didn’t permanently slide him past an injured Rob Bolden on the depth chart. McGloin went 17-of-28 with 250 yards, one TD and no interceptions in the win.
Rob Bolden, Sept. 4, 2010, vs. FCS Youngstown State, W 44-14: He was the first true freshman to start the opener at Penn State in 100 years, and he helped PSU dominate after a slow first quarter. He finished 20-of-29 for 239 yards, two TDs and one interception. He later transferred to LSU and then Eastern Michigan.
Set to make first start: QB Bart Houston, RS senior, 6-foot-4, 235
vs. LSU (2015 total defense: No. 25) at Lambeau Field, Sept. 3
Houston and redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook were embroiled in a tight QB battle, but Houston made a nice push within the last two weeks by flashing more consistency and accuracy. “I’m excited to show what I can do, to show what I’ve got,” he said.
Who came before him:
Joel Stave, Sept. 22, 2012, vs. UTEP (No. 91 total defense), W 37-26: He settled down after the first three drives, overcame an injury to Montee Ball and finished 12-of-17 for 210 yards, one TD and one INT. Jared Abbrederis caught half of those completions for 147 yards and a score.
Tanner McEvoy, Aug. 30, 2014, vs. LSU (No. 9 total defense) at NRG Stadium, L 28-24: There’s no way around it -- McEvoy’s first career start wasn't pretty. Stave was out of commission due to the “yips,” as McEvoy finished 8-of-24 for 50 yards and two interceptions. He had a QBR of 5.4.
Curt Phillips, Nov. 10, 2012, at Indiana (No. 103 total defense), W 62-14: Phillips attempted just seven passes against the Hoosiers’ hapless defense -- finishing 4-of-7 with 41 yards and one TD -- as Wisconsin rushed 64 times for a school record 564 yards and seven touchdowns.