Debate It: 2013 Big Ten passing yards leader?

A year ago, few, if any, would have pegged Penn State’s Matt McGloin to lead the Big Ten in passing yards. He did, and did so in dominating fashion, finishing 395 yards ahead of Taylor Martinez despite playing two fewer games. Will another unexpected, under-the-radar guy lead the Big Ten in passing yards in 2013?’s Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina offer their picks in this post.

2012 leader: Matt McGloin, Penn State – 3,266
2013 returning leader: Taylor Martinez, Nebraska – 2,871

Tom: It will be whoever is quarterbacking Indiana: Tre Roberson, Cameron Coffman or Nate Sudfeld. The winner in the quarterbacking derby likely won’t be decided until toward the end of training camp. I’m guessing Roberson will win the post, which he held last season before breaking a leg in the second game that ended his 2012 season. All Coffman did was come on to rank second in the Big Ten in passing after arriving from a JC. Bottom line: Whoever is quarterbacking the offense of coordinator Seth Littrell is going to pile up numbers—big numbers. This is a go-go attack that wants to throw often and get off as many plays as possible. It’s built to build big passing numbers. And Roberson will benefit from throwing to one of the top receiving corps in the Big Ten while also working behind a veteran line.
Dark horse: Christian Hackenberg, Penn State

[ RELATED: View all of our preseason stat predictions ]

Brent: Devin Gardner, Michigan – Put it this way: Gardner averaged 243.8 passing yards in Michigan’s final five games last season despite spending the first nine weeks – not to mention entire offseason – as a full-time receiver. If he can do that with limited practice and preparation, there’s no telling how good the quarterback-turned-receiver-turned-quarterback can be when he devotes 100 percent of his time and energy to the position. People may doubt Gardner due to a small sample size or a lack of weapons in the receiving game, but that’s not smart. Spread Gardner’s ’12 passing yards out over 13 games, and he would have thrown for 3,169 yards, second only to Matt McGloin. As for pass-catchers, Gardner boasts a big-play threat (Jeremy Gallon) and a talented tight end (Devin Funchess), so it could be worse. Also, let’s not forget, Gardner completed 59.5 percent of his attempts and tossed 11 touchdowns, to five interceptions – again, after transitioning from receiver.
Dark horse: Andrew Maxwell, Michigan State

Here are a few reader tweets:


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (5 Comments)
bob jones on 6/4/2013 @ 11:47am EDT Said:

Have to go with the QB with the best group of receivers, and that is Taylor Martinez at Nebraska. Huskers are absolutely loaded at receiver and Martinez has steadily improved his passing and they may need to outscore some teams until their young defense gets settled.

ukeone on 6/4/2013 @ 5:17pm EDT Said:

I have to agree with Bob (above). The Huskers are coming-off the previous year as the overall passing leaders (Taylor Martinez led in the pass-efficiency department and the stable is full of dynamic receivers…in fact, the ‘best’ in many years). There should be no real drop-off, except that a few ‘really talented’ and newer tight-ends will have to replace last year’s group. Still, with a great offensive line (stellar running-backs) and the currently ‘improved’ offensive attack, Beck’s offense will likely do a stellar job. The Husker’s defense, however, although potentially talented all-around, will have to ‘prove their worth’ and help the team along from ‘start to finish.’ Only real obstacles (in my opinion) will be to get past Ohio State’s powerful defense (as well as corral their studs on offense & avoid last year’s debacle), and possibly a few extras as well (like a ‘vastly improved’ Northwestern team – which may surprise ‘many’ of us -, Michigan and quite possibly a ‘well-seasoned’ Michigan State defense). Still, I am envisioning ‘overall success’ for the Huskers in 2013-14 and a ‘start-to-finish’ Heisman-quality year for Taylor Martinez. GO BIG RED…GO HUSKERS!!!

Josh on 6/4/2013 @ 7:04pm EDT Said:

Reasonable predictions. It will probably be one of the Indiana QBs, Taylor Martinez or Devin Gardner. They were the best passers in the league last season.

Steve Stahmer on 6/5/2013 @ 1:08pm EDT Said:

If Taylor Martinez improves even half as much as he did last year & throwing to Kenny Bell (the best in the big ten) he will again lead all!! GO BIG RED!!

Tim Harb on 6/7/2013 @ 8:05am EDT Said:

Who ever knows. I learned being a husker fan to expect anything. Too many years they come out of no where or just fall short of all expectations lol.