Best NCAAF QB’s of Week 1
With summer coming to an end and kids around the country heading back to school, there’s one thing on every sports fans mind: college football is back! Week 1 of the NCAAF schedule is like Christmas morning for football fanatics, filled with the promise of wild fanfare, jaw-dropping touchdowns and memorable moments.
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In the high-stakes game of NCAA football, there’s one position that holds the key to it all: the quarterback. These gridiron maestros are the conductors of the football symphony, orchestrating each play, reading defenses like a seasoned detective and, most importantly, making sure that their team emerges victorious.
Week 1 of the 2023 college football season has already put a spotlight on some of the nation’s top passers. When it comes to the quarterback position, those who shine brightest early on are often the ones who will lead their teams to glory as the season unfolds. With that in mind, we’re giving you an inside look at the college quarterbacks who performed best during the NCAA’s Week 1 schedule.
#10. Riley Leonard – Duke Blue Devils
With just 175 yards on 17 of 33 passing, Leonard’s Week 1 quarterbacking stats are far from the most impressive on this list. Duke may be far from an NCAA football powerhouse, but Leonard managed to lead the ACC program to a massive Week 1 upset over the Clemson Tigers. Although his college professor hilariously declined his request for an extension on an assignment following the big win, things are definitely looking up for the young quarterback.
#9. Mikey Keene – Fresno State Bulldogs
An undersized passer playing out of the Mountain West conference, not a lot of attention was being paid to Mikey Keene heading into Week 1. That all changed in a hurry thanks to the sophomores excellent play in his team’s 39-35 win over Purdue. Fresno State aired it out last week, with Keene going 31 for 44 with 366 passing yards and 4 touchdowns. If he can keep up this level of play, you’ll be hearing his name a lot more moving forward.
#8. JJ McCarthy – Michigan Wolverines
It may not have been the most challenging opponent Michigan will face this season, but every game counts when you’re a team with national championship aspirations. This will be McCarthy’s second year as the Wolverine’s starting quarterback and the junior got off to an excellent start, going 26 of 30 for 280 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 30-3 victory over East Carolina. Michigan may be known for their rushing attack, but don’t be surprised if McCarthy’s name gets thrown into the Heisman conversation at some point this season.
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#7. Emory Jones – Cincinnati Bearcats
Having already played for Florida and Arizona State in previous season, Jones endeared himself to Cincinnati boosters with a strong debut performance. Jones had a near-perfect outing, going 19 for 23 with 345 passing yards and five touchdowns while leading his team to a 66-13 rout of Eastern Kentucky. The senior quarterback finished the game with an incredible QB Rating of 280.3 and put the rest of the Big 12 on notice.
#6. Cameron Ward – Washington State Cougars
We have another Pac-12 quarterback featured on this list, as Washington State’s Cameron Ward went off in his team’s season debut versus Colorado State. While he wasn’t exactly facing an elite defense, it’s hard not to take notice when an NCAA quarterback starts the year off by going 37 of 49 for 451 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. With 19th ranked Wisconsin next on the schedule, all eyes will be on Ward to see if he can manage a repeat performance.
#5. Jalen Milroe – Alabama Crimson Tide
With Bryce Young off to the NFL as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft, he leaves some big shoes to fill in Tuscaloosa. Enter Jalen Milroe, a mobile quarterback with the ability to attack opposing defenses with his both his arm and legs. Milroe turned quite a few heads in Alabama’s season debut versus Middle Tennessee, with the elusive quarterback accounting for three touchdowns through the air and another two scores on the ground. Don’t look now but it appears as if Alabama has found their star quarterback for the next few seasons.
#4. Jordan Travis – Florida State
The senior quarterback for Florida State made a big impression in Week 1 of the college football season, leading his team to a huge upset victory over LSU. Going up against one of the best teams in the nation, Travis went a stellar 23 for 31 while throwing for 342 yards and 4 touchdowns. Perhaps more importantly, the win took Florida State all the way up to No. 4 in the latest AP Top 25 rankings.
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#3. Michael Penix Jr. – Washington Huskies
After losing a number of top-tier programs over the offseason, the Pac-12 was in desperate need of a shot in the arm. That boost came in the form of Huskies QB, Michael Penix Jr. The athletic signal caller led his team with 29 of 40 passing for 450 yards and 5 touchdown passes. The end result was a 56-19 blowout win over Boise State and a huge boost for this Pac-12 program.
#2. Caleb Williams – USC Trojans
After becoming a household name during last year’s college football season, Caleb Williams appears to have picked up where he left with another great performance in Week 1. Playing at home against Nevada, Williams fit the bill of a future No. 1 overall draft pick by going 18 of 24 for 319 yards and 5 passing touchdowns. If he can maintain this elite level of play, we could be looking at just the second player to ever win the Heisman Trophy in back-t0-back years.
#1. Shedeur Sanders – Colorado Buffaloes
It takes a lot to outshine a quarterback as talented as Caleb Williams, but Shedeur Sanders earned the top spot on our list with an unforgettable performance in his first-ever game for Colorado. The son of NFL legend Deion Sanders (who also happens to be Colorado’s new head coach), Shedeur made his father proud by putting on a performance for the ages, going 38 of 47 for a school-record 510 passing yards, along with 5 touchdown passes. By leading his team to a massive upset over TCU, Sanders is quickly being recognized as one of college football’s best young quarterbacks.