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Haskins, Blough lead accurate B1G passers

September 27, 2018
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FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, file photo, Purdue quarterback David Blough (11) throws against Boston College during the first half of an NCAA college football game in West Lafayette, Ind. The Big Ten has been home to some of the nation’s most accurate passes so far in 2018, a small group that’s been full of surprise. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

The Big Ten has been home to some of the nation’s most accurate passers so far in 2018 — a small group that’s been full of surprises.

Four of the 18 quarterbacks nationally who’ve completed at least 70 percent of their throws are from the Big Ten, by far the best ratio in the county.

It’s a group led by Ohio State newcomer Dwayne Haskins, who at 75.7 percent trails only Eastern Michigan’s Tyler Wiegers (an Iowa transfer). Indiana’s Peyton Ramsey is completing 72.1 percent of his passes. Purdue’s David Blough is at 71.6 percent and Shea Patterson, the Ole Miss transfer that Michigan put in charge of its offense, has a completion rate of 70.1.

Haskins was a consensus four-star recruit who was considered among the nation’s top dual-threat prospects as a prep senior. But no one expected the numbers that Haskins has put up so far.

Haskins is also second in the country with 16 touchdown passes, third in quarterback rating and eighth in yards per attempt with just one pick ahead of fourth-ranked Ohio State’s (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) showdown Saturday night at No. 9 Penn State (4-0, 1-0).

Haskins has earned league offensive player of the week honors twice in four weeks — and he’s the first quarterback in Big Ten history to toss five touchdown passes twice in the first four games of the season.

Haskins has been so good that perhaps coach Urban Meyer’s biggest challenge with him is ensuring that the sophomore doesn’t let it all get to his head.

“We’ve had some pretty high-profile guys around here and I’ve seen it ... go both ways where, one thing about Columbus, Ohio is, this is the show. And they become bigger than life,” Meyer said. “But he’s a very humble guy. He’s a very conscientious guy, comes from a great family. He’s been great so far.”

Ramsey, also a sophomore, started for Indiana (3-1, 0-1) a year ago before a leg injury cost him the last four games of the season. Ramsey won the job back in the offseason, and though he’s thrown four interceptions through four games he has also completed at least two-thirds of his passes in each game. Ramsey and the Hoosiers travel to Rutgers (1-3, 0-1) on Saturday.

Arguably the most surprising quarterback in the league has been Blough, a senior who reclaimed his starting job with a record-setting performance.

Blough relieved Elijah Sindelar and nearly rallied the Boilermakers (1-3, 0-1) past Northwestern. He then broke Purdue’s mark with 572 yards passing in a loss to Missouri, and Blough threw for nearly 300 yards with three TDs in last week’s victory over Boston College.

Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said Blough will start Saturday’s game at Nebraska (0-3, 0-1).

“He’s worked long and hard to take advantage of this opportunity,” Brohm said. “For him it’s about relaxing and playing. While we all want to do well and it means something to us, he loves the game and wants to win so bad, he’s got to relax, just go out and play and cut it loose. When he does that, he plays much more effective.”

Patterson hasn’t been the savior some thought he might be for coach Jim Harbaugh’s offense. But Patterson has been plenty good enough during the Wolverines’ three-game winning streak, throwing for seven TDs against just one pick as No. 14 Michigan steamrolled Western Michigan, SMU and Nebraska.

The Wolverines (3-1, 1-0) head to Northwestern (1-2, 1-0) this weekend.

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