For the fourth season in a row, Northwestern will have a new quarterback under center in Week One.
Ben Bryant was named the Wildcats’ starter on Sunday morning, ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported. Bryant, who transferred from Cincinnati following spring practice, beat out Brendan Sullivan for the starting gig. NU will be the third team the sixth-year will have started for.
Sources: Northwestern will start Ben Bryant at quarterback at Rutgers today. Bryant is a transfer from Cincinnati and has 22 career starts combined from UC and Eastern Michigan.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) September 3, 2023
In 11 starts for the Bearcats last season, Bryant threw for 2,732 yards, 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He completed 61.2% of his passes, including four games with a completion rate over 70%. A true pocket passer, Bryant rarely took off as a runner.
Bryant takes the reins of a Northwestern offense that floundered in 2022. The ‘Cats found themselves at the bottom of college football in points scored, yards gained and turnover margin. NU’s 17 interceptions fell in the bottom three of all Power Five schools in 2022, so Bryant will need to protect the football better than his predecessors. The ‘Cats’ last two transfer quarterbacks, Hunter Johnson and Ryan Hilinski, both flamed out under center for NU, so the pressure is on Bryant and offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian to not make it a third swing-and-miss for the Wildcats.
Northwestern will kick off its season this afternoon, taking on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in Piscataway, New Jersey.