Ohio State Football: The 10 Best Quarterbacks in School History
Let's face it: Ohio State's football program has never been known as a producer of first-rate quarterbacks, but there have been a handful to come through the school that can be considered preeminent.
So the debate begins. Who is the Buckeyes' No. 1 all-time quarterback?
This ranking is solely based on what the player did on the field while wearing scarlet and gray. Off-the-field activities and professional careers had no influence.
10. Les Horvath (1941-42, '44)
Ohio State's first Heisman Trophy winner came by the quarterback position with Les Horvath.
The former All-Big Ten and All-American QB completed just 25-of-49 (51.0 percent) of his passes for 510 yards and four touchdowns in his three seasons with the Buckeyes, but compiled over 1,500 yards on the ground at 5.2 yards per carry.
Horvath was a part of the school's first national championship in 1942 and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1969.
He passed away in 1995, just six years before Ohio State retired his No. 22.
9. Mike Tomczak (1981-84)
Mike Tomczak had a nice career with the Buckeyes, but his senior season is what ranks him among the best quarterbacks in school history.
In 1984, he was 145-of-244 (59.4 percent) passing for 1,952 yards. At the time, three-of-four marks were the second-highest single-season totals at Ohio State, with the completion percentage setting a new record.
The three-year starter led OSU to an outright Big Ten title and an appearance in the Rose Bowl that year after assembling a 9-2 regular-season record.
His stats were never overwhelming, but his leadership and football IQ helped him become very successful.
8. Cornelius Greene (1972-75)
A former Big Ten MVP and three-year starter, Cornelius Greene sits as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in Ohio State history.
Known for their backfield, the Buckeyes had established a consistent offense with Archie Griffin at running back, Brian Baschnagel at wingback, Pete Johnson at fullback and, of course, Greene calling the shots at QB.
In three seasons, Greene completed 138-of-251 (55.0 percent) attempts for 2,255 yards and 17 touchdowns, while taking 409 carries for 2,014 yards (4.9 YPC) and 28 scores.
He led Ohio State to an exceptional 31-3-1 record during that time and took his team to three Rose Bowls.
7. Rex Kern (1968-70)
In an era when freshmen weren't eligible to play, sophomore quarterback Rex Kern led the way to an extraordinary 10-0 record and a national title, including a 50-14 thumping over rival Michigan to close the regular season before defeating top-ranked Southern California for the championship.
Kern finished with an impressive 27-2 record as a starter. He completed 51.6 percent of his passes for 2,444 yards, 19 touchdowns, 24 interceptions and compiled a 112.1 passer rating in his three seasons as the signal-caller.
If it weren't for being plagued with injuries throughout his collegiate career, his legacy may have been a lot deeper than shown.
Kern was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2007.
6. Art Schlichter (1978-81)
The only four-year starter at the position (unless current QB Braxton Miller changes that), Art Schlichter currently owns the school record for passing yards (7,547), total yards (8,850) and total touchdowns (85).
Schlichter's 951 attempts are also the most thrown by an Ohio State quarterback, his 497 completed passes is second all-time and his 50 touchdowns ranks fourth.
The former All-American ran the option offense to perfection as he mustered 1,303 career yards and 35 touchdowns on the ground.
He took the Buckeyes to four bowl games, winning just one (1981 Liberty Bowl vs. Navy).
5. Bobby Hoying (1992-95)
As a senior, Bobby Hoying demolished Ohio State record books by leading the helm of the highest-scoring team in school history (not including the vacated 2010 season).
Hoying's 211 completions, 3,269 yards and 29 touchdowns were all records that have since been broken, but his 163.5 pass efficiency posted in that 1995 season still stands as the all-time best.
The Buckeyes scored 475 points that year (36.5 PPG), won 11 games and lost to No. 5 Tennessee 20-14 in the Citrus Bowl.
4. Craig Krenzel (2000-03)
Craig Krenzel didn't put up the breath-taking numbers, but he didn't have to. His genius orchestration of a 14-win season was the first by any team at the time, ending a 34-year drought without a national championship for Ohio State.
He was the offensive MVP in the 31-24 double-overtime upset win over Miami in the 2002 BCS Championship game, keeping the game alive in the first overtime by the famous 4th-and-14 conversion to Michael Jenkins.
Krenzel went 24-3 as the starting QB in Columbus, finishing 326-of-574 (56.8 percent) for 4,473 yards and 28 touchdowns (131.4 passer rating).
3. Joe Germaine (1996-98)
The school's single-season record holder for passing yards (3,576) and arguably the greatest senior season by a quarterback in Buckeyes history is held by Joe Germaine.
Germaine helped Ohio State to an 11-1 record and a No. 2 ranking in the final polls after his outstanding contribution that year. He completed 230-of-384 (59.9 percent) passes for 26 touchdowns to just seven interceptions, ending with a 156.8 passer efficiency.
He finished with 439 completions, 6,616 yards and 57 touchdowns in his illustrious career with the scarlet and gray.
2. Terrelle Pryor (2008-10)
Despite his off-field antics, Terrelle Pryor is the second-best quarterback that's ever come through Ohio State. Heck, he could even make the argument to be No. 1.
Pryor was a highly-touted recruit from the state of Pennsylvania, considered to be a huge steal from what could have been an easy Penn State signee. However, the 6'6", 230-pound dual-threat QB decided to pick the Buckeyes.
His decision may have been lethal to the program in the long run (in your own opinion), but there's no questioning the way he performed while on the field. Pryor won 31 games (12 vacated) to just four losses as a starter, including the "non-existant" Sugar Bowl victory over Arkansas in 2010.
Pryor finished his collegiate career 477-of-783 (60.9 percent) with 6,177 yards and 57 touchdowns. Even with his tall stature, he ran a sub-4.40 second 40-yard dash in which he glided past defenders, rushing for 2,164 yards and 17 scores in his three-year stint with OSU.
He even caught three passes, two which went for touchdowns.
1. Troy Smith (2003-06)
Atop the list is the latest Buckeye to win the Heisman Trophy, Troy Smith.
Redshirted in 2002 and a kick return "specialist" in 2003, Smith was never a factor until halfway through the 2004 season when then-starter Justin Zwick went down with an injury. He led Ohio State to a 4-1 record including a 37-21 upset victory against No. 7 Michigan during that span.
After being suspended the first two games in 2005 for accepting cash from a booster, Smith was plugged right back into the starting role. He went 9-1 and once again had an incredible performance against the Wolverines, this time throwing for over 300 yards in a 25-21 comeback win.
In 2006, the Buckeyes were the clear-cut favorites to win the BCS National Championship. They finished the regular season 12-0 and were coming off what was named the "Game of the Century," beating Michigan at home, 42-35, and making Smith the first OSU starting quarterback to beat the maize and blue three times.
Ohio State ended up falling to Urban Meyer—the current coach of the Buckeyes—and the Florida Gators in the title game.
Smith went 25-3 with OSU, leading his squad to two Big Ten titles. He left the school with a 65.3 completion percentage (school record), 6,888 total yards, 68 overall touchdowns, a 157.1 passer rating and a legacy that is forever stained in the hearts of Ohio State football fans.
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