See more of the story

Before the season, Gophers football players easily could circle the matchup with North Carolina's Drake Maye as the toughest quarterback on their schedule.

Maye dismantled the Gophers for 414 yards in a 31-13 loss Sept. 16 in Chapel Hill, but he wasn't the last to put up eye-popping numbers against Minnesota's defense.

Last week, Northwestern's Ben Bryant orchestrated an impressive comeback with 396 yards passing and four touchdowns in the U's deflating 37-34 overtime loss in Evanston.

After allowing 814 yards and six TD passes in the last two games, the Gophers pass defense is looking for a pick-me-up performance Saturday against Louisiana. The Ragin' Cajuns are led by dual-threat QB Zeon Chriss, who had 319 total yards and three touchdowns in his first career start last week to beat Buffalo.

There will be other quarterbacks who potentially test the Gophers defense this season. The Gophers won't face two of the Big Ten's best in Maryland's Taulia Tagovailoa and Penn State's Drew Allar, but here are the five best left on the schedule after Saturday:

J.J. McCarthy, Michigan (Oct. 7 at Minnesota)

McCarthy has thrown for 915 yards this season for the Wolverines. He's tied for first in the Big Ten in passing touchdowns (eight) and leads in completion percentage (79.8) and passing efficiency (189.1).

Best game: Completed 22 of 25 passes for 278 yards and two TDs in a win vs. UNLV.

Worst game: Had 143 yards passing and three interceptions against Bowling Green.

Cade McNamara, Iowa (Oct. 21 in Iowa City)

The Michigan transfer has been off to a disappointing start in Iowa City (459 yards passing, four TDs and 3 interceptions). But he threw for nearly 2,600 yards and 15 TDs in 2021.

Best game: Threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns vs. Utah State in the opener.

Worst game: Went 5-for-14 with 42 yards passing in a 31-0 loss vs. Penn State last week.

Hudson Card, Purdue (Nov. 11 in West Lafayette)

Card, who spent three years at Texas, ranks third in the Big Ten with 1,027 passing yards and first with 148 pass attempts. He's also thrown three interceptions in the last two games.

Best game: Completed 32 of 46 passes for 323 yards and a touchdown against Syracuse.

Worst game: Threw for 202 yards with zero TDs and two interceptions in Wisconsin loss.

Kyle McCord, Ohio State (Nov. 18 in Columbus)

After winning a quarterback battle in fall camp, McCord took advantage of the Buckeyes' offensive weapons to rank second in the Big Ten with 1,055 yards and a 159.7 passer rating.

Best game: Threw for 318 yards and three touchdowns against Western Kentucky.

Worst game: Had 239 yards passing with zero TDs and one interception vs. Indiana.

Tanner Mordecai, Wisconsin (Nov. 25 at Minnesota)

Seventh in the Big Ten in passing yards per game (219), but Mordecai's third in completion percentage (66.4). Former Oklahoma and SMU signal caller's dual threat ability makes him dangerous.

Best game: Threw for 277 yards and a touchdown in a loss against Washington State.

Worst game: Had 189 yards passing and two interceptions against Buffalo.