Around the Big Ten, week 6 (and an update on IU's non-conference opponents).

The second weekend of Big Ten play yielded a couple of significant upsets.  Unfortunately, IU's game at Ohio State did not follow that pattern.  Here's what Ohio State bloggers are saying about the Buckeyes' dominant performance:

Along The Olentangy:


The game itself was a picture of domination for Ohio State. Jumping out to a 31-0 halftime lead, the offense dominated through the air in the first half. Terrelle Pryor tossed three touchdown passes, with his final line going 24/30 (80%), 334 yards, and 0 interceptions. He only rushed the ball three times on the entire day, and even caught a pass from himself on a ball tipped by an Indiana defensive lineman. Pryor’s performance was exactly what was needed after suffering a quad strain in the Illinois game last weekend. Other than three sacks, he avoided any physical contact from the Indiana defense, instead tearing through their secondary on a regular basis until he was removed from the game in the middle of the third quarter.

Eleven Warriors:


Chappell and the Hoosiers were able to move the chains once on their first possession before being forced to punt. The Buckeyes were then held to a three-and-out on their 2nd series, which included Pryor just missing an open Dane Sanzenbacher on a post pattern, and were forced to give the ball back to the IU offense (via a nice 49-yard punt out of Ben Buchanan). On 2nd-and-9, Chappell threw up an arm punt, which was picked off by Devon Torrence on the left sideline. I am not exaggerating at all when I say there was nobody within 10 yards of Torrence and it almost looked like he could have fair caught the ball. It didn't take long for Pryor and OSU to capitalize on the turnover. After a holding call on first down, Pryor hit Sanzenbacher over the middle for 17 and then followed it up with a 22-yard scoring toss to Sanzenbacher, putting the good guys up 14-0.

The Buckeye Battle Cry:


the only thing stopping the Buckeye offense in this one was the Buckeye offense. Pryor missed a couple passes high, including one to Taurian Washington after he had already caught one earlier in the drive. The Drive stalled inside Indiana territory, but the 53 yard field goal attempt was blocked, keeping the Buckeyes from putting more points on the board. The postive side of that drive was the early appearance of Jordan Hall in the game, getting a reception for a few yards out of the backfield early in the drive.

Inside The Shoe


The defense also didn't allow a 100 yard rusher, which moves the streak to 29 games. Coach Tressel has won his 100th game as a Buckeye coach, and we sure are proud of him. He's gone to the BCS Championship game 3 times, and came out once with the crystal. He comes close every year, and he certainly hopes this can be a championship year. Tressel called the right plays today, and was smart in keeping Terrelle Pryor under wraps as far as running. Not only do they avoid more injury, but they also let the media know that he can throw the ball consistently, and with good power and velocity.

Michigan State 34, Michigan 17:

For the first time since the 1960s, Michigan State defeated in-state rival Michigan for the third consecutive year.  Enjoyable as it is to see Michigan knocked down a few pegs, this outcome wasn't a good think for IU.  Against a real defense, Denard Robinson looked nothing like the guy who dominated IU and Michigan's preconference opponents.

The Only Colors found this win more fulfilling than the first two:


Michigan State's 2008 and 2009 victories against Michigan, while sweet, didn't feel quite whole. The victory in Ann Arbor two years ago came against the worst Michigan team in memory. Last year's triumph in East Lansing came only after a furious comeback by the Wolverines, and may not have been a victory at all had it not been for one terrible decision by Tate Forcier. The storyline after those two games revolved at least as much around the losing Wolverines as the victorious Spartans. There are no such reservations about yesterday's victory. Michigan State faced up against a massively hyped Wolverine team--a team led by Michigan's second consecutive winner of the widely coveted September Heisman Trophy--and MSU perfectly executed a fantastic gameplan to win in amazingly convincing fashion. State won by getting into the backfield, tackling soundly, and preventing big plays on defense, and through an offensive attack which ran and passed with ease. MSU's secondary didn't totally stifle Michigan's receivers, but the coverage was close enough to seize upon Denard Robinson's mistakes. The offense was explosive without making its own mistakes. And most stunningly, after an evenly-fought first quarter, Your Spartans dominated Michigan's offensive and defensive lines. MSU was stronger and better in every meaningful facet of this game.

Meanwhile, Maize n Brew thought Michigan's mistakes were the decisive factor:


Before Sparty fans start rolling into the comments section complaining, let me get this out of the way: Michigan's mistakes are nothing if the Spartans didn't have the talent and wherewithal to capitalize on them. As stated before, to suggest that Michigan State didn't have anything to do with the loss on Saturday is ignorance. However, to suggest that Michigan didn't have some now very common "Wolverines NOOOOOO!" moments (read: unforced errors) is equally ignorant. Michigan left 17 points on the board against Michigan State, which if added to the Wolverines final tally...ties the game. I know there's that cliche about if's and but's, but if (whoa - both at once!) Michigan were able to capitalize on situations where statistically they excel (minus kicking), this game is a lot different.

Illinois 33, Penn State 13:

This is another result that does not bode well for the Hoosiers.  Most of us had the Illini on the "must win" list, but after their whipping of Penn State in State College, IU's upcoming trip to Champaign looks much more daunting.  Hail to the Orange is amazed at the sudden change of course in the Illini program:


This win changes a lot of things, and makes the possibility of a bowl that much more real. Three wins, with Indiana, Purdue and Minnesota still on the schedule, and all of the sudden, Northwestern looking a lot more beatable, this team could be on it's way to far surpassing all of our expectations, but maybe I am getting ahead of myself. All I know is that whatever we are paying our new assistants, (its a lot) we are still getting a hell of a lot of bang for our buck. Petrino and Koenning have completely changed the trajectory of this team, and given where we were last December, that is amazing.

Black Shoe Diaries is disappointed with the Nittany Lions' performance on both sides of the ball:


As depleted as the defense was, it's no excuse for how poorly the offense played. Sadly, the offense appeared to regress this week. Even though they haven't been scoring a lot of points, Penn State has had success in stringing together long drives all year. Not today, as Penn State managed to only register seven first downs the entire game. The Lions were 2-for-14 on third down conversions, and two trips to the redzone only produced six points. A lot of people will point to Rob Bolden's stat line (8-of-21 for 142 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT) and say the Penn State quarterback situation is a disaster. While Bolden had a couple poor throws, I don't think this would be fair criticism. Illinois was able to stop the running game and get pressure on Bolden by just rushing their front four which allowed seven guys to drop back into coverage.

Purdue 20, Northwestern 17:

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the weekend was the win by depleted Purdue, on the road, against an inexplicably ranked Northwestern team.  The "bad news for IU" angle?  Northtwestern always blows a game against a bad team.  Either NU has used that slot on its schedule, or Purdue just isn't that bad.  Either way, it's bad news for IU.  Hammer and Rails was as surprised as anyone:


I have to admit, I didn't think Purdue had any chance to win this game. 60 ugly minutes later, the Boilers end up victorious and undefeated in the conference. This was a huge game for the Boilers' very slim bowl hopes. If the boys can take care of business next week against the Gophers and give the Hoosiers their usual Ross Ade reception, then we are one upset away from eligibility. Unfortunately, the easiest game of those is a trip to Illinois who just upset Penn State today. Still a win is a win, and this is one that the fanbase and the team desperately needed.

Sippin on Purple isas expect, and semi-defending the kicker:


Here's your place to vent. But, remember, if you want me to not ban you from being a commenter on my site, be kind to Stefan Demos. Yes, he's a crappy kicker. A really crappy kicker. I know. But a) it's not all his fault. It's not his fault a kick that could've given NU a touchdown lead got blocked, it's not his fault NU's defense can't stop a zone read and is more bendable than a rubber band, it's not his fault there was a hold on a play where NU could've gotten into real field goal range. It's not his fault NU was in a position we needed him to make two very difficult field goals, and that he missed one, because it was very difficult. And b) I was just in the student section. Yes, he's a crappy kicker, but, yo: he's a college football player. Let him be. Don't crap on his life because he missed a kick.

Wisconsin 41, Minnesota 23:

The Badgers won, as expected, but Bret Bielema's odd decision to go for two late in the fourth quarter, and his half-hearted defense of it, was the talk of the postgame.  Bucky's Fifth Quarter didn't defend his coach:


Bret Bielema said after the game that Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster was not happy with him after he elected to go for a two-point conversion with a 25-point lead in the fourth quarter. "I don't think he was very happy," Bielema said. "We weren't talking car dealers. I know that." Bielema said there is a coaching card he carries that indicates when you should go for two-points. They don't use the card until the fourth quarter, but it says when you are up 25-points, you go for two. Obviously, the card doesn't take into account common sense.

The Daily Gopher is numb by now:


I find it hard to get too worked up about this game. We didn't see anything that we didn't already know. This team isn't very good on defense and while we can sometimes move the ball on offense it isn't enough. The offense struggles to come up with big plays when it matters and the defense fails to stop opponents at all. In the end the Gophers failed to bring home the Axe and their miserable season continues. But may not be what is most talked about. The Badger's final touchdown with 6:39 to play put them up by 25 points. Brett Beilema instructed his offense to stay on the field and go for two. His post game excuse was that the coaching card tells you to go for two when up by 25. Tim Brewster wasn't buying it and he wasn't pleased.

Florida International 28, Western Kentucky 21:

Florida International beats Western Kentucky 28-21 - College Football - Rivals.com
Darian Mallary paced Florida International to a season-high 235 rushing yards and a 28-21 win over Western Kentucky on Saturday. Mallary finished with 97 yards on nine carries as the Panthers (1-4, 1-0 Sun Belt Conference) extended Western Kentucky's losing streak to 25 games. The Hilltoppers (0-5, 0-1) had the ball on the Florida International 18 late, but two defensive stops by the Panthers... - College Football news

Arkansas State 24, North Texas 19: IU's next opponent lost another conference game.

Kent State 28, Akron 19:  Akron also remains winless.

Kent State defense stops Akron 28-17 - College Football - Rivals.com
The Kent State defense forced five turnovers and scored on two of them as the Golden Flashes beat Akron 28-17 in Mid-American Conference play on Saturday. Leading 21-17 with 3:08 left in the game, Golden Flashes defensive lineman Roosevelt Nix sacked Akron's Patrick Nicely in the end zone to force a fumble that Luke Batton recovered for the final touchdown. - College Football news

James Madison 17, Towson 13:  The Tigers have only one win, but hung with the team that beat Virginia Tech.

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