Around the Big Ten, week 5 (plus an update on IU's non-conference opponents).

Below is the usual roundup of the Big Ten's results, what fellow SB Nation writers have to say about their teams, and a rundown of how IU's non-conference foes are faring.  First, however, I am asking you to participate in a survey, which you can find here. SB Nation is always seeking to improve user experiences, navigation and brand integrations and your feedback is valuable in this process.  All responses will be kept confidential and the entire process will only take a few minutes.  Also, as incentive to participate, for the 3 SB Nation sites with the highest percentage of completed surveys, SB Nation will make a $500 donation to the charity of our choice, in our name.  Again, that's on a percentage basis, so the fact that our membership here isn't as large as some of the college sites, let alone the NFL and MLB sites, we still have a chance.  If we win, we can discuss what Indiana- or IU- or Bloomington-related charity we choose.

It was, except for Purdue and Iowa, the opening weekend of conference play (Iowa had a bye; Purdue couldn't be so lucky).  There were no stunning upsets, but the themes that have emerged over the last few weeks were further entrenched: Wisconsin is awesome, Nebraska's defense is suspect, Michigan may be back, and Purdue fans hate the hell out of Danny Hope.

Wisconsin 48, Nebraska 17:  In the Cornhuskers' first conference game as a member of the Big Ten, they scored first but were pushed around by a dominant Wisconsin team in Madison.  This indicates that the Badgers are for real, says: Bucky's 5th Quarter:

On a day where most of the Big Ten looked futile, the Wisconsin Badgers stepped up and toyed with the only the team that supposedly could hang with them. Montee Ball tossed away "Blackshirt" defenders like they were high-schoolers. Nick Toon moved his way up draft boards with NFL scouts in attendance. And Russell Wilson had all the national writers in the Camp Randall press box saying "Heisman" out loud. And trust me, there were a lot of Heisman Trophy voters in attendance. When all the Cornhusks were cleared off the field, Wisconsin had welcomed Nebraska to the Big Ten with a 48-17 butt whooping that sent a message clear across the country from coast-to-coast: The Badgers are for real.

It could have been worse, says Corn Nation:

Yes, the game went south when Taylor Martinez threw three interceptions. But let's not forget that earlier in the game, Martinez was making some big plays and playing as well as Russell Wilson. He had some clutch throws, like that 2nd and 21 toss to Quincy Enunwa at the end of the 1st quarter. And later in the game, he played fairly well...but by then, the damage was done. I'd give Martinez an A for the first 20 minutes, an F for the next 20, and a B- for the end of the game.

Illinois 38, Northwestern 35: In the wildest game of the weekend, Illinois, IU's next opponent, overcame a big second half deficit to knock off rival Northwestern in Champaign, improving the Illini to 5-0.  This looked like a sure loss, says Hail to the Orange:

This is why it is so good to have a talented quarterback and a great receiver, because even down by three possessions, you can take back a lead just like that. In the second half the Illini fumbled once, punted once, but otherwise scored a touchdown on every possession. A.J.Jenkins was unquestionably the reason why.

Meanwhile, the loss could be seen from a mile away, says  Sippin' On Purple:

We all kinda knew that Northwestern was gonna lose even after taking a 35-31 lead after an Illinois fumble gave NU the ball in enemy territory. Illinois had a minute and twenty seconds left. Although NU's defense was stout in the first half, anybody who watched the second half probably knew what was going to happen. Of course, Illinois drove the field and scored with 13 seconds left.

Michigan State 10, Ohio State 7:  This game was surprisingly unsurprising.  While any Ohio State loss at the Horseshoe has been headline news over the last decade, the Buckeyes' offensive upheaval made this one pretty predictable, and the Bucks nearly were shut out.   The Only Colors:

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a defense. Even with the caveat that Ohio State's quarterback situation could not really be any worse, that was an impressive performance. In fact, in the time it took you to read these first three sentences we recorded yet another sack. I never thought winning at the Horseshoe would not be a no-brainer Dance of Joy-worthy result, but this is clearly not your father's (or slightly older sibling's) Ohio State team. Even bringing back the Tat 4 (minus Pryor) may not help them that much, unless one of them can switch to QB out of nowhere.

It is over for Luke Fickell, says  Along The Olentangy:

Ohio State will have a new head coach next season. If there were any doubt before today, any lingering hope that Luke Fickell would retain his coaching mantle, the Buckeye's horrid performance against Michigan State removed it. Fickell's repeated clock management blunders, schizophrenic handling of personnel, and general failure to prepare his team have confirmed what was feared upon his ascension: this job moves too fast, and Ohio State can't wait for him to catch up.

Notre Dame 38, Purdue 10: Notre Dame is a couple of turnover-fests away from being 5-0 against a tough schedule, and the Irish were better than Purdue from the beginning to the end.  I'm surprised at the degree to which the Purdue fans have turned on Danny Hope.  I don't necessarily blame them, but the season is far from over.  Will Morgan Burke pull the trigger on his own hire after only three seasons?  I would be surprised, but Robert Marve is openly questioning him on Twitter, and to my surprise, Purdue fans are egging him on rather than wondering if a supposed team leader should be taking his grievances public.  Hammer and Rails:

Notre Dame did everything to keep us in it early on. They kept up their season-long trend of generating a ton of yards but not a proportionate amount of points and that kept us closer than we should have been. Unfortunately, against a team like that you have to play nearly perfect in order to beat them. You have to be able to take advantage of their mistakes and lack of ability to turn those yards into points. Notre Dame was moving the ball well enough to be up 28-0 after one quarter, but except for the final play of the period they had only scored mostly as a direct result of our own mistake (the interception).

Here's new SB Nation ND blog  One Foot Down:

Notre Dame got off to a quick start Saturday night against Purdue, and never looked back. After a rocky up and down first month to the season the Fighting Irish finally put together a turnover-free game and that resulted in a blowout victory. It's games like this that are tough to write a recap for because there isn't a whole lot to talk about, or even debate and argue.

Michigan 58, Minnesota 0:  The poor Gophers can't catch a break.  Minnesota never had a chance in the Big House. Maize n Brew:

Saturday was cathartic. After three years of watching Michigan struggle to put away bad teams and stop even the most mediocre of offenses Michigan finally, wonderfully, mercilessly rolled over the hapless Minnesota Golden Gophers 58-0 in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicates. On offense Michigan did whatever it wanted. On defense Michigan held the Gophers to 86 total yards in the first half and just 177 total yards on the day, without giving up a score. Sure we've seen the Wolverines do this to Delaware State over the last three years, but we've never seen them do this to a conference opponent. The only thing that comes close is the epic 2007 yackety-sax of Notre Dame, and Michigan only scored 38 points that day.

This is only satire, but it's hard to blame Gopher fans.   The Daily Gopher:

Jerry Kill has beaten cancer, is winning the battle against epilepsy, and has turned around morbid football programs at places like Emporia State, Southern Illinois, and Northern Illinois. He and his staff of fine coaches were brought in to do the same at the University of Minnesota, but after losing four of their first five games, the latest a 58-0 embarrassment to Michigan, he will not get the chance to turn around the Gophers. Not because he's been fired already, but because the University has essentially fired the football team, disbanding the program effective immediately. "I've never quit anything in my life," the demoralized Coach Kill said after the game yesterday, "and I guess technically I'm not quitting this either, but I'm in shock. All of us are. We were told after the loss today that they're shutting down the football program. I can't believe it. I mean, sure, I knew this would be a long rebuild, and let's face it, after what I saw today it probably would have taken us 10 or 15 years to turn this thing around and get us competitive again, but doggone it, we would have done it."

 

Penn State 16, Indiana 10: You already know what I think about the game.  Unsurprisingly, Penn State fans were not amused by their close call in Bloomington: Black Shoe Diaries:

Penn State is a bad team with an above-average defense. They have beaten two tomato cans (Indiana State, Eastern Michigan), been snuffed out by a true national power at home (Alabama), and needed last minute defensive stands to beat a higher-end MAC team that was just pounded at home by 23 points by Toledo (Temple) and one of the worst Big Ten teams in recent memory (Indiana) which lost to Ball State and North Texas. Despite the mind-blowing fact that Penn State started as a two-point favorite against Iowa on Sunday (note: this will totally change by Monday morning), it's hard to picture this team having more than a coin flip's chance of beating anybody but Purdue, given its current trajectory. That's not to say OMG 5-7, but...that's kind of in play, isn't it?

It was a rough go of it for IU's non-conference foes this week.  Virginia was the lone winner, and not convincingly.

Virginia escapes Idaho upset bid 21-20 in OT - College Football - Rivals.com
Underdog Idaho went for the win instead of forcing a second overtime, and Brian Reader's two-point conversion pass fell incomplete as error-prone Virginia escaped with a 21-20 victory Saturday. Virginia (3-2) overcame a blocked punt for a touchdown, an interception, two fumbles and a slew of mental errors to win a game they desperately needed before they head into the meat of their Atlantic... - College Football news

No. 2 Sooners rout Ball State 62-6 - College Football - Rivals.com
Tony Jefferson was starting to think his performance was too good to be true. Fortunately for Oklahoma, it was entirely for real. Jefferson fueled a second-quarter scoring surge with interceptions on three straight drives, and the second-ranked Sooners geared up for their rivalry game against Texas next week by beating Ball State 62-6 on Saturday night. - College Football news

Kinne, defense lead Tulsa past North Texas 41-24 - College Football - Rivals.com
G.J. Kinne tossed three touchdown passes and Tulsa returned two interceptions for touchdowns in a 41-24 victory Saturday over North Texas. Kinne threw scoring passes of 49 yards to Bryan Burnham, 25 yards to Willie Carter and 12 yards to Ricky Johnson, all in the first half. He was 20 for 31 for 314 yards. - College Football news

SC State 14, Norfolk St. 17 - College Football - Rivals.com
A fumble returned for a touchdown just before halftime by Onyemechi Anyaugo was the catalyst for Norfolk State's 17-14 win over South Carolina State on Saturday. Anyaugo's 84-yard fumble return for a touchdown with 11 seconds remaining in first half put the Spartans ahead for good at 10-7. Norfolk State added a touchdown in the third quarter on a 2-yard run by Chris Walley with 1:40 to play... - College Football news

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