If you've not seen the darkly hilarious scenario in which IU plays in the Rose Bowl, check it out. I'll wait.
So funny, right? And yet as a Hoosier fan, it was somehow... not awesome. But very well done, Mr. Jacobi, kudos. And, frankly, the script held up pretty well this week.
So, what happened around the Big Ten? Michigan had a bye.
Ohio State 17, Michigan State 16
Two of our three consensus best offensive linemen are out--one for the season (Travis Jackson), one for at least a good chunk of it (Fou Fonoti). It's hard to judge the offensive line based on the numbers right now. The team is averaging a decent 4.5 yards per rush, but that's with one of the most dynamic running backs in the country consuming almost all the carries. And the line has only allowed a sack on 3.1% of passing attempts--but Maxwell hasn't exactly had oodles of time to survey the field. The opposing defense has been credited with at least 5 QB hurries in all three of MSU's games against quality opponents.
Land Grant Holy Land is happy about winning ugly.
... Ohio State was able to swarm one of the best running backs in the Big Ten, if not the country, and force Michigan State to throw the ball nearly 50 times, the opposite of their game plan. Maxwell had a few great throws, but with the exception of the touchdown pass, missed tackles were not nearly the issue that they were with UAB, Cal, etc. OSU shot themselves in the foot multiple times, failing to take advantage of a blocked punt, and had 3 turnovers on drives that could have led to scores.
Nebraska 30, Wisconsin 27
Nebraska rallies to narrowly defeats Wisconsin, despite SIX fumbles. Although, only two of them were lost, so it could've been worse. Corn Nation is relieved:
Overall: B+ If Nebraska isn't dropping the ball on the ground, the Huskers probably coast to a nice home win. Instead, everybody sweats out a first half letdown and leaves exhilarated by a nice comeback.
Bucky's 5th Quarter is starting to get demoralized, noting that this close game felt like spanking:
Nebraska outscored Wisconsin 20-0 within the final 24 minutes of the game. The Badgers' lone score of the second half was set up when David Gilbert sacked Taylor Martinez to cause a fumble and give Wisconsin the ball on Nebraska's 13-yard line. Wisconsin managed 108 total yards of offense in the second half to 322 for Nebraska, which counts as a certified trouncing when prorated over 60 minutes.
Iowa 31, Minnesota 13
Iowa got it together against a (formerly) rising Gopher squad and crushed them. The Daily Gopher sighs and hopes something good results:
This might have been a loss that refocuses the Gophers. They were sloppy and lacked crispness. Execution was something we lacked all over the field. And now the Gophers have two weeks to watch this film. Two weeks for this one to be at the forefront of their minds. We were 4-0, but we are not nearly good enough to show up against anybody and win without playing well. This isn't a "wake-up call game" but it might be a "refocus" game.
Black Heart Gold Pants, on the other hand, is pleased not only with the fight left in these Hawkeyes, but also with the "big uglies."
Aside from the emergence of Weisman and the improvement of the defensive line, the most pleasant surprise from this Iowa team over the past five games has been the dramatic improvement of the Iowa offensive line. They were not remotely in sync early in the season and swung between extremes of competence (or lack thereof); one week they could run block but not pass protect, the next they could pass protect but not run block. Lately, though, they've gotten pretty proficient at both. Vandenberg was sacked zero times yesterday and the line opened up gaping holes for Weisman to run through, too.
Penn State 35, Illinois 7
Black Shoe Diaries takes the high road (LOL) after their stomping of Illinois.
That felt like the story of the first half: Illinois would screw up--say, by missing a 26 yard field goal--and Penn State would perfunctorily take advantage. That it was only 21-0 at the break felt like a let down--McGloin was shaky, Ficken at his Fickenest, but Penn State had built up a big enough lead, fueled by the emergence of a suddenly solid running game, that you couldn't really feel justified in complaining.
Purdue 51, Marshall 41
The Boilers are less pleased with a second-half letdown against the Thundering Herd. Hammer and Rails looks to the future, while not worrying too much about the second-half troubles in this one:
The biggest thing to take away from this game is that we won and Danny Hope avoided the bad non-conference loss that has plagued his teams the last three seasons. Purdue went out and scored 153 points in three games against teams not named Notre Dame. In those games the defense scored three times, gave up only a handful of points on the turnovers our less-than-perfect offense. Defensively, we only had problems today, and that can be written off because we faced a damn fine offense that can drop 40 on almost anyone.
Northwestern 44, IU 29
Northwestern's pretty happy about their win over Indiana. Sippin' on Purple says:
Another observation: If I'm an Indiana fan, I wouldn't be too disheartened by this loss. Easy for me to say, yeah. But this was a Hoosiers team that had just eight seniors. It's a very young team. And their true freshman quarterback was making some very excellent passes when he came on in relief. If Kevin Wilson, who was very Randy Walker-like on the sideline, applauding and building up his team's morale, can continue recruiting and build depth, the Hoosiers could be a decent to good team in two to three years.
Indiana State 24, Southern Illinois 3:- The Sycamores (3-2) destroyed SIU, as RB Shakir Bell went for 160 yeards on 33 carries, but most importantly notched a couple of key fourth quarter TDs to put the game away.
UMass 34, Ohio 37: The Minutemen rallied from a late 10-point deficit to threaten in the closing seconds, but couldn't get it done. Statistically, this was a pretty even game, although Ohio converted two fourth downs, and UMass lost a fumble. The Minutemen fall to 0-5.
Ball State 41, Kent State 43: Karma finally, came around on the Cardinals (3-2), as KSU's Freddy Cortez kicked the game-winning FG with 6 seconds remaining. BSU QB Keith Wenning was still impressive, throwing for 445 yards and 5 TDs. I'm disappointed from the perspective that this weakens IU's standings, but secretly a little happy that BSU fans know how it fricking feels - if only it hadn't been on the road.
Navy 0, San Jose State 12: Navy fell to 1-3 while failing to move the ball (144 yards total -their fewest as a school in 10 years) or convert on third downs (3 for 13).SJSU moved to 4-1 with the win.