How Indiana fared
Michigan State 17, Indiana 9
Same story, different week.
Indiana up late in the 4th quarter. Good chance to knock off a top-25 opponent.
Not only did Michigan State score to get ahead, they scored TWO touchdowns just to rub it in. The worst part, of course, is that IU’s offense looked lifeless for most of the game, and even in the red zone it seemed like the team was trying not to score points.
But those 4th quarter drives, man.
First, a three-and-out with about nine minutes to go got nowhere, and after running less than a minute off the clock, Michigan State got the ball back, where they methodically marched the ball down the field to pull ahead. Then, another three-and-out drive that wasted very little time with uncreative playcalling. Finally, a loss of downs to end the game. And it wasn’t just the lack of execution - it was the conservatism down the stretch in a game that Indiana had to play to win instead of playing not to lose that doomed the Hoosiers. This felt like a team playing scared to trust its quarterback to make big plays, which is bizzare because they just had made full-time starter just a few weeks ago.
The point I’m trying to make is - with Tom Allen’s defensive background, he had to hire someone who could get the offense in position to help Indiana win games. And after seven games, Mike DeBord doesn’t look to be the right offensive coordinator for this team.
Around the B1G
Rutger 14, Purdue 12
Ahh yes, Purdue, that turnaround team with the fun coach with the fun offense...
...lost to Rutger. Who now even has a two-game B1G win streak, proving that dreams can come true. But let’s get back to the Boilers here for a moment. With all the media hype that Purdue got in the first month of the season, you have to think that Rutger should have been a must-win. Instead, the vaunted Jeff Brohm offense took a step back in Piscataway last weekend. Look, I know Purdue hasn’t been good in recent years, I get it. But when you get all the hype for weeks, you better follow it up against Rutger, or else it’s back to square one.
Penn State 42, Michigan 13
After Michigan made this a one-point game in the second quarter, it looked like this game could live up to the hype. However, Penn State took complete control from that moment, and was even still trying to make plays up through the final drive of the game. In a battle of well-regarded coordinators, Joe Moorhead outsmarted Don Brown. Meanwhile, the shine seems to be wearing off of Jim Harbaugh in Ann Arbor, halfway through year 3.
Northwestern 17, Iowa 10 (OT)
Once again, Iowa can’t seem to figure out “just Northwestern.”
And yes, that’s right - this game had a 17-10 final score after going to overtime. Big Ten West baby - catch the fever!
Wisconsin 38, Maryland 13
It feels like the B1G is overcompensating this year for Wisconsin’s insanely hard schedule last season.
Minnesota 24, Illinois 17
Cool. Let’s move on.
Elsewhere in College Football
Notre Dame 49, USC 14
This is one of those games that’s frustrating to watch because no matter what the outcome, the casual fan is going to be upset. And now, Notre Dame looks really good and those 4-8 jokes suddenly seem like they were several decades ago. Brandon Wimbush fits perfectly as a Brian Kelly spread QB, and Josh Adams burned the Trojans for almost 200 yards on the ground. The defense, led by new DC Mike Elko, has been a revelation so far as well. With games against N.C. State, Miami, and Stanford left, Notre Dame has a chance to pick up some quality wins, and their only loss was by a point. Help, I’m not ready for Playoff Notre Dame.
Meanwhile, USC may be 6-2, but you almost get the feeling that Clay Helton is in over his head sometimes. Four of those victories - including Western Michigan - have taken USC well into the fourth quarter to assert themselves. The Trojans still control their Rose Bowl destiny, but a 35-point loss to their biggest rival is nothing but a major disappointment.
Miami 27, Syracuse 19
USF 34, Tulane 28
UCF 31, Navy 21
Three Florida teams are still undefeated right now, and while none of their wins were too convincing on paper last weekend, these three keep finding ways to win. USF will face UCF in the last weekend of the season, but Miami has Virginia Tech and Notre Dame coming up. Win those, and the Hurricanes could be talking playoffs.
Coach on the Hottest Seat
Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
Okay, so Fisher isn’t getting fired this year no matter how badly things end up. But at 2-4, Florida State is having a nightmarish season, and they just lost 31-28 at home to a reeling Louisville team (but one that still has Lamar Jackson). Fisher masterminded that dominant 2013 FSU title team, but since Jameis Winston left for the pros after the next season, the Seminoles haven’t had the same consistency. Sure, losing QB DeAndre Francois for the season in the first game hurt, but a team that’s recruited as well as the Noles should seemingly be better than 2-4 right now. And that’s a problem in football-crazed Tallahassee.
Coach who played himself off the Hot Seat
Steve Addazio, Boston College
So as a New Englander, I’m glad to see BC playing some decent football in recent weeks, because it gets people around here interested in the college game. Coming off a win at Louisville, the Eagles traveled to 5-1 Virginia and dominated from start to finish, winning 41-10. Even earlier in the season, Boston College was tied with Clemson going into the final frame. BC has a tough road each season in the ACC Atlantic and a protected rivalry against Virginia Tech, but if Addazio can get the ground game rolling and BC scoring points, they have the potential to be a dark horse in the conference.
It should be a fun atmosphere in Chestnut Hill Friday night when the Eagles play - of all teams - Florida State.
2. Penn State
No change in the playoff rankings as Alabama bulldozed Tennessee, TCU shut out Kansas, Georgia had the week off, and as we mentioned, Penn State treated Michigan like they were Akron. Notre Dame is lurking though, and the ACC will most likely get one of its contenders up there too. The Pac-12, however, looks kind of toast for a playoff spot right now - Washington and Wazzu don’t have the out-of-conference strength to make up for their bad conference losses, and Stanford’s road loss to San Diego State could be a killer.
Indiana at Maryland, 3:30pm, BTN
CRABCAKES AND FOOTBALL AND PLEASE FINALLY A BIG TEN WIN THAT IS ALL I ASK FOR
In other week 9 action:
Penn State travels to Ohio State for a game that could decide not only the Big Ten East but also a spot in the College Football Playoff. Gameday will be in Columbus for this one.
Notre Dame hosts a dangerous N.C. State team. The last time this happened, Brian Kelly decided to keep having DeShone Kizer throw passes in a monsoon. Now Kizer plays for the Browns. I don’t know which is worse.
The annual World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party is happening in Jacksonville.
And in some EXTREMELY #pac12afterdark action, Luke Falk and Washington State’s potent passing offense travels to a surprising 5-2 Arizona team and will face dual-threat wunderkind QB Khalil Tate.
But stay tuned for the first weekend of November because that’s when all the fun begins: