Week 3 Big Ten Review
Week three for the Big Ten conference really was yet again another big question mark for a conference who already appears to be out of the national title race. The highest ranked team now is Ohio State at 16, and even they nearly were upset last weekend. Michigan State and Indiana laid eggs this weekend with their losses, and Wisconsin’s saving grace of a win over Utah State has put Madison in a panic mode a week even before the conference season starts. With that here is the Big Ten review for week three.
Illinois: Dominated FCS Charleston Southern this past Saturday 44-0 to get back to 2-1 on the season. The competition will be tougher this week and it is the final test before conference play comes calling. This week the Illini will take on Louisiana Tech, a talented team that will challenge this Illinois team.
Indiana: Despite racking up 568 yards of total offense, the Indiana defense could not stop Ball State from kicking a game-winning field goal to beat the Hoosiers 41-39 on Saturday night. The Hoosiers also tallied over 400 yards passing in the contest but many questions remain on the defensive side of the ball if this team wants to get to a bowl game this year. The Hoosiers are 2-1 on the season, but this week are off for a bye week, prior to facing Northwestern in two weeks to open up conference play.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes for a second straight year struggled to put away Northern Iowa, but ultimately won 27-16. Mark Weisman had a big day for Iowa, scoring three touchdowns and 113 yards rushing. James Vandenberg managed the game all day, with no interceptions and that will be crucial to the Hawkeyes success this year. This week for Iowa, they are 2-1 and take on Central Michigan.
Michigan: The Wolverines had a fairly easy day, winning in tremendous fashion against Massachusetts 63-13. Denard Robinson had nearly 400 yards of total offense again this week, with four touchdowns as Michigan cruised over the new FBS team. Michigan is another 2-1 team this week and has a big game this weekend on the road at South Bend against Notre Dame.
Michigan State: The offense fell flat on Saturday night at primetime, losing to Notre Dame 20-3. It will be up to Andrew Maxwell to find his game in the passing attack while Le’Veon Bell will need to get back going with running the ball. They also took a big hit in the rankings, falling to 21 after being ranked tenth. The Spartans should have an easy road this week and will use it to get the passing game worked out because Ohio State is in two weeks. This week the 2-1 Spartans take on Eastern Michigan.
Minnesota: The Gophers struggled to put away Western Michigan on Saturday in a 28-23 win over the Broncos. MarQueis Gray hurt his leg in the game, and Max Shortell stepped up with three touchdowns in the winning effort. The three wins though for the Gophers have been against UNLV, New Hampshire, and Western Michigan, so it leaves a lot to be desired on how good this team really is, but three wins and being 3-0 is already an improvement over anything from last year.
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers got back into the top 25 at #25 with a 42-13 win over Arkansas State. The headline of that game though was head coach Bo Pellini being sick and taken by ambulance to the hospital. Taylor Martinez did a great job managing the game with three touchdowns and winning the game for Nebraska. The Cornhuskers just need to get Pellini healthy because this week should not be much of a problem cruising to a win. Nebraska is 2-1 and faces Idaho State on Saturday.
Northwestern: Jeff Budzien had five field goals and Mike Trumpy had a game-clinching touchdown in a 22-13 win over Boston College. The score did not reflect how great the Wildcats played this weekend, amassing 560 yards of total offense, but needing to finish drives to be a great team. Northwestern has shown three impressive efforts en route to a 3-0 record and the next opponent is South Dakota, and a 4-0 record beckons for Northwestern.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes got a big scare from California this weekend but survived to go 3-0 with a 35-28 win. Braxton Miller is quickly rising as a big-time quarterback in the nation, having another four touchdowns, spurring the Buckeyes to the win. In Ohio State fashion, late in the game the defense made the best impact by stopping the Bears from tying the game. The Buckeyes have one final non-conference game on Saturday against UAB before conference season starts.
Penn State: After an off-season of turmoil, and a first couple games that were emotionally and physically draining on the Nittany Lions, Penn State finally won their first game 34-7 over Navy on Saturday. Matt McGloin had four touchdowns on the afternoon and the Nittany Lions defense forced four turnovers. The first win is always the best and biggest of a new era, even for Penn State, who is under heavy sanctions. Penn State will find every game a big test but this weekend will be a task of getting to .500 as they sit 1-2 and face Temple on Saturday.
Purdue: Purdue was great in every aspect of the game against Eastern Michigan winning 54-16. Caleb TerBush threw for two touchdowns and the Boilermakers had nearly 400 yards of rushing. The Boilermakers rebounded from the loss against Notre Dame with now a 2-1 record on this win. Purdue will get a week off and face Marshall in their final tuneup before the conference season starts.
Wisconsin: The Badgers offense continues to struggle but went to 2-1 with a 16-14 win over Utah State. The Badgers offensive woes are starting to be a huge risk to this team’s Big Ten hopes, and it does not help matters that Danny O’Brien was benched for the second half over Joel Stave. For the Badgers, they have been helped with a surprising good defense and that has kept them from being 0-3. Wisconsin will face UTEP on Saturday in hopes of resolving the offensive woes.