Granted, there were some good wins. But the losses were downright cringeworthy. Penn State lost to Northwestern. Like almost-got-shut-out lost. To a team that has only beaten Western Illinois ALL season. And they became a gif-of-the-week when two Penn State offensive linemen BLOCKED EACH OTHER. Allowing Northwestern to tackle their ball carrier.
It was one bad trip for Penn State all day. The offensive line was terribly ineffective and could not protect QB Christian Hackenberg, leaving him no time to find open receivers. The Lions ended the day with only 50 rush yards and no touchdowns. Their only points of the day? Two field goals. On three attempts that is, they missed one.
And P.S. This happened in their house. So much for the bowl ban lift and returned scholarships. The Nittany Lions have a bye this week and then travel to Michigan to face the Wolverines. Cue the Benny Hill theme song for that game.
Michigan…..oh gawd, Michigan. Their entire program has felt like a dumpster fire the last few Saturdays. Now, it feels like a four alarm. The blowouts, the losses to teams one simply does not lose to, the lack of attendance, the loss of student interest, the promotional disasters, the incessant talk about the third degree burns Coach Brady Hoke’s seat is causing him.
Add to it a rather brutal and embarrassing loss to Minnesota (yes, I really said Minnesota) last Saturday, where Hoke left his young quarterback in the game after he suffered a pretty obvious concussion. He claimed he didn’t have control over the kid staying on the field and that he was “looking somewhere else when it happened” (the Big House food court, maybe?) and didn’t know how serious it was. The under-fire-himself Athletic Director gave a statement basically throwing Hoke under the bus, and now the on-campus protests for both to be fired have begun. Karma, bitches.
And our comeback kid, Indiana….lost to Maryland. How do you go from beating a #18 SEC team one week to getting killed by a bunch of turtles the next?? A few weeks ago the Terrapins gave up almost 600 yards to Syracuse, and their defense has been a season-long disappointment.
Better get it back together Indy, because you have North Texas this Saturday and they are no joke. The Mean Green is coming off a 77-3 victory and a bye week, and is ranked 11th in the country for rush defense.
You know, I remember when Pete Carroll was coaching the USC dynasty and the saying was “USC doesn’t rebuild, it reloads.” The Big Ten? We relapse.
So, enough with the bad. There’s a pretty exciting night game happening between two ranked B1G teams and a lot at stake.
#21 Nebraska is heading to East Lansing to take on #9 Michigan State. The Huskers desperately want to continue their perfect season and advance to 6-0, which they haven’t done since 2001. The Spartans want to hold on to their playoff hopes and keep their Top 10 ranking.
This game adds up to Nebraska’s outstanding offense vs. Michigan State’s powerful defense.
The Huskers’ “Fear Ameer” campaign for Ameer Abdullah has kicked into high gear, with the running back entering ESPN’s Heisman Watch at #4 last weekend, and once again named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. Saturday recorded his 21st 100-yard rushing game. He has already run for 833 yards and eight touchdowns, by game 5. In those five games he is already halfway to his 2013 total.
Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong, Jr has rushed for 420 yards and thrown 10 touchdown passes.
Michigan State is ranked 4th nationally in rush defense, and will be Abdullah’s biggest challenge to date. The Spartan’s aren’t exactly lacking on offense, though – quarterback Connor Cook is ranked 3rd nationally in passing efficiency. He has a 69.2 completion percentage and several Nebraska players commented in a presser that he “fits the ball in very tight windows and keeps his receivers alive.” Watch him to work with running back Jeremy Langford, who in 2013 rushed for 1,422 yards and 18 touchdowns.
MSU will focus on stopping Abdullah and forcing turnovers, while Nebraska will try to let Ameer run and defend the pass. This should be an ugly fight (which makes for a great game) and possibly an ugly victory for the winner. B1G fans – don’t miss.
#22 Ohio State passed what was surprisingly a big test for them this season. But it was no thanks to the supposed-new-look defense. The Silver Bullets are not back. While the Bucks vanquished Cincinnati, their defense gave up 352 yards and two touchdowns. DE Joey Bosa again was the highlight of the D with the best play – his sack on Bearcat QB Gunner Kiel resulted in a safety. His quote this week may be the best too, stating he likes to “hit the quarterback in the face.” I like when you do that too, sir.
The offense was excellent, however, both on the ground and in the air, racking up 710 yards. Quarterback J.T. Barrett completed 26 of 36 passes for 330 yards and no interceptions. His last two games accounted for 642 yards and 10 touchdowns with just one interception. (Not sure why Urbs chose this week to announce that Braxton Miller is the starting QB for 2015. Way to take the wind out of J.T.’s sweet sails, dude.)
OSU was even better on the ground, which Cincy had no answer for. Running back Ezekiel Elliott is emerging as an offensive weapon. He’s been essential with running and passing, but ran for 182 yards last Saturday, a career high.
This weekend, they travel to take on the Maryland Terrapins for the opening of their B1G play. It’s one of the biggest games in history for the Terps and their 54,000 seat stadium. (Aww, how cute.) Not so much for the Bucks. How will Barrett handle his first away game since the season opener? My guess is just fine.
The unranked Terps are ranked 94th in rush defense. Linebacker Cole Farrand was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, however, for his 19 tackles against Indy. Maryland doesn’t have a strong passing attack – ranked 49th nationally – but do have a very talented wide receiver in Stefon Diggs who has 29 receptions, 398 yards and two touchdowns for the season. QB C.J. Brown’s status is up in the air right now after a wrist injury.
Maryland will try to take advantage of Ohio State’s defensive weaknesses with a passing game, while Ohio State will rely on Barrett and focus on stopping the run.
Just remember kids, Terp rhymes with Derp. Go Bucks!