So, while there are a small handful of out-of-conference games remaining, this week marked the true beginning of conference play. Prior to Saturday, only one (Ohio State/Indiana, Week One) conference game had been played to date. Not anymore! So this week is a mix of in-conference and out-of-conference games. Here’s how they did:
Ohio State 54 UNLV 21
One of the BTN broadcasters said at the conclusion of this game, “Ohio State could have chosen what they wanted this score to be,” and he was right. This was one of those “why did they schedule” games. It wasn’t much to watch, and was certainly forgettable. The highlight (for UNLV) for the game was a Runnin’ Rebel player stripping the ball at the goal line, preventing a certain touchdown well into the fourth quarter.
UCF 38 Maryland 10
There was little positive to take out of this game if you’re a Terps fan. They were beaten on both sides of the ball, and UCF gained twice the yards of Maryland. Nothing went right, including an injury to Maryland QB Kasim Hill. As Head Coach DJ Durkin stated, they didn’t handle adversity well.
Indiana 52 Georgia Southern 17
This was, as expected, not much of a game. The Sunbelt Conference team was 0-2 on the season to date, and Indiana has demonstrated strength on both sides of the ball. As a result, it was all Indiana. It is better to see this game as a series of still shots, rather than see how bad the game actually looked if watching it! However, the BTN highlights are below these, for those who want to see the real damage.
Michigan 28 Purdue 10
The Boilermakers were hoping their first three weeks would carry over to Big Ten play. Alas, it was not to be. Michigan, despite trailing 10-7 at the half, came on strong in the second half, and despite the absence of starting QB Wilton Speight, back-up and former Houston QB John O’Korn came on strong in the second half, throwing for a 18-26 performance for 270 yards and the Wolverines scored 21 unanswered points in the second half.
Notre Dame 38 Michigan State 18
This 79th meeting between these two foes, their first meeting was in 1897, and Notre Dame lead the series 48-29-1 coming into Saturday’s game. What happened? Well, Notre Dame took the Megaphone Trophy back to South Bend once again. The result of the game was never really in question. The Spartans never led in the game, and were behind 28-7 at the half. Notre Dame outplayed Michigan State, and the Spartans dropped one at home to the Fighting Irish.
Penn State 21 Iowa 19
This was the Saquon Barkley Show in Iowa City last night. Despite a huge lead in yards gained (due to a tremendous game by Barkley), Penn State went into the half trailing 7-5. In the second half, Iowa took a lead with less than two minutes remaining. However, with the clock running down, Penn State’s Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley marched down the field, and seemingly stalled near the goal line. On 4th and goal with four seconds left on the clock, Trace McSorley’s pass to Juwan Johnson scored the winning touchdown as time expired. Barkley gained 358 all-purpose yards in the game, a Nittany Lions record for a single game. A tremendous game by both teams!
Despite the loss by the Spartans to Notre Dame and the shocking loss by Maryland to UCF, there were great games played throughout the conference. Both Ohio State and Indiana rolled in their games, as they should have, and the conference games were all great games to watch. This era may well be looked back upon as the resurgence of the Big Ten, and you’re all getting a front-row seat on the action. While disappointing for Rutgers, Purdue and Iowa, it was a good weekend for the conference.
For our recap on Rutgers losing to Nebraska 27-17, click here.