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Big Ten Football: Week One Review

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The opening weekend opened on Thursday and the OOC Schedule saw no real surprises

Week One of the college football season has come and gone. As it has for the past few seasons, the conference opened its season on Thursday. However, not as usual, there was a conference game in that Thursday game as Northwestern visited Purdue. A total of four games took place before the traditional opening Saturday morning start for conference games. Let’s take a look to see how everyone did:

Northwestern 31 Purdue 27

The first conference game of the season was a good game between two improving teams in the Big Ten West. This was a battle right from the beginning, with Northwestern jumping to a 14 point lead, only to have Purdue tie it up at 14-14 before the end of the first quarter. The Wildcats took the lead again at the beginning of the 2nd quarter, and never gave it up. However, Purdue stayed in it, and after going into the locker room at the half down by two touchdowns, found a way to throttle Northwestern in the second half and held them scoreless for the rest of the game.

The lead was too much for the Boilermakers to overcome, however. Despite adding a touchdown in the 3rd quarter, and tacking on a field goal in the beginning of the 4th quarter, they fell in their home opener.

Next Game: Northwestern will take on Duke at home while Purdue will host Eastern Michigan

Minnesota 48 New Mexico State 10

After a slow state where New Mexico State took a 10-7 lead, the rest of the game was all Minnesota. They beat the Aggies in just about every statistical area with the exception of fumbles, where the Golden Gophers coughed up the ball twice, losing it once.

The Minnesota offense gained an impressive 522 yards to the Aggies 162, and had 50% more plays than their opponent getting off 81 plays to the Aggies’ 49, both of which demonstrate the dominating way Minnesota controlled the game.

Next Game: Minnesota meets Fresno State at home

Michigan State 38 Utah State 31

Wow! This one really threw a scare into the Spartans, who were ranked 11th in the preseason AP poll. With five lead changes throughout the game, the Moutain West Aggies took the lead in the fourth quarter, and only a last drive saved the game for Michigan State. The Spartans finally took the lead with only two minutes left in the 4th quarter. I would imagine there were some upset coaches in East Lansing last night.

Next Game: Michigan State at Arizona State

Wisconsin 34 Western Kentucky 3

Wisconsin did what a ranked Big Ten team is supposed to do on the opening weekend against a patsy weaker opponent: win big. And win big they did! Badger quarterback Alex Hornibrook had a great day, throwing 17-29 for 257 yards with two touchdowns. His QB rating was in the nosebleed range at 155.8. Sophomore NJ native Jonathan Taylor ran for 145 yards, and added a pair of touchdowns of his own. A strong opener for the #4 ranked Badgers.

Next Game: Wisconsin hosts New Mexico

Maryland 34 Texas 29

In a game dedicated to the fallen teammate Jordan McNair, the best of college football was on display at the opening, when Maryland purposely placed only 10 players on the field to recognize McNair’s absence and intentionally took a penalty in his honor. In return, Texas declined the penalty.

Following that was a dogfight. In a game that featured five lead changes, plus an extended delay due to lightening, the Terps were able to pull of the win, despite the preponderance of burnt orange in the stands, making it obvious that Texas fans outnumbered the Maryland fans in College Park. In the end, a last minute drive by Texas was foiled by Longhorn quarterback Sam Ehlinger throwing an interception to seal the win for the Terrapins.

Next Game: Maryland hosts Bowling Green

Illinois 31 Kent State 24

Another year, another struggle for Illinois to demonstrate any growth. The Illini struggled mightily against the Flashes, and Illinois did not take a final lead in the game until well into the 4th quarter. After an initial drive ended in the field goal, Kent State answered with 17 unanswered points, taking a 17-3 lead into the locker room at the half. In the second half, Illinois’ offense seemed to come to life, but still ended the 3rd quarter tied at 24 with the MAC team that ended last season at the bottom of their conference with the 2-10 record. A Reggie Corbin one-yard run gave Illinois their final score and proved to be the final score of the day to give Illinois their opening day victory.

Next Game: Illinois hosts Western Illinois

Ohio State 77 Oregon State 31

In a scorefest, the Buckeyes demonstrated they did not need Urban Meyer on the sidelines to post a convincing victory. In this opening tilt against their Pac-12 opponent, the Buckeyes took a 42-14 halftime lead, and never looked back. Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins was 22 for 30 for 313 yards and five touchdowns with a single interception, and was supported by RB Mike Webber, who ran for three more. This was the first game for first-time head coach Jonathan Smith, and his Beavers ran into a buzzsaw taking on the Buckeyes in his first game as a head coach.

Next Game: Ohio State hosts Rutgers

Iowa 33 Northern Illinois 7

The Hawkeyes made a convincing bid to challenge Wisconsin for the lead of the Big Ten West with their dismantling of the Northern Illinois Huskies in Kinnick Stadium yesterday. The result was never in doubt, as Iowa rolled over their MAC opponents. The Huskies were unable to score until the last two minutes of the game, when most of the Iowa starters had been given the rest of the afternoon off.

Next Game: Iowa hosts Iowa State

Penn State 45 Appalachian State 38 (OT)

Appalachian State has a history of making life difficult for Big Ten teams, and 11 years to the day after beating Michigan in the Big House, the Mountaineers threw a real scare into the Nittany Lions in Happy Valley yesterday. In another game that featured five lead changes, Appalachian State game Penn State all they could handle. A real nail-biter for fans of the Nitty Kitties, it wasn’t until Miles Sanders scored in overtime that Penn State was able to pull this one out of the fire. Perhaps Big Ten teams should stop playing the Mountaineers?

Next Game: Penn State travels to take on Pittsburgh

Indiana 38 Florida International 28

Though Florida International scored first, Indiana came back with two quick scores in the first quarter, which took a lead they never gave up. Hoosier quarterback Peyton Ramsey had a big day throwing for three TDs against a single interception for over 150 yards on the day. Stevie Scott led the rushing for Indiana, gaining 70 yards as well. FIU’s Anthony Jones had a good day as well, running for 88 yards on 15 attempts.

Next Game: Indiana travels to take on Virginia

Notre Dame 24 Michigan 17

This one really was not as close as the score would indicate. Notre Dame was really never threatened, and led by as much as 21-3 in the second quarter, and still led 24-10 until two minutes left in the game, when the Wolverines added their final TD. Wolverine quarterback Shea Patterson, who transferred last season from Auburn Ole Miss, threw 20 fo 30 for no TDs and one interception, and the only thing that kept it looking more lop-sided was a 99 yard kick return by the Wolverines in the first half. Despite the stronger showing by Michigan in the second half, they were not strong enough to overcome the Irish. Shea Patterson, while a strong quarterback, was not the savior of the Wolverines, at least not in South Bend last night.

Next Game: Michigan hosts Western Michigan

Nebraska Akron- Cancelled

For the first time in 128 years, Nebraska was defeated, not by another football team, but my Mother Nature. Due to severe weather, the game between the ‘Huskers and the Akron Zips was postponed, a first for Nebraska football. At the time of this writing, the game, which had been postponed to Sunday at 10:30 AM, was cancelled and will not be rescheduled.

Next Game: Nebraska hosts Colorado

Rutgers 35 Texas State 7

Despite a sluggish start, Rutgers took a 21-0 lead into the locker room at the half, and true freshman quarterback Artur Sitkowski threw 20 for 29 on the day and a touchdown, and also showed his inexperience with three interceptions. The sole Texas State score came from one of those three interceptions , when Bobcat defender Kordell Rodgers snagged one of those three interceptions for a 51 yard runback for a touchdown. While it became obvious that the outcome was never in doubt, Rutgers seemed to show growing pains in both offense and defense, as the Bobcat offense had several times where Rutgers errors resulted in penalties that kept Texas State’s drives alive. In the end, however, Rutgers’ receivers and running backs were used interchangeably and were effective against their opponent from the Sun Belt Conference.

Next Game: Rutgers travels to Ohio State

Summary:

There were no real surprises in the first week of Big Ten football. Sure, you may have thought Michigan would upset Notre Dame, but that was not expected, to be sure. All of the teams that were supposed to win, did win. There were a couple of scares, but in the end, the conference won all but one of their out of conference games, and the first conference tilt was won by the Wildcats.

Next week, there is also just one conference head-to-head game, when the Buckeyes take on the Scarlet Knights in the Horseshoe in Columbus. There are also a couple of in-state rivalry games when the Iowa Hawkeyes take on the Iowa State Cyclones, and Penn State takes on Pitt. It’ll be another good week of Big Ten football, so stay tuned!