The first week of real conference play has come and gone. All but a few were in the action against their conference foes, Rutgers being among the few that begin in earnest next week, due to the week two meeting with Ohio State. How did everyone do? Well, lop-sided scores were again the rule rather than the exception this weekend, beginning with the first game for the weekend, played on Friday evening.
Penn State(4-0) 63 Illinois(2-2) 24
This one looked like it was going to be a competitive game through the first three quarters. The Illini actually took the lead 24-21, and Penn State looked like they had a real game on their hands. However, at that point it all fell apart for the boys from Champaign. Six unanswered touchdowns put the game away for the Nittany Lions.
Maryland(3-1) 42 Minnesota(3-1) 13
Minnesota was never in this as they fell on the road for their first loss of the season. Maryland bounced back well from their loss at home last week to Temple by taking it out on their Big Ten West conference-mates. True freshman Golden Gopher quarterback Zach Annexstad had a rough outing, as he was intercepted twice and sacked four times while only connecting on a single touchdown. Maryland’s twin running backs Ty Johnson and Anthony McFarland teamed up to each gain more than 100 yards, and they scored three touchdowns between the pair.
Michigan(3-1) 56 Nebraska(0-3) 10
In a real shocker, the Wolverines made easy work of the ‘Huskers, who remain winless under new head coach Scott Frost. Michigan stepped on the gas, and had a 46-0 lead before Nebraska was finally able to score a field goal late in the third quarter.
Purdue(1-3) 30 Boston College(3-1) 13
The real surprise of the day took place with an out-of-conference game, where the Boilermakers made short work of the Boston College Eagles, who were ranked for the first time in several years. Despite being sacked five times, Purdue quarterback David Blough had a 21 for 28 day for almost 300 yards and three touchdowns. BC was unable to get any offense going either in the air or on the ground, where five Eagle running backs barely passed 100 yards rushing combined.
Ohio State(4-0) 49 Tulane(2-2) 6
In the least surprising score of the day, the Buckeyes celebrated Urban Meyer’s return to the Buckeye sideline by crushing the Green Wave at home. Most of the scoring ended in the first half, with a single Ohio State touchdown being the only scoring in the second half. But in the first half OSU quarterback Dwayne Haskings threw for five touchdowns on a 21 for 24 day.
Michigan State(2-1) 35 Indiana(3-1) 21
The normally steady Michigan State coach Mark D’Antonio turned into a trickster with a couple of surprising trick plays in the Spartans return to the gridiron after a week used to regroup after a week two loss to Arizona State. Spartan quarterback Brian Lewerke turned a fake field goal into a touchdown, and even had his first college career reception in a big day for the boys from East Lansing. A late Hoosier rally that tacked on a pair of touchdowns was not enough to overcome, however, and Indiana lost their first game of the season.
Wisconsin(2-1) 28 Iowa(3-0) 17
After a stumble last week at home, the Badgers found a way to win again while on the road, and showed that the way to the Big Ten West title still travels through Madison. Iowa led 17-14 at the end of the third quarter but Wisconsin scored two unanswered touchdowns to take the lead and the game in this nighttime matchup in Iowa City.
Buffalo(4-0) 42 Rutgers(1-3) 13
Rutgers’ offensive and defensive woes continued in their final out-of-conference matchup of the season. After Rutgers took a brief 3-0 lead, Buffalo quarterback Tyree Jackson took over and threw for 264 yards and three touchdowns as the Buffalo Bulls remained unbeaten. True freshman and starting quarterback Artur Sitkowski was pulled for the second game in the row, and redshirt senior quarterback Gio Rescigno was inserted into the game with negligible impact. A pair of Justin Davidovicz field goals and a late rushing touchdown by running back Raheem Blacksheer were the only Scarlet Knight highlights in a long, frustrating day.
As the conference finishes up any residual conference games in the coming week, the look of the teams are coming into focus. The top half of the conference seems to be clicking, while one of the lower-ranked teams jn the conference surprised fans with a Boilermaker upset of ranked Boston College.
Next week is a short slate of games, with only five conference tilts on the schedule. Rutgers will host Indiana for their first home conference game of 2018, and the focus on the conference will center on the upcoming match between Ohio State and Penn State.