In a solid start to the College Football season our B1G 10 Week 1 Review starts with a team that has Natty aspirations. Justin who?
Ohio State were pushed hard by a very good Minnesota side that rode Mo Ibrahim into a surprise halftime lead against the Buckeyes. Ohio State took a while to get going on offense but there is no stopping them when they are firing – and the second half they came out a different beast to the first and ultimately ran away with the game.
Miyan Williams opened the scoring for Ohio State with a long run down the right sideline where he simply outpaced the defense to the edge and kept on going. Minnesota’s response was methodical and patient as they ran the ball down the field, picking up first down after first down thanks to Mo Ibrahim and he was rewarded with the second of the Golden Gophers’ first half touchdowns, which made the score 14-10 at half time. Unfortunately Ibrahim was forced off after his second touchdown with a non-contact injury which looks very much like an achilles problem that could rule him out of the remainder of the season.
The Buckeyes flexed their muscles in the second half and stretched away with some big passing touchdowns. The lethal receiving duo of Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave both scored. Haskell Garrett returned a fumble for another. Exciting freshman TreVeyon Henderson showed his speed after the catch to torch through the Minnesota defense. This stretched the lead to 14. Minnesota could not claw any closer come full time as the teams traded scores late in the fourth.
Michigan State pulled off a fantastic performance on the opening weekend. Led by running back Kenneth Walker III the Spartans trampled over the Northwestern defense for 264 yards and 4 touchdowns! From the very first play from scrimmage Walker waved goodbye to the Wildcats defenders for a 75 yard touchdown run. Northwestern had no response and Michigan State extended their lead with 2 further touchdowns before Hunter Johnson was able to throw a touchdown pass and finally put Northwestern on the board in the final minute of the second quarter.
Northwestern would have been buoyed by the end to the half but each time they got themselves within 2 scores Walker ripped off another run that deflated the Wildcats and either scored himself or set up the team to add more points to the Sparty lead. Payton Thorne managed the game well with the running game allowing him to play risk free football and opened up some big passing plays, but the game and the headlines really belong with Kenneth Walker III.
The defense had a ‘bend but don’t break’ attitude and impressively held out on strong Northwestern drives. Missed opportunities were the story of the game for Northwestern – not capitalising on those good drives, leaving points on the field and poor tackling allowing MSU to take away any momentum that they built up.
My pick for game of the week in the Big 10 and from a scoreline perspective you might think I’ve whiffed on this one, but this was a fascinating battle where 2 top defenses challenged their opponents to beat them. The Big 10 is historically full of strong defenses and this was a credit to that reputation. Defenses were definitely on top, this was low scoring with the first points not being scored until the third quarter but it was certainly fascinating to watch.
The stalemate was broken by a wide open Jahan Dotson who collected a pass from Sean Clifford and took it 49 yards to the house to give Penn State the lead. Wisconsin will be frustrated that they allowed Dotson to escape coverage as they had contained both him and Parker Washington well until this point.
This kick started a mini scoring spree as Wisconsin went on a 10 play, 75 yard touchdown drive with Chez Mellusi rushing over from 3 yards. Mellusi took the star role at running back for the Badgers and we assume that Jalen Berger is still recovering from his off-season injuries. Mellusi ran the ball well and Berger will have a tough task wrestling the RB1 job from him. The teams exchanged field goals in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter before Noah Cain crashed over for a Nittany Lions touchdown making it 16-10 with the missed extra point.
Wisconsin worked themselves into a position to score with a strong drive. But as Graham Mertz looked for the touchdown his pass was intercepted in the end zone by Jaquan Brisker to completely deflate the Badgers. Nevertheless they rallied to drive 50 yards down the field on their next and final possession. Only for Mertz’s pass to again be intercepted on the last play of the game, sealing the win for Penn State.
There was a full house in the Big House for the opening game of Michigan’s season. Its always a great sight and the sell-out crowd watched their Wolverines avoid any potential upset with a strong showing.
Ronnie Bell looked great early in this game with a good punt return and a 76 yard TD grab. Unfortunately that was all he could contribute before leaving the game with a knee injury which we are all hoping is not serious. Michigan ran the ball well with the offensive line creating holes for Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins. They split carries fairly evenly and will both be happy with their production.
Michigan fans will be happy to have seen quarterback Cade McNamara look poised as he delivered what he needed to in a fairly simple season opener. This wasn’t the biggest test for him and he had a lowkey day as the running game took over
For Western Michigan Kaleb Eleby played well after settling down and is one to watch this season, but the Broncos were never in the race here. Michigan now looks to take this momentum into their game against Washington next week.
This game could only get better for coach Schiano after starting the day by running out of the tunnel and being floored by a cameraman! It did immediately improve with the defense putting the first points on the board via a safety. Rutgers coasted from there to pick up the ‘W.’
The Scarlet Knights had some fun and capitalised on the QB draw by bringing backup Johnny Langan in at QB for 2 short yardage touchdowns for the crowd to cheer. There were strong performances in all 3 phases of the game with the defense scoring points, offense managing the game and moving the ball well and the punt and return teams flipping the field and giving Rutgers great field position.
Fordham kept this matchup competitive until the very end of the 2nd quarter before Nebraska ran away with it – as they were expected to do. This should act as a confidence boost after last week’s disappointing result against Illinois. But similarly to Michigan, they did what they were expected to do. They won against a team with far inferior talent and resources.
Scott Frost will take anything positive right now. He can be proud of his defense who kept Fordham quiet and picked off DeMorat three times.
Tyler Goodson gave the already pumped up home crowd something to party about early. As he ripped off a 56 yard touchdown run to the right on the first possession of the game. The tone was set in a game that Indiana never got a foothold in.
The Hawkeye defense dominated and silenced the excitement around Michael Penix Jr and the Hoosiers offense. An 1st quarter pick 6 by Riley Moss extended the Iowa lead, and Moss needed a moment after scoring to take in what had just happened;
“I saw the ball pop up, I got super excited, I was foaming at the mouth to catch the ball. I didn’t realize I scored a touchdown until I was on the bench, I was like, ‘Holy cow, that happened.'” There was another pick 6 for Moss later in the game and 3 in total for Penix, having thrown only 4 all last season. Indiana totalled a measly 233 yards on offense, and just 31 on the ground.
The score was 31-3 at halftime and Iowa managed the game well from this position. Slowing down the second half making it low scoring and fairly pedestrian. They strolled through to victory.
The Maryland Terrapins played an entertaining game in which the momentum, and the lead switched hands again and again.
Leddie Brown scored the first touchdown of the game. Taking a pass 20 yards to the end zone to give West Virginia the lead. This capped off a creative drive in which Brown demonstrated his bulldozing rushing ability. Winston Wright Jr took the ball off a pop pass and showed his speed to pick up 20 yards. Leddie Brown finished the day with all 3 of WVs touchdowns and over 100 total yards.
Taulia Tagovailoa wasn’t perfect for Maryland but he showed poise and accuracy when it was really needed. Completing 26/36 for 332 yards and 3 touchdowns. He was calm and stood up in the 4th quarter. Leading his team down the field for a score that would take the Terrapins 2 scores clear. Tagovailoa delivered a great pass to Rakim Jarrett which he took 60 yards to the house. Effectively seal the game for Maryland. Jarrett and fellow receiver Dontay Demus Jr flashed their skills and speed. Which showed this passing game will be dangerous going forward.
It would be amiss to give the offense all the credit. The Terps defense showed they can be counted on in a close game, forcing 4 turnovers. Taulia was put in position for that game winning touchdown by his defense. Transfer Jakorian Bennett intercepted Jarret Doege in the endzone. It was devastating for the Mountaineers as any points on that drive would have put them in the lead. Instead they found themselves further behind after Jarrett’s score.
This feels like a huge win for Maryland to start the season and there is hope that this year will be a bright one.
Who doesn’t love a double pass?! Oregon State opened the scoring on the back of a wonderful double pass that tight end Teagan Quitoriano couldn’t quite take to the end zone. There were trick plays, end arounds and a lot of fun had in this game. Even if some of them didn’t quite work out!
It was a night of strong defenses and both teams did a great job bottling up the run game. Purdue played really well all round on defense and forced a QB change. Sam Noyer was benched in the third quarter on his first start for the Beavers. Purdue capitalised on some short field situations to put points on the board. They then scored a 50-yard game sealing touchdown. Payne Durham found himself so wide open he could stroll to the end zone for his second of the game.
This is a win Purdue will be very pleased with as they had to fight hard all game for it. QB Jake Plummer certainly enjoyed the challenge of finishing the game; “we’ve got to go finish this game. It’s on us to win the game. The whole entire offense accepted that challenge. We wanted to go out there and prove we could do it.”
Could Illinois build on their surprise win over Nebraska in week 0? No, no they could not.
UTSA capitalised on a slow start from Illinois and never surrendered the lead. The game never stretched too far away from Illinois. But UTSA is a team they were expected to beat and fans would have been excited about starting the year 2-0. If you take away those expectations however, this was a really fun game of football. The Roadrunners were rolling on offense with QB Frank Harris connecting with his receivers. Most notably Zakhari Franklin who caught 10 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown. On the other side of the ball, Artur Sitkowski spread the ball around and threw for 3 touchdowns. The difference in this game was that Illinois couldn’t stop the UTSA offense enough to overcome the deficit.
Coach Bielema summed up the game saying “We did enough things to hurt ourselves. We’re just not there yet. We’re working on it, but we’re not there yet.”