It was a great week for the Big Ten as a whole with 12 teams picking up a win and some brilliant match-ups. Let’s dive right in to the B1G 10 Week 2 Review with the game of the week; Bucks v Ducks!
Oregon came into this game with the odds stacked against them. They struggled in a week 1 victory over Fresno State and were missing 2 key players on defense in Kayvon Thibodeaux and Justin Flowe. Ohio State were expected to put lots of points on the board, so how were the Ducks supposed to win this? Well, their answer was to beat up the Buckeye defense in every which way possible.
The O-line didn’t just keep QB Anthony Brown upright – they gave him all the time in the world to pick his passes. There was no pass rush to speak of and Brown took advantage, throwing for 236 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The brightest star on offense was CJ Verdell who rushed for 161 yards and 2 touchdowns as well as adding a receiving touchdown. Again and again Oregon asserted their will on drives, averaging over 7 yards per carry and controlling the game. They were very impressive and Ohio State’s defense will be working very hard this week in the film room and on the field to analyse the weaknesses Oregon exploited.
Oregon looked the better team throughout and established a 14 point lead on the first drive of the 3rd quarter. This was crucial as both offenses were moving the ball well and scoring, but Ohio State couldn’t overcome the 2 score deficit. They did get close and had the chance to tie the game twice in the final stages, but Oregon’s defense slammed the door shut to seal the win.
There were positives for the Buckeyes on offense but the defense needs to improve fast. But forget OSU, today belonged to the Oregon Ducks – the possibilities for them this season suddenly appear endless, with a playoff spot now a real opportunity.
This was the first time that the Cy-Hawk trophy was fought over with both sides ranked, and it pitted #9 against #10. Iowa Hawkeyes were looking to extend their dominant run over their fierce rivals to 6 in a row and did so with a brilliant performance.
The Cyclones have been hyped up all off season – with justification – but maybe it’s the Hawkeyes who deserve the attention now. They won this game because of their extremely physical defense that battered the life out of Iowa State. Breece Hall is one of the best running backs in the country and Iowa State’s prize offensive weapon – keeping him to under 100 yards on the ground is a fantastic achievement for this defensive unit.
The pivotal moment of the game came with 5 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. Iowa State were backed up on their goal line and handed the ball off to Hall. Before he could make any ground he was met by the Iowa defense and Jestin Jacobs forced a fumble that was scooped up by Jack Campbell and taken in for a defensive touchdown, giving Iowa a 21-10 lead.
Brock Purdy threw interceptions on both of Iowa State’s next 2 drives which felt like the game-sealer with the way the Hawkeye defense was playing, and it proved to be the case as Iowa saw out the final quarter to beat their Big XII rivals and take the Cy-Hawk trophy home again.
The Big Ten is known for its strong defenses and Michigan traditionally have been one of the strongest. This was a performance that suggests the Wolverines are returning to brighter days after a tough few years under Coach Harbaugh. Michigan were aggressive and played tight coverage all night to suffocate the Huskies and delight the crowd. The noise inside Ann Arbor was electrifying!
The offense did their job too, almost exclusively on the ground. They were so effective rushing the ball that McNamara only threw the ball 15 times, connecting on 7. Corum and Haskins both rushed for over 150 yards and 4 touchdowns between them, a recipe Michigan will want to follow week after week if they can. The Wolverines had 17 points and complete control before Washington could kick a field goal to finally get on the board near the end of the 3rd quarter. The teams traded early 4th quarter TDs before Corum twisted the dagger with his 3rd score late on.
The Scarlet Knights are 2-0 for the first time since 2014! Maybe that’s what we should focus on here because the game was not a classic. The game script reads horribly with punt after punt after punt. Greg Schiano will be delighted to be undefeated but Rutgers were expected to win this more convincingly than they did. Syracuse contributed to their own downfall with some costly errors. QB Tommy DeVito fumbled and Rutgers recovered on the Syracuse 10 yard line. They couldn’t punch it in for 7, however they did kick the field goal to stretch the lead to 2 scores. That was enough to get a low scoring, gritty, grind-it-out win.
This game was over almost from the beginning as Virginia breezed past the Fighting Illini. Brennan Armstrong threw touchdown passes on Virginia’s first 2 drives to establish a lead they never gave up. Armstrong ended the day with 5 passing touchdowns and over 400 passing yards. Brett Bielma has plenty to do to get this Illinois team even competing as they were ineffective on offense and defense. That week 0 victory over Nebraska is starting to look like an anomaly and it could be a very long season ahead.
The ‘next man up’ mantra was in question this week after Minnesota’s Mo Ibrahim was ruled out for the season. He is a special talent and the Golden Gophers’ offense is built around him, so there were question marks around the offensive game plan for the rest of 2021. Well Treyson Potts answered the call, taking the lead back role and steamrolling his way to 178 yards and 2 touchdowns against Miami (Ohio.)
Minnesota raced into a 21-3 lead at half time and had a strong hold on the game, but the Redhawks weren’t bowing out easily. They took over the 3rd quarter and scored a touchdown to open the 4th making it a 1 point game. They couldn’t maintain that dominance through to the end though and Potts replied with his 2nd TD before a field goal gave Minnesota an 11 point lead with 6 minutes remaining which was ultimately too high a mountain for the Redhawks to climb.
Another Big Ten team that had a good day running the ball. Northwestern running back Evan Hull was the star here. He really needed to be as the passing attack spluttered and struggled. Indiana State got their 6 points right at the end of the game but the defense didn’t make it easy for the heavily favoured Wildcats.
Northwestern can be pleased that their run defense was improved from week 1 v Michigan State – although there was no way it could get worse! They really bottled up Indiana State though, restricting them to just 31 yards all game. Wildcat fans will still want to see marked improvements going forward but a win is a win!
UConn are a bad football team. Like, really bad. Purdue filled their boots as the Huskies defense couldn’t stop the pass or the run and the scoreboard kept ticking over. Jack Plummer will be very happy with his performance, throwing 16/20 for 245 yards and 4 touchdowns in the 1st half before sitting out the 2nd. David Bell had a great day too, snagging 3 touchdowns and 147 total yards. There are only so many superlatives we can use to describe him and his performances, hopefully the biggest complement will come from NFL scouts come draft time. Purdue’s season won’t hinge on games like this, but they got the job done convincingly.
This is the Sean Clifford we want to see! Efficient, confident, running well, spreading the ball around and having fun. Penn State is looking to write a new chapter after a disastrous 2020. This kind of showing will help massively. Offense, defense and special teams balled out. The Nittany Lions showed they can play some offense to go alongside the mean defense we have seen already.
Penn State started fast. Scoring on 4 of their first 5 possessions while the defense limited Ball State to just 6 first half points. Noah Cain scored a rushing TD, Clifford did too. Jahan Dotson grabbed one through the air as the headline makers all got involved. Confidence is returning to Beaver Stadium.
I said Nebraska would need to stuff the Buffalo run game to win and that’s exactly what they did. Buffalo boast a strong running outfit but were limited to 135 rushing yards by the Cornhusker defense. Adrian Martinez is a Jekyll and Hyde QB – you’re never sure which version is going to show up. Today he played really well in a warm up for next week’s huge game against Oklahoma. Martinez got 242 yards through the air. 112 rushing and 2 passing touchdowns as the offense ran through him and freshman running back Gabe Ervin. This was the kind of performance that could save Scott Frost his job. But it will be a tall task to repeat next week against the Sooners.
Wisconsin are another team that won a game they were expected to by running the ball really well and strong defense. 4 different running backs scored touchdowns for Wisconsin which is a Badger dream – run the ball, control the game. We didn’t learn much from this matchup but Wisconsin will be pleased with how they bounced back from the battling defeat to Penn State last week.
Who didn’t score for Maryland this weekend?! 8 touchdowns for 8 different players in an absolute rout of Howard. This was a mismatch all over the field and the fans in the stands were having a party. Dontay Demus is establishing himself as Baby Tua’s favourite target and is starting to get some national attention. Maryland take on Illinois and Kent State and could go into a potential blockbuster fixture against Iowa on the 2nd October 4-0.
Indiana had something to prove on Saturday night and they didn’t disappoint their home crowd. The Hoosiers raced into a 21-0 lead in the 1st quarter thanks to Michael Penix Jr’s 2 end zone throws and a special teams TD off a blocked punt. From there the touchdowns kept coming as Idaho couldn’t slow or stop the Indiana offense. The defense dominated, demonstrated by Indiana scoring 4 touchdowns before Idaho recorded a 1st down! Stephen Carr is quietly growing into a real threat at running back. Getting his first 100 yard game and a touchdown. He’s one to keep an eye on.
written by Jack @JackCDCTT