What a week of college football! Massive upsets, coach firings, highlight reel plays and much more! In the Big Ten we had all this and more, with a heated rivalry game sprinkled on top of the usual drama.
Game Of The Week
Iowa State 10 Iowa 7
Iowa State snapped the 6 game losing streak in this fixture to claim the Cy-Hawk Trophy and leave Iowa with all kinds of questions to answer. In a mistake ridilled game with multiple turnovers, both teams let each other off the hook by failing to capitalise with points.
The Cyclone’s winning touchdown drive will be sweet for any Iowa State fan. Against a vaunted Iowa defense, Hunter Dekkers led his team 99 yards down the field for the score. The drive ate up nearly 12 minutes of clock, spanning 21 plays and including 6 3rd down completions. For a defense as good as the Hawkeye’s, this was bizzare to see.
On offense, Spencer Petras struggled again. He managed just 12 completions on 26 attempts for 92 yards and an interception. For a team to be successful with statistics like that, the run game has to be explosive. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case so far in 2022. Iowa’s rushing attack managed a measly 58 yards and the only score of the game came courtesy of a short field possession given to them by the punt block team.
Iowa are definitely not the most fun team to watch right now. I don’t think this is purely a Spencer Petras problem, although he definitely isn’t helping! The Hawkeyes are running an offensive scheme that isn’t entertaining, but more importantly right now, isn’t working. Neutral observers can’t stand what is going on with the Hawkeyes offense. Loyal fans can get on board with this offensive scheme that bleeds the clock and utilises efficient rushing IF it yields points and wins games. But when the scheme doesn’t work, the fanbase begins to get as restless and the outside world. We’re crying out for a change, but I’m not convinced Kirk Ferentz is going to give us one.
Bye bye Scott Frost!
Georgia Southern 45 Nebraska 42
The result of the game has paled into insignificance in the days after. The facts are that Nebraska lost, again, by 1 score, again, to a team they should beat comfortably, again! The big headline though is that Scott Frost has been frozen out and the Cornhuskers are looking for a new Head Coach.
Nebraska were so desperate to get rid of him, that even a saving of $7.5 million didn’t tempt them to keep Frost until October 1st. That’s when his buyout drops from $15 million, but Frost will pocket that money and run! It’s been coming, I’m just surprised it was now. 3 weeks isn’t going to make any difference to this team and the 2022 season.
Against Georgia Southern, the Cornhuskers were abysmal on defense. They surrendered 642 yards! 642! That is ridiculous! If you were playing a high powered offense in a complete mismatch you might be able to just about accept that. Against a 3-9 Sun Belt outfit? Absolutely not. It didn’t take long for the student section to be chanting ‘fire Frost!’ as the 3 touchdown favourites found themselves in a shootout. They got their wish, see you later Mr Frost.
Arkansas State 12 Ohio State 45
Marvin Harrison Jr heard the week 1 criticism and came out red hot against Arkansas State. The sophomore showed off his fantastic route running and speed to light up the Red Wolves’ secondary. CJ Stroud connected with his favourite target on the day 7 times, for 184 yards and 3 touchdowns. We wanted to see the Ohio State offense click, and this was a good start – albeit against inferior opposition.
The defense are out to prove that they can stop the run. After being gashed on multiple occasions in 2021, Jim Knowles has this defensive unit dialled in on the ground game. They surrendered just 53 yards on the ground and kept Arkansas State out of the endzone entirely. Good signs of improvement with tougher tests to come.
The name’s McCarthy, JJ McCarthy
Hawaii 10 Michigan 56
JJ McCarthy has won the Michigan quarterback job! Jim Harbaugh said he has earned it in the performance against Hawaii, but in reality I think he wanted to make this decision a few weeks ago. Harbaugh values his players highly, and builds strong relationships with them. I imagine he didn’t want to alienate Cade McNamara early in the season by not giving him a shot at keeping his job as starting QB, but JJ McCarthy is the more dynamic player.
McNamara didn’t help his case against Hawaii either. When given snaps, he looked like a man desperate to do something special to keep his job. He lacked composure, lost it with his offensive line and receivers and cut a frustrated figure on the field and the sideline. In trying to win the job, McNamara may have given it away.
Michigan were comfortable in this game all day long. The one concern for the Wolverines is the health of running back Donovan Edwards. He is a key part of the rushing attack and left the game early with an injury. Keep an eye out for any reports as to how serious an issue this might be.
Duke 31 Northwestern 23
Evan Hull had a massive day in a close loss to the Duke Blue Devils. Hull had a respectable 65 yards and a touchdown on the ground, but it was in the passing game that he was most impressive. Ryan Hilinski went to his running back again and again, targeting him constantly. Hull caught 14 of those targets for 213 yards and a touchdown! All in a days work eh?!
Ohio 10 Penn State 46
Beaver Valley witnessed a straightforward victory against the Ohio Bobcats, and got a glimpse of their future stars. Drew Allar shone on his limited snaps, taking control of the offense and looking sharp. He is clearly more talented than current starter Sean Clifford, and you have to wonder whether a change is coming. Would a loss to Auburn in week 3 be enough to tip the scales Allar’s way?
Nick Singleton also took the opportunity to announce himself to the Nittany Lion faithful. He turned his 10 carries into 179 yards and 2 touchdowns in a breakout performance. Singleton is an electric talent with huge potential. He is destined to take over this backfield, and sooner rather than later. Freshman rarely get the reigns handed to them out the gate, but in a similar way to Treveyon Henderson last year at Ohio State, Singleton’s talent should make him an exception to the rule. I hope we get to see more and more of him as the season progresses.
Washington State 17 Wisconsin 14
Wisconsin fell victim to an upset at the hands of a fiery Washington State. The Badgers were uncharacteristically ill-disciplined and fell foul of the ref’s yellow flags 11 times! Those 11 penalties cost them 106 yards, and put Wazzu on the front foot. Even with those penalties, Wisconsin outgained Washington State 401 yards to 253 but couldn’t convert them into enough points.
Ex-Badger Nakia Watson dealt the blows that sunk Wisconsin, scoring 2 touchdowns on an emotional return to Camp Randall Stadium. It meant a lot to him to prove his worth in front of his old coaches, and Wisconsin will be happy they don’t have to see him again for a while!
Elsewhere several teams racked up good wins without much to talk about. Minnesota thrashed Western Illinois, Maryland put up a 50 burger on Charlotte, Michigan State and Purdue blanked Akron and Indiana State respectively and Rutgers routed Wagner. Indiana rallied from 10-0 to beat Idaho, getting themselves sorted at halftime and returning to the field with a renewed energy that saw them home. A strong showing from the Big Ten against weaker opposition.