The drama continues to unfold in the Big Ten heading into week 3 of the 2022 season. Early season firings, QB controversy and freshman stars breaking out – what do you need to look out for this weekend?
Nebraska start life without Scott Frost with a mightily difficult test. They welcome #6 Oklahoma to Memorial Stadium with a leaky defense to say the least. The Cornhuskers need to shore up that unit to have any chance against a Sooners team that have scored 78 points in their first 2 games.
JJ McCarthy has officially won the QB job at Michigan. After a solid performance, albeit against a lowly Hawaii, he has been handed control of the offense. This hints that the Wolverines will attempt to play a more dynamic offense, utilising McCarthy’s athletic ability as well as his strong arm. We’ll see the beginnings of their gameplan in a cupcake game v UCONN.
The Northwestern rollercoaster is ready to climb back up this week. After a great week 1 win and disappointing week 2 loss, the Wildcats will turn to star offensive weapon Evan Hull for inspiration. The running back had an outstanding day in the passing game against Duke, so look out for more of the same against Southern Illinois.
Feasting on Oranges?
Purdue have a breakout star in their receiving core in Charlie Jones. After a long college career amounting to very little, his transfer to the Boilermakers has proved revolutionary. Can he light up Syracuse in the Orange’s first real test of 2022?
Definitely keep an eye on Western Kentucky when they play Indiana. WKU play an air-raid system, bombing the ball down the field. Bailey Zappe thrived in the system last year, ending up a 4th round pick in the NFL Draft. Austin Reed has stepped into his shoes, and needs a big game to prove he has fully mastered the playbook. If that comes this week there will be fireworks in Bloomington and we’ll have quite a game on our hands!
#11 Michigan State face a long trip out west to Pac-12 land. They take on the Washington Huskies in what will be a bouncing night game. It’s a clash of playing style and the Huskies will be a really tricky opponent for the Spartans. If you’re up late, tune into this one.
Things not to watch – Iowa. Enough said.
The rest of the Big Ten have favourable matchups on paper, so watch for any upset potential but I don’t see much of a chance this week. You never know in college football though!
Game Of The Week
Penn State @ Auburn
Penn State are on the brink of something special. I can feel it! Their recent recruiting has lured 2 potential superstars to Beaver Stadium, and the sooner they are on the field the better in my opinion. Running back Nick Singleton broke out last week with 179 yards and 2 touchdowns from 10 carries. The 5 star freshman is electric with the ball in his hands and has the talent to take over as the Nittany Lion’s main man on offense. James Franklin needs to pivot away from a committee and hand Singleton the keys. If he does this for the Auburn game, then watch out Tigers!
Quarterback Drew Allar is the another 5 star prospect, but unfortunately appears stuck behind Sean Clifford at least for the moment. Allar has sparkled with his limited snaps so far, and Clifford must be feeling the pressure. There’s no room for error with someone that talented breathing down your neck. We won’t see Allar against Auburn, bar an injury or something dramatic happening. But watch out for him later in 2022 (hopefully!)
Big Ten v SEC battles are always of high intrigue. Auburn haven’t faced a real test yet, and have a new quarterback in LSU transfer TJ Finley. They definitely haven’t faced a defense as talented as Penn State, so watch for how star RB Tank Bigsby fares against a unit that will sell out to shut him down. This could well be a battle of the running backs.