There were some exciting matchups for from our B1G 10 Week 3 Review over the weekend, including ranked opponents for Indiana, Purdue and Nebraska. But the headline makers this week are the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Michigan State Spartans with statement wins and performances to make the conference proud.
I wondered in the preview whether Michigan State could land a knockout blow to Miami and their disastrous start to the season, and boy did they! The Spartans were up for the fight against a ranked opponent. They outfought and outlasted Miami, taking over the 4th quarter and stretching away from the Hurricanes. Kenneth Walker dominated the run game for the 3rd straight week finishing with 189 all-purpose yards and 1 touchdown. He has gone from an afterthought in college football following his transfer from Wake Forest, to one of the most talked about backs every Saturday!
Payton Thorne was very impressive too, throwing 4 touchdown passes for the 2nd week running. This was a fantastic display all round and coach Mel Tucker will be delighted. The defense forced turnovers and did enough to slow down Miami, limit the scoring opportunities and get the ball back. Their hard work was rewarded as the offense kept the scoreboard ticking over and handed the Spartans a statement win, taking Michigan State to 3-0 and dare I say it a top 25 ranking next week?
Penn State knocked off Auburn – a ranked SEC team, in a prime-time thriller in Happy Valley. Both sides overcame strong defense and questionable officiating to put on a spectacle fitting for a White Out. A fun game came right down to the wire as the result still hung in the balance on the final play.
Penn State took the lead near the end of the 1st quarter. Jahan Dotson managed to find acres of space in the end zone and Sean Clifford, with plenty of time himself, found him easily. Auburn responded with a Tank Bigsby rushing touchdown. Then Clifford again threw a short touchdown pass on play action to tight end Brenton Strange. Tyler Warren then took a snap in the wildcat formation and dove over the top of the pile to stretch the Nittany Lions lead. Bigsby scored again and an Auburn field goal made it a 1 point game. Then Noah Cain crashed over for what turned out to be the game-sealing points.
Bo Nix and co still had a couple of shots to take this to overtime as Penn State needed a last play bat down to get over the line. Talking points from this one should rightly praise the Nittany Lions for a fantastic start to the season, but also highlight some terrible officiating from the SEC crew. Zakoby McClain was ejected for a targeting call that shouldn’t have been upheld on replay, and Penn State were forced to punt on 3rd down after the officials called it as 4th! Bizarre and unacceptable to say the least!
The Michigan Wolverines stomped all over Northern Illinois in a dominant showing in Ann Arbor. Michigan scored touchdowns on 9 consecutive drives from the opening of the game and only gave the ball back to the Huskies on downs with their final 2 drives of the game in garbage time. The stats for Michigan running backs from Saturday will delight Wolverines fans as Blake Corum rushed for 125 and 3 touchdowns, Haskins got 56 yards and 2 touchdowns and future star Donovan Edwards cashed in 2 more touchdowns and 86 rushing yards!
This was a lesson in how to win the fixtures you are expected to win – with aggression, professionalism and putting the game away early. Jim Harbaugh will be delighted with his team. So are Michigan back? Are they the real deal? We’ll be looking to matchups with Wisconsin and Michigan State in October to tell us how good the Wolverines really are.
The Boilermakers had a clear game plan to beat Notre Dame in South Bend and came really close to pulling off the upset. Purdue kept the game close and frustrated the Fighting Irish offense by pressuring Jack Coan, forcing 4 punts and conceding only 10 points in the first half. The game swung on 3 big plays and the Purdue frustration was clear to see, having defended so well overall. Kyren Williams took a pass 39 yards to the end zone, Avery Davis caught a 62 yard touchdown pass and Williams later rushed for a 51 yard score to break Boilermaker hearts.
David Bell was quiet for the most part, but did set up the only Purdue touchdown with a spectacular 3rd quarter catch. With 2 defenders draped all over him, Bell snagged the ball out of the air for 32 yards as he landed on his back inside the 5 yard line. Milton Wright subsequently caught a 2 yard pass for the touchdown. Kyle Hamilton again showed why he is a round 1 talent with a crucial tackle on 4th down to end a promising Boilermaker drive, and added a late interception in the end zone that sealed the win for Notre Dame. He has a long future ahead in the NFL.
Maryland escaped Champaign with a win but had to fight tooth and nail to earn it. Illinois’ defense was pumped up for a showdown with a Terrapins offense that has been turning heads in 2021. Neither side could stretch a lead to 2 scores at any point throughout the 60 minutes and it took a walk-off field goal for Maryland to progress to 3-0 for the season. There were mistakes and miscues aplenty with multiple fumbles contributing to the scoreline remaining tight.
Just as Maryland looked like they would take over the game in the 3rd quarter, they fumbled on the Illinois 7. The Fighting Illini marched the ball down the field on the resulting drive and tied the game again! With just 47 seconds left on the clock Illinois were forced to punt the ball back to Maryland, giving Taulia Tagovailoa a final chance to win the game in regulation. Baby Tua was the right man for the job completing chunk passes to Rakim Jarrett and Tayson Fleet-Davis to set up Joseph Petrino’s game winning kick.
Welcome to Ohio State TreVeyon Henderson! The freshman running back lit up Tulsa, breaking Archie Griffin’s freshman rushing record as he romped his way for 277 yards and 3 touchdowns. There are high hopes for Henderson and he staked a claim to run this Buckeye backfield with a statement performance. Rushing defense aside, Tulsa turned up strong and ready to battle. The Golden Hurricanes looked to expose the same defensive frailties that Oregon took advantage of last week and Ohio State needed late scores to pull away.
Defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs is under pressure in Columbus as the defense looked slow for the second game running, giving up over 428 yards passing. In the previous 2 games combined Tulsa have thrown for less than that, with 425. CJ Stroud also looked rusty, missing on some throws you would expect him to hit in his sleep! There are reports of a shoulder injury which could be limiting him, but with a loaded QB room the pressure is rising as McCord and Ewers watch on from the sidelines.
Nebraska and Oklahoma have a long, historic rivalry that newer college football fans will have missed – myself included – as they haven’t played since 2010 when Nebraska joined the Big Ten. On Saturday both teams did the rivalry proud, giving everything in a close, hard-fought contest. Since the shock defeat to Illinois in week 0 Nebraska have been much improved. They gave the Sooners a tougher run than many expected. The defense came to play and limited Spencer Rattler and the Oklahoma attack to just 3 scoring plays. This is very impressive with how explosive they can be.
Nebraska will have wanted more out of their running backs as the team only totalled 95 yards on the ground. But the Oklahoma defense has been much improved the past 2 weeks. The Cornhuskers scored a touchdown with 8 seconds left in the 3rd quarter with the chance to pull within 4 with the extra point. However it was the Sooners who put points on the board as the kick was blocked, recovered and returned 100 yards to tack on 2 points, steal the momentum and dampen the jubilation on the Nebraska sideline.
The Cornhuskers managed to score a touchdown with 5 minutes to go and force Oklahoma to punt the ball, giving them a final chance to tie the game. This is when the Sooner defense made their mark and finished the game, sacking Martinez twice to seal victory. Lots of positives for Nebraska but a rivalry loss always stings.
Indiana came out the blocks hot and raced to a 14-0 lead and were suffocating Cincinnati – the upset was on! Unfortunately you can pinpoint the moment the game turned and it was on the targeting penalty that saw Micah McFadden ejected. Coach Tom Allen summed it up well “We were dominating them till that point. He’s our leader, he’s part of our pressure, he makes a lot of tackles and when you lose a guy like that, that’s tough.”
Desmond Ridder shook off the hit and took advantage of the change in momentum, finishing the drive by handing the ball to Jerome Ford for a touchdown. The teams then traded points as the lead swung on 5 consecutive scoring drives in an offense-heavy second half. The Hoosiers struggled to keep up though, crucially being restricted to a field goal late in the 3rd. Cincinnati then took the game away, capitalising on Indiana turnovers and adding a couple of 4th quarter touchdowns. The scoreline is perhaps tough on Indiana who have plenty of positives to take into the next few weeks.
This is the brand of football the Big Ten is known for. Stout defense and an exciting running game that opens the field for long plays in the passing game. Colorado proved they are no pushovers last week limiting #5 Texas A&M to 10 points and only losing by 3, but Minnesota bullied the Buffaloes. Shut outs are tough to come by, but the Golden Gophers smothered Colorado and limiting them to 82 yards and -19 rushing! Minus 19! Treyson Potts has stepped into Mo Ibrahim’s shoes nicely and added 121 yards and 3 touchdowns to his already impressive 2021 resume.
Iowa continued their impressive start to the year by beating Kent State. Including showing a bit more prowess in the passing game. We know they have a strong defense. We know they have a powerful rushing game. But we hadn’t seen the balance on offense that top teams need. On Saturday Iowa controlled the game from start to finish. They showed they can pass the ball as well as run it. Even if 3 of their touchdowns still came on the ground! Petras threw for 209 yards and a touchdown in a comfortable victory. Tyler Goodson is the star man and shined again with 153 yards and 3 touchdowns. This won’t be the last Saturday where he makes the headlines that’s for sure.
The Scarlet Knights keep marching on, all the way to 3-0 for the first time since 2012. Rutgers were expected to win this one and did so confidently, executing well on offense with Noah Vedral having a great game. He completed 21 of 25 attempts for 323 yards which is the kind of efficiency OC Sean Gleeson will be delighted with. Even more promising is the fact that Rutgers haven’t turned the ball over at all in 2021, which has too often not been the case in recent years. The Scarlet Knights face Michigan next with 2 unbeaten records on the line.
Duke had this game in their pocket in the first half. Having put all 30 of their points on the board and limiting a disappointing Northwestern to just 7. The Wildcats turned the ball over way too often and benched QB Hunter Johnson before the half even finished. After the break backup Andrew Marty led a Northwestern fightback which brought them within 1 score of the Blue Devils. Duke did enough to hold on though and Northwestern fall to 1-2.
Written by Jack @JackCDCTT