Week 4 in college football threw up some great games and shocking upsets – and one of the biggest was in the Big Ten. If you know any Golden Gophers fans, please give them a hug this week! Lots of wins for the conference and 5 undefeated teams shows the Big Ten is alive and well across the NCAA landscape. All covered in our B1G 10 Week 4 Review.
Indiana raced into an early lead against Western Kentucky which allowed them to control the rest of the game, and despite a late fightback the Hoosiers did enough to win. The fast start gave Indiana the opportunity to play the game the way they wanted to, with Stephen Carr rushing for over 100 yards yet again and Michael Penix Jr playing really well between the 20’s – making good reads and throwing for 373 yards. But Western Kentucky were able to stay in the game by stalling the Hoosiers drives and forcing field goal attempts when a touchdown may have put them out of reach.
Bailey Zappe had a brilliant day with 365 yards and 3 touchdowns. He kept the Hilltoppers in the contest and brought them within 2 points with nearly 3 minutes remaining – the pressure was on the Indiana offense to get the necessary 1st down to end the game. Ty Fryforgle was the man, catching a 10 yard pass on 3rd down to seal the win.
Oh boy! What a result for Bowling Green! Minnesota were heavy favourites but just couldn’t get out of their own way on Saturday. Fumbles, interceptions, missed field goals and an unbalanced offense kept the game close enough for Bowling Green to pull off the upset.
To their huge credit, the Falcons completely shut down the Minnesota passing game and the defense claimed 2 late interceptions to dot the ‘i’ on the win. Trey Potts did continue to run the ball really well, clocking 141 yards on 27 carries but 1 player can’t carry the whole offense. PJ Fleck will be fuming with his team and I wouldn’t want to be in that film room on Monday!
Kyle McCord got the nod at quarterback for Ohio State as CJ Stroud rests an injured shoulder, and showed us a glimpse of what this Ryan Day offense could be. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but there were clear improvements all round. The Buckeyes fielded a lot of freshmen in a game they were always going to win, and the margin for error against a team like Akron is pretty wide – a perfect environment for the inexperienced young men to learn and gain confidence.
TreVeyon Henderson is one of those freshmen, and he looks to have catapulted himself to RB1 on the Buckeye depth chart. He started the game and racked up 93 yards and 2 TDs in the first half before sitting out the rest of the game. There are bright stars and talented footballers on this Ohio State roster, can they now build on this win and push on for the rest of the season?
I asked for a big game from Washington and Dotson and they both delivered this week! Penn State got this one done through the air as Sean Clifford had a field day, with 4 touchdowns and 401 yards! Parker Washington and Jahan Dotson were too skillful for the Villanova defense, combining for over 250 yards and 3 TDs. They are both supremely talented and so much fun to watch when Clifford is playing well, and he most certainly is so far this year. As the Nittany Lions tick off another opponent they’ll be dreaming grand dreams for what the rest of 2021 could have in store.
“Gritty game” was coach Jim Harbaugh’s assessment after a close win over Rutgers. It didn’t look like it would be to start with – Michigan took the 1st drive of the game the length of the field, keeping the ball for more than 7 minutes and cashing in with a Hassan Haskins touchdown. The Wolverines also drove their 2nd possession 72 yards for another Haskins touchdown and really dominated the 1st half, adding on 2 field goals to lead 20-3 at halftime.
Rutgers came out of the locker room and made the adjustments necessary to get back in the game. They forced Michigan to go 3-and-out on their first 4 possessions of the 2nd half and bottled up the run game that Michigan has relied upon this season. The Scarlet Knights pulled within a score with nearly the whole 4th quarter left to play, and what followed was a tough, tense battle for the ball game. Both teams missed a field goal and when Rutgers got the ball back with less than 2 minutes to go, David Ojabo managed to force a fumble that the Wolverines covered up. Rutgers hopes died with an offside penalty that handed Michigan a 1st down and another win – they are building momentum in the Big House.
This game had a sense of deja-vu to it for Wisconsin, as they found themselves in another low-scoring defensive battle entering the 4th quarter. Flashbacks to Penn State? Not at the end though! That week Wisconsin pushed it all the way to the final whistle but this Saturday they collapsed and conceded 31 straight points!
Graham Mertz had a nightmare, picked off 4 times and looking a shadow of the player Badgers fans expected. The game turned on a Chris Tyree kickoff return after Wisconsin had kicked a field goal for a 13-10 lead. Tyree fielded the kickoff at the 4 yard line and turned on the speed, outpacing and outmaneuvering the kickchase team to find the endzone. From there the points and turnovers flowed to ruin any chance Wisconsin had at a comeback.
Evan Hull led Northwestern to a victory with 216 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Wildcats eased past Ohio. Sophomore QB Ryan Hillinski was starting his 1st game in place of Hunter Johnson, but we didn’t learn much about him from this performance as he only attempted 20 passes. Northwestern were able to lean on the ground attack all day to dispatch the Bobcats and get back to .500 ahead of conference play, starting with Nebraska next week.
Surprisingly Colorado State provided the toughest test Iowa have faced this season, despite having already knocked off 2 ranked opponents. The Hawkeyes trailed at the half and needed a 3rd quarter rally to emerge victorious. Jack Campbell provided the spark, recovering a fumble to give Iowa fantastic field position at the Colorado State 6 yard line. Tyrone Tracey Jr ran the ball in and on their next drive Spencer Petras threw a touchdown pass to Tight End Sam LaPorta to give the Hawkeyes a lead they wouldn’t surrender. Iowa’s defense shut the door on the Rams and made sure the team remain unbeaten heading to Maryland on Saturday.
Purdue were held to just 13 points for the second week in succession. Fortunately this time that was all the Boilermakers needed to beat Illinois. With offensive focal-point David Bell sidelined alongside Purdue’s top 2 running backs the Boilermaker offense wasn’t exactly firing on all cylinders. This game was low on quality and the scoreboard reflects this. The game-winning (and only) touchdown came on a 94 yard drive led by Aidan O’Connell – not regular QB Jack Plummer. O’Connell came in to try and spark the offense into life, but started with 2 interceptions on his first 2 drives! His 3rd however won the game as he marched the Boilermakers up the field before finding TJ Sheffield for a 14 yard score.
Maryland weren’t at their best but were still too good for Kent State who took their second Big Ten loss on the bounce. The box score looks good for the Terps but they will need to execute better next week if they want to cause Iowa problems. Taulia Tagovailoa spread the ball around to 12 different receivers and totalled 384 yards on the day as Maryland improved to 4-0 for the first time in 5 years. The Terrapins have a tough in-conference schedule ahead but that’s the kind of challenge Michael Locksley and his team will relish.
Kenneth Walker III had a quiet night by his standards as Nebraska went toe-to-toe with Michigan State all the way to overtime. The Spartans remain unbeaten but weren’t at the standard they have set for themselves in 2021. Nebraska’s defense refused to let the Spartans gain any momentum in the second half – in fact Michigan State didn’t convert a single first down in the final 30 minutes! Sparty only managed to tie the game on a punt return touchdown as their offense sputtered.
Scott Frost was clearly upset that his Cornhuskers didn’t leave East Lansing with a win, surmising “we didn’t have any business losing that game.” Unfortunately for him Adrian Martinez was picked off in overtime and Michigan State kicked a 21 yard field goal to win the game.
Written by Jack @JackCDCTT