We are already a quarter of the way through the regular season, and the deep dive into conference play starts now. The Big Ten again feels unevenly tilted in favour of the East, even more so after Ohio State waxed Wisconsin in week 4! Minnesota remains unbeaten though, and are grounding and pounding their way through opponents. Are they the team to beat in the West?
Hello Blake Corum!
The Michigan Wolverine is really staking a claim to be drafted high in next year’s NFL draft. Corum is a tad small for an NFL running back, but is fast, elusive and clearly productive with the ball. Last week he shouldered the load with Donovan Edwards out injured, taking 30 carries for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns in a close matchup against Maryland. Corum stepped up when his team needed it, aided by some excellent run blocking from his offensive line and play design from OCs Sherrone Moore and Matt Weiss.
The Wolverine attack faces another stern test in week 5 against Iowa, even if their defense won’t be too troubled. Corum can absolutely lead them again and roll the Hawkeyes, capitalising on what is likely to be a tired unit having to spend a lot of time on the field. If Iowa can’t keep drives going on offense, Michigan’s running game will be lights out against achy legs.
Baby Tua: You’re Invited to a Party!
Maryland played this game tough, and were well in the tie deep into the 4th quarter. Taulia Tagovailoa gets to take out his frustrations on a porous Michigan State secondary next week. The Spartans passing defense is even worse than last season – and that was a historically bad year! Minnesota don’t throw the ball that much, but even the Golden Gophers couldn’t resist on Saturday. Tanner Morgan let loose for what surely was a career best (yes, I’m taking satirical tips from Jake!) 268 yards and 3 passing touchdowns. Tua – fill your boots mate!
Minnesota host Purdue in the week 5 early slate of Saturday games in a clash of offensive styles. Minnesota’s ground game v the Purdue air raid. Sneaky good game to keep tabs on in the 5pm window. The Boilermakers should have O’Connell back after he missed their squeaky win over FAU.
Let’s Get Physical
Ohio State began their conference schedule with the visit of Wisconsin in week 4. The Badgers were blown away in the opening quarter, finding themselves 28-0 down (and out) before they could string more than 5 plays together. The Buckeyes are ranked #3 in the nation and looked good for a playoff berth. The offense has been rightly lauded for the plethora of wide receivers and the playmaking ability of QB CJ Stroud, but it was their physicality on both sides of the ball that stood out.
They owned the line of scrimmage, punching holes in the run game, outmuscling Wisconsin linemen and showing they can get down and dirty. The defense is much improved from 2021 and they appear to be having a lot more fun this time around! Rutgers travel to The Shoe this weekend determined to show a bit more than Wisconsin could.
For Wisconsin, they struggled to get star man Braelon Allen truly motoring. His stat line flattered to deceive, boosted by a very late 75-yard touchdown run that took advantage of a bad read from the linebacker when the game was over and backups were in. He gets the chance to put things right, and hopefully turn the game against Illinois into a 1v1 with Chase Brown. Both backs have the ability to take a game away, with Brown chasing (get it?!) a sixth consecutive 100-yard game. He is another doing his draft stock no harm at all.
Rumours abound in college football regarding a Scott Frost curse. No, not just the one that made Nebraska bad (think that’s just called bad coaching!) I’m talking about the lingering one, with dire effects on anyone foolish enough to beat the Cornhuskers. Every team that has won their matchup against Nebraska has gone on to lose their next game! Northwestern actually haven’t won since, Oklahoma went down to Kansas State and Georgia Southern were felled by UAB. You’ve been warned Indiana!
Speaking of Northwestern, they get the pleasure of losing their 4th straight game to the quietly impressive Penn State Nittany Lions this week. Penn State’s run game is beginning to resemble something of the intimidating machine we’ve known and loved in the past. It will take a huge scoop of ‘getting in their own way’ for the Nittany Lions to lose this one.