The B1G Week 9 Review provides coverage of the first real clash of the big boys in the Big Ten and it shook up the conference standings. Michigan – Michigan State had it all and Penn State were resurgent in their game at Ohio State. There are some massive games in the season run-in and the Big Ten is the place to be right now!
Wow. This game truly lived up to the billing. Spartan Stadium was rocking for this rivalry game between unbeaten, top 10 sides. All the TV crews and big names were in town and we got a treat on Halloween weekend.
Michigan started the game really strong. The defense snagged an interception on the first drive of the game, and the offense went 98 yards in 3 plays to cash that in for 7. The Wolverines forced a quick punt and a second interception to leave Michigan State in a 10 point hole and zero momentum. Michigan finally showed what they can do in the passing game. Cade McNamara was let loose and he helped introduce Andrel Anthony to the CFB world. The freshman caught 6 passes for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns in his breakout game!
The Spartans needed a spark on offense, and of course it was Kenneth Walker III who provided it. Michigan State trusted their strengths and their gameplan. They didn’t panic, stuck with the run and got themselves back into the contest. Walker ran for 5 touchdowns and 208 total yards. This was his Heisman moment and the running back surely punched his ticket to the ceremony in New York with a scintillating performance.
Mel Tucker deserves huge credit too. Down by 16 late in the 3rd quarter, Tucker decided to go for it on 4th & 4. Payton Thorne went over the middle to Jayden Reed for 28 yards, setting up Walker’s third touchdown and putting Sparty right back in the game. The Spartan defense, which bottled up the Wolverine’s star running backs all game, forced a punt. Payton Thorne then picked apart the Michigan defense as he led the Spartans down the field, with Walker punching in his 4th TD to tie the scores.
The game got the fun ending it deserved too. After Michigan broke the tie with a field goal and forced a 3-and-out, they gave Michigan State a golden opportunity to take the lead. JJ McCarthy was in the game and fumbled the ball on the first snap of the drive. Jacob Panasiuk pounced on it and Walker rumbled over for his 5th TD. Michigan were chasing the game for the first time but had plenty of time. The Wolverines converted a 4th down in their own territory but were unsuccessful going for it again later in the drive. They handed the ball over on downs and burned their time outs to get the ball back. Unfortunately when they did, McNamara’s 1st pass was picked off brilliantly by freshman CB Charles Brantley.
Michigan will feel hard done by. They played really well and the unfortunate part of 2 undefeated teams going head-to-head is 1 won’t be undefeated at the end. This shouldn’t harm the Wolverines too badly in the rankings and could give them extra motivation for the run-in. Michigan State advance to 8-0, undefeated atop the Big Ten East and now eyeing up a playoff spot. What a season this could be!
This was a completely different Penn State team to the one embarrassed by Illinois last week. It seems obvious to say now, but that epitomises a lookahead let-down game. If you don’t focus your full attention, preparation and execution on the team in front of you, you’ll pay. The Nittany Lions were much better prepared for Ohio State, the defense in particular were back to their best.
The game started in sloppy fashion, with both sides fumbling their first possession and turning the ball over. Fortunately neither mistake was too costly and no points were scored off the turnovers. Penn State made no mistake on their next drive, methodically moving down the field and allowing Sean Clifford to find his TE Brenton Strange for a 5 yard touchdown. The Nittany Lions managed 17 rush yards on that scoring drive and ended the day with just 16 more! The running game was again negligible but Sean Clifford was moving the ball well enough in the air to keep Penn State in the contest.
Ohio State Keep Penn State in it
Ohio State have been explosive on offense recently. The last 4 games have basically been over by the 2nd quarter but they needed all 60 minutes and some bid defensive plays to win this. Penn State kept a lid on the Buckeyes and it took until the final 4 minutes of the half for the Buckeyes to get in the endzone. Chris Olave caught a TD pass from CJ Stroud to give Ohio the lead, before Jerron Cage scooped up a Sean Clifford fumble and ran 57 yards for the score. It was a brilliant moment for the huge 305-pound defensive tackle. He ran for his life to get in the endzone! His score and a Penn State field goal meant the Buckeyes led 17-10 at halftime.
Penn State were particularly strong on defense in the red zone. They turned the Buckeyes away again and again – forcing field goals and a turnover on downs as they shut the door to the endzone. TreVeyon Henderson had a tough day too, even if the box score suggests otherwise. His 152 yards were hard earned and bolstered by a 68 yard breakout down the left sideline. Despite the challenges, Ohio State did enough to stretch the lead beyond the Nittany Lions. The Penn State offense wasn’t able to keep up and the Buckeyes got over the line.
Maryland snapped their losing streak in a high scoring back and forth with Indiana. Taulia Tagovailoa was back to his best, distributing the ball all over the park and crucially, eliminating the interceptions.
Both of these teams needed a morale boost and the early signs were good. There were a flurry of early points as Maryland took a 14 point lead thanks to Rayon Fleet-Davis and Challen Faamatau YDs. Indiana struck back through Stephen Carr and we had a game on our hands! Unfortunately the rest of the first half was a bit dull after that though. Lots of punts, a missed field goal and a turnover on downs. Time to reset in the locker room.
Reset they did as we got 49 points in the second half! Donaven McCulley is a really exciting prospect and Indiana fans can be optimistic for their future at QB. He threw for 242 yards and 2 touchdowns on the day, complimenting the run game well. Indiana were well balanced on offense but couldn’t quite overcome the Terps as Maryland pounced on a 4th quarter onside kick to avoid late drama.
Wisconsin really are back! It’s taken a while but they have found their groove. I’m not sure why though, they always operate in the same groove! Strong defense and leaning on the running game IS Badger football, and Iowa were hit with blow after blow in a suffocating performance. 3 turnovers, 6 sacks and 48 rushing attempts is a recipe for success and Wisconsin cooked up a win with exactly that.
Iowa fumbled 3 times inside their own 20 yard line which basically handed the game to Wisconsin. The Badgers were able to race into a 20 point lead at the half and never looked like letting Iowa back into it.
It was a disastrous offensive performance and the Hawkeyes are in real danger of slipping out of the top 25 after sitting as high as #2 earlier in the season. Tyler Goodson could only manage 27 yards all game and Spencer Petras isn’t the kind of quarterback that can just put the team on his back. Wisconsin take the win and appear to have turned a corner on their season.
Adrian Martinez was playing pick-or-treat this Halloween weekend! Purdue moved within 1 win of bowl eligibility with a bounce back win thanks hugely to their defense. They picked off Nebraska QB Martinez 4 times, with 1 returned for a pick 6. In a close game like this, those were vital. Each interception came at a key moment in the game and allowed Purdue to eradicate the Cornhuskers lead and stretch out in front themselves.
Nebraska entered the contest as favourites and got off to a good start. They scored on all of their 1st half possessions and led 17-14 at the break. Unfortunately they were undone by a resurgent Boilermaker squad determined to right the ship after losing at home to Wisconsin. Purdue’s defense made all the right adjustments and shut the Cornhuskers out until their final drive of the game. Boos rang around Memorial Stadium after an unsuccessful onside kick left Nebraska staring at a 3-6 record. Scott Frost is on the hot seat.
Rutgers got their first Big Ten win of the year in a good but not perfect display against Illinois. The Fighting Illini will be frustrated that they couldn’t build on their upset win over Penn State. Brandon Peters arguably had his best game of the season, throwing for 190 yards and 2 touchdowns. That performance wont make headlines though,, as Coach Bielema put it “that all gets lost in defeat, unfortunately.”
The Scarlet Knights opened the scoring with a Kyle Monangai rushing touchdown. Illinois responded as Peters threw a 52 yard pass that Isaiah Williams took to the end zone. They then took the lead with another touchdown pass with 1:28 left in the half and headed to the locker room up 14-10.
In the second half Rutgers goose-egged Illinois! Chase Brown, who blitzed Penn State for 223 yards last week could only muster 67 against the Knights. Bielema will be sorely disappointed that his team failed to put any points on the board in the final 30 minutes. Their up and down season takes another dip while Rutgers get back to .500.
Minnesota marched into Ryan Field on Saturday and stomped their way to 6-2. For the Golden Gophers to be bowl eligible already is a fantastic achievement after a poor start to the year. We haven’t forgotten that loss to Bowling Green, but maybe we can right it off if this form continues?
The running back room is super thin as we know. Still very talented, but thin. And now you can add Bryce Williams to the injured list too. Enter linebacker Derik LeCaptain. The walk-on defender has been shoved into the offense as a compliment to the freshman duo of Irving and Thomas, having played RB in high-school. Absolute pandemonium ensued on the sideline as he broke through tackles on his way to a late touchdown. Irving and Thomas both had stellar days themselves, once again racking up over 100 yards each with Irving punching in 2 TDs too.
Northwestern were outmatched and struggled to score against a strong Gophers defense. The Wildcats have come crashing back to earth after winning the Big Ten West title in 2020 and could conceivably end the year with just 1 more win. They have Iowa, Wisconsin and Purdue to play before ending the season at Illinois. Time to plan for the future I think.
Written by Jack @JackCDCTT