The first week of conference play in the Big Ten saw three games end in 28+ point victories, and three games end in victories of 6 points or fewer. Nebraska traveled to Wisconsin for their first ever Big Ten game... and were sent home humbled by the Badgers who look better and better each week. Dan Persa returned for Northwestern and breathed some life into their offense, but the Fighting Zookers once again found a way to win. Minnesota and Purdue? Pretty sure they still think it's the spring, because they still haven't shown up for the season. And if there is one team with a worse offense than Penn State in the Big Ten, it's Ohio State.
Game of the Week:
Any hopes that Nebraska had of coming into the Big Ten and running the conference this year died a painful death tonight. The Huskers took leads of 7-0 and 14-7, before surrendering 35 unanswered points in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. Taylor Martinez developed a nice rhythm with Wisconsin's defensive backs and threw three INTs in that time span, each of which Wisconsin converted into TDs. Russell Wilson had another solid game, throwing for 255 yards and 2 TDs while Jared Abbrederis and Nick Toon both had 90+ yards receiving. Rex Burkhead averaged 5.3 yards a carry for the Huskers, but only got the ball 18 times. Seems like Nebraska may have had more success if they had tried to run more.
Wisconsin Player of the Game: RB Montee Ball ran for 151 yards and 4 TDs on 30 carries. Wow.
Nebraska Player of the Game: RB Rex Burkhead ran for 96 yards and a TD.
All the Rest:
Minnesota Golden LOLphers 1-4 (0-1) @ Michigan Wolverines 5-0 (1-0)
Final Score: Michigan - 58 Minnesota - 0
The Wolverines outscored the over/under line (53.5) singlehandedly. If there's a worse team in college football than Minnesota right now, I'd be surprised. Minnesota is so bad that Denard Robinson actually passed for 169 yards, 2 TDs and didn't throw an interception.
Michigan Player of the Game: RB Vincent Smith had a rushing, receiving and passing TD. None of his numbers were great, but that's pretty impressive.
Minnesota Player of the Game: Even Minnesota's punter Dan Orseske had a meh game. Averaging 36 yards per punt.
Illinois sure loves that 3 point victory margin. For the third week in a row Illinois has used a late score to eke out a win against their opponent. Northwestern held a 28-10 lead midway through the 3rd quarter, but allowed 3 TDs in a 12 minute span to fall behind 31-28. Dan Persa led NW on a TD drive and the Wildcats took a 35-31 with 1:15 left in the game, but that was enough time for the Zookers as Nathan Scheelhaase scored on a 1 yard run with 13 seconds to go. So Illinois is 5-0, but how much of that is winning with smoke and mirrors?
Illinois Player of the Game: Nathan Scheelhaase threw for 391 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT and was also the team's leading rusher with 35 yards and a TD.
Northwestern Player of the Game: Dan Persa was a welcome sight for Northwestern fans. The offense had struggled with Kain Colter under center, but Persa threw for an efficient 123 yards and 4 TDs.
Michigan State Spartans 4-1 (1-0) @ Ohio State Buckeyes 3-2 (0-1)
Final Score: MSU - 10 OSU - 7
Ohio State is brutal on offense, just brutal. Michigan St. shut the Buckeyes out for 59:50 before Joe Bauserman connected with Evan Spencer on a 33 yard TD pass. It was the very definition of too little too late as the Spartans recovered the onside kick attempt and ran out the clock. Much like Penn State, Ohio State cannot settle on a QB. Braxton Miller and Bauserman combined to go 12/24 for 143 yards. For their part, MSU didn't do too much on offense. Kirk Cousins threw for 250 yards, but also threw 2 INTs that ended likely scoring drives. Lavion Bell only picked up 50 yards on the ground as well.
Purdue wrapped up their non-conference schedule with an uninspiring blowout loss to Notre Dame. The Irish scored 30 seconds into the game and never looked back. Purdue had more penalty yards (118) than they did rushing yards (84). You're not going to win a lot of ballgames that way. The Boilermakers join Ohio State and Penn State in giving 2 QBs significant amounts of playing time. Caleb TerBush threw for 101 yards and Purdue's only TD, while Robert Marve had more pass attempts, but only completed 41% for 91 yards.
Purdue Player of the Game: WR Antavian Edison actually had a nice day. He caught 7 balls for 105 yards and a TD. He also had 2 runs for 14 yards.