CHESTNUT HILL, MA - SEPTEMBER 03: The Northwestern Wildcats cheerleaders celebrate the win over the Northwestern Wildcats on September 3, 2011 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.The Northwestern Wildcats defeated the Boston College Eagles 24-17. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Week One is in the books for the Big Ten, and it was a mostly successful week for the slow, midwestern schools. The B1G went 10-2 in the first week, with only Minnesota and Indiana losing their games. There were no big upsets, and none of the teams that were supposed to win big even came close to losing (unlike a certain defending champion in the speedy conference to the south). So lets take a closer look at these games.
Dan Persa didn't play, but his backup Kain Colter played admirably in his absence, going 17/24 for 197 yards and 1 INT. Boston College actually outgained Northwestern 479 to 424 thanks to 375 passing yards from Chase Rettig. However, Northwestern kept the game tied for most of the first half, then scored TDs early in both the 3rd and 4th quarters to take a 24-10 lead. BC got to within 7 points on a late rushing TD, and were driving to tie the game, but a false start with 18 seconds left cost the Eagles 5 yards and ten seconds. Rettig was then sacked on the next play, ending the game.
Russell Wilson made his debut with the Badgers and he really didn't disappoint. He threw for 255 yards and 2 TDs and added another rushing TD on a long 46 yard run in the 2nd quarter. Wisconsin's running game looked dominant as expected, even though no one had more than 64 rushing yards. Wisconsin's defense looked a little soft at times though, allowing an average of 4.5 yards per play.
Wisc Player of the Game: QB Russell Wilson. 10/13 for 255 yards and 2 TDs. 2 rushes for 62 yards and 1 TD.
Youngstown State Penguins 0-1 (0-0) @ Michigan State Spartans 1-0 (0-0)
Final Score: MSU - 28 YSU - 6
Michigan State struggled to get going in this one. It was scoreless for the first 18 minutes before MSU crossed the goal line for the first time. YSU quickly responded with a TD of their own, but the extra point was blocked and MSU extended the lead to 14-6 going into halftime. They'd score two more TDs in the second half to win by 22 points, but it wasn't quite the blowout I expected. Kirk Cousins had a solid day, throwing for 222 yards and 1 TD. Edwin Baker ran for 91 yards and Le'Veon Bell picked up 2 TDs on just 9 carries. WR Billy Cunningham dazzled, gaining 130 yards on 9 receptions.
MSU Player of the Game: WR Billy Cunningham. 9 catches for 130 yards (long of 55) and 1 TD
Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles 0-1 (0-0) @ Iowa Hawkeyes 1-0 (0-0)
Final Score: Iowa - 34 TTU - 7
This was one of two Big Ten games that was suspended by lightning on Saturday. The game was delayed for 84 minutes in the 3rd quarter due to lightning. Even though the game was played in driving rain, it didn't stop new starting QB James Vandenberg from throwing for 219 yards and 2 TDs. Marvin McNutt also had a huge day for the Hawkeyes, as he caught both TDs and finished the day with 140 yards receiving. It wasn't all rosy for Iowa though, freshman runningback Mika'il McCall ran for 61 yards on 9 carries in the first quarter, but left the game with a broken ankle and is expected to miss the rest of the season. Iowa's normally stout run defense also allowed Tennessee Tech's Dontey Gay to run for 108 yards and a TD.
Iowa Player of the Game: WR Marvin McNutt. 6 catches for 140 yards (long of 88) and 2 TDs
Akron Zips 0-1 (0-0) @ Ohio State Buckeyes 1-0 (0-0)
Final Score: OSU - 42 Akron - 0
Any questions as to who should be starting at QB for Ohio State were answered on Saturday. Joe Bauserman accounted for 4 TDs in a rout over the Akron Zips. As a whole, Ohio State threw the ball well and ran it well against the Zips, gaining 293 yards through the air and 224 on the ground. While Akron isn't a very good team, OSU did not miss a beat even though they're missing 4 starters for their first 5 games.
OSU Player of the Game: QB Joe Bauserman. 12/16 for 163 yards and 3 TDs. 6 rushes for 32 yards and 1 TD.
Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders 0-1 (0-0) @ Purdue Boilermakers 1-0 (0-0)
Final Score: Purdue - 27 MTSU - 24
This was the most exciting game a Big Ten team played in this weekend. Purdue trailed for most of the game until scoring 17 points in the final 12 minutes of the 4th quarter. Quarterback Caleb TerBush connected with Antavian Edison for a 35 yard TD pass with 49 seconds left in the game. The Blue Raiders drove right down the field and nearly won the game with 5 seconds left when a Logan Kilgore pass to Malcolm Beyah slipped through his fingers. MTSU then attempted a 47 yard FG to send the game to overtime, but Ricardo Allen blocked the try and Purdue held on for the 27-24 win. Ralph Bolden ran for 120 yards for Purdue.
Purdue Players of the Game: QB Caleb TerBush. 19/33 for 219 yards 2 TDs and 1 INT. Ricardo Allen. 1 blocked FG
Arkansas State Red Wolves 0-1 (0-0) @ Illinois Fighting Illini 1-0 (0-0)
Final Score: Illinois - 33 Ark. St. - 15
Nathan Scheelhaase has found two targets that he likes to throw to. Either A.J. Jenkins and Darius Millines caught each of Scheelhaase's 16 completions and each had a receiving TD. The Illini defense was strong against the Red Wolves' rushing attack, holding them to 1.9 yards per carry and recovering two fumbles. The Zookers cruised to a pretty easy 33-15 win, even though they briefly trailed 8-7 in the second quarter.
Illinois Player of the Game: WRs A.J. Jenkins and Darius Millines. Jenkins had 11 receptions for 148 yards and 1 TD. Millines had 5 receptions for 119 yards and 1 TD.
This is the other Big Ten game affected by the storms on Saturday. The Wolverines walked away with a 34-10 win after the game was called off in the 3rd quarter due to lightning. In Denard Robinson's first game as a pocket QB with Michigan, he threw for only 98 yards on 9 completions. He also ran for 46 yards. Fitzgerald Toussaint and Michael Shaw accounted for Michigan's three offensive TDs. Michigan LB Brandon Herron had a career day, with a 94 yard interception return for a TD and a 28 yard fumble return for a TD. He became the first player in school history to have two defensive TDs in a single game.
Michigan Player of the Game: LB Brandon Herron. 1 INT, 1 FR, 2 TDs.
Chattanooga Mocs 0-1 (0-0) @ Nebraska Cornhuskers 1-0 (0-0)
Final Score: NU - 40 Mocs - 7
The Cornhuskers won their first game as a member of the Big Ten conference on Saturday by beating the Mocs 40-7. But it would appear that if Taylor Martinez ever gets hurt this year that the Huskers are screwed. He was the leading passer (116 passing yards) and and rusher (135 rushing yards) by far. Place kicker Brett Maher had a heck of a day as well, going 4/4 on FGs (long of 50) and 4/4 on PATs.
Nebraska Player of the Game: QB Taylor Martinez. 11/22 for 116 passing yards. 19 rushes for 135 rushing yards and 3 TDs.
Minnesota Golden Gophers 0-1 (0-0) @ University of Southern California Trojans 1-0 (0-0)
Final Score: USC - 19 Minn - 17
I wrote the Gophers off in my prediction, saying they'd lose by 16 points. Jerry Kill's squad had other ideas though. The Trojans built a 19-3 lead at half time (because Lane Kiffin insists on out-douching Bielema and goes for 2 points almost every time) only to watch the lead shrink to 2 with 8 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. The Gophers had a chance to drive for the win, but the comeback was cut short when backup QB Max Shortell threw a game clinching INT with a minute to go. Gophers' place kicker Chris Hawthorne went 1/3 on FGs, which would have been the difference in the game had he connected.
Minnesota Player of the Game: QB Max Shortell. Shortell is a true freshman who came on in the 4th quarter when starting QB Marqueis Gray went down with cramps. Shortell went 7/13 for 98 yards and 1 TD and 1 INT. He kept the Gophers in the game in the 4th quarter.
Ball State Cardinals 1-0 (0-0) vs. Indiana Hoosiers 0-1 (0-0)
Final Score: Ball St. - 27 Indiana - 20
Indiana scored 17 points in the first half, but was held to only a FG with 59 seconds left to go in the 4th quarter in the second half as they blew two 7 point leads in a loss to Ball State. QB Edward Wright-Baker threw for 272 yards and a TD, but it wasn't enough as the Ball State Cardinals proved once again why Indiana is Indiana. The Hoosiers could not stop the Cardinals rushing attack, allowing 210 yards on 46 carries.
Indiana Player of the Game: QB Edward Wright-Baker. 20/32 for 272 yards and 1 TD.
My Record for the Week: 10-2 (missed on Purdue and Indiana)
My Record Overall: 10-2
Rate the Big Ten for Week 1:
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