I'd just like to say how nice it is for the Big Ten to have a down year in solidarity with Penn State. It's nice to see a conference come together and rally around one of its member in support like this, and I look forward to many more weeks of derpitude to come during the 2012 football season.
Jared's out of the country this week (lucky jerk), so let's get down to the recap.
#16 Ohio State (4-0) - 29
UAB (0-3) - 15
After a rough start (down 9-0 halfway through the second quarter), the Buckeyes rallied behind Braxton Miller's 12 of 20 for 143 yards in the air, 64 yards and two TDS on the ground performance to put away the winless Blazers. UAB committed two turnovers but dominated in most other significant categories, from first downs (22 to 20) to total yards (403 to 347) to third down efficiency (7 of 17 to 3 of 10). The Blazers dictated the play on the day, but committed more penalties and had two turnovers to hand the game to the home team.
Next up for Ohio State: at Michigan State, 3:30 pm
Central Michigan (2-1) - 32
Iowa (2-2) - 31
One of the few bright spots in this surprising Hawkeye loss was the play of walk-on running back Mark Weisman, who ran for 217 yards and three touchdowns in the day. The Iowa defense let Central Michigan quarterback throw for 283 yards and two touchdowns, including a 13-yard touchdown throw with less than a minute left in the game. The Chippewas went for two and missed before recovering their own onside kick and scoring a 47-yard field goal with three second left on the clock. Iowa had more overall yards in the loss, but went into halftime down 23-14 and lost the turnover battle on the day.
Next up for Iowa: at Minnesota, 12 pm
Wisconsin (3-1) - 37
UTEP (1-3) - 26
Wisconsin benched Maryland transfer Danny O'Brien for this game in favor of true freshman Joel Stave, and it worked out for the Badgers, as he went 12 for 17 for 210 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception. WR Jared Abbrederis, in his first game back from a concussion, recorded a TD reception in the eventual Badgers win, one that was tougher for the home team than the score indicates, helped by UTEP's 100% fourth down conversion rate. The Miners scored first in the game, but the ensuing PAT was blocked and ran back by Wisconsin for two points.
Next up for Wisconsin: at Nebraska, 8 pmNorthwestern (4-0) - 38
South Dakota (1-2) - 7
Northwestern dominated from start to finish, and their defense put in the best effort its shown this season in their one FCS contest. QB Kain Colter was knocked out of part of the game from a hard hit, but returned and ended up 7 of 9 for 46 yards, with 38 yards on the ground. The Wildcats' other quarterback, Trevor Siemian, was likewise efficient, going 4 of 5 for 72 yards. Northwestern as a whole averaged a gain of 6 yards per offensive play, and their defense only gave up 240 yards on the day.
Next up for Northwestern: vs Indiana, 12 pm
#21 Michigan State (3-1) - 23
Eastern Michigan (0-4) - 7
The Spartans started off a bit lethargic this week, coming off a disappointing loss and dismal offensive showing versus Notre Dame the week before. Headed into the locker room at the half down 7-3, Michigan State ended up getting momentum in the third quarter behind heralded running back Le'Veon Bell, who finished the career day with 253 yards and a touchdown. Arguably the Big Ten's best defense, the Spartans did hold the Eagles to only 46 yards rushing and 137 yards passing, but for two plus quarters nearly let their sometime offensive anemia doom them for a second week in a row.
Next up for Michigan State: vs Ohio State, 3:30 pm
#25 Nebraska (3-1) - 73
Idaho State (1-2) - 7
There's not much that can be said about this game besides pure dominance, which is how it really should have been. Rex Burkhead returned for the Cornhuskers for the first time since the season opener, and notched 119 yards and 2 touchdowns in only eight carries. If possible, this game was even more one-sided than the final score indicates, with Nebraska up 35-0 at the end of the first quarter. Tallying a total of 569 yards (385 on the ground and 184 in the air, and unhampered by their three turnovers, this was the most points that the Huskers have scored in five years.
Next up for Nebraska: vs Wisconsin, 8 pm
#11 Notre Dame (4-0) - 13
#18 Michigan (2-2) - 6
Derpitude. I'm not sure any other made up internet word can describe Saturday's six turnover performance by the Wolverines, five of them interceptions (four by Denard Robinson). Michigan is fortunate that the Irish had some offensive woes of their own, else the score might have ben more lopsided; regardless, Michigan still had 299 yards to Notre Dame's 239, and were an impressive 8 of 15 on third downs (and 1 of 1 on fourth). Irish backup quarterback Tommy Rees was by far the most efficient offensive player on the field, going 8 of 11 for 115 yards and a passer rating of 160.5. He came in after Everett Golson's dismal beginning, starting the day 3 of 8 for 30 yards and 2 interceptions of his own. The Irish defeated all three Big Ten teams on their schedule this week, with Purdue being surprisngly the closest to upending them.
Next up for Michigan: at Purdue, 4 pm
Minnesota (4-0) - 17
Syracuse (1-3) - 10
Minnesota is a surprising 4-0 headed into conference play after a respectable win over the Orange this week. This was, on paper, an intriguing matchup of a good Syracuse offense and a good Minnesota pass defense, but the Golden Gophers were the dominant one in that matchup, forcing four turnovers, including two interceptions. Gopher QB Max Shortell, in for injured starter MarQueis Gray, turned in a respectable performance, ending the day 16 of 30 for 231 yards. By all accounts, the home fans rallied around the team, selling out TCF Bank Stadium for the team's first potential 4-0 start since 2008.
Next up for Minnesota: at Iowa, 12 pm
Louisiana Tech (3-0) - 52
Illinois (2-2) - 24
Apparently, the Illini can't defend against an up-temp, no huddle offense. Like, at all. Louisiana Tech entered Saturday averaging 56 points a game, and though that average will dip, it'll only go down slightly this week. The Illini couldn't get out of their own way, either, and capitalize on the three turnovers that the WAC team committed, committing six turnovers of their own in the blowout. It wasn't all bleak for the Illinois defense, as they held LA Tech to 3 of 11 third downs and *only* 403 yards, but even respectable performances by QBs Nathan Scheelhaase (8 of 11 for 85 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) and Reilly O'Toole (19 of 25 for 120) couldn't overshadow the performance of Louisiana Tech's quarterback; Colby Cameron went 15 of 22 for 284 yards, four TDs, and a QB rating of an astounding 236.6.
Next up for Illinois: vs Penn State, 12 pm
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