The name may have changed, but the concept remains the same: We go around the rest of the Big Ten conference to see how our brethren fared in their own respective contests and figure out what it all means. I keed about that 'what it all means' part, but we're definitely going to recap all 13 of other games around the B1G, so here goes nothing...
Minnesota 42, Eastern Illinois 20
Minnesota got off to a slow start, only leading 14-0 at the half, mostly due to Eastern Illinois' ineptitude. Things picked up in the second half though, for the Gophers and by the time Eastern Illinois finally got on the board, Minnesota had racked up the game's first 35 points. Mitch Leidner had a rather pedestrian game at QB, going 9-for-17 for 144 yards passing and one touchdown while the running game was led by a combined 131 yards and one touchdown on the via David Cobb and Berkley Edwards.
Big Ten Powerhouse Rutgers 41, Washington State 38
Let's give kudos to BTPR where it's due: Nobody was giving them a chance to win after making the cross-country trek to Seattle for a game that ended well past Midnight in their normal time zone against a pass-happy Wazzu squad that was likely to pose problems for a secondary that struggled mightily in 2013. While Wazzu QB Connor Halliday did in fact, light up the Rutgers secondary for 532 yards, 5 touchdowns, and a pick, it was BTPR's tailback Paul James pounding the rock to the tune of 173 yards on 29 carries and QB Gary Nova's 281 yards passing for a pair of touchdowns (including a 79-yard strike to Leonte Carroo on the game's first play from scrimmage) that ultimately made the difference in what ended up being a shootout that saw several lead changes in the second half. Howard University is up next, serving as one final tune-up before the long-awaited showdown with Penn State the following week under the lights.
Michigan State 45, Jacksonville State 7
Sparty picked up exactly where they left off from last season. The defense was its stingy self, the ground game pounded Jacksonville State into submission, and Connor Cook was damn near perfect through the air (12 for 13 for 285 yards and three touchdowns). Yes, it's Jacksonville State, but this is exactly the type of pasting a serious Big Ten contender should deliver against an overmatched FCS opponent. Next up for Sparty is a date at Phil Knight World (aka Autzen Stadium) against Oregon in what should be Week 2's most anticipated matchup.
Ohio State 34, Navy 17
JT Barrett's collegiate quarterbacking debut went about as shaky as one would expect, particularly for a road game against an always scrappy Navy squad. As a result, the Buckeyes found themselves trailing by a point at the half. In the meantime, Barrett's defensive teammates were able to take some of the workload off his shoulders, as linebacker Darron Lee scooped and scored to gave OSU back the lead mere minutes into the second half. Following a Navy touchdown drive to reclaim the lead, Barrett conveniently began to show signs that he was settling into his role, chucking an 80-yard TD bomb to Devin Smith that permanently gave the Buckeyes the lead. Next up is a primetime showdown on ESPN at home against Virginia Tech.
Michigan 52, Appalachian State 14
Unfortunately for Michigan fans, they will have to endure seeing highlights of the 2007 edition of this game for the rest of their natural born lives every time the greatest upsets in college football history are discussed. Fortunately for Michigan fans, Saturday's beatdown of brand spankin' new FBS Appalachian State provided some catharsis. The Doug Nussmeier as offensive coordinator experiment appears to be off to a fast start, with Devin Gardner going a near perfect 13 for 14 for 175 yards and three touchdowns, all to Devin Funchess who caught a grand total of seven balls for 95 yards, himself. Derrick Green and De'Veon Smith led the ground attack with 170 and 115 yards and one touchdown, respectively. The first true test for this newly revamped Wolverine offense comes next week under the lights at Notre Dame.
Iowa 31, Northern Iowa 23
As in years past, Northern Iowa was a thorn in Iowa's side, keeping the game's outcome in doubt until their final drive. The Hawkeyes defense dug deep and came up with a critical interception late in the game as Northern Iowa's upset bid once again, fell short. Iowa had seven different players run the ball, with Mark Weisman (10 carries, 34 yards) getting the most carries. Jake Rudock quarterbacked his way to 250 yards on 31 of 41 passing and a pair of touchdowns.
Purdue 43, Western Michigan 34
After looking like a retarded mule for most of last season, the Purdue offense showcased the ability to not only move the ball, but to rack up more points than the opposing team. Raheem Mostert (22 carries, 146 yards and a touchdown) and Akeem Hunt (15 carries, 78 yards and a touchdown) led the ground game while Danny Etling piloted the aerial attack to 181 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and even tacked on a rushing TD for good measure.
Nebraska 55, Florida Atlantic 7
Ameer Abdullah ran his way to 232 yards and a touchdown on just 21 carries and quarterback Tommy Armstrong tossed his way to 271 yards, while adding 62 more on the ground for three total touchdowns in a complete rout of FAU. While there might have been disappointment over the fact that this didn't end up being the "Pelini Bowl" it was scheduled to be (drugs are bad, mmkay?), this game did treat its viewers to a "butt catch" performed by Nebraska's Jordan Westerkamp.
Speaking of butt plays....
Illinois 28, Youngstown State 17
The bad news for the Illini: They were 10 minutes away from losing to FCS Youngstown State at home in a performance that does absolutely nothing to fan the flames on Tim Beckman's (presumably) scorching hot seat.
The good news for the Illini: Wes Lunt is the real deal (285 yards passing and four touchdowns) and Youngstown State's punter provided the play of the game, punting the ball squarely into his teammate's ass, both cheeks, both lips.
Indiana 28, Indiana State 10
Nate Sudfeld took the night off and let the dynamic tailback duo of Tevin Coleman (23 carries, 247 yards, and two touchdowns) and D'Angelo Roberts (24 carries, 129 yards, and a touchdown) carry the offensive load for the Hoosiers. Perhaps even more stunning was the fact that Indiana held an opponent to only 10 points. Yes, it's Indiana State, but...progress, people!
Cal 31, Northwestern 24
For the first three quarters, Northwestern looked like a team that literally had no fucking idea how to cope with the losses of Venric Mark, Christian Jones, and Kain Colter. On the heels of their defense and quarterback Jared Goff lighting up the Northwestern D for 284 yards and three touchdowns, Cal jumped out to a 31-7 lead midway through the third quarter, before Northwestern clawed their way back to cut the deficit to 31-24, but failed to finish off a drive that would have potentially tied the game late in the fourth quarter. Give kudos to the Wildcats for not throwing in the towel, but they will desperately need to find something that works in the running game, as Treyvon Green and Justin Jackson didn't turn in the most inspiring performances (77 yards on 21 carries for a touchdown, combined).
Maryland 52, James Madison 7
Even though he was the Terps' leading receiver, Stefon Diggs may have had a relatively quiet afternoon (5 catches, 58 yards). However, quarterback C.J. Brown led the way with a hat trick of rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown. Unlike some of their other B1G counterparts, Maryland did not have any struggles with its FCS opponent.
LSU 28, Wisconsin 24
I caught portions of this game while I was out at a bar Saturday night and with each glance, saw Wisconsin's 24-7 lead slowly evaporate. From reading the post-morterm commentary, it appears that Gary Andersen abandoned Melvin Gordon from the ground attack, as Gordon only got two carries in the second half, with no real explanation for it. The worst part about this epic choke job of course, is that we have to be subjected to more crap about the SEC's vast superiority over the B1G.