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Creepin' The B1G: Week 2 Recap

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I suppose the week could have gone worse for the B1G...

Joe Robbins

Let's creep, yo.

Illinois 42 Western Kentucky 34

Wes Lunt looks like the real deal. Although they entered the fourth quarter down on the scoreboard, the Fighting Illini scored 21 in the final quarter of play to move to 2-0 on the season. The defense surely isn't happy about giving up 34 points, but fans everywhere have to be thrilled by Lunt performance so far. Wes threw for 456 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday. Should be continue to play at this level, Illinois may threaten some teams in the B1G portion of their schedule. They'll have to outscore them though, because giving up 34 points to Western Kentucky was almost the worst defensive performance in the B1G this weekend.

Rutgers 38 Howard 24

The Scarlet Knights also moved to 2-0 this weekend, but they cannot be happy about giving up 24 points to Howard. You might remember Howard's game from week one of the season. The one where they were shut out 41-0 by the very same Akron Zips that visited Happy Valley this weekend. So in other words, the team that wasn't able to score a single point off of Akron, put up 24 against the pride of New Jersey. That by itself should make Rutgers fans nervous for their upcoming matchup with Penn State. They were however, able to put together another solid offensive performance. Gary Nova had only four incompletions with  282 passing yards and four touchdowns. Rutgers will need a lot more out of their defense to contain the Penn State offense though, because while I'm sure Howard QB Greg McGhee is a fine young man, he's no Hackenberg on the football field.

Nebraska 31 McNeese State 24

McNeese State gave Nebraska everything they had, and it was almost enough. An Ameer Abdullah touchdown with 20 seconds remaining in the game handed the Cornhuskers the victory, but kudos to the Cowboys anyway. Were it not for a great performance by QB Tommy Armstrong (242 yards passing and 131 rushing with 3 total touchdowns) then Nebraska would have been added to the list of B1G giants to fall this past weekend. It was certainly an underwhelming showing by the #19 team in the country though. Nebraska faces off against Fresno State next weekend and the U after that, so Bo Pelini will hope that his squad comes back stronger than they were this weekend.

Central Michigan 38 Purdue 17

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Wisconsin 37 Western Illinois 3

In their march to complete one of the easiest Big Ten schedules ever created, Wisconsin handled their business during week two. The Badgers started slowly, scoring only 9 points in the first half, but Tanner McEvoy got into a groove in the second half and ended up throwing for three scores. Melvin Gordon went for a very pedestrian  38 yards on 17 carries, and for me, that's the main thing to take away from this game. After the argument on the sideline with Gary Anderson during the LSU game, Gordon will be one to watch all season. He has the potential to be a Heisman finalist and a high draft pick (high for a running back at least), so it's surely a little concerning to see those numbers against the likes of Western Illinois. But then again, if McEvoy can prove to be everything Joel Stave is not, then Wisconsin won't even need to lean on Gordon as much. But we'll wait until they beat a real opponent to start discussing that.

Northern Illinois 23 Northwestern 15

The Wildcats are falling harder than my homemade box for the egg drop in fifth grade. Fitzgerald has seemingly lost all abilities to milk anything out of his roster, and at some point you have to wonder how long of a leash he will have. For a guy who was a top candidate for numerous big time jobs, it's shocking to see his team perform so poorly two weeks in a row. Granted, Northern Illinois is not a pushover. But they're also not the Northern Illinois of the past with Jordan Lynch. They are a very beatable football team, and Northwestern failed to do just that. Neither team scored until the third quarter began, and even when the scoring did start, the offenses were uninspiring for the most part. Northwestern will attempt to bounce back next week against another part of Illinois, this time the Western region.

Minnesota 35 Middle Tennessee State 24

if other teams in the west division aren't careful, they could find themselves staring up the leader boards at Minnesota quickly. A huge day from David Cobb led the Golden Gophers past the Blue Raiders. Cobb finished his day with 220 yards on 29 carries with two touchdowns. The Gophers held a 25 point lead late in the third quarter before Middle Tennessee scored two later touchdowns in the half to make the scoreline more respectable. David Cobb doesn't get mentioned in the same sentence as Jeremy Langford, Ameer Abdullah, and Melvin Gordon, but he is a very good running back in his own right. If Minnesota can stay in games, Cobb may continue to be a difference maker for them.

Iowa 17 Ball State 13

In yet another ugly win for a B1G squad, the Hawkeyes prevailed this weekend. It took a 14 point rally in the fourth quarter, including a go ahead touchdown with one minute remaining, but Iowa pulled it out in the end. Jake Rudock unleashed 52 pass attempts on the day, ending up with 322 yards and two touchdowns. It wasn't Iowa's finest performance by any means, but with the West division being so attainable, they'll take any win. As long as the balance of power between the two divisions is so unequal, it will always be about just getting to the B1G Championship game, kind of like the new wildcard system in the MLB. It doesn't matter how you get there, because once you do, all that matters is that one game. A disappointing, but still technically successful game for the Hawkeyes.

Maryland 24 South Florida 17

Joining Penn State and Rutgers atop the B1G East is Maryland, after their win over The South Florida Steven Benches. Similar to Iowa, the Terrapins needed a fourth quarter rally to get the W, scoring 10 unanswered points in the final quarter for the only scores of the entire second half and the victory. CJ Brown and the Maryland offense were uninspiring, but Brown was still able to lead his team more competently than former Penn State backup Steven Bench. Brown finished with 201 yards and a 2/2 TD/INT ratio, to Bench's 162 and 0/1. Maryland takes on West Virginia next weekend, who gave Alabama a run for their money in week one. Should be an interesting one.

Oregon 46 Michigan State 27

After a first half that ended so positively for the Spartans, the Ducks came out and absolutely manhandled Dantonio's squad in the second half. Connor Cook picked up where he left off in the Rose Bowl in the second quarter, leading the offense to 24 points in the 15 minute frame. After the quick water break and pep talk in the locker room however, he just could not get it going again. The Michigan State defense had no answer for the speed of the Ducks and the supreme play-making abilities by Heisman favorite, Marcus Mariota. The Spartans only managed a field goal in the second half and could only sit and watch the Ducks put up 14 in the third and 14 in the fourth. Cook finished with 343 yards and a 2/2 ratio, while star running back Jeremy Langford was only able to find 86 yards worth of running lanes.

Notre Dame 31 Michigan 0

Just brutal for the Wolverines. In what was the final game in this great rivalry for some time, the Fighting Irish were able to do something that hadn't been done since 1984, shut out Michigan. It seemed like Devin Gardner spent the whole night running, and never truly looked comfortable in the pocket. Devin Funchess had his usual moments of dominance, but it wasn't enough. The Notre Dame defense was flying around all night, picking off Gardner three times in the process. Brady Hoke and his lack of headset had no answer for Everett Golson, as he threw for 226 yards and three scores (amazing what using the laces can do for you, huh Everett?). Michigan looked overmatched in every fact of the game, and Notre Dame looked every bit as good as their ranking (for once). The Wolverines should bounce back next week against Miami Ohio, but they were definitely shaken up by this game. Some serious holes in their game were exposed this week, and you can bet that teams like Penn State and Ohio State were noticing.

Virginia Tech 35 Ohio State 21

So #Elite. In a game that was significantly closer than it should have been, due to the Hokies' inability to score for what seemed like two full games worth of time, the Buckeyes fell for the third time in four games. JT Barrett looked very much like a freshman quarterback playing his first night game which is always a difficult thing to do, even if it is in your own stadium. Virginia Tech came out prepared for the Buckeye attack, limiting the offense for most of the night. Aside from Barrett who rushed for 70 yards, no Ohio State running back broke the 32 yard mark. For their part, the Ohio State defense still looked strong. It's inevitable that you're going to give up points when you're forced to be on the field that long, so don't read into that part of the scoreline too much. Ohio State may have fallen this weekend, but there is still enough pure talent on the offense and firepower on the defense to be a very difficult team. This is absolutely a hiccup, and one that makes the B1G East very interesting, but Ohio State is still one of the two best teams in the conference. It will take more than a loss to a good Virginia Tech squad to start doubting that.

See, now don't you feel a lot better about Penn State's win over Akron?