Kent State Golden Flashes (1-4)
Lost to Akron 31-27
After being demolished by #1 Alabama the previous week, Kent State returned home to take on the Akron Zips. The game was closely contested, with a total of nine lead changes or ties throughout the game. The Flashes finished the game with 423 total yards of offense. Quarterback Nick Holley had 285 yards of passing, and added 117 yards on the ground – another dual threat QB finding his groove as the season goes on. Running back Justin Rankin led the team with 181 receiving yards. KSU is now 0-1 in MAC play, and takes on conference opponent Buffalo. The Bulls are coming off a 35-3 drubbing by Boston College, in which Buffalo totaled 67 yards of offense.
Up Next: Buffalo Bulls (1-3)
Pitt Panthers (3-2)
Beat Marshall 43-27
Pitt continued its trend of high-scoring games, amassing 532 yards of offense against the Thundering Herd. Chawntez Moss rushed for 97 yards, and Nathan Peterman threw for 280 yards and 2 TDs. Jester Weah led the Panthers with 176 receiving yards, hauling in a TD in the process. While this looked like a blowout early on – Pitt led 27-0 at one point in the second quarter, Marshall closed the lead to just 3 points with 4 minutes left in the game. A 54 yard touchdown pass with just over a minute left in the game, followed by a pick-six as time expired restored a solid win. The Narduzzi faithful have to be a little anxious that their defense allows opponents to linger throughout the game – it cost them against UNC, and it nearly cost them against PSU. Something to watch for, as this week the Panthers resume ACC play when Georgia Tech comes to town.
Up Next: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-2)
Temple Owls (3-2)
Beat SMU 45-20
The Temple train keeps rolling, as the Owls won a fairly ugly game over the SMU Mustangs. The game opened with SMU scoring a pick-six just 55 seconds into the game, though Temple would bounce back to score the next 35 points, including a fumble return for a touchdown. The teams combined for 7 turnovers, and Temple led the way with just 17 first downs. Phillip Walker chucked it for 124 yards, with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions, while Ryquell Armstead added 159 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground. Matt Rhule’s squad has to do a better job of protecting the football, because a potent Memphis squad comes to town for a Thursday night game. The Tigers won’t be as forgiving if Temple keeps turning the ball over.
Up Next: Memphis Tigers (3-1)
#4 Michigan Wolverines (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten)
Beat #8 Wisconsin 14-7
Let any doubt about the quality of the Wolverines be put to rest. Michigan took on a tough Wisconsin team in a game that was the definition of a defensive struggle. Michigan gained almost 350 yards of offense, and controlled the ball for over 35 minutes, but Wisconsin only allowed 14 points to be scored. This is especially impressive when you consider that the Badgers threw 3 interceptions to just 1 for Michigan. The Wolverines also gained 21 first downs, while Wisconsin mustered only 8. With each passing week it looks more and more like the season finale between Michigan and OSU will determine not only the B1G East, but the B1G and college playoff as well. Michigan gets back-to-back bye weeks as they travel to Piscataway this week for what should be a bloodbath.
Up Next: Rutgers Scarlet Knights (2-3, 0-2)
Minnesota Golden Gophers (3-1, 0-1)
Well that was fun
I find myself continually adjusting my expectations for this team. To start the season I was bold, predicting a 9-3 season with a win over Pitt. I knew the defense would be suspect, but believed that the offense would carry the team. Then week 2 happened, and I lowered my sights to 8-4. Then week 4 happened, and I, like many, began to wonder if this team could even attain a 6-6 record and a bowl berth. Then Minnesota came to town, and I watched a team flounder. They went for it on 4th and 2 and got stuffed – later they had 4th goal from the ½ yard line and kicked a field goal. They went into the half down by 10 points. The offense sputtered, and the defense – while improved – was still giving up yards on the ground.
Then the second half happened – the defense tightened, and more importantly the offense came to life. It was as if a switch had been flipped in Trace McSorley’s brain during halftime, and he willfully chose to become the difference between a win and a loss. Credit to Minnesota – they’re an under-ranked team that is truly a dark horse in the B1G West, and Penn State should be proud with the win from this weekend. Penn State may still struggle through the rest of the season, especially if the injury bug sticks around, but I’m feeling much more optimistic than I was even at halftime this week.