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Former Foes, Week 14

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Temple advances to the AAC championship game, Ohio State defeats Michigan in an instant classic, and Iowa routs Nebraska

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Kent State Golden Flashes (3-9)

Lost to Northern Illinois 31-21

Sleep now, dear Flashes, your battle is at an end. You fought valiantly through week after week of insurmountable opposition, were beaten down, and continued to pick yourselves up. But no more. Rest your heavy heads; the war is over. Rest.

Up Next: Sweet blessed release from the inexorable crush of the 2016 football season


#25 Pitt Panthers (8-4)

Beat Syracuse 76-61

So the whole Nar_uzzi thing – no “D” in his name since his team doesn’t play defense – is a little gimmicky to me, but my goodness. Have the Panthers even heard of defense? Make no mistake, Syracuse is not an offensive juggernaut; prior to this game, the Orange averaged 22.5 points per game on the season. After this game? 25.7. If you’re solely responsible for a 4-8 team increasing its average score by over three points per game, you do not play good defense. Credit, however, does go to the Pitt offense, as they can put up some points. But man, if they play a competent defense in their bowl game, they could be in trouble.

Up Next: A bowl game, though good luck deciphering which 8-4 ACC team goes where


Temple Owls (9-3)

Beat East Carolina 37-10

Your Temple Owls are AAC East champs for the second straight year after dismantling the ECU Pirates. The Pirates opened the scoring with a touchdown before Temple scored 27 straight to put the game away. If you’re not too busy early in the day next Saturday, the AAC Championship Game will be on ABC at noon. I plan on checking out the Owls as they take on the Midshipmen.

Up Next: #19 Navy (9-2) in the AAC Championship Game


#5 Michigan Wolverines (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten)

Lost to #2 Ohio State 30-27 in 2OT

What a game. I firmly wanted OSU to win this one, but Michigan played a solid game. Were it not for Wilton Speight throwing a pick-six late in the first half, Ohio State may have been shut out heading into half time. This was a classic defensive battle, and unfortunately the Wolverines came out just short. Still, Michigan is poised well for a New Year’s Six bowl game, whether that be the Rose or Orange Bowl will depend on the results of next week’s conference championship games.

Up Next: To Be Determined Bowl Game


Minnesota Golden Gophers (8-4, 5-4)

Lost to #6 Wisconsin 31-17

For the fourth time this season, Minnesota found itself leading at the half only to lose the game. This time, the Gophers were up 17-7 on the Badgers, and then failed to score the rest of the way. This has been a theme for Minnesota, who appears to be the anti-PSU in this regard. Perhaps, as a bit of karma, Minnesota could send its good first-half vibes Penn State’s way, as the Lions take on the Gopher’s most hated rival this coming week.

Up Next: To Be Determined Bowl Game


Maryland Terrapins (6-6, 3-6)

Beat Rutgers 31-13

Well, as expected the Terps beat the Knights to get to bowl eligibility. Maryland rode its ground game to the tune of 318 yards and three touchdowns to take down Rutgers, while Perry Hills went 9-for-15 and 96 yards through the air. At least now Maryland counts as a quality win for Penn State.

Up Next: To Be Determined Bowl Game


#2 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1, 8-1)

Beat #5 Michigan 30-27 in 2OT

Watching this game, it did not appear that OSU was the better team for at least the first three quarters of the game. They hung around, and took advantage of the few opportunities afforded to them by the Wolverines, but just did not look that great. J.T. Barrett again looked pedestrian throwing the ball, and their usually reliable kicker missed two field goals. Let’s just say that I don’t think many teams this year have looked dominant the entire season, with the possible lone exception of Alabama. Thanks to the Buckeyes’ win followed up by Penn State defeating the Spartans, OSU will sit at home and wait to see where it lands in the final playoff poll.

Up Next: To Be Determined Bowl Game


Purdue Boilermakers (3-9, 1-8)

Lost to Indiana 26-24

Purdue actually made a game of their match-up with the Hoosiers, and in fact led 22-20 early in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately for the Boilermakers, Indiana scored the go-ahead touchdown, and then opted for a late safety rather than punting the ball and risking a return for a touchdown. Purdue closes the book on its 2016 season and looks ahead to the coming months of activity.

Up Next: The offseason and a hopefully fruitful hunt for a head coach


Iowa Hawkeyes (8-4, 6-3)

Beat Nebraska 40-10

This was the Iowa team I was expecting back when the Hawkeyes visited Beaver Stadium. Iowa allowed just 217 yards to the Cornhuskers, while mustering 408 yards of their own. In a little less than 90 seconds in the first quarter, the Hawkeyes had two 75-plus-yard scoring plays. In those 90 seconds Iowa scored more points than Nebraska would all game. Nebraska saw its Big Ten West hopes disappear, as well as a 10-win regular season.

Up Next: To Be Determined Bowl Game


Indiana Hoosiers (6-6, 4-5)

Beat Purdue 26-24

Indiana got a stiff fight from its cross-state rival, and did just enough to get the win. Up 26-22 with 11 seconds left in the fourth quarter and facing a 4th and 3 from their own 27 yard line, Indiana opted to have quarterback Zander Diamont run backwards and milk the clock before being tackled for a safety, rather than punt the ball and risk a return by the Boilermakers. A heady move by coach Kevin Wilson, who has led Indiana to back-to-back bowl games for the first time since 1990-1991.

Up Next: To Be Determined Bowl Game


Rutgers Scarlet Knights (2-10, 0-9)

Lost to Maryland 31-13

Rutgers got to score some points for the first time in 3 weeks, which was nice for them. It was still in a losing effort, but at least we know their offense can score on occasion. It has been a rough first season for Coach Ash, who is tasked with continuing to rebuild. His recruiting class is solid currently, but may slip as the currently uncommitted prospects begin to choose their teams, and decommitment/flip season gets underway.

Up Next: Watching all of the fun and exciting bowl games from the comfort of mom’s couch


Michigan State Spartans (3-9, 1-8)

My kingdom for a complete game from these Lions

Trust me, I’m more than thrilled with how well this team has done this season, especially given how roughly September ended. But goodness me, would it kill this team to come out and play a complete game? The most complete game I can remember them playing was against Iowa, in which they rattled off 21 straight points to start the game, then another 20 straight points before giving up a garbage-time touchdown to the Hawkeyes. Rather, our halftime score differentials have been -2, +9, and 0 in the last three games – games against teams that have a combined record of 11-25, and a combined Big Ten record of 5-22. These are games we should be dominating from start to finish, rather than having to pour it on in the second half. If we play a complete game, I like this team against almost anyone in the country. More of the same this weekend against Wisconsin? Any and all talk about the playoffs probably won’t matter.

Up Next: Reminiscing fondly of 2015 and their appearance in the playoffs just a scant year ago