A second full weekend of Big Ten football is behind us, but let’s look back at the best (and worst) of Week 2. Here are your superlatives.
Best Win of the Week
Honestly, not a lot of best in this category with much of the conference that didn’t spit up upon itself playing non-Power Five or non-FBS opponents. So, with that in mind, congratulations to Illinois who improved to 2-1 with a dominant home win against Virginia. Chase Brown ran for 146 yards and Tommy DeVito tossed a pair of touchdown passes as the Illini jumped out to a 14-3 lead and held an ACC opponent without a touchdown (or any points) over the final three quarters. BERT ball is now 2-1 and had they not allowed a late moment touchdown drive to Indiana last week, maybe they’d be in discussion in the wide open Big Ten West.
Worst Loss of the Week - Part 1
Speaking of the West, and we’ll spend a lot of time dogging these guys, how about Nebraska? In what proved to be Scott Frost’s final game at the helm of his alma mater, the vaunted Black Shirt defense gave up more than 600 yards of total offense in a 45-42 shootout loss to…Georgia? Nope, maybe Georgia Tech? Ok, at least Georgia State? Nah, how about Georgia Southern? A team that was running the Navy-style flexbone until…like this year? Well, they ran for more than 200 and threw for more than 400 in a night game at Memorial Stadium as, for the first time ever, Nebraska lost when scoring at least 35 points at home. That’s quite the finale for Frost, who got a handsome buyout by getting fired now rather than in a few weeks.
Worst Loss of the Week - Part 2
Ranked and at home against a non-conference foe, Wisconsin had three turnovers and was shut out in the second half against PAC-10 power…USC? Ok, Oregon, right? Nope. It was the Cougar crew from Pullman that scored 10 third quarter points and held on for a 17-14 win against the Badgers. Defense hasn’t been so good for Washington State since Tony Bennett was coaching its basketball team.
Worst Loss of the Week - Part 3
A week after scounging together seven points via a pair of safeties and a field goal, Iowa jumped out to a great start thanks to a short field set up by a blocked punt. From there, the Hawkeyes offense generated…zero points. With the game in its closing moments, the rain pouring down, and all the bragging rights at the local grain bin on the line, Iowa’s kicker hooked a kick wide left and Iowa State coach Matt Campbell finally had a win against the Hawkeyes.
Worst Way to Lose
Let’s stay in the Big Ten West, because of course we will, and take a look at Northwestern as they desperately tried to rally from a big deficit against another small private school that plays Power Five sports. Trailing 31-23, Northwestern running back Evan Hull dived for the end zone in the closing moments with the chance to give the Wildcats one last chance at catching Duke (Northwestern trailed 21-0 at one point in the first half). Instead, it was a fumble that a Blue Devil pounced on the ball in the end zone to clinch bragging rights at the next Near North Shore soiree.
The Northwestern Fumble as he was going into the end zone. Heartbreaking. What a play by DUKE! pic.twitter.com/Rum6rVr14r— Sickos Committee (@SickosCommittee) September 10, 2022
Offensive Performance of the Week
Full disclosure, I’m an Indianapolis Colts fan. I, along with my best friend, used to have season tickets and we’d gather together each Sunday even for road games to watch our beloved Colts be the 2000s football version of the 1990s Atlanta Braves. I don’t cheer quite so heartily for that team anymore, but seeing Marvin Harrison light up a secondary was something that used to bring me a ton of joy. It doesn’t anymore, but kudos to Marvin Harrison Jr., who caught seven passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns in Ohio State’s yawner against Arkansas State on Saturday.
Marvin Harrison Jr. is a PROBLEM pic.twitter.com/hfj6tEkqhH— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) September 10, 2022
Defensive Performance of the Week
Michigan State shutout our favorite offensive coordinator of all time, Joe Moorhead, on Saturday. Spartan linebacker Jacoby Windmon had five tackles, 1.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries in the 52-0 thumping of Akron. That’s what we here like to call being a problem.
Most Big Ten Thing Ever of the Week - Part 1
Iowa State vs. Iowa. The Hawkeyes at Kinnick. Two blocked punts by Iowa. Seventeen total points. Not a playmaker on the field. It was so on brand for the Big Ten (West). Speaking of…
Most Big Ten Thing Ever of the Week - Part 2
Have you checked the Big Ten standings yet? No, really. Have you? The classic caveats of 1. It’s early and 2. Who have the played Paaawwwwllllllllll, but the East boasts seven (yes, that’s all of them) undefeated teams. Meanwhile, in the West, it’s just Minnesota that hasn’t dropped a game yet. The divide is growing more and more before our eyes. Even the things we’ve come to count on - Wisconsin’s offensive line, Iowa’s ability to hit one offensive play a game, Northwestern winning games in even-numbered years, they’ve gone. The West is playing some 1970s brand of bland football and I’m so, so, so ready for some realignment - or relegation. Bring the Fun Belt to us!
Thing We Are Looking Forward to the Most
In Week 3, it’s meh again in the Big Ten. Game of the week takes place in SEC Country and you know who’s playing in it. We didn’t even mention Penn State in this particular post, but hey fam, didn’t you love Nick Singleton, Drew Allar, and the depth that the Lions displayed on Saturday against Ohio? Hope to see more of those two very, very, very soon. In superlative land, we call them most likely to succeed!