Week 4 of the college football season brought us closer to a full slate of Big Ten games. While some, including our beloved Nittany Lions, finished with one final out-of-conference cupcake, a few other Big Ten squads got their first look at an opponent that has ever practiced the sport of football.
Best Win of the Week - Minnesota
The Big Ten West has been rightly mocked on this particular weekly feature and really around college football in general. Nebraska fired its coach. Northwestern can’t win a game on this continent. Iowa can’t score an offensive touchdown. Illinois lost to...gasp...Indiana. But Minnesota was 3-0 against a baker’s row of cupcakes. On Saturday, they traveled to East Lansing and obliterated Michigan State. Tanner Morgan was effecient. Mo Ibrahim went over 100 yards. The defense suffocated the Spartans all day, allowing just a late-minute touchdown. At 4-0, the Golden Gophers have broken in at No. 21 in the AP Poll ahead of a homecoming game against very vulenerable Purdue.
Road trip one was pretty fun 〽️ pic.twitter.com/xkBsqNeAH7— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) September 26, 2022
Worst Loss of the Week - Michigan State
One could argue that putting Michigan State here offsets any good that Minnesota did in this game. But, it’s more here as a big red flag for Sparty who has now been walloped in back-to-back games. Mel Tucker signed that massive deal and has, overall, been great - especially close games. But, you can bet after the first three quarters in Seattle last week and the first three and a half quarters at home against the Gophers that there are some doubts as Sparty moves forward to face Maryland next week.
Most Intriguing Game of the Week - Maryland at Michigan
I am not a believer in a “good loss”. The idea that Texas leapt into the rankings after almost beating Alabama is farcical to me. College football in all its wackiness seems to right those wrongs - as Texas fell to Texas Tech on Saturday. But at the same time, having rewatched a decent amount of this game, Maryland has some dudes. More than that, their fearless attitude played well in light of some early adversity. Meanwhile, Michigan, much like Minnesota, had rolled to a 3-0 record against a horrific schedule. I am sure Jim Harbaugh was happy to see his team pushed before heading to Kinnick. More than anything, this game just reaffirmed how strong the upper half of the East is and it might not be too early to pencil in Maryland above Michigan State in the overall pecking order.
Offensive Peformance of the Week - Blake Corum, Michigan
Let’s stay in Ann Arbor and with that aforementioned Maryland at Michigan game. Blake Corum was outstanding again. He finished with 30 carries for 243 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Wolverines moved to 4-0. Corum will absolutely be front and center in Penn State’s defensive gameplan at the Big House in a couple weeks.
Blake Corum is a badddddd man pic.twitter.com/ST76uctgIf— Unnecessary Roughness (@UnnecRoughness) September 24, 2022
Defensive Player of the Week - Cooper DeJean, Iowa
The sophomore safety showed out in Iowa’s 27-10 beatdown of Rutgers. DeJean recorded seven tackles, broke up a pass in the end zone, and came up with this crazy Pick 6 that put Iowa ahead to stay early in the game.
Cooper DeJean makes it look like a video game, so here’s this pic.twitter.com/am0XCYfGRf— Slater (@SlaterKinnick_) September 25, 2022
Most Big Ten Thing of the Week - Iowa/Rutgers back-to-back penalties
Sometimes, watching Rutgers play football is, in fact, a pointless exercise. There are moments that absolutely reaffirm this each week. In Saturday’s loss to Iowa, the most Big Ten thing ever happened. The Scarlet Knights lined up for a field goal only to have Iowa jump offsides before the kick was taken. Gifted five more yards, Greg Schiano decided he would get aggressive and put his offense back on the field for a fourth and short. However, something went haywire in the communication and Rutgers was ultimately hit with a delay of game penalty. Back trotted out the field goal team. Rutgers made the kick and it was 3-0 as it would have been - just with three minutes of our lives back.
Offensive Play of the Week - Daniel Jackson, Minnesota
Pretty pass and prettier catch - and the rout was on in East Lansing.
DANIEL JACKSON HOW DO YOU DO— The College Football & Basketball Experience (@TCEonSGPN) September 24, 2022
Minnesota Leads Michigan State 14-0 early in East Lansing #CollegeFootball
Defensive Play of the Week - Purdue stops FAU on fourth down
Playing without quarterback Aiden O’Connell, the Boilermakers needed every last inch to beat Florida Atlantic at Ross-Ade Stadium on Saturday night. The final big play came when they stopped an FAU quarterback sneak and Sanoussi Kane recovered the fumble.
A 4th down stop ➡️ Victory Sunday #BoilerUp pic.twitter.com/oymB0j403S— Purdue Football (@BoilerFootball) September 25, 2022
Biggest Hit of the Week - Student on Brutus
Hey I threw the first !!! https://t.co/rWYKZEiFHj pic.twitter.com/MJk3Z4hbOF— Brutus Buckeye (@Brutus_Buckeye) September 25, 2022
Thing We Are Looking Forward to the Most: Happy Valley in October
Shameless self-indulgence here, but the thing this blogger is looking forward to the most is being in Happy Valley on Saturday. My own schedule as a basketball coach coupled with my son’s fall baseball schedule makes trips to Penn State to see the Lions far less manageable than back in my pre-kid season ticket-holding days. That changes this weekend and I love Beaver Stadium in October. The “bigger” games on the schedule will be coming later in the month following the bye week. But, 4-0, ranked just outside the top 10, and what’s shaping up to be a gorgeous fall Saturday in terms of weather - let’s all take a deep breath and enjoy what we have.