God I love Big Ten conference football. Just a tremendous Saturday of football, with some stellar (and in some case record-breaking) performances. Let's talk about it down in the comments, but here's some bullet points:
- Weisman rhymes with Heisman. AIRBHG may be an omnipotent and vengeful deity, but maybe AIRBHG was actually helping Iowa by clearing the way for Mark Weisman on the depth chart. Weisman's tough running (177 yard, 1 TD) and a resurgent Iowa defense (forcing 4 turnovers) took the Floyd-flavored bacon back in Iowa City.
- Tough loss for Minnesota, who got exposed as "not quite ready for primetime." Jerry Kill has the team trending upwards and is going to make them a force to be reckoned with in the B1G, but they don't quite have the depth or talent yet to be an upper tier team.
- What ugly uniforms in Wisconsin-Nebraska.
- Seriously, those were ugly uniforms. But a great comeback in the 2nd half for Nebraska in a great atmosphere in Lincoln. Nebraska has a great rushing attack between Taylor Martinez, Rex Burkhead, and Ameer Abdullah (although Wisconsin's rush defense may not be that great).
- Bill O'Brien got his revenge on Tim Beckman for trying to poach his players. Michael Mauti had a long, non-touchdown INT return, and Matt McGloin had a mistake-free game in a cakewalk over the Illini. I'm still not sold on Penn State, though, because Illinois looks absolutely terrible. What happened to Nathan Scheelhaase? What happened to that supposedly vaunted Illini defense? Tim Beckman's squad seems to have regressed, which seems hard to imagine happening post-Zook.
- Northwestern set a record for total offense against Indiana, racking up 704 total yards in a 44-29 win over Indiana (the first time Northwestern has won its B1G home opener under Pat Fitzgerald). Apparently Mick McCall was playing coy with all of us during non-conference season: it's apparent that Kain Colter is going to play all over the field, and that's a TERRIFYING thing for B1G defenses. Colter had 161 yards rushing with 4 TDs and 131 yards receiving, becoming only the third player since 1996 to have 100 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving in the same game. Venric Mark chipped in with 139 yards rushing at a TD. Suddenly, Northwestern has a great rushing attack. We'll dive into this later this season, but I'm really starting to believe in this Northwestern squad.
- A team I no longer believe in? Michigan State. Yes, Ohio State is a quality squad, but man are the Spartans a huge disappointment this year. This was a team with somewhat legitimate national title hopes before the season, and now they're an ugly 3-2. Braxton Miller came back after getting his bell run a couple times to lead the Buckeyes over Michigan State in a tough battle in East Lansing. Great effort by the Buckeyes to hold LeVeon Bell and the Spartans to just 34 yards rushing. Yes, you read that right: the Spartans had only 34 yards rushing.
- Purdue won in a shootout versus Marshall to finish their non-conference slate, but you have to be concerned if you're a Boiler fan by the Boiler defense giving up 41 points to Marshall.