- I had
the privilege a family obligationa cheap ticket, so I went to Penn State at Minnesota on Saturday morning. My initial thoughts: that was not what I expected. Growing up, as my dad and I reminisced at the game, this was the game that the Gophers would find to lose in a big, soul-crushing way. Now, the Minnesota playcalling in the 4th quarter (throwing twice and one run up the middle with 9:00 to go? Ugh.) was a little suspect at times, but the Gophers came up big. The second half as a whole was sloppy, but David Cobb and Zach Zwinak both had fantastic days on the ground, Cobb going 27 for 139 and a score, and Zwinak carrying 26 for 150 and paydirt once himself, too. Gophers P Peter Mortell was a damn hero, too, booting two balls inside the Penn State 1 (though I thought one of those should've been a touchback from where I was sitting, right above that end zone. I'll defer to what the announcers said). A good win for the Gophers, who set themselves up to be in no worse than the BWW Bowl, possibly even playing on New Year's Day. Quite a season for a team I picked to go 6-6.
- So, um, raise your hands if you thought Indiana would pass for almost 400 yards and run for 200. Yeah, now raise your hands if you thought the exact opposite would happen. Yet somehow, it did. Illinois' woes stopping the run continue, as Tevin Coleman racked up an absurd 215 on 15 carries for a couple scores, including a 75-yard romp, and Stephen Houston got in on the action, picking up 150 with 17 chances for 2 TDs of his own. Indiana, y'know, still has no defense, as Nathan Scheelhaase took to the air 57 times, completing 38 for 450 and 2 TDs, but a late pick effectively ended things for the Illini's bid for their first B1G win.
- Speaking of teams looking for a B1G win: Hey, Purdue! You scored! TWICE! That is, up, about as positive as things got for the Boilermakers. After tying the game up after a 2-yd pass from Danny Etling to Kurt Freytag in the second quarter, Iowa scored the next 31 points of the game, taking a 7-pt halftime lead and turning it into a 38-14 blowout. Austin Appleby got in on the action for Purdue, tossing a 44-yd bomb late in the fourth. Jordan Canzeri did work for the Hawkeyes, going from a changeup from Mark Weisman to the hero, rushing for 165 on 20 carries, scoring a touchdown in a career afternoon. Jake Rudock is turning into the effective game-manager the Hawkeyes need on offense: Kirk Ferentz only asked him to throw 20 times, and Rudock completed 12 of those for 191 yards and a couple scores. Iowa bottled up the Boilermakers, only allowed 53 rush yards on 28 carries for a 1.9 ypc, returning the Hawkeyes to a bowl game, with the opportunity to move up after Michigan's loss and at the expense of TMHR.
- Oh, Michigan. Ohhhh, Michigan. -21 rushing yards. For two weeks in a row now, you have managed to run backwards more than forwards. There isn't much more that needs be said. Ameer Abdullah did the heavy lifting for the Huskers, picking up 105 on 27 touches for a touchdown and catching the winning touchdown pass, barreling in from 4 yards out on a Tommy Armstrong, Jr., pass to take the 17-13 lead that Nebraska held onto. This game, which I admittedly did not see, looks as #B1G as they come: Sam Foltz averaged 43 ypp for the Huskers, with only 1 inside the 20, and Matt Wile knocked 6 out for a ridiculous 48.8 ypp average. These are two wounded teams who I wouldn't be terribly surprised to see get abused in bowl season, especially if they run into a couple high-flying Big XII offenses.
- Wisconsin felt the need to play a non-conference game in the middle of November, and despite fears of Cougars QB wonder Taysom Hill, the Badgers rode three James White touchdowns and his 147 yards on 23 carries to take care of BYU, 27-17. The Badgers needed to shut down Hill to control the game, and LB Chris Borland led the charge, holding Hill to just over 200 yards passing and to only 53 rush yards, forcing BYU to rethink their hurry-up offense. It didn't help, and the lion's share of the BYU yardage came late in the game. This Wisconsin defense, since the Ohio State game, has allowed an average of 16 ppg, setting the Badgers on a collision course with the Gophers in the Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe on the 23rd of November. Should be the most competitive one since 2008, in the #Safetygate debacle that I had the pleasure of attending in person.
morning Afternoon Rankings, courtesy of the AP and USA Today: