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Week Four B1G Ballers – Hawkeyes, Badgers, and Wolverines…Oh My

Week four is in the books and we know a lot more now than we did when the season started. We know Iowa can score lots of points. We know Wisconsin has a sneaky good defense. We know Michigan has some athletic players. And we know that Michigan State has a guy that will beat you in a couple different ways. Now let's find out who they are...

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Holy hell did the Iowa Hawkeyes really score 62 points in a single game? That’s a decent score for three games for a Kirk Ferentz-led group. That was the big score this weekend, but Michigan got more attention for their 31 to zero shellacking of the Hail Mormons of BYU.

It was hard to understand how a team that squeaked out two wins on last second chuck and pray plays got ranked…but they did. I guess they only look at the scores, not game play. Somehow BYU was ranked 22nd in the country. And Michigan exposed them for what they were. Michigan scored all 31 in the first half, and then took their foot off the gas.

The other notable blowout was Wisconsin’s 21 to zip win over Hawaii. Wisconsin is a team on the rise right now. After giving up 238 yards on the ground to Alabama, the Wisconsin defense is balling. They’ve allowed just 92 yards on the ground since. Hawaii could only muster 15 yards in the whole game…

Now let’s talk about some great individual efforts:

Illinois Fighting Illini: The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders gave Illini fans some moments of panic on Saturday. While they came away with a win, the team didn’t play particularly well.  Senior wide receiver Geronimo Allison continues to ball hard. He caught ten balls for 128 yards. On special teams, Caleb Day blocked a punt and Clayton Fejedelem recovered it for a touchdown.

Indiana Hoosiers: Like Illinois, Indiana fans suffered some uncomfortable moments as the Wake Forest Demon Deacons climbed to within a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Running back Jordan Howard continues to impress. He rolled for 168 yards on the ground.

The defense was a bit schizophrenic, making some big plays and blowing others. DB Tony Fields picking off a pass and taking it back 20 yards for a touchdown. That’s the second pick six in as many weeks. And they sacked Wake quarterback Kendall Hinton six times. However, they also had some bonehead plays that let Wake stay in the game.

Iowa Hawkeyes: This is crazy. Iowa is in the conversation as one of the leaders of the western conference. One big reason is the top rated B1G quarterback C.J. Beathard. Who would have thought that Iowa had a B1G Baller for a quarterback?

This kid is walking the walk, folks. Six touchdowns to one interception. A killer 68.2% completion percentage and a long pass of 81 yards. He had 278 yards in the win against the Mean Green. His two touchdown passes went for 43 and 81 yards, respectively.

Running back Jordan Canzeri had a career day, running for 115 yards and four…FOUR!...touchdowns. On defense, Bo Bower had an incredible 88-yard interception for a touchdown.

Maryland Terrapins: Well, that sucked pretty much from the first snap. You guys were dominated in all phases of that game. The takeaway…at least it wasn’t a shutout. .

Michigan Wolverines: Yeeeaaaah Harbaugh! I don’t care if you don’t like Michigan…if you haven’t seen the De’Veon Smith 60 yard touchdown/beatdown run…you should. He’s some kind of combination football player and martial artist. Not to be upstaged, his teammate Amara Darboh pulls in a one handed catch that is also highlight reel material. Quarterback Jake Rudock had a great game as well. He was 14 of 25 for 194 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for two touchdowns.

Michigan’s defensive line is balling too. They sacked BYU QB Tanner Mangum three times. Three of the Wolverine down linemen have two sacks apiece…Maurice Hurst, Mario Ojemudia, and Taco Charlton.

Michigan State Spartans: You guys, Shilique Calhoun is a special football player. Against Central Michigan, he had 2.5 sacks and blocked a field goal. He put the fear of an angry god into the Chippewa’s. The rest of the team was kind of Meh for the day.

Minnesota Golden Gophers: This was a tough game for Minnesota. It was in doubt the whole time. The gophers punt returner, Craig James, had three fumbles. I brought that up because the poor kid’s named after "alleged" hooker slayer and all around douche bag Craig James. Sorry man.

Quarterback Mitch Leidner was solid, going 22 of 32 for 264 yards. He also ran in a touchdown. Running back Shannon Brooks ran in two more scores. Steven Richardson sacked Ohio quarterback Derrius Vick.

Nebraska Cornhuskers: Nebraska and the fourth quarter…what the hell? After losing to BYU on a Hail Mormon in the last second, I thought they were going to do it again this week. They gave up 21 points to Southern Miss in the fourth quarter…after only giving up seven points in the first three. It was a 22 to 0 route at halftime. Then the Huskers got outscored 28 to 14…the blackshirt D gave up a whopping 447 yards through the air to Southern Miss.

Those thoughts/concerns notwithstanding, Tommy Armstrong balled in this game. He was 23 of 35 for 368 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw a pick. But my favorite player on offense was big fullback Andy Janovich, who ran for 68 yards on five carries and a touchdown. He also had a 53-yard reception.

The big play in the game came from DE Freedom Akinmoladun, who sacked Southern Miss QB Nick Mullens to end the game.

Nebraska kicker Drew Brown tied an NCAA record with five field goals…in the first half.

Northwestern Wildcats: Another close game for a B1G undefeated team. Ball State was a score away from an upset. But the ‘Cats are rolling [cue gif].

Freshman(!) quarterback Clayton Thorson played well, going 18 for 31 for 256 yards, three touchdowns, and a pick. He also ran for 46 yards on the day. The Super Back Dan Vitale was his security blanket. He had five catches for 108 yards and two of the three touchdowns. I could’ve been a super back…

The workhorse is sophomore running back Justin Jackson, who had 33 carries for 184 yards. There are some young ballers on this team, which means the success could last for a while.

Ohio State Buckeyes: Something is up in Columbus. Even blowing out Western Michigan, Buckeyes fans are nervous. The much-lauded quarterback tandem of Barrett and Jones looked just pedestrian. J.T. Barrett threw one pass…for a pick. Cardale Jones was 19 of 33 for 288, two touchdowns and a pick.

Running back Ezekiel Elliott remains a baller. He hauled the rock 16 times for 124 yards and a touchdown. Running back Curtis Samuel had two carries for 55 yards, including a sweet 40 yard run for a touchdown.

Penn State Nittany Lions: San Diego State wasn’t the cupcake I thought they were, but they were a good test for the Nittany Lions. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg threw some good long balls, including a 45 yarder to Saeed Blacknall and a 35 yarder to TE Kyle Carter. He was 21 of 35 for 296 yards and three touchdowns. If you are keeping track of how bad Hackenberg sucks…those numbers don’t suck. He balled this week.

I thought his best pass was short, a check down to RB Saquon Barkley, who cut and spun 22 yards for a touchdown.

On defense Carl Nassib continues to be a wrecking ball. He forced a fumble on a sack (one of five on the day for the PSU defense). DT Austin Johnson returned the ball 71 yards for a touchdown. The miracle is that nobody caught him…

Carl Nassib continues to lead the B1G in sacks with seven so far this year for -52 yards. He also has an interception. That puts him in the elite defensive linemen group with 5 or more sacks: Shilique Calhoun and Iowa’s Nate Meier, Purdue’s Antoine Miles, and Maryland’s Yannick Ngakoue.

Purdue Boilermakers: You know it’s tough when your redshirt freshman quarterback David Blough puts up crazy stats…and you still lose to Bowling Green. The kid balled like an upper classman, going 29 of 39 for 340 yards, two touchdowns, and a pick. And you still lost by a touchdown. This is going to be a tough season boilers. It’s not too late to become soccer fans…

Rutgers Scarlet Knights: Woo Hoo! A win AND a bye week! You guys are in for some smooth sailing for the next few days. Maybe. Possibly. Although tire fires are notoriously hard to put out.

And since I’m no longer designated "chucklefuck" by Ray on the OTE slack channel, I’ll dish some love your way...particularly for the running game.

Let’s talk about Josh Hicks. I thought, going into this season, that senior Paul James was the guy who’d tote the rock for you. But Hicks is doing it well. He had 21 carries for 113 yards and two touchdowns against the Jayhawks. And another sophomore, Robert Martin, looked solid too. He ran for 102 yards on 17 carries. Those are two solid performances and something for the offense to build on.

The defense made big plays too, turning in three sacks and a forced fumble.

Wisconsin Badgers: The Badgers defense is going to get someone this year. Some unsuspecting top team will be shocked…you read it here first folks. This team got embarrassed by Alabama, bore down and is now stifling. Make no mistake…Wisconsin’s defense is bad to the bone.

Linebacker Joe Schobert is second in the B1G with six sacks for -51 yards so far this season. He had two of them on Saturday against Hawaii. Teammate Vince Biegel has three more for -18 yards.

As you would expect, Wisconsin can run the ball too. Taiwan Deal is flat out good. He had 26 carries for 147 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday.

Ballers of the Week:

I am not going with the highlight reels for the Offensive Baller of the Week. It is time to acknowledge the fact that Iowa has a stud quarterback in C.J. Beathard. The kid balled hard this weekend. He is going to be trouble in the western division too. .As usual, this was a hard call. You can call me an idiot…again…in the comments.

On Defense, I have to go back to Shalique Calhoun. He can take over games…hell he took over the game on Saturday. He can put the whole team on his back and say, "you guys do your mediocre shit…I’m just here to ball."

For special teams Baller of the Week, I’m going with Nebraska’s Drew Brown and his NCAA-record tying five field goals in a half.

Nice job you guys.

Now let’s talk beer!

I had great beer this weekend. Really, really great beer. Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale is brewed by Lexington Brewing Co. in Lexington Kentucky. The ale is aged for up to six weeks in freshly decanted bourbon barrels. What you get is a rich beer with an elegant bourbon finish. It is rich, smooth, and mellow. Not something you want to crack on a hot day at the beach. But definitely something to put in a frosted glass to sip at leisure.

Hope you all enjoyed your weekends as much as I did mine!

Your Friend,