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Sunday Morning Coming Down // Week 9

Wisconsin Scores Again, Sparty Can’t Count, and Other Fun Developments

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Ten B1G Things

  1. The card said to go for two.
  2. Michigan State didn’t complete a pass for between the 1st and 4th quarters.
  3. Amarah Darboh caught 8 passes for a career high 165 yards, which will be a great backdrop for more talk about Peppers.
  4. The dead cat couldn’t bounce high enough to handle the big cats.
  5. PSU found a season’s worth of offensive production in one game, which is really why we keep Purdue around.
  6. The Nits scored the most points ever tallied in Ross-Ade Stadium with 62, eclipsing the previous record of 56 set in 2013.
  7. Illinois looks like they forgot to order a new color ink cartridge -Closso, Noon Gamethread
  8. Tracy Claeys looks like alligator park owner from Flight of the Navigator. Large, sweaty, and totally emotionless in the face of events.
  9. The Hoosiers fell about three plays shy of breaking the Memorial Stadium rushing record of 455 yards (414).
  10. Maryland is the 20-sided Dungeons and Dragons dice of the B1G East.
  11. Ed Warinner’s head has room for only one name. He can remember Curtis Samuel or Mike Weber. Not both.
  12. Ohio State scored a TD on its opening drive for the first time this season.
  13. Arm-punts: just when you thought you were out...he pulls you back in.
  14. I wonder how Dave Aranda feels these days. I hope “like a dumbass” is the answer.
  15. BONUS: Big win for Army over Wake Forest. At their homecoming. Suddenly Army is a 5-3 team, needing only two more wins for a bowl!

The Rundown

Michigan at MSU | Michigan wins 32-23 to bring Paul Bunyan home

Reality has hit hard in East Lansing, where the 2-6 Spartans were thoroughly drubbed at home by a resurgent Michigan in the midst of their longest losing streak since 1982. The Wolverines scored every time they had the ball, while the Spartans could’t seem to get out of their own way half the time—and got thoroughly trounced the other half. Brian Lewerke and Tyler O’Connor split duties at QB, with each finding only marginal success against a tough Michigan defense. The only phase where Michigan seemed to falter was the inside run game, which MSU bottled up fairly well all day. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on where in the Misery Mitten you hail from, the Spartans couldn’t stop Michigan in any other capacity. The Wolverines yielded over 400 yards of offense to the Spartans, but all that bending led to very few breaks. In a curious, emotional, nail-in-the-coffin moment, Dantonio went for a meaningless 2-point conversion that gave Jabrill Peppers the highlight ESPN so desperately desired as he returned the fumble for a final score. Odd to say the least.

Michigan next up: Maryland | MSU next up: at Illinois

Penn State at Purdue | Purdue gets choo-choo’d 62-24

Things weren’t going so hot for the Nits, who found themselves tied at 17 going into the half against the suddenly re-animated corpse of the Boilermakers. David Blough had looked like every bit the match for PSU’s secondary and the Lions’ offense seemed to not be firing on all cylinders. Then the 3rd quarter started, and the Ghost of Hazell descended on Purdue. The Boilermakers threw an interception, muffed a punt, and botched an onside kick that gave PSU three scoring opportunities. Penn State converted all three and added a field goal for good measure, racking up 24 points in 15 minutes and setting the cruise control for victory. David Blough looked very good at 34/50 and 2 TDs, but his supporting cast was no match for Trace McSorley’s Penn State.

Aaron Yorke: Penn State continued to be a second-half team by outscoring Purdue 45-7 in the third and fourth quarters en route to a fourth Big Ten win. I would have liked to see a higher completion percentage from Trace McSorley considering that he was almost never under pressure, but it looks like this type of game (around 50 percent completions, high yards per attempt, zero picks) is becoming a trend. McSorley might not be the quarterback of the future, but he's working out fine as the quarterback of the present. Meanwhile, Saquon Barkley continues to be a stud with his second 200-yard performance in three games. When Purdue had the ball, David Blough did a great job getting the ball out of his hand and frustrating the Penn State pass rush, but in the second half, the Lions adjusted and locked down on Blough's targets while limiting the yards after catch that hurt them in the first 30 minutes. It was a solid showing from a unit that hadn't been tested by a pass-first attack until now. 10 wins will remain a possibility if Penn State keeps playing defense like that.

87Townie: In a game that looked far too evenly matched in the first half, Purdue torpedoed itself in the second half and Penn State capitalized. Four turnovers sealed the deal for the game. As a PSU fan, I was thrilled to see us get up a lead and put in our second team...because we know that injuries happen. I liked the adjustments that we made at half time...something that seemed missing last year. For Purdue fans, there should be hope. This isn't Rutgers-esque bad football. This is stupid mistakes at critical times. A new coaching staff should be able to come to East Lafayette and win games. I'm not kidding or being cruel...the kids on this roster could achieve Maryland type turnaround with the right coaching staff.

PSU next up: Iowa | Purdue next up: at Minnesota

Minnesota at Illinois | Gophers exorcise the ghosts 40-17

There are many ways to win a football game. Passing. Luck. Refs. Mafia rigging. You name it. A sure way to lose a football game, though, is to give your opponent the ball on your half of the field three different times. That’s exactly what the Illini did, naturally. Minnesota doesn’t pass well on a good day. In the land where the wind never stops that we all know and love as Chambana, the Gophers were going to have to rely on their run game. Starting with fields of 49, 9, and 20 yards made a run-only offense a lot easier to execute. Illinois had little luck to speak of against the Gophers, with Wes Lunt still sidelined by a back injury. Third stringer Jeff George Jr. went 16/34 for 156 and a lone TD. The Gophers are now bowl eligible. Illinois is...not.

WhiteSpeedReceiver: Illinois is pretty beat up, not very talented, and poorly coached, yet I'm still surprised that Minnesota was able to bury them as effectively as we did. The run game took care of business and the defense did a great job forcing mistakes. There's still work to be done with the passing game, but we still have time and mediocre opponents to fix that.

Minnesota next up: Purdue | Illinois next up: MSU

Maryland at Indiana | Hoosiers finally win one 42-36

After weeks of near misses, the Hoosiers finally got their act together. Kevin Wilson’s offense abandoned its recent misfires to notch three different 100-yard rushers against a Maryland defense that couldn’t keep up. Devine Redding, Tyler Natee, and backup QB Zander Diamont (he’s back!) each topped the century mark, and five different Indiana players scored touchdowns. Maryland played well in the first half and held a 21-16 lead at intermission, but poor defense and turnovers proved to be their undoing in the latter quarters. Perry Hills put up good numbers passing (22/36) and tossed 2 TDs. He ran for two more in what would’ve been a banner day for him, but his interception and lost fumble put the Terps behind the 8-ball.

DJ Carver: Fuck our run defense is such a sieve. Should have won that game if we didn't have turnstiles on the DL.

Indiana up next: at Rutgers | Maryland up next: at Michigan

Northwestern at Ohio State | ‘Cats lose a dogfight 24-20

Suffice it to say, these Buckeyes are not the #2 team in the land and really never should have been. Such is the tyranny of a zero in the loss column. Supporters of Pat Fitzgerald say he puts together one amazing gameplan a year. Critics of Pat Fitzgerald often say the same. This may have been it. Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson looked like a world-beater in the passing game, throwing sideline strikes that no one but Carr and crew could catch and that no one in the college game could defend. Buckeye fans grew weary of seeing the B1G’s best receiver and his pals making toe-tap snags on out-routes regardless of the coverage. Lapses in the Buckeye defense let Mick McCall dial up gashing Justin Jackson runs through the middle, leading to . The Buckeyes marched down the field on their first two possessions, then traded touchdowns in a game that devolved (evolved) into a good, old fashioned B1G defensive grinder. Ohio State’s defense continued their bend-don’t-break trend of letting Northwestern work at will between the 20 yard lines, stiffening up only at the most critical of moments. Once again, the Buckeyes were saved by a spectacular Barrett running performance. And, once again, the Buckeyes almost refused to throw deep. More of the same for an Urban Meyer team that’s missing a few key elements to really compete at the top tier.

MNWildcat: Northwestern's not that bad. And moral victories shouldn't feel good, but I'll take post-Nebraska Northwestern to go blow-for-blow with anyone in the Big Ten, perhaps save Michigan. Bad tackling (seriously, shore this up pleaaaase) against good athletes and an inability to slow down running QBs or sustain a pass rush did Northwestern in.

Oh, and Austin Carr is a fucking stud. Just the goddamn best. 8 catches for 158 and two fantastic sideline catches. Pretty awesome.

LincolnParkWildcat: Holy shit. We took a top ten team to the wall and could've won. I was watching this game at a bar and I had buckeye and wolverine fans coming up to me saying no one wants to play the Wildcats now. Usually whenever we'd play OSU we wouldn't be able to get first downs and they'd run us off the damn field. It was immensely satisfying to watch this game. OSU is not as good as advertised.

GF3: *eyeroll* Ok, LPW. The last time we played was 2013 and that wasn’t at all how the game went. My prediction in the Friday article was “OSU wins but Austin Carr has a big day and the Buckeye offense is flat for at least one quarter. Bucks win, Kitties cover.” Couldn’t have called that better if I’d waited until after the game.

OSU next up: Nebraska | Northwestern next up: Wisconsin

Nebraska at Wisconsin | Wisconsin wins 23-17 in OT

Once again, the Badgers owe their victory to the arms of D’Cota Dixon. The man who intercepted the pass that mortally wounded Les Miles’ career at LSU swatted away Nebraska’s last hope at remaining unbeaten. Two weeks after falling in OT at Camp Randall against an undefeated top 10 team, the Badgers got another shot at dethroning a big time challenger. This time, they didn’t miss. It was a night of musical QBs for Paul Chryst’s offense, with both Hornibrook and Bart Houston taking snaps once again. Hornibrook threw the Badgers’ lone TD pass, but Houston ran the offense for Dare Ogunbawale’s go-ahead TD scamper in OT. Despite eclipsing the 10,000 yard mark on offense—and being only the 11th player to do so—Tommy Armstrong looked pedestrian at best. He pitched two crushing INTs in the early going, and finished the night 12/31 throwing for 153 and no scores. Many thought he might miss part of the game with back trouble, but Ryker Fyfe’s warm-up throws were for nought. This was as good as primetime game as the B1G could’ve asked for, and the Badgers could very well sneak back into the top ten after a gritty performance in the B1G’s toughest venue.

TSpeth: I've never been more annoyed after a win over a top 10 team in my life. Offense is kind of terrible, defense is awesome but holy shit injuries galore, and special teams are TERRIBLE. It's too bad that we don't have a QB, because I'd put this defense against anyone in the nation and like our chances. Too bad Wisconsin won't make it past their own 40 against the Bamas of the world. Yes I'm pissing and moaning about how bad Wisconsin looked after its 3rd win over an AP top 10 team in 8 games. Eat your hearts out bottom half of the conference. Put healthy Wes Lunt on this team and they're 7-1 at least.

Jesse Collins: I hate sports. Check that. I love sports, but they certainly don’t seem to love me back. Nebraska showed that they are certainly not entirely fraudulent, and missed opportunities will haunt that team for a while. I would be remiss not to at least ask why there wasn’t a late PI flag thrown, but come on, this is Madison. I should be happy that one flag was thrown the entire game on the Badgers. Nebraska is still 7-1, probably Top 15, and they still control their own destiny for the Big Ten West crown. Keep getting better and we’ll go from there.

Wisconsin next up: at Northwestern | Nebraska next up: at OSU