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Sunday Morning Coming Down // Week 12

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Set Phasers to “B1G”

NCAA Football: Indiana at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Ten B1G Things

  1. In the 5 years that Meyer and Dantonio have faced off, the home team has never won
  2. Mike Weber joins Robert Smith and Maurice Clarett as the only Buckeye freshmen to run for 1000 yards.
  3. Illinois played 60 minutes of football and didn’t kick off once.
  4. A lot of people learned what “defer to the second half” means today.
  5. Something in the Lincoln water makes QBs throw off their back foot.
  6. DJ Durkin makes Brett Bielema look like a clock management wizard.
  7. Six different Badgers carried the ball today. Eight if you count QBs.
  8. Cloudy days always seem more depressing in West Lafayette. The games look so sad and dreary, like they’re playing in that spot from the Lion King that the sunlight never touches.
  9. Jabrill Peppers silenced a lot of Heisman doubters today.
  10. Jabrill Peppers for Heisman.
  11. Minnesota has now been called for targeting 7 times this season.
  12. When did Minnesota decide to be half-ass Maryland with these uniforms? Theme for next week: put Ski-U-Mah in other weird places.
  13. Somehow the most Rutgers player ever, Giovanni Rescigno, is from Warren, MI
  14. Rutgers has now been outscored 224-0 by the top three teams in the East.

The Rundown

MSU at OSU | OSU wins the tilt and windmills 17-16

Cold, wet, drizzly, snowy, and lots of punting. This was a pretty B1G affair all around. As they have more than once this season, the Spartans pitched one of their better efforts of the season against a tough opponent. They jumped out to an early lead in two plays, thanks some crafty misdirection. OSU answered, and the frigid pugilists traded blows until late in the 4th when Dantonio decided to go for 2 instead of taking the tying PAT. On a day when points were hard to come by, the choice proved fatal to Sparty’s chances. O’Connor waited a second too long on his throw and nearly hit Buckeye safety Malik Hooker square in the breadbasket, but instead ended up in the arms of LB Chris Worley. Sparty would get one more chance, but OSU CB Gareon Conley made a gorgeous pick that ignited windmills on the Buckeye sideline. Blame it on the rain, blame it on the snow, blame it on Tim Beck: neither QB was anything to write home about today. That’s far more damning for Barrett than O’Connor.

Andrejus Krustykrabski: So Mark Dantonio had OSU teed up for another stunning loss at his hands, notwithstanding getting outplayed pretty thoroughly all game. And then he made the idiotic decision to go for two and take a one-point lead rather than kicking the tying PAT. Moreover, the play call did not involve giving the ball to LJ Scott, who was the sole reason MSU scored any points at all, let alone made it so close. Rather, Bad Decision Maker Tyler O'Connor got the chance to watch his receiver get open, be open, and then get double covered, and then he uncorked a throw straight to a defender. As a natural and easily foreseeable result, even after the MSU defense (which played heroically, by the way) forced another punt, a Spartan offense which had completed a handful of passes all day had to go 80 yards in 2 minutes. This, again foreseeable, did not go well.

This win would not have salvaged MSU's season. It would have been fun to ruin a third season out of four for the Buckeyes, but MSU isn't going bowling either way, and there will still be more question in the mercifully-near postseason than there have been at least since 2010, if ever during Dantonio's tenure. And today's call might justify questions about whether Dantonio has lost his touch for the big call in the right moment.

GF3: Windmill.gif isn’t as fun when your opponent is a hot trash sandwich. Good tough game from the Spartans, with a lot of trickeration thrown in to get every edge they could. Cold, sloppy, and no love lost. As a late season B1G game should be.

OSU next up: Michigan | MSU next up: at PSU


Iowa at Illinois | Hawkeyes win 28-0

After a scoreless first quarter before a crowd of dozens, Iowa opened the taps to a dribble. The Hawkeyes scored on a punt return TD in the second to carry a one touchdown lead into the halftime break. Despite having kicked to Illinois to start the game, Kirk decided instead to use his deferred choice to set up favorable wind conditions. The Hawks chose their direction and kicked off yet again to a hapless Illinois team who could’ve gotten a possession to open every quarter and still would’ve lost. Two of Iowa’s second-half TDs were the result of getting the ball inside Illinois territory—and of Illinois being terrible. Leshun Daniels offered the only performance of note with 159 yards rushing.

Al Namias IV: Kinda feel like I did after the Purdue game: Iowa manhandled a lousy team like it was supposed to. Last week was thrilling but I'm still confused. Does a win next week save what was headed for a disaster of a season? I'm not sure, but Iowa has to win next week before even considering that. Still, it's good to see the defense playing like it should and it's good to see the running backs get the touches and opportunities they deserve. However, these receivers are embarrassing (I counted four drops in the first half at which point I stopped counting and Iowa more or less stopped passing) and Kennedy and Davis should still be let go after this season no matter how the season ends.

Stewmonkey: Iowa took care of business. It was ugly for a while, but Iowa eventually ground Illinois away. Iowa's WRs may be the worst in the country (Editor’s note: Army says hi)

Thump: Watching Illinois football on offense always feels strange this year just because it seems like we never have the ball. I guess we're trying to test the physical conditioning of our defense or something. The D played well enough that they could have won this game with just average special teams and offense play, but that was far too much to ask. Just one more game left in this rebuild. Here's hoping we can kick ass in the late stages of recruiting.

Iowa next up: Nebraska | Illinois next up: at NW


Maryland at Nebraska | The Good Ship Ryker Fyfe steams away 28-7

Despite missing glutton-for-punishment Tommy Armstrong under center for senior day, the Huskers had no trouble dispatching cellar-dweller Maryland. Terrell Newby ripped of 98 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. More importantly for Mike Riley’s team, backup chaos particle Ryker Fyfe notched 220 yards passing and a TD. Maryland proved to once again be a largely helpless speed bump on someone else’s road to victory, tallying on 36 yards rushing and surrendering most of those in the form of sacks. Backup QB Max Bortenschlager looked like he might be serviceable in the future, but the future is not today.

BRT: This was the nicest game I've been to in some time. The cold front that made everyone else's games windy and freezing already moved through and it was gloriously clear, still, and crisp.

The game was nice too, and I also enjoyed not sweating it out. There were plenty of problems--the 97-yard run allowed that ruined the shutout, numerous would-be picks dropped, and less-than-optimal QB play. But, in a game where the backup QB played from start to finish, I'll take 28-7. Our beloved Second-chair Clarinet/Good Ship Ryker Fyfe had a successful Senior Day with no picks and some nice plays (aided several times by the ever-reliable Jordan Westerkamp, who had a beautiful Senior Day himself), the D played pretty well aside from the aforementioned long run, self-sabotage was at a lower ebb than normal, and the outcome was never seriously in doubt. I can live with 9-2.

Nebraska next up: at Iowa | Maryland next up: Rutguhzzzz


Wisconsin at Purdue | Badgers trample twitching carcass 49-20

Wisconsin could barely stop themselves from abusing the corpse of the Hazell era. To wit, TJ Watt did his best JJ Watt act and snatched a pass out of the air like King Kong grabbing a biplane, bowling over a hapless David Blough on his way to the endzone. It was the perfect microcosm of Purdue’s utter decrepitude. The Badgers scored 35 in the waning minutes of the first half, destroying what little will Purdue had remaining. The Boilers spasmed their way to ten second half points, but this one was over before the bands played. David Blough was awful.

Wisconsin next up: Minnesota | Purdue next up: Swift & merciful death or at Indiana


Indiana at Michigan | Hell freezes over and Indiana still loses 20-10

If you turned away from this game even briefly in the late going to, say, check a score or grab another Mr. Pibb, you returned to discover that everything had turned white (insert sad post-election joke here). That was one of the more interesting aspects of this game, I’m sorry to say. Perhaps the biggest non-meteorological takeaway was that the Michigan offense that had looked so ruthlessly powerful a month ago is not so fearsome in the hands of John O’Korn. Nevertheless, the Wolverines found a way to get it done on the legs of De’Veon Smith and one backbreaking 30-yard scamper by O’Korn. The former finished the day with 159 yards—39 of that coming on the TD run that put the game away for Michigan. Of course the story of the day was Jabrill Peppers’ amazing do-it-all performance for Harbaugh. He amassed 2 yards on only 2 carries, and returned 5 kicks for an electrifying 48 yards. The more things change for Indiana, the more they stay the same. They couldn’t move the ball when they needed to, and had no answer for the threat of Peppers. The hump leaps another week into the future.

Candystripes: Since it would be rather unsporting of me to merely repeat myself from last week, I'll go for the longform version. When there are stakes that matter beyond "Win this football game for the sake of winning this game", unless your school is called Purdue, you are lying through your teeth if you say you're in any way worried about the Hoosiers. We can not, do not, and will continue to not win football games that matter. Even having found a decently good defense, we now are unable to play the other side of the ball, so don't worry, don't fret, don't get your anti-anxiety medicine refilled, it's just Indiana. And this will never change, as long as the rest of the B1G doesn't become filled with utter incompetents at every level.

Michigan next up: at OSU | Indiana next up: Purdue


Northwestern at Minnesota | Gophers freeze out the Wildcats 29-12

Despite some impressive box score numbers, neither team looked especially good in this one. The Gophers opened the game with an 80-yard TD march, and then sleep-walked until the 4th. Northwestern didn’t even wake up, it seemed. The Wildcats weren’t wholly ineffective, but two failure to convert on 4th downs negated otherwise promising performances. The Wildcats got on the board late in the third with a touchdown, but couldn’t convert for two. Minnesota added two late TDs—a strike to Wolitarsky and an easy run by Leidner—to put the game away for good. Both QBs had good days throwing. Leidner completed 14 for 197 and Thorson hit on 28 for 276. The latter lost the best target in the B1G after he left the game woozy from a targeting hit.

Nate Peterson: That win likely saves Claeys' job unless they get blown out in Madison. The D was flying around with more sacks than big plays against while blitzing. Leidner got his first passing TD since Oct. 1 and finished the game with two tds and one turnover on a 50-50 pass. Hyperconservative redzone play kept this a game, but the D held strong and the offense was able to put it away late. 8 wins for the 3rd time in 4 years, clinched a winning record in conference, but it still feels hollow without a trophy game win. Get the Axe and this season feels a hell of a lot better. (Editor’s Note: No way Minny was going coach-shopping this season.)

LPW: Dammit. We just got manhandled and abused by the vile gopher defense. This is completely dispiriting. Piss poor ball security and hideous line play. Now we have to defeat Illinois and keep the hat to go to a crappy bowl game. Oy.

MNW: Holy fuck, Pat Fitzgerald. What in the actual fuck kind of fucking game did you just call?

Running the ball on a 2-point conversion in the most unimaginative fucking way possible. Throwing some bullshit route on 4th-and-1 when a field goal made it a one-score game--even if you don't trust Jack Mitchell (which apparently you did), run a better play than that shit. Not getting up to the line and just getting the first down on 2nd-and-1 and instead letting Clayton "please touch me so I can drop the ball" Thorson dance around before he fumbles as the 'Cats tried to drive and get to the half with a one-score deficit. Trotting out Jack Mitchell for a 45-yard field goal when you don't trust him from more than 20 yards. Fun fact: Before that one, when I saw Mitchell trot out, I nudged my dad (we were sitting in the top section of the second deck Mitchell was kicking towards) and said "Watch, he pushes this 15 yards to (our) left." We nearly died laughing and then I walked to get myself a Nordeast because otherwise I was going to start crying.

Look, the 'Cats just got straight up out-fucking-played today, and there's really no excuse for that. The offensive line remains bad (8 sacks! i just...what), another slow start, and a defensive that finally has just run out of gas late in games. I don't even like our odds against Illinois.

Three last notes: (1) Another targeting penalty on Minnesota. Nope, I'm sure everything is fine here. Nothing to see. Please don't have a concussion, Austin Carr. (2) Great to see WSR and meet JDMill and the whole gang yesterday. Good people, WSR excluded. (3) Minnesota beer remains better than your beer.

Alright, time for the Vikings to disappoint me today.

Minnesota next up: at Wisconsin | Northwestern next up: Illinois


Penn State at Rutgers | Penn State wins 39-0

Most teams don’t toy around with Rutgers for so long, and the PSU faithful may have been briefly worried about their offense’s seeming ineptitude in the face of the vaunted Rutgers Wet Paper Bag™ Defense, but all’s well that ends well. Or ends, anyway. Hard to believe that #8 PSU couldn’t muster more than 9 points in the first half. Perhaps the giant stirred briefly? Just kidding. Rutgers is plumbing new depths in awfulness. “Look at the stats, we're not even one dimensional," Chris Ash said. Yeah, coach. We know.

87Townie: Penn State didn't play well to start this game. As one commentor pointed out, good teams were up by 30 on rutger at half. PSU settled for way too many field goals. That won't cut it against Michigan State. Rutgers is a hapless, terrible football team. Chris Ash has his work cut out for him. It's going to take him two or three recruiting classes to get this team to Illinois' level. I'm not even sure what the core of Rutgers looks like. There best players leave after this year. 2017 is going to be worse...It sucks to be an RU fan right now.

Penn State next up: MSU | Rutgers next up: at Maryland