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Sunday Morning Coming Down // Week 10

It’s been a mostly good week in Illinois

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Ten B1G Things

  1. This week featured the third top ten matchup in the B1G this season, after only 4 total since 2009.
  2. With all that money, Northwestern should be able to afford a lawnmower.
  3. Speaking of money, how much would Indiana pay for a new kicker?
  4. Rutgers has had this Giuseppe Rigatoni guy all season, but Laviano just seemed like the better option, huh?
  5. DJ Durkin probably thought his old job looks pretty good today.
  6. Michigan only faced five third downs all afternoon.
  7. If you didn’t notice, the B1G refs are so bad that Illinois’ winning TD catch was ruled an interception & touchback by the clueless side judge.
  8. MSU has to own the award for the biggest collapse in B1G history. Do we have that award? I’m thinking a half gallon of ice cream, melted. Maybe a signed headshot of Glenn Mason wearing Hazell’s square-billed hat, too? Submit your ideas below.
  9. BTN’s halftime show, during Purdue highlights, said “David Blough, that’s his name, his name again is David Blough.” This is easily the height of BTN’s efforts.
  10. Fourth and inches for Purdue...better fumble it from the shotgun.
  11. You wouldn’t think Beaver Stadium’s dress-up stunt would bother the Hawkeyes. What’s whiter than Iowa?
  12. Seriously, though, Iowa is really bad.
  13. Ohio State has now beaten three top ten teams in night games.
  14. Tommy Armstrong’s injury on an innocuous low tackle is the canary in the coal mine for what will eventually kill the game as we know it.

The Rundown

Wisconsin at Northwestern | Wisconsin gets the monkey off their backs, 21-7

The curse is lifted! After years of inexplicably falling to the Wildcats in the House That Tarps Built, the Badgers relied on the tough, road-grader football that’s long been their hallmark, and their elite defense kept a lid on the B1G’s most impressive and reliable QB/receiver duo. The smothering Badger defenders allowed Thorson to amass 277 yards on 28 completions in a bend-don’t-break performance that saw him find the endzone only once. Justin Jackson was absolutely stifled, registering only 42 yards on 13 carries. Hornibrook and Houston were, predictably, pretty bad at 13/22 for no touchdowns. Fortunately, Jazz Peavy and Corey Clement were around to make the Badger offense something more than field goals. They combined for 152 yards and both Badger touchdowns.

MNWildcat: Got beat. Home winning streak vs wisconsin was a stupid stat. Thorson wasn't good enough today. Defense kept us in it as long as they could. badger fans remain idiots. Just go bowling.

LincolnParkWildcat: Wisconsin outpowered Northwestern and ran us off the field despite a valiant effort. As much as I wished otherwise, I had a sinking feeling this would happen. Yeah yeah Speth, the curse is broken.

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

Indiana at Rutgers | Indiana escapes 33-27

Why not scare the hell out of your long-suffering fan base? It worked for the Cubs. After turning the ball over four times (leading to 14 points for Rutgers) the Hoosiers finally found a way to beat the worst team in the B1G. Richard Lagow threw for three TDs and Devine Redding added one of his own. In the process, they also missed three field goals and two PATs. How Griffin Oakes went from the best kicker in the league to the worst is a question only Dantonio is qualified to answer. Rutgers got a relatively good performance out of erstwhile backup Giovanni Rescigno, with 257 yards and one TD. Rutgers remains winless in conference play.

Candystripes: It seems as though we finally slayed the Jersey Monster that plagued us for two years. Could have been a bit cleaner, could have been a bit better, but you know what? We finally won the damn game, and we're still on track to probably make a bowl, and right now, that's good enough for me.

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

MSU at Illinois | JFC, Sparty...Illinois wins 31-27

The wheels have come off the cart, the cart has slid into the ditch, and the whole affair has burst into flames. Racked by injury and in the midst of a season that is disintegrating around them, the Spartans limped into the Bowl of Eternal Wind in Chambana and promptly found themselves in a dogfight. Tyler O’Connor came in banged up and took more crippling shots, leaving Damion Terry to do his level best to keep the Spartans in the fight. His counterpart backup, Jeff George Jr., took no sacks, threw no INTs, and tossed two scores. You can’t ask for more out of a backup. Kendrick Foster helped him out, tallying 146 yards and 2 TDs for his Illini. For the first time in a decade, Illinois hung a W on the Spartans. Special shoutout to the B1G officials for once again proving that Adidas Sambas aren’t the only clownshoes with white stripes.

Thumpasaurus: Just keep it close with under 5 to go in each half and Jeff George Jr will get you points. But really, hats off to the defense for hanging tough for 41 minutes 36 seconds and still having enough to stop that final MSU drive. They dug down deep and found something. This is NOT. 1997/2005/2012! Hey, anyone remember the last time a bad Illinois team knocked off MSU? ROSE BOWL NEXT YEAR.

Andrew Wojciehowicz: Anyway. MSU lost again. So it goes. Most of the better players on the roster are now hurt, so it's getting hard to expect much better than we're seeing. With a bowl officially out of reach (no, I do not want a 5-win Shame Bowl appearance), the best case scenario here is a flat enough conclusion to the season that Dantonio has no choice but to make some changes. Although that's probably wishful thinking, because he's got carte blanche and is probably going to use it to keep his washed up friends employed. So it goes.

MSU next up: Rutgers (finally!) | Illinois next up: at Wisconsin

Purdue at Minnesota | Purdue Purdues all over themselves 44-31

Trailing 37-31 with a touch more than three minutes left on the clock, Purdue faced a 4th. The line-to-gain lay a mere 4 inches beyond the nose of the football. Naturally, Purdue elected to operate out of the shotgun and thus ensure that any ball carrier would need to run three yards to get those four inches. They never faced that problem, though, since Blough fumbled the exchange away. In a game that saw the Purdue signal caller hang tough against a Gopher team playing without Shannon Brooks, the Boilermakers hung their hat on big plays and sharp throws. Blough, Posery, and D’Angelo Yancey were electric all afternoon. Four touchdowns from the trio kept the Gophers on the ropes, but in the end Mitch Leidner and Rodney Smith were too consistent and persistent. Minnesota produced nearly 500 yards of offense with a balanced attack, and Purdue left with nary a hotdish to show for their efforts.

WSR: I need to preface this by reminding myself that Minnesota is 7-2 and not 2-7. But cripes, we gave Purdue way too many opportunities to stay in this game. Playing with 1 safety let them attack at will in the first half, and it made no sense at all because they got under 30 yards rushing for the game. There have now been three wins against weak opponents at TCF Bank Stadium this year that I feel were way closer than they should have been.

Minnesota next up: at Nebraska | Purdue next up: Northwestern

Maryland at Michigan | M-M-My God...Michigan steamrolls Testudo 59-3

Another week, another home tuneup for Michigan. DJ Durkin and his beleaguered Terps had to feel good after downing MSU two weeks ago, but there wasn’t much joy when they traveled to meet Sparty’s blue brother. Speight and Darboh pulled their usual tricks, gashing holes in the 11 bowling pins Maryland calls a defense. The Fighting’ Harbaughs didn’t ignore the running game, either, totaling 273 on the ground. All in all, Michigan threatened to double Maryland’s offensive output. The Terps’ Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe had a decent day throwing in terms of yardage, but Rowe’s two INTs put Maryland even farther behind the scoreboard. For those of you awaiting your weekly State of the Peppers update, the clear Heisman favorite had a big day, tallying 19 yards on two carries.

DJ Carver: Just as I expected and even called we'd lose by 50-59 before the game. Moving on.

UM next up: at Iowa | Maryland next up: Ohio State

Iowa at Penn State | Penn States blasts Iowa 41-14

Iowa is bad. Penn State is, perhaps, pretty good. And again, Iowa is really bad. Trace McSorley came out firing on all cylinders and led the Nits down the field for an immediate score. And then kept doing it. And kept doing it. Except when Saquon Barkley did it. Long story short, the Hawkeyes had no answers for what PSU was throwing at them. They briefly considered tackling, but soon abandoned the idea. If you’re an Iowa fan, this is a familiar theme. Worse yet, the duo of Akrum Wadley and Leshun Daniels combined for a whopping 46 yards. Beathard threw for two touchdowns and 204 yards, but it was only a drop in the bucket compared to the offensive onslaught of the Nits. Things can’t get much worse in Iowa City...can they?

87Townie: Turns out that losing Bob Shoop and gaining Joe Moorhead were both huge improvements from last year. Barkley just gets better and better each week. Trace McSorley is a smart kid, who's playing good football right now. The coaches are calling the games well on both sides of the ball. The main breakdowns I see are still on the offensive line. Without Barkley's antics, we'd be hard pressed to generate a decent run game behind them.

Aaron Yorke: I'm not sure what was the best part of Penn State's win over Iowa. Was it the Blue Band playing John Cena's theme song over and over again? The Lion pointing to the scoreboard after Akrum Wadley shushed the crowd while trailing by two touchdowns? Just the fact that everyone on Penn State played well? That game went way better than I expected.

Stewmonkey13: It sure as hell appears that Ferentz is attempting to make some sort of principled stand for execution football over scheme and talent. Scheme and talent, though, are kicking his ass.

Al Namias IV: Two weeks to plan and Iowa comes up with putting Akrum Wadley in the slot and...wait for it...a jet sweep. Is it possible Iowa won't get to seven wins this year and Ferentz's buyout will actually drop? Whatever happens, man this team is boring. The offense is at 2012 levels and the safeties are horrible.

PSU next up: at Indiana | Iowa next up: Michigan

Nebraska at OSU | Ohio State Scores Again, 62-3

Ohio State’s offense got back into its early season form enroute to handing Nebraska the second-worst loss in school history. Things started badly for Tommy Armstrong, who tossed a brutal pick-six on the third play of the game. Ohio State added to their lead with an authoritative opening drive—only their second touchdown to open a game this season. Nebraska was struggling to get much of anything going before Tommy Armstrong’s heart-stopping injury. Undercut by Malik Hooker as he raced for the first down marker, Armstrong landed hard on his head and lost consciousness. From that point on, it was all downhill for the 10th-ranked Huskers. OSU scored on the first play of the third quarter, and continued scoring even when the backups resorted to running plays. Malik Hooker also added the Buckeyes’ second pick-six of the game. Nebraska doubters, your prayers have been answered in Scarlet & Gray. And cannonball helmets, which looked great.

GF3: It was wonderful to see Tommy Armstrong okay, but he shouldn’t have been back on the sidelines. Football doesn’t matter that much.

BigRedTwice: Boy, this one started badly for Nebraska and quickly escalated to horrifying. The score definitely grabs the attention, but the worst thing for the Huskers was Tommy Armstrong's injury. But this one was really doomed from the start. The pick six on the first possession was but a death knell for the Huskers, and Mike Riley's first blowout was highly unpleasant. There's really nothing more to be said about it. After the past few weeks, OSU needed the style points, and the Huskers were happy to help them get them.

So, on to the next one. The Huskers still only have two losses, and a manageable schedule ahead of them. Having a long memory in this case won't help anyone, and they'll need to move on. A good record for the season is still well within their grasp.

The lone bright spot for the Huskers--Tommy back walking the sidelines (in street clothes) in the third quarter! For as scary as his landing was, that's a wonderful thing to see.

OSU next up: at Maryland | Nebraska next up: Minnesota

Parting Shot

Lastly, and I say this fairly often...the officiating situation is atrocious. It’s just terrible. Previously, when I opined that Delany should unclench his cheeks and spare a few ducats for professional officials, some commenters mentioned that it wasn’t a major issue. On the contrary, I offer you this week’s MSU/Illinois game. The side judge literally forgot who was on offense. That’s inexcusable. How is that guy going to make the right call in the event of pass interference in that critical end zone situation if he can’t even remember who is the receiver and who is the DB?

Get your act together, B1G. Between two different PSU/OSU kerfuffles, years of Dave Witvoet, horribly missed and misapplied targeting calls, and the innumerable officiating gaffes like this, the time has clearly come to start caring about the officiating product on the field. It’s a billion dollar industry, Jim. If you’re going to make us eat the presence of Rutgers for the sake of money, you could at least spend some of it to protect and improve the on-field product.