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Sunday Morning Coming Down // Week 3

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Iowa Cardholders to The Front

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Ten B1G Things

  1. By the end of the 1st quarter, PSU was missing 6 defensive starters.
  2. You don’t have to play games with a handicap, Rutgers. You’re bad enough.
  3. What do Iowa and Iowa State have in common? Neither can beat NDSU. Nor can Minnesota. Kansas. Kansas State. Colorado State....
  4. No seriously, can we just stop talking about Iowa for, say, three months? I mean outside of discussing their laughable tackling, uninspired offense, and complete domination by an FCS team with no reputation for S&C.
  5. Don’t laugh too hard, Wisconsin. Is there a QB battle brewing in Madtown?
  6. Mike RiWWWey gets his just desserts courtesy, and Oregon now has nightmares of Cardale Jones, Connor Cook, and Tommy Armstrong serving them casseroles.
  7. No boogers were harmed in Michigan’s thumping of Colorado.
  8. Overtime against UCF? That’s more of a Penn State/Ireland thing, Maryland.
  9. The B1G West looks as bad as it ever has.
  10. Never give Mark Dantonio two weeks to figure out how to beat you. Because he will beat you.
  11. Illinois...boatraced by the boat rowers.
  12. Northwestern beat Duke, and it was not impressive. There’s no real creative way to say that.
  13. Purdue looked great this week.
  14. Ohio State’s pretty okay, I guess.

The Nitty Gritty

Temple at Penn State | Franklin gets a signature win 34-27

Where are we in the life of Penn State when we’re watching a tribute to Joe Paterno while discussing whether the current coach can beat Temple? Fortunately, Franklin took care of business—though not without worry. Saquon Barkley was once again the panacea for all things Nittany, icing the game with a 55-yard TD blast. Godwin provided much of the remaining offense, snagging 117 yards through the air. Temple did their best to capitalize on PSU turnovers, netting 14 points. The Owls were aided by a fan with a voodoo doll who continued picking off PSU players—including both safeties (who returned) and Wartman-White (who did not). That meant PSU played with zero starting linebackers.

Aaron Yorke: Faced with stopping returning Temple tailback Jahad Thomas on Saturday, Penn State's inexperienced and injury-riddled front seven was up to the task, holding Thomas to just 52 yards on 14 carries. However, that seemed to come at the expense of the pass defense, which allowed Phillip Walker to complete 25 of 34 passes for 286 yards. Even so, the final score of the Lions' victory would have looked more impressive if not for a couple of late turnovers that set the Owls up deep in Penn State territory. On offense, the running game never got going until Saquon Barkley exploded for a 55-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, but Trace McSorley had another nice game with 287 yards on just 24 throws. That touchdown strike to Chris Godwin in the first quarter was a thing of beauty. Also, it's cool that tight end Mike Gesicki had gone from Captain Butterfingers to Plus-Size Odell Beckham in just a few months.

Editor’s note: Army stopped him just fine.

PSU next up: at Michigan

New Mexico at Rutgers | Rutgers comes back 37-18

Rutgers is your older cousin who spots you 10 points in driveway basketball. He’s not good at hoops, he’s just better than you. For some reason, Chris Ash likes to look like the worst coach and worst team in the P5 for the first ten minutes of every game. This week was no different, falling behind 21-0 to New Mexico at behind. WR Janarion Grant looks to be Rutgers’ only real player, and he added to his resume this week by throwing a TD pass and returning another punt for a score. Robert Martin rushed for 169 yards, but QB Chris Laviano was a pathetic 11 of 27. How long can Rutgers keep this up? Woof.

ZuzuRU: Ugh, I don't want to go through everything that happened because it started so bad for Rutgers. Basically though, Rutgers slow start = fine against okay teams. Rutgers slow start will not= fine for B1G teams. In terms of improvements, the team was definitely tackling much better and the defense got their act together and stopped New Mexico's triple option offense.... thing... (thank you Coach Ash, Darius Hamilton, and Julian Pinnix-Odrick). Offense was worse than last week and we really only scored points on big plays that had little to do with actual offensive strategy/ability in my opinion. Laviano just seemed out of sync with the offense and he will definitely not be the QB to lead us to B1G wins. However, Grant is a boss. Seriously. That lefty touchdown pass was amazing. Play of the week. Robert Martin, Josh Hicks, and Andre Patton all did good stuff, especially Martin. Anyway... even though it wasn't pretty, we won. And we have won the two games we were definitely supposed to, so that's something. I'm not actively looking forward to Big Ten play with what I've seen to be perfectly honest, but they have to keep moving forward and learning from their mistakes. The biggest one is the slow start.

Rutgers next up: Iowa

NDSU at Iowa | LOLOLOLOL 23-21

Why on God’s green earth do teams keep scheduling NDSU? The Bison are now 6-0 against P5 teams since 2010 and 9-3 all time against FBS schools. This was another notch in the bedpost of an NDSU program that specializes in making contract extensions look really dumb. The Bison outgained Iowa by 132 yards. They held the Hawkeyes to 34 yards rushing on 25 carries. Iowa was blown off the ball in the trenches, tackled poorly, and flat out got beat. CJ Beathard connected for all three Iowa TDs, but the Long Legend only completed 50% of his passes on the day for a paltry 152 yards. Iowa fans are rightfully dejected, but Kirk’s laughing all the way to the bank.

Iowa writer #1 Al Namias IV: I really, stupidly, believed "New Kirk" was a thing. I mean "Old Kirk" hadn't been seen since 2014. Even the curbstomping in the Rose Bowl had nothing to do with Old Kirk, it was just a curb stomping. And then...the most telling statistic of this shitstorm of a game was the following: in the 2nd half, Iowa passers went 6-of-7 for 66 yards and one touchdown. That would be good for a 212.06 efficiency rating. You see those numbers and you take to the air, right? To be fair, there were also two sacks in there, but both of the sacks came on 3rd-and-long when the NDSU defense knew it could tee off. Despite this, despite NDSU letting up a bazzilion yards passing to its two previous opponents, despite NDSU selling out everything the entire game to stop the run, despite Iowa only managing 49 yards on the ground the entire day. Despite all of this; safe, ultra-conservative Ferentz refused to give up on the run. Which led to multiple 3-and-outs. Which led to a tired, unmotivated defense. Which led to everybody in Kinnick Stadium knowing that if the Iowa offense couldn't get two first downs on its final drive then Iowa would lose. And it all came down to Ferentz refusing to look at what was happening on the field and adjusting. That is pure Old Kirk. That is 2010, 2012, and 2014 all over again. I think Iowa could go undefeated for the rest of its schedule (it won't), it could win the B1G West (it won't), it could win the B1G and squeak into the Playoffs (it won't), and I don't think anything would make up for this joke of a loss. I usually don't concern myself with the money element of all this, but enjoy those millions Kirk.

Iowa writer #2 CreightonM: It was a bad day for football. Totally disgusting. West Brom had a 4 goal lead on the Hammers before the 60-minute mark, and it wasn't even that close. Slaven Bilić needs to find 4 men who actually want to play defense. Sam Byram looks like a cocky little punk that makes no effort to stop attackers from getting past him on the edge, and James Collins is too old and slow to make any kind of reasonable effort at center back. Meanwhile, play in the midfield was also hot garbage. Noble and Kouyate passed the ball about as effectively as a 6 year old storming off to his room and kicking his toy truck out of the way. The Irons have lost their last 3 matches by a combined score of 11-fucking 5. I get that there are a lot of injuries, but you should be able to put a peewee team out there and still hold fucking Watford to under 2 goals. Good thing West Ham moved mountains to keep Payet around another year. That's going to come in real handy after they get relegated. Wait, what kind of football were you talking about? Oh! Well college football is fucking stupid and I'm never watching it again so stop asking me.

Iowa writer #13 Stewmonkey: True to OTE form, I saw very little of this game as I was dealing with bringing two small children to the game. Fitting that during the last two drives I had to take my daughter to shit in a bathroom that hasn't been redone in 30+ years. Where most stalls were shit and/or vomit covered. And she doesn't quite make it.

Iowa next up: at Rutgers

Georgia State at Wisconsin | Sconnie escapes 23-17

Since we’re already talking about disasters in the West, now’s as good a time as any to discuss Wisconsin’s performance against an 0-3 Sun Belt also-ran. For reasons best known to Paul Chryst, Bart Houston looked lost in the sauce for the entire first half. Enter Alex Hornibrook, the freshman who lost out as the starter to Houston. Hornibrook took over after Houston went 10/18 for 91 yards and proceeded to go 8/12 for 122 and a game-icing TD. Wisconsin looked pretty awful all game, mostly due to missing their three biggest offensive threats in the form of Clement (when is this guy not hurt?), Taiwan Deal, and pass-catching TE Troy Fumagalli. The latter two left early in the first. Still, there’s no excuse for a Wisconsin defense to give up more points to a winless FCS team than they did to LSU. A narrow escape for the presumptive leader in the Worst West.

Wisconsin next up: at MSU

Colorado at Michigan | Harbaugh exorcises Kordell Stewart’s ghost 45-28

The new Buffs are not the old Buffs. They’ve Buffed up on offensive technique. Their defensive issues have been buffed out. Insert your own Buff pun here. Not a bad performance for Michigan overall, though the Wolverines still look anemic as a running threat. Their draft horse Deveon Smith amassed 87 yards rushing—42 of it coming on one play. Wilton Speight continues to be the bulk of the offense, throwing for 229 yards and a TD. The Buffs looked good early, seizing a 21-7 lead thanks to turnovers and solid offensive play, but couldn’t keep up down the stretch. Michigan took the lead in the third when Deveon Smith found a seam on a sweep, helped largely by the fact that a Buffs defender decided to cut the knees of a blocker instead of tackling Smith. Michigan’s fortunes may not have lasted if Buffs QB Sefo Liufau had remained in the game. He left with an ankle injury after throwing for 246 yards and 3 TDs. Preseason All-American/Heisman Candidate Jabrill Peppers returned a punt for a TD, bringing his career TD total to three. He’s now officially a part of the Heisman Conversation™

Michigan next up: Penn State

Oregon at Nebraska | Armstrong gets it done 35-32

Revenge is a dish best served cold. Except in Nebraska, where it’s best served with a variety of corn dishes, a welcoming smile, and a won’t you please take some of these leftovers home because we can’t possibly eat them all. Mike Riley had a losing record against Oregon in the Pac-12, but the fact that he beat Phil Knight’s juggernaut with the scraps he could cobble together in Corvallis is impressive. Yesterday, he had Tommy Armstrong and Jordan Westerkamp—the latter of whom has to be one of the best receivers in the country and certainly in Nebraska history. Armstrong was 17 of 33 for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns. Westerkamp snagged two of them in impressive fashion. Devine Ozigbo and Armstrong each notched 95 yards rushing, part of Nebby’s impressive 228 yard rushing attack. Despite being outgained 482 to 428 on offense, the Huskers controlled the clock and came up with big defensive plays when they needed them, batting away TD passes and sacking Dakota Prukop in third down situations. The Husker secondary limited the pass-happy Oregon offense to only 146 yards through the air, effectively making them play a game they didn’t want to play. A big win for B1G and Mike RiWWWey.

Nebraska next up: at Northwestern

WMU at Illinois | Illinois gets rowed 34-10

I can’t even write this. This was pathetic. Truly, truly abysmal on all fronts. Illinois carried the ball 15 times and netted three yards. Wes Lunt threw for 312 yards and scored once...on a flea-flicker throw to the TE. Awful. Nothing more to say. Sorry, Illini fans. Even Rutgers is easier to write about.

Thumpasaurus: Look at that, I was so broken that GoForThree couldn’t even piece together a summary from my incoherent shouting in the SMCD channel. I can blame Lovie and co. for the absurd amount of penalties we’ve seen thus far, but I’d love to be talking about the penalties as the reason we lost. Nope. We lost to a much more talented football team with the best quarterback Bill Cubit ever recruited (Zach Terrell) and gained three rushing yards in the process. As I write this, the beer in my fridge is more than three yards from me. We averaged eight inches per rushing attempt against a MAC team. I don’t care if they’re as good as peak NIU...less than the length of my car is not an acceptable rushing output.

With a roster black hole next year, I knew I’d have to go into Illini Fan Hibernation at some point. I didn’t think it would be this early.

Illinois next loss: BYE

Duke at Northwestern | jNW’s first win 24-13

Hard to believe it took until the third week for NW to find the endzone consistently, or to notch a win. This is not the Duke of the past few years, and Northwestern made it clear to the south’s most conceited school that their halcyon days are over. Clayton Thorson didn’t look amazing in terms of completions, but 18/39 was still good for 320 yards and 3 TDs (and 2 picks). Justin Jackson the Ball Carrier™ added 94 yards in a game where the Wildcats never trailed. The Cats allowed Duke to throw for 279 yards, but QB Daniel Jones never landed one in the endzone. More importantly, the Wildcat defense finally got their Semiotics homework done early and showed up to stop the run, holding Duke to only 117 total. Finally, a bright spot in the purple haze.

MNWildcat: David Cutcliffe ought to be left on the tarmac at O'Hare. Duke wasn't the most efficient passing the ball in part because apparently Daniel Jones isn't that good, but the Blue Devils were roasting the 'Cats 4th and 5th (is that what we're down to now?) corners on quick slants and little dinks and dunks. Once the Blue Devils actually got in or close to the red zone, they suddenly seemed to forget all of that. Again, let's be damn clear: Duke is BAD. Clayton Thorson struggled with efficiency again, going 18/39 passing and hucking 2 picks to match his 3 TDs. To the Blue Devils' credit, they bottled up Justin Jackson, holding with to just 3.4 ypc on 28 carries. The offensive line broke down over and over, with the extra man coming unaccounted for and Thorson having to just throw it out of bounds. But...dear God, was that a semblance of a big-play passing game?! I don't know if Duke's corners were just that bad, but at various points Austin Carr, Solomon Vault, and SB Garrett Dickerson all got behind them for deep scores. It was nice to see some speed from our wideouts, but I'm not holding my breath against Nebraska. This Northwestern team, though, just hasn't learned. Pat Fitzgerald still cannot manage timeouts (and I got an appreciative nod from multiple football players including Dan Persa and Mike Trumpy, former ballcarrier, who were seated in front of me. Northwestern struggled to get going against a bad ACC team. But 5 wins in the Big Ten, by some grace of God, are still obtainable. We'll see if the coaching staff can make the adjustments necessary. Hahahahahahahahahahaha fuck, we're screwed. Fire Mick McCall.

LincolnParkWildcat: Duke was just the slumpbuster Northwestern needed going into conference play. We're still a work in progress, but we're no longer the worst. Duke is Trasch

jNW next up: Nebraska

Maryland at UCF | Maryland wins in 2OT 30-24

What the hell was that, Maryland? After yours truly sang the praises of Perry the Wrestler last week, the Grappler Extraordinaire connected on only 10 of 23 passes. His abysmal performance and missed opportunities on both sides of the ball put Maryland squarely in the hurt locker against a UCF team starting a freshman at QB. It didn’t hep that Hills suffered Temple levels of pressure, being sacked 5 times during the game. He would leave the game in overtime with a shoulder injury. Backup QB Tyler Pigrome (not his real name but whatever) replaced him for one snap, running 24 yards for a game-winning TD, after the Maryland defense snagged a suspect fumble from UCF’s quarterback. On the bright side, Maryland hasn’t turned the ball over this year. So that’s something.

DJ: Coming into this year Maryland was facing a rebuild under Durkin and yet here we are after Week 3 with three wins and, most importantly, have yet to turn the ball over. I don't know what point Durkin is trying to make with the OL and how they keep rotating the guards between walk ons and actual talent but it's starting to get infuriating. Hopefully with the bye week coming up they settle the offensive line and they can prepare for the B1G slate. Starting off with Purdue should be a good ease into the conference slate. Maryland could potentially start 5-1 if things fall right, but either way 6-6 isn't out of the question with a 3-0 start and Purdue and Rutgers on the schedule To categorize the OL situation properly for you Midwesterners: What are they doing with the OL?! I know they think highly of the walk ons but that would be some Ferrentz level shit to find three walk ons that should be starting in the Big Ten over the, what, 7-8 four stars you have on the interior depth chart behind them?

Maryland next up: BYE

Michigan State at Notre Dame | Sparty outlasts the Irish 36-28

Mark Dantonio is the king of coming to your nice house and breaking all your stuff. After a weak showing in Week 1 against the powerhouse of the South (Go Paladins), Sparty had a lot to prove. Prove they did, and in so doing MSU ended any hope of a Notre Dame playoff bid. Senior QB Tyler O’Conner finally showed what he’s capable of, going 19 of 26 for 240 yards and 2 touchdowns. The real story, though, was the disparity in the rushing game. Gerald Holmes barely edged LJ Scott in a combined 198 yard performance that account for 3 touchdowns—part of a 260 yard ground campaign for a Spartan offense that pulled their old Spartan tricks: smashing the defense in the face. The Spartan defenders pulled their old tricks as well, holding the ND offense to a pathetic 54 yards rushing, highlighted by Jon Reschke’s perfectly timed blitz to destroy a delayed-handoff run. He then doubled down with an interception right after. Sparty looks as strong as ever on the ground, and their defense leaves little room for error. I hope it doesn’t rain in East Lansing. Ever.

Andrew Kraskwerjciszevsicjesujwski: MSU played 3 games in one: a boring first quarter of two tree stumps ramming into each other in a field, then 2 quarters in which they shredded Notre Dame's defense and stonewalled them on offense to rattle off 36 unanswered points, and then a terrifying 4th quarter in which they deliberately throttled all the way down into neutral and let Notre Dame throw their way into it very quickly, only to find their own offensive mojo from earlier could not be reactivated with the flip of a switch. Bottom line, they came out of South Bend with a win, but the total lack of a pass rush, the still-vulnerable secondary, and an offense that voluntarily goes into bivouac for long stretches are going to result in a lot of close games.

MSU next up: Wisconsin

Ohio State at OU | Lose 45-24 17? Play Boomer Sooner. BOOMER SOONER BOOMER SOONER BOOMER SOONER BOOMER SOONER BOOMER SOONER.

No one looks like a bigger sourpuss when he’s getting his ass handed to him on a platter than Bob Stoops. Fortunately for Buckeye fans and the B1G, we got to see plenty of that last night. OU bench-polisher Austin Kendall fanned the flames this week by calling OSU’s defense “basic” and claimed that both he and Mayfield would “light them up.” OSU responded by jumping out to a 14-point lead on the back of a pick-six, one of two back-breaking OSU picks on the night. J.T. Barrett showed once again why he’s the best offensive player in the B1G, throwing 4 TD passes to Noah Brown—who is making a run to be the B1G’s best receiver with an unbelievable TD snag off the defender’s back. Barrett also ran for 74 yards, landing third behind Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel. Samuel lived up to his “next Percy Harvin” billing with a blistering scamper for a TD and a seemingly impossible shedding of a DE’s tackle attempt, turning a 5-yard loss into a 14 yard gain. Weber, in only his third start, tallied 123 yards...only 15 yards shy of the combined efforts of OU headliners Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine. Lastly, I’m hereby amending the score to 45-17, after replay officials failed to review Samaje Perine’s TD kick return, in which he dropped the ball a half-yard shy of the goal line. Big Game Bob flops on the big stage again, and Urban Meyer shows why he’s one of the best in the game.

OSU next up: BYE

Gratuitous Non-B1G Plug...

The Army team (which has no real blog) defeated UTEP 66-14 yesterday on the heels of the tragic death of cornerback Brandon Jackson. The team honored his memory by staging his equipment as though nothing had changed. A fine win for the Corps and the first time Army has been 3-0 in decades, and 66 is the most points Army has scored in a game since hanging 69 on Pitt in 1944.