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Sunday Morning Coming Down: Five Rock Fights and a Mercy-Killing

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GF3 asked for help; we’re so sorry.

Ohio State v Rutgers Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Hi, assholes. Harvard beat Georgetown 41-2 and if that’s not scorigami I fucking quit.

Go Trojans.

Ten* B1G Things

  1. No one’s seen a miner beaten that bad by the Army since Bisbee. [ONE JOKE IN HONOR OF GOFORTHREE. READ A GODDAMN BOOK.]
  2. It was at least nice of Illinois-Nebraska to display all the talent of a Friday night football game and [/checks MAC schedule] avoid distracting any of the talent they’re competing with Eastern Michigan for.
  3. There are no boat-rowing puns here. Minnesota is just a legitimately-average team with a coach who is a more palatable (“FOR THE KIDS, NOT FOR US,” you’ll hear 500 more times) version of Tim Brewster. They’ll continue to fire coaches until they realize that 6-6 is an acceptable way to go through life in the hinterlands. Godspeed.
  4. Maryland’s not any better, but they’ve at least prompted at least 34 of you to Google Translate “bortenschlager.” The intelligent among you knew that an “-er” noun in German is probably masculine, at least. The even-more-intelligent among you know that it means “flash in the pan.”
  5. Pretend you had four quarters in you all along, Northwestern. Not even the homeless guy outside the Davis Street L stop is fooled.
  6. Sure, Clayton Thorson. And I totally got the symbolism in Philadelphia Fire. No matter how much you pretend you read something, eventually the prof figures out you’re faking it.
  7. Will Alex Hornibrook ever play Notre Dame? Because you have to figure they’ll find some shit at the end of those rainbows.
  8. Northwestern and wisconsin brought rocks to their game, and then Kirk Ferentz revealed that all Iowa had trucked to East Lansing was one large boulder.
  9. It’s not even a moral victory, Indiana, and David Tennant is so, so sorry.
  10. Saquon Barkley will win the Heisman on the back of that touchdown pass, and you’d just better accept it now.
  11. If you watched rutger-OSU and hoped the Knights missed that late field goal, you’re either a war criminal or James Franklin.
  12. SHUT UP YOU ALL KNEW THAT JOKE WAS COMING
  13. Andrew Harte hit that upright so hard I thought he was Duke McGhee.

The Games

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Illinois Fighting Illini // Nebraska slowly strangles Illinois, 28-6

The Huskers used a workmanlike game from Devine Ozigbo (18 carries for 106 and a TD) and a definitely-Heismanlike-nothing-to-see-here performance from Mitch Leidner Memorial Award-Winner Tanner Lee (17/24, 246 yards, 3 TDs) to mercy-kill the Illini on their home turf on a [/checks schedule]

Yeah, this was on Friday night. And it happened. You won’t believe this, but Illinois had problems on offense, as starter Chayce Crouch failed to break 100 yards passing on 15 attempts (1 INT) and their best rusher had 4.2 ypc on 10 carries (good job, Mike Epstein).

Thumpasaurus: The evidence is mounting that this coaching staff is not very good.

We still won't really know for a couple years, but the early returns are poor. The defensive fundamentals we kept talking about are nowhere to be found and we had our third targeting penalty of the year.

Unlike well-coached football programs, we don't play good special teams

At this point, I'd bet that college football as we know it ceases to exist (the advent of player subsidies or the NFL ponying up for its own minor league or some drastic change) before the next Illinois sellout.

It's about 5 years past time we put up our own version of the famous Nebraska "through these gates..."

Carve it in huge letters in the west facade

"Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here"‘

Dead Read: Divine Comedy? Apt.

Big Red At Least Once: Ho-hum. Another day, another week sitting alone atop the Big Ten West. Clearly, things are going well for Nebraska, and there is absolutely no reason to worry at all about what next week holds!

(I'd like to note that this absolutely was a joke for those of you not inclined to notice such things--which is to say... many of you.)

Anyway, Nebraska more or less did what one should do to this Illinois team, which is to say that they won fairly easily, and, in an unusual stroke for the Huskers, without a great deal of drama. Everyone's favorite QB punching bag threw not only no Pick Sixes, but no interceptions at all. Way to go, Tan the Man! (I am sure this is what everyone calls him.) The defense looked fairly good. Stanley Morgan had some interesting pass/drop patterns, but it was still good to see him back. He had like a 10-yard stiff arm for a touchdown, which was indeed a dagger in the heart of the Illinois program.

I'm sure I'll be told not to enjoy this win, because it was "just Illinois," a fact of which I'm fully aware... but I know that there won't be many relaxing games like this the rest of the season, so I am going to enjoy it anyway.

Dead Read again: Things did not become measurably worse for Nebraska this week. Playing a team starting eleven true freshman can do that for you. It remains to be seen if this team can put together a solid performance against a top ten team. We will find out this week.

Maryland Terrapins at Minnesota Golden Gophers // The SS Fleck runs aground on an Old Bay sandbar, 31-24

BRT made this, it's amazing, and it was supposed to be in the piece this morning. Sorry BRT, and you're welcome, world.
BigRedTwice

Don’t be fooled by the YPA or YPC of Conor Rhoda: he is Mitch Leidner with a lower bar. But he’s trying really hard, succeeding academically, athletically, socially, and spiritually, and probably doesn’t do drugs or something, and thus he is the Gophers’ quarterback. That means his late INT to set up a game-winning Ty Johnson touchdown is a “ruffle the hair” kinda moment for Peej and the Rowers, who no doubt will fire this game out of a t-shirt cannon to a fan while professing they JUST DON’T WANT ALL THIS ATTENTION, GUYS.

Anyways, Max Bortenschlager was fine (he found Lebensraum in the end zone!) and I’m sure that’ll last, because as soon as the refs stop persecuting Maryland the Terrapins will win the East as is their destiny.

Seriously, show us on the doll where Duke hurt you, guys.

WhiteSpeedRanA5K: We have a depth issue at a few positions, like along the OL. It was an issue today. We also had problems without Antoine Winfield Jr. And then we should also discuss Rhoda only keeping the ball once despite running the read option all afternoon long and watching that DE crash time after time because there was no reason to think the ball wasn't going to the RB.

Nate Peterson: Garbage game from Gophers, cant give up 300 yds and win. Rhoda had wide open runs all day and only pulled down once allowing MD to tee off on the Gopher RBs. Gonna be a long road to 6 wins. Minnesota's secondary was decimated by injuries and a suspension. Bortenschlager took advantage to keep drives alive while the Maryland RBs chewed clock. Time to see how Fleck responds to his first setback as the Gopher head coach.

If Demry Croft was eligible to play, the Gophers run away with that game. The QB read was wide open to be exploited but Rhoda refused to take the 5-10 yds conceded and let his RBs get hammered at the line. Unfortunately for Gopher fans, there doesn't appear to be a viable alternative to Rhoda until Croft is reinstated.

Northwestern Wildcats at wisconsin badgers // wisconsin remembers they’re not complete shit, do things 33-24

Clayton Thorson just fell down again, I think. The junior showed no poise in—to be fair—rapidly-collapsing pockets, repeatedly harried by a tenacious badger pass rush which pinned its ears back and did its job. Alex Hornibrook, after a first half in which he took a nasty shot to his braced right knee, stayed in the pocket and hit the Classic wisconsin Play-Action Pass, finding something called Quintez Cephus (who you’ll be stunned to learn isn’t a lunch-pail-toting walk-on from Waupaca) downfield. The ‘Cats sold out to stop the run and held the badgers to just 2.9 ypc (including Jonathan Taylor Thomas to just 80 yards), but there are two ways to advance the ball downfield unless you’re praying for DPI calls, and neither Jordy Nelson nor the refs were around to make sure that happened this game.

Oh, you wanted a takeaway from this one? Fuck you.

LPW: Well, that sucked. Our o-line got manhandled, and Justin Jackson was shut down. We gave wisconsin a good fight, but couldn’t complete the game.

MNW: It’s hard to top that, but recapping this one is tough. Northwestern played wisconsin incredibly well for 3 quarters. Unfortunately, they played like shit in the third quarter, and wisconsin did what good teams do—capitalized. Alex Hornibrook was there on the play-action late in the game, and when the 'Cats buckled down on Jonathan Taylor, the badgers made the most of it.

For wisconsin, it's a survive-and-move-on kind of game on their death slog to take the West. They did enough to win and they just blitzed again.

For Northwestern, we've seen the awful problems on the offensive line. And they're abysmal, and we don't know what to do to solve them. The obvious answer is for the 'Cats to fire Adam Cushing, but that's clearly just not happening any time soon, because Pat Fitzgerald is the Northwestern football coach. Just get over it. Cushing and Mick McCall are here to stay. But we at least saw how Northwestern can make its hay in the event they can't establish Justin Jackson or Clayton Thorson: get the ball out quickly to the obviously-talented coterie of Flynn Nagel, Garrett Dickerson, and Riley Lees, move the pocket in creative ways, and use your coterie of weapons on the edges (what up Jeremy Larkin, you beauty) to be more inconsistent (if that makes sense) on offense and keep teams guessing.

In short, Northwestern needs to embrace the chaos that has kept it in the West conversation since 2008. That's what gets us there.

Indiana Hoosiers at Penn State Nittany Lions // Saquon Barkley teabags a lesser, 38-14

It was That Kind of Day. Barkley housed the kickoff, because he is Good and Penn State is determined to give him every chance to win the Heisman. This is fine in a vacuum, because he is a good player; it’s just a shame for...other reasons. (I’m sure you can find GoForThree in the comments if you need, but note that you’re a morally-reprehensible fanbase with a far-over-the-line boner for your troll of a marketer coach.)

But yeah. Barkley returned and passed for a score (seriously), while Trace McSorley overcame his perpetual being not-actually-that-good to throw a pair of touchdowns (a 41.1 QBR against Indiana just shows ESPN are haters) while the Hoosiers realized that if Richard Lagow is their Vietnam, Peyton Ramsey is an electorally-unstable coalition based on northeastern elites and running for their lives in the South.

Works once in Virginia; I wouldn’t try it again.

Candystripes for Breakfast: Well, Indiana is never going to actually beat a top ranked team, so allow me to be the first to congratulate Michigan and Wisconsin on their future wins.

When even containing Saquon Barkley (other than the opening kickoff) isn't enough, it's just not gonna happen. Turning the ball over also doesn't help. I'm sure there's probably some positive takeaway I should have from this, but that sounds an awful lot like a moral victory, and I'm beyond sick and fucking tired of those.

Aaron Yorke: Thanks to Yom Kippur, the only two Big Ten games I caught pieces of this weekend were Nebraska vs. Illinois and Ohio State vs. Rutgers. Hey, it's better than nothing, if just barely. Looks like Penn State played pretty well outside of the second quarter and was helped along by some serious Indiana mishaps. Saquon Barkley was shut down by the Hoosiers for the second straight year, but he kept his Heisman Trophy campaign plugging along with a couple of highlight-reel plays in the passing and kickoff return games.

More importantly, Trace McSorley and DaeSean Hamilton got back on track after the pair hooked up just twice at Iowa. Next week's game at Northwestern could be tricky if the Lions aren't spotted four touchdowns again.

MNW: DO I HAVE THE TEAM FOR YOU

Iowa Hawkeyes at Michigan State Spartans // This happened, 17-10

I refuse.

BTN Tailgate showed up for this shit, and we’re all poorer for it. Michigan State pretended they had a “tailgate culture” that wasn’t dispersed across a bunch of sad parking lots in the shadows of smokestacks, Iowa pretended Nathan Stanley was a real quarterback who deserves the reverent tones reserved for luminaries like James Vandenberg, and rumor has it Felton Davis III caught a few touchdowns.

That’s it. Get out. Run. 24.5 is a real quarterback rating, by the way, and not just Nathan Stanley’s SAT score.

I know what I said.

Jesse Collins: The Big Ten West is not very good at football.

[ed. note: this wasn’t the game Jesse provided that comment for, but it still felt apt.]

Stewmonkey13: Two Nate Stanley turnovers, a horrific running game, and MSU picking on a backup CB for two series and that appears to be the entire game. Iowa can't run a hurry up offense to save its life. The only audible Nate Stanley is allowed to run is an outside zone to the boundary, and every team knows it. I'm glad I was in Wrigley.

Oh and Iowa has one of the worst punters in the country.

Read that again.

Fuck, just reading about this game frustrates the hell out of me.

Andrew Kraszewski (I’m not a dick, so I spell his name right or something): MSU prevailed in a reasonably well-played game they had to have against Iowa to keep the season on the rails. Turns out when you're +2 in turnovers instead of -3 you tend to do better. The play declined after half as both teams adopted risk-averse strategies yet somehow committed more penalties, and after slinging the ball around early and grabbing a 2-score lead, Dantonio and the rest of his staff spent the rest of the game in a breath-holding contest with the Hawkeyes.

I'm glad for the win, don't get me wrong, but if MSU keeps the pedal to the metal a bit longer, maybe the second half isn't so stressful, and they certainly won't have that luxury next week. Beat Michigan.

Also Bachie >>>>>>>>>> Jewell

/flees

Ohio State Buckeyes at rutger Scarlet Knights // no

h/t BRT after Andrew Harte went DOINK