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Sunday Morning Coming Down // Week 6

Paul Bunyan Goes Home Again

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Michigan Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Ten B1G Things

  1. Sparty’s offense didn’t achieve a first down for the first 27 minutes of the second half.
  2. Jim Harbaugh’s getting an early jump on that 3rd-place finish in the East.
  3. Dantonio should figure out how to make it rain in dome stadiums so he can beat a top-ten team in January someday.
  4. Maryland’s 26-yard first half was the lowest single-half offensive output for the Terps in 10 seasons, courtesy of the best defensive front 7 in the country.
  5. Hard to believe that Maryland once scored 51 against a P5 opponent, and that that once happened this season.
  6. All 44 people left at Ross-Ade saw the best two minutes of Purdue football in a generation at least.
  7. Lol the Boat.
  8. Say-Say would like to remind you that last year’s Indiana game wasn’t just a fluke (flukes don’t exist in Happy Valley).
  9. Fitz increasingly looks like a high school gym teacher.
  10. The death of Charleston Southern: Peyton Ramsey, on the field, with the rubber hose, very slowly.
  11. Indiana took that “SEC East Champs” thing to heart, going so far as to schedule some garbage southern patsy halfway through the season like a real SEC power.
  12. Iowa used a fake punt against Illinois. Illinois.
  13. Good thing Nebraska and Wisconsin played at night. There isn’t enough Cheez-Whiz SPF-50 in the Midwest for that crowd.
  14. Wisconsin’s dismantling of the Huskers gave UN-L their first night loss at home since 2008.

The Rundown

Michigan State at Michigan | MSU upends Harbaugh again 14-10

What if I told you that the most talked-about head coach in the B1G—whose QB-whispering skills and turnaround abilities are beyond question—would be 1-4 against his two biggest rivals? You could make an entire 30-for-30 about the gross ineptitude out of Michigan last night. In the maelstrom of a fall storm front, Harbaugh’s offense attempted to pass 11 times in 14 rain-soaked plays, leading to three interceptions. It was a night for forget for Michigan, and a night that made MSU forget their turnover meltdown against Notre Dame. Sparty ended the night with five takeaways, which bested their season total prior to this game. I’d lay more blame at Harbaugh’s feet for trying to throw his way to victory on the shoulders of a second-string QB in a downpour, but I’ve been assured that weather plays no part in the game and the best team always wins (as God intended, according to Notre Dame).

Layne reminds McDoom that dropping passes isn’t helping...

Alfredo Karpaltunnelski: *deep breath*


In a waterlogged wrestling match that both teams resolutely refused to win, Michigan hopped on board the strugglebus to the tune of 5 turnovers, which allowed MSU to neuter their offense and make 14 points stand up. The defense was great, there was just enough production from the running game to squeeze the clock to death, and however much Wolverine fans might want to portray it as a fluky loss, MSU didn't cough the ball up once and won in the Big Hole for the 4th time in Dantonio's 5 tries there.

Looking forward, the defense appears to be for real, but the limitations of this offense might make this season resemble 2012 more than the stronger seasons of the last decade. But that's the pessimist's view, and there's no place for it tonight. This is also your PSA that on October 8, 2017, Jim Harbaugh is a combined 1-4 against MSU and OSU. Paul is home and I'm going to sleep well tonight.

Wisconsin at Nebraska | Wisconsin scores again in 38-17 stomping

Next verse, same as the first. A little bit louder and a whole lot worse. Wisconsin was up to their old tricks in Lincoln again, as running back Jonathan Taylor ripped off a 249-yard night that broke what little will Bob Diaco’s Husker defense had mustered. The Nebraska offense had a record-breaking evening of sorts, hitting an 80-yard passing TD that was the longest Husker pass play since 2014. Wisconsin went 75 yards on the ensuing snap, registering Taylor’s longest run of the contest and putting the game firmly back in their control. The 4th-ranked Badger defense yielded 300 yards in the first half, but only seven points. More of the same from the reddest game around.

BRT: The weather was probably the best part of this one--you guys all got the rainy stuff we had the past few days, and we were left with the most gorgeous, perfect fall evening.

Sadly, that was the only masterpiece of the evening. I had emotionally prepared myself for getting blown out, and partway through had to readjust to perhaps expect a heartbreaking loss. In the end, somehow, this game managed to hurt me in both of those ways.

Full disclosure, I did enjoy about 2/3rds of this game. The brief shining moment where Nebraska crawled back into it was beautiful. But oh, that last 1/3. Would that Wisky's realization that they don't need to pass had been delayed anout 20 min. longer. Alas.

Dead Read: Nebraska is not a very good football team. Line depth and line play were not sufficient to keep up with the weasels for four quarters. Bowl eligibility is in doubt. Nebby showed flashes, but could not sustain a high level of play in any aspect of the game. Special teams (missed FG), offense (two turnovers that led to scores), and defense (particularly against the run) all suffered major lapses. Nebraska fans have to ask: Is this a disciplined, well-coached team? I cannot say that it is. Nebraska missed an opportunity, and a vocal segment of the Husker fan base will become more vocal in calling for Riley's ouster

Speth: Well I'm not sure what to say. This team can certainly put the screws to you when it needs to but it would be nice to do it for 60 minutes. Can we just skip the 10-0 down to Utah State and 10-7 at half to Northwestern and tied with Nebraska in the 3rd quarter parts and skip to the part where we just run it down everyone's throat for 3 straight TDs? I mean there are times this looks like a legit top 10 team but most the time it looks like a 9-3/10-2 team that has a shot at 12-0 because it plays in the Big Ten LOL division. Seriously, are you guys just letting Wisconsin clinch the division by the end of the month? Should Wisconsin beat Purdue next Saturday we'll most likely be 2 games up in the loss column after playing 3 conference games (Nebby ain't beating OSU Pawllllll).

Penn State at Northwestern | Penn State grinds out 31-7 win

Though it might sound odd to “grind out” a 24-point victory, the Nits managed to do it. Nursing a 10-0 halftime lead and with their Heisman-hopeful running back being held to negative yardage through the first two quarters, QB Trace McSorley rattled off 15 completions to steal Kerry Collins’ record and join JT Barrett in the ranks of “not that good but owns a lot of records.” Northwestern’s offense was nothing short of moribund for most of the afternoon, before finally grabbing a TD in garbage time with Alvita at the helm in place of a Clayton Thorson who’d just plain had enough by that point. Saquon Barkley finished the day with two TDs—a 53-yard run and a 1-yard run—on 16 carries (if you’re doing the math at home, that means 15 carries accounted for 22 yards total).

MNW: Literally the only positive takeaway I have for you is that Northwestern demonstrated why Saquon Barkley is a September Heisman. Even his (one!) long run was a goddamn fraud.

The 'Cats were thoroughly outplayed in the non-Penn State running the ball department, which unfortunately is about 85% of any given game. Outgained, outflagged (two targeting calls), outworked on the offensive line, out-playcalled (holy shit Mick McCall a speed option on 4th and 4 fuck you to eternity), out-turnovered (3-0). Penn State is an NY6 team, Northwestern needs to watch back offensive tape from the whole 2009 season and then shoot all its coaches into the sun.

Plus side I had the pleasure of getting super shitfaced at the morning tailgate and eating the burger in the attached picture, which is a bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg between two Krispy Kremes. Go 'Cats.

LPW: Ugh. This game fucking sucked. Pat Fitzgerald needs to fire OC Mick McCall, OL Coach Adam Cushing, DC Mike Hankwitz, and DB Coach Jerry Brown. Also, the speed option on 4th and 4 needs to be banned from college football.

87Townie: Thank god Penn State has a bye next week. They need to fix some shit. Barkley is getting killed at the line. I thought our Oline woes were over...but our right tackle was on skates all game. This won’t work against either of the Michigan’s or the Buckeyes.

I’m usually not a dick to the opposing team, but the cats receivers couldn’t catch fire in a goddam inferno. Hard to believe I thought this team would challenge for the west...

Aaron Yorke: I was at Comic Con during the day games, but unlike the Iowa wedding disaster, this Penn State ga`me turned out to be an okay one to miss. The defense dominated and created three turnovers, which allowed the offense to grind out five scores in a row until the Wildcats finally got on the board late in the fourth quarter. On offense, Barkley was held to around zero yards in the first half, and it's going to be tough for him to emerge the Heisman favorite after the gauntlet coming up after the bye week. The good news is that Trace McSorley completed a high percentage of throws even though there weren't too many big plays to be had. Overall, it was a good Saturday for Penn State, but it's getting harder to imagine this team going undefeated through Big Ten play.

Maryland at Ohio State | Eegads, man...62-14

Earlier this week, one of the many prognosticators said “this is a much better Maryland squad than the one OSU beat 62-3 in College Park last year.” At least now we know that “much better” is worth a delta of four offensive points and a kick return. Not much to say about this one. OSU played all kinds of sloppy football, especially on special teams. Broken kick coverages, a blocked FG, and a bungled extra point were about the only things that stopped the Buckeye offense. Bort Maxenschlager had an awful day for Maryland, not completing a pass until the second quarter. He finished 3/12 on the day, as part of an offensive effort that netted 66 yards—Maryland’s lowest total in 57 years.

Minnesota at Purdue | Boilermakers snatch victory from soft, fleshy maw of Minnesota 31-17

This score doesn’t come close to telling the story of this game, which saw the Gophers take a 17-16 lead on a field goal with 2:26 remaining—all after an 88-minute weather delay that sent most fans home. This time, Purdue decided to yank victory back into their own Brohmian bosoms, with D.J. Knox returning the kickoff 44 yards and Markell Jones blazing around the right side for a TD four plays later. Minnesota’s Rhoda tried his best to make it after all, leading the team down the field in the waning seconds before tossing a brutal pick-six that pushed the score to 31-17 and gave all 112 remaining fans something to smile about.

BabaOreally: The Purdue Minnesota ending kind of had a Joe Tiller feeling to it. Offense needed to score with under two minutes left, boom! easy touchdown. Opponent quickly marches down the field and makes me nervous, boom! pick six. Not as dramatic as the crazy last second field goal at the Metrodome in 2001, but it sure brought back memories of the old days. My eyes were certainly watering when they played the tribute to Tiller on the scoreboard early in the game, but it was all smiles at the end. RIP Joe Tiller.

Nate (AKA InsertName): Rhoda has to be the worst Gopher qb since the Wacker era. 101 yds, a pick six, and a terrible fumble taking pts off the board. Might as well save as many redshirts as possible and make it a culture year.

This game reinforces that firing Claeys was the correct choice as we would have slipped to Illinois-level play. The fact that there are no P5 qbs in what would have been the 7th year of a coaching staff is absurd. Purdue had 8-9 in the box all game because Rhoda can't run and is no threat to pass as there are no wrs due to terrible recruiting and development by Brian Anderson. (Run-on sentences are good, actually)

Probably the ugliest game of football I have watched in ages and neither team deserved to win.

Illinois at Iowa | Hawks pile it on late, 45-16

There isn’t a lot to go into here. Illinois was Illinois, with two scoops of George at QB (that’ll get you 22 completions and 3 INTs). Iowa kept it interesting by letting a garbage opponent hang around, as is their wont this season. Team Buyout Ferentz led only 17-13 at the half, but outscored the Illini 28-3 in the last 30 minutes—most of it coming in the fourth. Iowa’s only Q3 touchdown was an 89-yard return by safety Brandon Snyder. Only in the final period did the offense find a forward gear, ripping off 21 points. The crowd’s collective wave to the hospital was the best part of this game by a long shot.

StewMonkey: Is it possible to come out of winning a 26 point blowout feeling underwhelmed? Because that's kinda how I feel. The DL just could not get pressure on the QB, or eat enough blocks to free up LBs. And the over pursuit was sad. That's where the struggles are for this defense, inconsistent DL play.

The offense still had issues, too. Teams are still crashing the line on zone runs, making the run game stuck in the mud. However, running some counters in the second half seemed to loosen things up a little. Stanley made a terrible decision throwing his 2nd INT on the season, but also threw a couple of great passes to a variety of receivers.

Ferentz felt the need to run an onside kick and a fake punt in the first half. Really not sure why this is happening.

Thumpasaurus: Well, this is the best the offense has looked, and apparently it involves starting four freshmen on the OL and Jeff George Jr at QB. It was pretty sweet to actually watch Illinois compete for three quarters. There's potential. Still very unhappy with special teams, but it's still possible Illinois makes a bowl by the end of the decade.

Charleston Southern at Indiana | Indiana wins 27-0

Not dignifying this tripe with a write-up. Congrats to the Hoosiers on the tepid victory over a school that receives their applications at a Mailboxes, Etc. What a waste of an October weekend.

Candystripes: The only real negatives to come out of IU-Charleston Southern are the three turnovers committed by the Hoosiers, but the last of those could probably be partially blamed on the weather, which got increasing hostile as the game proceeded. Even then, IU managed to shut out the Buccaneers, and got out of the game with a win and everyone as healthy as you can expect for it being a game and not actually the bye week it was supposed to be. Not a whole lot else to say here, other than it would have been nice to see a few more points from the Hoosiers.

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