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Sunday Morning Coming Down // Week 2

We Need To Talk About Ohio State

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Ten B1G Things

  1. JT Barrett is no longer a good quarterback. Ohio State fans need to accept that in their hearts. If I can change...and yous can change...everybody can change.
  2. Ohio State has not beaten a non-conference ranked opponent at home in prime time since 2003.
  3. Maryland has scored 114 points in two games, and Turgeon is asking Durkin for advice.
  4. Franklin set the world record for pettiness yesterday, becoming the only B1G coach to play Akron twice in a season (note: this also means that he has a career loss to Akron under his belt).
  5. Bob Diaco: proof of how easy it is for pretty people to get jobs over more-qualified applicants.
  6. Mike Riley: still just a heckuva, heckuva guy.
  7. This is where a comment about Rutgers would go if anyone cared.
  8. Maybe 400 yards passing is just what Indiana does.
  9. Jim Harbaugh has now matched Brady Hoke in total victories over Luke Fickell teams.
  10. The nice thing about Iowa scoring a lot of points in a shootout with a miserable team is that Iowa accountants can rejoice at the falling per-point cost basis of Ferentz’s contract (Disclaimer: I do not know if there are any actual accountants in Iowa, as I assume they carve notches in sticks to track transactions).
  11. Northwestern ended Duke QB Daniel Jones’ streak of passes without an interception at 202. That’s all the good news from this game.
  12. It appears that expectations in East Lansing have fallen to the point of being excited over a -8.5 line against Directional Michigan.
  13. I wonder if Tom Herman has any more of that pixie dust...
  14. What if...what if...the B1G just isn’t actually that good this year?

The Rundown

Oklahoma at Ohio State | Buckeyes die in wagon rut 31-16

For the second time in three games, Ohio State’s offense looked to be stuck neutral. Scratch that—this was reverse gear with the pedal floored, no backup camera, and the radio blaring MacArthur Park. In what has become a familiar refrain for Buckeye fans, Barrett couldn’t hit a pass, the running backs were nearly forgotten, and only the defense kept them in the game for as long as they were in it. If that sounds like a well-worn trope, you should know that it’s so common now that anyone who writes about OSU keeps some version of it saved in a word document for weekly copy/paste needs. Ohio State generated 92 yards of offense in the first half. That’s less than a hundred and that’s just horrible. Even finishing with 350 yards was of little use, save for the momentary ebullience of a power run-centric drive that gave OSU their second, fleeting lead of the game in the 3rd quarter. Barrett threw 19 completions on 35 attempts for an anemic 183 yards, and Terry McLaurin took his turn this week at dropping a sure TD on a beautiful pass. Mike Weber ran the ball thrice, averaging 9+ ypc. In general, this Buckeye team is quite simply not a contender. Not nationally, and I would guess not in the B1G either. Their best hope now is to play spoiler, because they’ve shown that winning the conference is a bridge too far. Your humble “writer” could not have predicted this game more accurately.

GF3: “I’m man-coverage Greg Schiano, and I have cable.”

Ohio at Purdue | Boilermakers roll 44-21

Choo-choo, sports fans. You’re not gonna have Purdue to kick around anymore. Jeff Brohm is making good on his promise to return the concept known as “offense” to West Lafayette, as Purdue ran up 558 yards of production. David Blough came in the game after Elijah Sindelar put Purdue up 10-7 and ripped off scores on four consecutive possessions. Purdue rushed and threw for nearly equal yardage in a game that gives Brohm his first program victory and seemed to cement what we saw in week 1.

Pitt at Penn State | Nits win Super Bowl over Akron 33-14

Is it a rivalry? The official stance is that no such thing exists in Happy Valley, but James Franklin’s near-record levels of pettiness over his team’s win suggest otherwise. Penn State looked less than awe-inspiring in a game that felt like a grind at times, with little to point to in terms of exciting moments, save for Barkley’s touchdown catch-and-scamper over the middle. Pitt discovered that Penn State had no answer for the inside shovel-option, and used it to some effect, but it was too little, too late for Narduzzi’s offense. McSorley finished the day with Barrett-like numbers (15/28 for 164) but notched three TDs because people seem to like to catch his passes. World’s Greatest Running Back® Saquon Barkley ran for 88 yards, having been bested in YPC in total yardage by Pitt’s Qadree Ollison. James Franklin fumbled the presser.

87Townie: Penn State didn't put up the 70 points that I wanted. However, they won decisively against an overmatched Pitt team. Pitt QB Max Browne never looked confident in his throws. He threw two picks that sailed to defensive backs. Penn State turned both of those into easy points. My takeaways: Pitt came to play. They were fired up and pissed off. They held the ball for longer than the Lions. The defense looked effective at times against Saquon Barkley et al. However, when they broke down, Penn State's playmakers gashed them for points and big plays.

Oh and Saquon returning kicks is a thing now. I am firmly in the NO FUCKING WAY camp and will remain there indefinitely.

Aaron Yorke: Pitt did a great job running the ball, controlling the clock, and keeping the ball away from Saquon Barkley and friends. Fortunately, Penn State's defense held steady in the red zone and made sure that the strategy didn't result in many points for the visitors. Thanks to Pitt, we now have enough shovel pass tape to last a decade. On offense, the Lions continued to get Barkley involved in the passing game, but it was disappointing that Trace McSorley didn't produce more against a Pitt pass defense that appeared vulnerable.

Cincinnati at Michigan | Harbaughs pull away from Bearcats 36-14

Continuing the “Case of the Mondays” plaguing B1G powers this week, Harbaugh’s Wolverines found themselves leading Cincinnati by a 3-point margin late in the third quarter (with one of Michigan’s two TDs having come on a pick-six). Wilton Speight again struggled with accuracy issues, but found Grant Perry over the middle to open up a 19-point run that made the final score not so reflective of the game’s tenor. Overall, Michigan managed to look sluggish from start to finish and didn’t even come close to covering the generous spread.

Northwestern at Duke | Duke gives NW the Full Krzyzewski 41-17

Duke’s Daniel Jones—a sophomore QB—saw his streak of no interceptions ended by Montre Hartage in the first quarter. So, he threw for 305 yards and two TDs, then added 108 and two more scores with his legs to thoroughly bury the Wildcats. I wish I could tell you something good about Northwestern, but alas the bright spots are few. NW’s varsity squad could only muster one TD and field goal, with the frosting on this putrid performance coming by way of a garbage time TD. Thorson was 11/29 with 2 INTs. Justin Jackson finished with 18 yards.

LPW: Fuck. This was dispiriting.

MNWildcat: I drove through the night from Atlanta to watch this football game. As such, I am going to focus on the positives.

  1. I have a bitchin' tan that in no way is definitely a sunburn.
  2. Hunter fuckin' Niswander. I'm sorry for anything mean I've ever said about you, buddy. That was a fucking after*noon* punting the football.
  3. Duke has a lovely campus.
  4. Two random drunk guys across from us in the parking lot chatted me up as I was walking back to my trunk for another IPA. We got to talking. The two of them are in liquor distribution for North Carolina's state-run racket. As such, they ask me what kind fo booze I like. I say mostly gin and scotch (which is true). They ask what kind of scotch. I say peaty (because fuck you, it's the best). He walks around the SUV, pulls out a bottle of Lagavulin fucking 16, pours us all a couple fingers, then corks the bottle and gives it to me. Doesn't want money, won't accept anything. Just gives me a bottle of Lagavulin 16 with a few fingers poured out.

Iowa at Iowa State | Iowa wins a shootout with Iowa State 44-41

Yes, a shootout. With Iowa State. There’s nothing Kirk Ferentz can't make a mess of, it seems. The worst part of the whole day for Iowa fans is that they had to witness this victory in the form of a comeback win, as the Hawks trailed late into the 4th before Akrum Wadley took a Nate Stanley pass 46-yds down the sideline to knot the score at 38 with 1:09 remaining. A win is a win, but at this point it seems that defense may not be a part of the Iowa gameplan.

Stewmonkey: It was a classic El Assico. A slow start, predictable play, sloppy defense, a seemingly commanding lead, turtling for an entire quarter and choking away the lead. The attempted comeback. But then Iowa got a stop, a little lucky, and was able to capitalize on ISU's poor defense. Wadley is pretty great. Stanley's stats looked a bit gaudy, but he overthrew 4 wide open deep balls. The defense was just bad for a large portion of the game. Still, when the game gets this sloppy, ISU is typically the victor, but not this time.

Towson at Maryland | Terps eviscerate Towson 63-17

Normally there wouldn’t be a ton to say about this sacrificial slaughter, but it bears mentioning that all this happened with Kasim Hill at QB, who took over for noted non-wrestler Tyrell Pigrome in the 3rd period of the Texas Tilt. For a young QB, his numbers look great: 13/16 passing for 163 yards, and Ty Johnson lit up the scoreboard for 124 yards on five carries. Maryland amassed 534 yards of offense in their highest-scoring game since 1954.

WMU at Michigan State | Sparty wins 28-14

Brian Lewerke opened the scoring with 61-yard keeper and Sparty never looked back (though Lewerke did about 6 times). This was one of those must-win MACtraps where the underdog has everything to gain by knocking off an in-state power (“power”). Lewerke hit LJ Scott with a 15-yd pass to stretch the lead to 14-0. WMU briefly closed the gap to seven, only to see Lewerke punch it in from 1-yd out to effectively put the game out of reach for a WMU offense that couldn’t break 200 yards of production.

Albertus Kracklepopski: In spite of Western Michigan's Darius Phillips balling out of control (INT, scoop and score, and a kick return TD), MSU held off a game WMU team that will probably be a very not fun bowl matchup for some poor team in the Bahamas.

The fumbling has got to stop. It just does. But there are a lot of positive signs here, even if I'm stopping short of proclaiming SPARTY BAK after two wins over MAC teams:

  • The fabled QB run game we've been promised since like 2009 might actually materialize, and Lewerke looks good in general, even if he's showing some Unleash The Dragon tendencies that might need to be dampened a bit
  • The defense looked strong against a pretty good rushing attack, and showed some signs of finding a pass rush too. Still, needing to blitz as much as they did to manage it is going to expose them to big pass plays.
  • One can see how these skill players will mesh together nicely. Felton Davis looks like the next great outside receiver, Darrell Stewart shows outstanding vision on the sweeps and swings MSU uses its slot receivers for, and LJ Scott may have reestablished himself as the lead back.

After this grueling early season slate, MSU proceeds to a badly needed bye.

FAU at Wisconsin | Wisconsin claims victory 31-14, extends helping hand

Freshman Jonathon Taylor was a one-man force, tallying 223 yards and 3 TDs in a game that was oddly closer than Wisconsin’s production would make one assume. Thanks to miscues, and turnovers, the Badgers only found the endzone 4 times despite closing in on 600 yards of offense (557 total). FAU mustered a lackluster 248 yards of output, and though they only trailed by ten at the half, they were dead in the water in the second half. In a pleasant reminder of how little football matters in the grans scheme, Wisconsin has promised to help FAU secure long-term lodging for the team as a result of Hurricane Irma.

Speth: Wisconsin looked pretty meh. Not bad, but not great. I'll go on the record as saying that Alex Hornibrook cannot win games with his arm. Then again, Michigan is the only team on the schedule with a defense I think definitely can force them to throw to score. Jonathan Taylor might be a legitimate stud. 233 yards in his second career game? I get it was FAU but he looked better than Corey Whatshisname on the Eagles did at any point his last two seasons at Wisconsin and I was told he was a huge loss like Wisconsin doesn't accidentally turn cornerbacks into all conference running backs backs.

Also can we collectively laugh at Oregon State? I will never cheer for Minnesota but I find it hilarious how bad Oregon State is and that Andersen happened to leave Wisconsin before he made any real impact on the program. I'll admit you all were right. Barry probably did force him out. Little did you know it was much to your detriment Big Ten West because Barry Alvarez is a goddamn genius. Praise Chryst.

EMU at Rutgers | EMU wins first game over P5 in 56 tries

This was awful. Rutgers is awful. I’m not doing this. Eat crow, Delany.

*Zuzu:* i got very drunk last night. This team hurts me. I called this loss, but I am still livid about it. Wanted them to prove me wrong.

Indiana at Virginia | Hoosiers get jobbed, win anyway 34-17

This game could’ve been worse, and would have been were it not for those meddling referees and their dog. Indiana DE Greg Googh (actual name, folks) was ejected for targeting. That call negated a sack/fumble combination that the Hoosiers took to the house for a 72-yd score. Virgina went on to score a touchdown, making the box score a bit less tragic for the Wahoos. The big takeaway from this game is that one week after shredding OSU’s (now totally exposed) secondary for 400+ yds, Lagow went 3/10 with an INT and spent the remainder of the game on the bench. Redshirt FR Peyton Ramsey shepherded the Hoosiers down the field, throwing for 420 yards on 65 attempts. Lagow may want to take a gander at the MAC...

Candystripes: Hey, we actually looked like a kinda OK football team this week. So that's nice. Also, we may have found the quarterback of IU present and future, and his last name isn't Lagow. And in other obvious news, Simmie Cobbs is pretty good at this football thing.

Nebraska at Oregon | Huskers snatch defeat from the jaws of utter shame 35-42

When the Huskers found themselves trailing 42-14 at the half, fans and players alike may have started considering the idea that people are rarely fired without cause. With Bob Diaco looking like a punch-drunk pretty-boy in a frat house scuffle and Mike Riley registering his disapproval by doing nothing, the Husker defense was carved up by the Oregon passing attack. To be fair, the 4-INT performance by Tanner Lee did much to make things demonstrably worse for Nebraska.

Dead Read: Outlined against a clear September sky, four linebackers stood passively in zone coverage. That is all you need to know about Nebraska’s first half defense.

A four-touchdown deficit forced Nebraska into shootout mode throughout the second half, passing nearly every down. Predictably, this high risk and high reward attack led to flurries of both points and interceptions. Oregon grew more cautious, thus less difficult to defend. For a while, this confluence made a comeback win possible. But no, UNL did not deserve this one. Nebraska was not playing plodding Minnesota or Maryland athletes, the boys were playing a track team in pads. There are some sins the football gods cannot abide.

BRT: As a good "writer," I didn't watch Nebraska's game. I missed all of the first half while at work, which appears to have been something of a blessing. I listened to much of the second half while going to watch Nebraska's top fall sports team defeat a Pac-12 foe (what up, Husker volleyball.) Moral victories are lame, but I'm going to give them a shout out for not giving up at the half: 42-14 is a pretty demoralizing score. This team didn't quit, which is awesome to see! But it appears there are still some big, scary flaws that are unlikely to be repaired quickly. Two weeks in, all we know is that Nebraska has the capacity to be dangerous, but whether they'll be more dangerous to foes or to themselves seems an open question. Several bad-looking injuries, including to last week's star, Tre Bryant, made this a costly loss for the Huskers. Here's hoping they learned some stuff and for the best possible news on the injury front.

WKU at Illinois | Illinois wins 20-7

Illinois scored some points on the ground, and returned a horrid desperation interception 10 yards for a touchdown. I just hope all the players had fun.

Thump: Hot damn, we won another game. I have no idea how Mike Sanford took over Jeff Brohm's offensive juggernaut and scored only 7 points on this piss poor Illini team but it definitely had something to do with the fact that they made no attempt to run the ball and we just focused on pass rushing. Illinois had an offensive explosion, putting up nearly 300 yards. My takeaway from this is that WKU has been totally crippled by the loss of Jeff Brohm. My takeaway regarding illinois?

Minnesota at O3SU | ROWphers down Other Other OSU

Conor Rhoda completed 7/8 passes for 158 and a TD, and the Gophers amassed 258 yards rushing thanks to a committee of runners (Rhoda included). Both Rod Smith and Shannon Brooks collected just over 90 yards apiece—meaning they each had 10 yards more than the total rushing effort by O3SU. Gary Andersen runs a bad program, gets bad results, and he deserves both.

insertname: ROW. THE. BOAT. Aside from a drive aided by a fake punt and a bad snap leading to a touchdown, this was all Gophers. Jonathan Celestin was a force, Tyler Johnson had another long TD run on the same play from last week. Conor Rhoda appears to have seized the QB1 job but Demry Croft just housed a 66 yard read option to push the lead to 48-14. PJ Fleck is the first Gopher head coach to swin his first true road game and start 2-0 since Murray Warmath in 1954. Minnesota and Penn State remain the only teams in the B1G to have not trailed this year.

WSR: That'll do.

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