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Fall’s Tarts, Week Seven: The Silly, the Stupid, and the Stunningly Weird of the Big Ten

Good news for people who love bad football

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Penn State
Indicating a fall fart, or a fall tart? The world may never know.
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

If you like dumb football, boy, did we have a weekend for you! Prominently featuring series favorites Rutgers, Nebraska, and James Franklin, Week Seven brought the stupid just for you.

Rutgers Forgets to Field a Kickoff

If this article series had a mascot, I think this play would be it. While there is really no explanation for WHY this happened, we can explain WHAT happened. Kind of.

Following their first (fated to be of many, because, Rutgers) touchdown, Maryland kicked off the ball, because that is how football is played. Even a casual student of the game understands this, and knows that following a kickoff, the opposing team will field the ball to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, the best of Rutgers’ ability appeared to be... just opting to not field the ball. Theories abound for what happened here, but the end result was that no Scarlet Knight came close to fielding the ball, and instead all began earnestly blocking for no one.

Props to the Maryland player aware enough of the situation to snag the ball and turn this into world’s oddest onside kick, but holy hell Rutgers. This is some peewee football shit.

The Mothership wrote a brutal but hilarious article about poor Rutgers and their breathtaking race to futility, and you should check it out: “Rutgers Is a Russian Nesting Doll of Sadness.”

Husker Tackling Improves, But Room for Improvement Remains

Speaking of peewee football shit, this happened in the Nebraska game, because of course it did:

I know this is of my team, and this loss hurt... but damn, if I don’t laugh every time I watch that clip above. It looks like some kind of Arrested Development bit.

James Franklin Speaks

After yakking up a Nittany Lion-sized hairball in each of the last two games, the tide has turned on Penn State, and especially on Head Coach James Franklin. He didn’t land on this list for trying to fight a fan this week, so progress! However, his post-game comments and demeanor still rubbed many the wrong way.

The lateral play, I’ve been told by the officials during the game and some people I talked to after the game, that the rule says that if the arm is going forward, whether it goes backwards or not, it’s an incomplete pass. That doesn’t make sense to me. From the time I was in Little League, if the ball is going backwards, it’s a lateral. So, it went from 2nd and 20, to 2nd and 10. So, huge play in the game. I’m not questioning, (Ed. note: it sounds like he IS questioning, actually) I’m just saying from my perspective, it doesn’t make sense to me. From the beginning of time, since I was 65-pound football at Assumption CYO, playing football, if you throw the ball backwards it’s a lateral. Big play in the game.

It’s stuff like this. If you’re earning $5.6 million a year, people kind of think you should know the rules of the game you are coaching, instead of complaining about how things used to be in “Little League” (which... isn’t that baseball? Or is little kid football also called Little League in other parts of the country?) As have other coaches in the conference, Franklin is learning that it’s fine and dandy to have a vivid personality and a shtick— but the tolerance for that evaporates quickly if the wins aren’t there.

While Franklin still has his defenders among PSU fans, many have started to notice that he’s 3-11 against OSU, UM, and MSU—not exactly the eastern dominance they had anticipated and hoped for. With a week off to prepare, there wasn’t much reason for Penn State to lose to what appears to be a mediocre-at-best MSU squad. You can see all of his comments here.

Illinois Squanders Momentum of Beating Rutgers By Turning Back Into a (Gray) Pumpkin

I am not sure if there was a particular moment in this game that would be a better fit, but Thump has been reduced to mostly angry rantings about Illinois, so getting anything specific was a little tough. However, since they got their snot rocked by Purdue, he was adamant that they be included in this article. So, here we go:

After gathering the semblance of a crowd for the first time in awhile, Illinois rewarded the Illini faithful by dressing like a cloudy day and playing in a way that gave the crowd S.A.D.

Huskers Commit Another Ill-Timed Major Penalty, Water Remains Wet

For the second time this season, Northwestern was able to turn the poor judgment of an opponent into a Wildcat victory. Earlier in the season, Purdue’s Lorenzo Neal committed a memorably boneheaded personal foul that allowed Northwestern to ride out the rest of the game instead of giving Purdue another shot to win it.

Not to be outdone, the Huskers were up to the task on Saturday. Up ten with mere minutes remaining in the game, the Huskers coughed up a field goal and then had a short offensive series. New Nebraska punter Isaac Armstrong (poorly named, really), a walk-on from Lincoln, did the Big Ten proud by kicking a beauty that landed at the 1-yard line with 2:02 to go. You can’t ask for anything more from your punter in that situation, and things looked dire for Northwestern.

However, Nebraska wasn’t about to ride victory quietly into that good night. No, instead Carlos Davis committed a roughing the passer penalty to give Northwestern 15-yards of breathing room, and from that more comfortable perch, they marched down the field to a tie, and eventual overtime win.

Oh Huskers.

Rutgers Can’t Pass

That is a literal statement.


What was the tartiest tart this week?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    Rutgers Forgets to Field Kickoff
    (260 votes)
  • 7%
    Huskers Tackle Each Other
    (40 votes)
  • 7%
    James Franklin Fails to Get It
    (42 votes)
  • 1%
    (9 votes)
  • 2%
    Husker Addiction to Penalties
    (13 votes)
  • 33%
    Rutgers "Passing"
    (186 votes)
  • 0%
    Other, I’ll Tell You in the Comments
    (1 vote)
551 votes total Vote Now