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Sunday Morning Coming Down

So Begins Our National Nightmare

NCAA Football: Penn State at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Ten B1G Things

  1. If this isn’t Urban Meyer’s last season I’ll eat my shoe.
  2. Tuf Borland is the worst OSU starting middle linebacker of my lifetime—possibly ever
  3. There are kicks. There are bad kicks. And there’s whatever the hell that shit Nebraska pulled is...
  4. Northwestern could very likely win the West and possibly the B1G without a single out-of-conference win
  5. This 42-7 shellacking was actually Franklin’s second-worst loss to Harbaugh
  6. People forget that
  7. MSU running backs Connor Heyward’s 157 yards was just four yards shy of the total passing yardage for both teams combined
  8. James Franklin is now 0-11 vs. ranked teams on the road and 3-12 against the B1G East powers, and is absolutely in no way a fraud
  9. Purdue is the wino who won Powerball with this Rondale Moore situation
  10. The slow Iowa slide into obscurity remains on schedule
  11. If punting is winning B1G, punt-blocking is...winning B1Gly?
  12. PJ Fleck has lost 5 of the last 6 and thus all the geniuses are whispering “hot seat” as though Minnesota is going to do anything except say “Ope!” and pay him more money
  13. The most Illinois of descriptions: “Smith acquitted himself well, with his defense giving up 438 yards, substantially less than in past weeks.”
  14. On the upside, the last time an undefeated Notre Dame made it to the post-season, we were granted the gift of the Lennay Kekua situation, so...

The Rundown

Nebraska at Ohio State | OSU nearly loses to 2-win team, 36-31

Though the haterz (z for effect) will claim it’s just the sour grapes of spoiled Buckeye fans, it’s hard not to feel like this in a team in secular decline. After two weeks of “reflection” and “hard work” Ohio State looked just as bad as they did against Purdue. Nebraska just isn’t quite as good as Purdue. Haskins managed to break another record (single season pass completions) while looking fairly pedestrian—until he got blasted on a sack and looked downright out of sorts. He finished 18/32 for 252 with a pair of TDs and a pick. Adrian Martinez—the true freshman—was 22/36 for 266 throwing and another 72 running. Ohio State’s defense looked as lost as they did against Purdue. They’re Big XII bad.

BRT: I most certainly did not see that coming. Yes, this OSU team has some issues (as I’m guessing you’ll read about in other portions of this article.) But this was still a solid and noteworthy effort for a team that is 2-6 and struggling to get better. Moral victories are meaningless, and the W-L still says 2-7, but I think as a Husker fan, you’ve got to feel pretty great about how this went (especially after enduring the past several years of games against OSU. Which, by the way, how is it that we seem to play OSU EVERY freaking year?)

The D couldn’t quite get the stops at the end of the game it needed to, but overall, they played an improved game, and that’s a relief to finally see. The offense wasn’t stellar throughout, but did some great things, and I’m guessing did enough to make the remaining D-coordinators on the schedule a bit nervous.

The thing I think is most noteworthy, though, is that this team seemed to think that it could roll into Columbus and win this game. A 2-6 team thought that. I didn’t think that. No one thought that. Except, apparently for them. That’s really something--when you have the kind of record and luck the Huskers have this season, how easy would it be to be demoralized? But they came out and gave OSU hell. For all the talk some fanbases have made about Scott Frost “throwing his kids under the bus”... I think this shows that’s probably not the case. I don’t think a 2-6 team comes into this kind of situation and plays like this if they don’t believe in themselves. And I don’t think they believe in themselves if they’re not getting that message from the top.

Anyway, well done, Huskers. I’m proud of you! Go forth and conquer the rest of November.

Dead_Read: It is striking how much can change over the course of a college football season. What if I told you, six weeks ago, that the “Invincible Death Star” would have difficulty beating “Corn Rutgers” at home? You wouldn’t have believed it. I know I would not have. Yet, somehow it happened. Improvement is evident by Nebraska, for that I am grateful. Hopefully the team will finish the season off strong. The future looks bright.

Rutgers at Wisconsin | Wisconsin embarrasses their mothers 31-17

Imagine only beating Rutgers by two scores. Suffice it to say, Madison and Columbus are united this year in their parallel journeys of division favorites slowly melting in goo like a cherry Jello salad left in the sun. Hornibrook connected on 7 passes for 92 yards—a crummy stat line further marred by two interceptions—before leaving with an apparent head injury. Arduino Sitdownski managed to gash Wisconsin’s defense for 261 yards on 22 completions. Badger fans were treated to two scoops of Old Reliable: a seemingly endless slate of handoffs, which often proves to be enough for Wisconsin. So it was here, where the former B1G West favorites needed their running game overmatch to beat the worst team in Power 5 football.

Beez: I am very glad wisconsin caught Nebraska when they did. Wisconsin beat Rutgers, but this team is absolutely losing to penn state and Purdue before the year is out. Yay for running the ball 35 times?

MC ClapYoHandz: Rutgers scored points and we had to listen to the six band members they sent over so this was an absolute failure.

Iowa at Purdue | The Harbor claims another ranked victim 38-36

Don’t look too closely or you’ll confuse Purdue for a low-key good football team. Given a lease on life by Iowa in the waning moments of regulation, the Boilers drove to the Iowa 6 yard line. There, they stalled and did everything they could to make the victory as big a nailbiter as possible. After nailing the go-ahead field goal from the left hash, the Boilers kicked the ball to a fat Iowan, who flipped it back to a less fat Iowan, who tossed it another Iowan of indeterminate athleticism, and so on and so forth until futility and chaos combined to seal the Hawkeyes’ fate. Another ranked team feels the sting of a trip to Ross-Ade.

Stew: Iowa’s been playing true freshman corners for the majority of the season, and Purdue actually took advantage of that. Riley Moss was beat several times before getting benched, but by that time it was too late, the damage was done. Iowa started chasing points too early, made adjustments too late, Stanley made decisions too slowly. Iowa can’t run the ball effectively. Iowa is going to be the best 8-4 team in the country, because they refuse to do the little things right.

Boilerman31: Wow, what a game. David Blough threw some absolute gems for deep balls. Unfortunately, he also threw two picks. When Purdue went down 36-35, the old Purdue thoughts came creeping back in. Fortunately, the Boilers did what they needed to do to get into chip shot range for Spencer Evans. Kudos to Terry Wright catching 6 balls for 146 and 3 TDs. A bowl game is within reach and there’s still a decent shot of getting to Indy.

If this is a dream, please don’t let anyone wake me up.

MSU at Maryland | MSU adds to Maryland’s misery 24-3

Matt Canada enjoyed a roughly 8-hour period during which the entirety of the Maryland football mess was not fully his problem. Given all that’s transpired this week, it’s not a surprise that Maryland got flat out steamrolled by the Spartans. To be fair, there wasn’t a single good quarterback in this game. Brian Lewerke just happened to be the least awful with 87 yards passing and 45 rushing. No one from Maryland came close. So the Terps beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly to the past.

Alpha KiloZuluOscar: Well, that was certainly a game. Brian Lewerke definitely still looks injured but started and played most of the day anyway, going like 11/20 for less than 100 yards and an INT. Dantonio’s going to get questions about that and will be gruff about it.

That said, this was certainly the best run blocking performance the team has had this year, and a mix of backs did a lot of nice things to keep the chains moving. Connor Heyward will look like the star by dint of his 80-yard score but should’ve had a third one that he fumbled going in, hence Max Rosenthal’s first box score appearance.

Also, that sequence in the 4th quarter has to be the dumbest thing I’ve seen this season. Go look it up, the game recaps have to talk about it.

I can’t imagine what was going through the Maryland players’ collective minds, or where their season or program is going from here, but I think they did the best they could under those circumstances.

PSU at Michigan | Stop beating PSU they’re already dead, 42-7

I invite you to pause for a moment to wallow in the reality of Michigan peaking at just the right time to win a moribund B1G. For whatever reason, the Penn State team we knew—the team that racked up 60-something points per game on the arm and legs of QB1 Salutey McHomerun—suddenly vanished in the fourth quarter of the OSU game and has only been seen on milk cartons since. Meanwhile, Michigan is on their revenge tour after umpteen years of their coach melting down on the sidelines over...(let me check my notes)...his own failings. Shea Patterson seems to be the spark the Wolverines needed on offense, which isn’t that bad of a situation until you consider the fact that a coach who made his name on QB development basically has to rent them from someone else. At any rate, Penn State got beaten so badly this week that laughable HOT TAEK extruder Dan Wolken at USA Today suggested Franklin look for another job.

A-A-Ron Yorke: I was afraid that Penn State’s trip to Ann Arbor might look a lot like 2016 version, and it turns out that’s exactly what happened. The defense played pretty well in the first half to keep Penn State in the game, but eventually the unit wore down thanks to the offense’s inability to put anything resembling a drive together. Yes, the game should have been closer than it was. A blocked field goal that was returned for a touchdown by Garrett Taylor got called back due to a questionable penalty call. Trace McSorley missed a wide open DeAndre Thompkins for what should have been an easy touchdown pass. Still, the offense was overwhelmed by Michigan’s front seven for most of the game and McSorley now looks broken after going 5-for-13 for 83 yards and a pick. Given his physical condition, I’m not even sure that he should start the game against Wisconsin next week.

87townie: Fuck harbaugh. Fuck michigan. Revenge my ass. We’ll see you next year you khaki clown.

Notre Dame at Northwestern | ‘Cats fall to athletic arm of global crime syndicate 31-21

To be honest, this went much, much better than probably anyone expected. A Northwestern team that ranked near the bottom of the FBS in running offense largely imposed its will on the Irish defense on the ground in key situations. They only netted 108 total yards, but the strength of their run threat kept ND honest. Thorson, hobbled by injury and not the athlete that Ian Book is, nonetheless made numerous amazing throws on the run to keep drives alive. Sadly, his defense had no real answer for the aforementioned Book, who threw for two TDs and ran in the final score. The two big takeaways of this game are Bowser and Flynn Nagel. If I’m Iowa, I’m worried.

LPW: Damn. We were going toe to toe with ND, but in the end, they have better wide receivers and won. It would have been nice to have won, but it was a non-con game. I look forward to Pat Fitzgerald’s team taking out the rage of this loss on the Iowa Hawkeyes next Saturday

MNW: The ‘Cats lost to a better team. it wasn’t fun, and a lot of it involves getting beat on the boundaries by Notre Dame’s bigger and faster and more athletic wide receivers. It would have been nice to see the ‘Cats come out and run some more exotic sets, but I don’t know that we ever should have expected that.

Regroup, the West is ours for the taking.

This is terrifying.

Illinois at Minnesota | Words fail me, 55-31

I honest to god don’t know what to make of this. None of this makes sense. Illinois is a dumpster fire, and Minnesota seems to decide every week who they want to be. Lose to Nebraska? Sure! Beat Indiana? Sure! Flumox Ohio State? Sure! Get beaten like a rented mule by Illinois? Sure! It’s like Minnesota looked at 2018, realized we live in the dumbest timeline in human history, and hopped right on board. Take it away, Thump & friends...

Thump: I’m so motherfucking happy it’s ridiculous. I can’t fucking believe it man. Illinois football ain’t dead yet.

WSR: There’s absolutely no reason that 31 points shouldn’t be enough to win against this trash ass Illinois team. The only acceptable excuses for giving up 646 yards and 55 points to that team would be a mass outbreak of botulism, and I don’t think that happened. I don’t care how upbeat and optimistic PJ is about life, if you give up 3 touchdowns of more than 60 yards to that collection of garbage somebody needs to get fired because they absolutely failed to put the kids in the right position to do their jobs.