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Fall’s Tarts: Revisiting the Week in Big Ten Head-Scratchers

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Turns out, the Big Ten specializes in both punting AND WTFery.

Iowa v Wisconsin Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Four weeks in, and we’ve learned many things about the Big Ten: Urban Meyer is terrible at apologizing. Rutgers is terrible in every possible way. Lighting can be more of a blessing than it at first appears.

And some knowledge isn’t new: football is a silly game where silly things happen, especially when played by college students. And in this arena, as in punting, the Big Ten excels.

In this potentially new feature, we’ll take a look at the strange, silly, funny, or just plain dumb things that happened in the Big Ten during the past week.

Adrian Martinez passes to Adrian Martinez to earn a safety

Well, that’s one you don’t see every day.

In related news, apparently, #3 Nebraska did defeat #18 Michigan in volleyball in four sets on Friday night. We truly are a volleyball state.

Backed up on the field, Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez valiantly attempted a pass to his receiver, which was unfortunately deflected back at him by a Michigan defender. Instinct kicked in, and Martinez leaped to retrieve the ball—before realizing, too late, that he could not re-catch and re-throw the ball. The result was the odd little volleyball set you see above, a safety and two more points for Michigan, and one of the weirder plays you’ll ever see.

Iowa player steps on a punt, thus creating a turnover at a critical moment in the game

Early in the third quarter of this low-scoring affair, it was apparent that any scoring was going to be significant in this one. So the last thing either team could afford to do was make a silly mistake to enable the other team to get easy points. This was going well for Iowa, who boasted a 10-7 lead early in the third and had forced Wisconsin to punt again.

But then, as Kyle Groeneweg decided not to field the ball, it bounced away... and into the shoe of Hawkeye linebacker Shaun Beyer. Wisconsin pounced on the ball, scored, and the rest, as they say, is history (much like half of our Hawkeye commentariat.)

Illinois Chooses a 52-yard Field Goal Attempt Down 18 in the 4th Quarter

This one was nominated by Thump, and while I get the rationale for its inclusion here, I’m not sure this is quite as silly as it seems on the surface. This is mainly because it was 4th and 10, which is... a tall order for anyone, let alone the Illini. So I get the attempt to stem the PSU point onslaught with whatever you can get. Chase McLaughlin missed the kick though, so it ended up being a moot point—not just because they didn’t get three here, but because the way PSU was scoring at the end of that game, there was no stemming that particular tide no matter what Illinois elected to do.

And, it wasn’t crazy to think McLaughlin had a real shot—coming into the game, he was tied for first in the country with three 50+ FGs already this season, one in each of the Illini’s previous games. Hell, maybe this wasn’t about game strategery so much as it was trying to help McLaughlin keep a pretty cool stat going.

Rutgers attempts to play football

In spite of many, many arguments articulated following a drubbing by Kansas the previous Saturday, Rutgers once again decided to field a football team and engage Buffalo in an “athletic” “contest.” This was very, very silly.


What was this week’s dumbest moment?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    Martinez to Martinez safety
    (84 votes)
  • 26%
    Stepping on a punt (esp. as a Ferentzian!)
    (138 votes)
  • 2%
    52-yard FG attempt
    (14 votes)
  • 53%
    Rutgers playing football
    (280 votes)
  • 1%
    Another crazy thing I missed that you’ll tell me about in the comments
    (9 votes)
525 votes total Vote Now