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Sunday Morning Coming Down // Week 13

Hey hey hey...goodbye!

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Ten B1G Things

  1. Jim Harbaugh is now 0-5 against two different OSU coaches
  2. Harbaugh has surpassed John Cooper’s 0-4 start to own the worst opening record in the rivalry
  3. During that time he is 32-12 against the rest of the B1G
  4. Ohio State’s current 8-game win streak against Michigan is second only to Michigan’s 9-game streak from 1901-1909
  5. J.K. Dobbins posted a career-high 211 yards...a very good time to do so
  6. Relish the moment, B1G may not have Jim Harbaugh to kick around for much longer
  7. That’ll be 100% his call of course...because if my high school sweetheart was as loyal to a mediocre bum as Michigan is, we’d be married
  8. Harbaugh made “62-39” shirts for his team this season. Maybe they get “56-27” shorts next year?
  9. Hard to row a boat on a frozen tundra
  10. The Axe basically went to home to Minnesota for court-mandated visitation.
  11. Gameday doesn’t come to these kids of games often because stuff like this happens
  12. Peyton Ramsey is the best story in the B1G
  13. Iowa is much, much better than Nebraska and the two should never even be compared, clearly l
  14. Thanks for a great season, B1G. As always, SMCD is a treat to write...especially from across the pond

The Rundown

OSU at Michigan | O-H-I-O. 56-27

I’ll be the first to admit I was nervous about this game. It seemed like the perfect upset scenario. Top-ranked Buckeyes facing resurgent Wolverines on the road, skosh weather, exactly 50 years after a so-so Michigan team toppled #1 OSU in 1969. And as Duke recently taught us, the top dog can lose to anyone. The first half looked like OSU could be in trouble. Patterson completed 14 of 19 for 250 yards in the first half. OSU jumped out to a 42-16 lead in the 3rd, after another slight injury to Fields’ knee. Michigan then put 11 points in the board in the span of about 3 minutes, and knocked OSU off the field on two successive possessions. Olave could’ve extended the cushion for OSU but let a perfect pass carom off his facemask. All the momentum seemed to shift to Michigan, and then the Wolverines promptly disintegrated. Even the refs couldn’t keep them in the game with roughing calls and blind eyes toward intentional groundings. Patterson completed just 4 of his 24 second-half attempts.

Michigan did put up the highest total yardage and points against OSU this season, with 396 and 27 points. Clearly not enough though.

Wisconsin at Minnesota | Axe murder, 37-10

Yikes. After so much hopefulness and a top-10 ranking, Minnesota turned out to be a paper tiger indeed. What a disaster for the Gophers. As much as I was incorrect about the Olave drop being a game changer in the OSU game, I was definitely right when I declared the same thing to my Gopher spouse after Fleck used a timeout to dial up a 3-yard run facing 3rd & 10 deep in Wisconsin territory. The Gophs walked away with a FG. In the end, Wisconsin outclassed and overpowered Minnesota. Despite a slow start and Taylor’s first sub-100 yard performance since OSU, the Badger offense proved dynamic enough to carry the day, mostly thanks to Coan’s passing. Better luck next time, Peej.

MC ClapYoHandz: HAM.MER.FUCK.ING. Minnesota presented a number of matchup concerns based on what Wisconsin struggled with this season and didn’t live up to any of them. The defense settled in and provided consistent stops, the offense moved the ball well and (finally) mixed running and passing properly, and special teams didn’t do anything harmful. For a team that has struggled with road games, it felt good to watch this one put away definitively. The Axe is back home after a brief vacation and here to stay. If only the reward wasn’t another attempt at pretending OSU is playing the same sport.

WSR: Minnesota opened the game by forcing the badgers to punt on their first two drives and scoring on an easy 51-yard TD pass to Rashod Bateman. Then on our second drive we had a 4th and 2 after walking through them again, took an intentional delay of game to get some room, and then punted. That was pretty much the game. They got some confidence and played like a desperate team, we played conservatively and lost.

Iowa at Nebraska | Spider-Man pointing at Spider-Man, 27-24

A pitched battle all game, with Iowa’s 14-point lead evaporating in the third thanks to back-to-back Husker TDs. A listless 4th quarter culminated with two 22-yard passes from Nate Stanley to put Iowa just inside field goal range. The walk-on (now scholarship thanks to the win) kicker drilled two down the middle, with one being negated by a Frost timeout. Now the two most pointlessly acrimonious fanbases can piss on one another in the comments section over an actual matchup, instead of transitive wins. These teams are very different and couldn’t even be compared to one another, as this game clearly showed.

Stew: Iowa won yet another incredibly stupid game. Iowa’s offense is still only competent for a single quarter. The running game is irreparably broken. The 3rd year starting senior QB has never played a competent game on the road. And no one will learn anything. But hey, fuck Nebraska!

BRT: I went to this game, and it was cold and damp (though not as bad as Minnesota-Wisconsin). I expected to leave early, which I never do, in order to do some Christmas shopping, but amazingly, Nebraska turned this into a game by actually participating in a third quarter for the first time this season. Better late than never, I suppose. I’m proud of them for fighting back--there are certainly teams in this conference who wouldn’t have done that--but it also made me wonder where some of that effort was at other points this season.

All in all, the game was a microcosm of the season for Nebraska. They had plenty of chances, and capitalized on too few of them. They showed an impressive ability to make things happen, followed by an even greater ability to shoot themselves in their own feet with poor execution or weird decisions. It was that very inconsistency that made this a 5-7 team, instead of a 7-5 team or 8-4 team.

That this game was close and entertaining was a genuine surprise to me, and I’m happy they ended on a reasonably strong note, although of course it could have been much stronger by, you know, actually winning the damn thing when it was there for the taking. It sucks they lost, but they’re unquestionably bad and have been for a few years, so what do you expect? It’s probably more damning for Iowa that they’ve only just managed to squeak out wins the past two seasons against whatever Nebraska is fielding these days. I’m not terribly sad this season is over--the Huskers were a frustrating team to watch week in and week out, and while there were some exciting moments, it’s kind of ok with me that the only Husker sport I need to focus on in December is volleyball. Hopefully, next season they can convert a few more of these close games into wins. Hope springs eternal, unfortunately.

Oh, and I’ve been instructed by the victors that I need to say something about the refs. Refs! Refs! Refs! I dunno, I think they’ve already got that pretty well covered.

Dead_Read: This game was an ordeal for anyone with a rooting interest. So was Nebraska’s season. There were flashes of competence, but no consistency. For the second straight home game, the special teams ceded a momentum-killing kickoff return touchdown. The defense got no pressure, busted some run fits catastrophically, and failed to rise to the occasion late in the game. The offense was disjointed, managed the clock poorly, and relied too heavily on quarterback runs. In spite of all this, Nebraska came close to winning. Imagine what could happen if Nebraska could rely on even one phase of the game. Two? That will be revealed unto us in the fullness of time. But, maybe not.

This was also a horribly officiated game. When BOTH fan bases are nothing short of furious, the crew had a bad day. This refereeing crew should be overseeing JUCO action next year. Kansas would be a good place for them.

Northwestern at Illinois | LOLcats win the LOLhat, 29-10

Not the outcome I expected for sure. Illinois seemed hot and Northwestern seemed...not (to put it kindly). But if you’re going to put it together, your rivalry game is the time to do it. Andrew Marty ran for 111 and 2 TDs while tossing another. Illinois looked as soggy as the weather, mustering a putrid 160 yards of offense. But Illinois is going bowling and Northwestern is in the cellar.

LPW: AHAHAHAHAHAHA . Wow, I did not see this coming. Where in the name of Otto Graham was this team earlier this year?. FIRE MICK MCCALL. HAT! HAT! I’m on cloud nine. HAT HAT HAT HAT HAT!!

MNW: Well, the ‘Cats have won enough games to convince Galaxy-Brain Pat Fitzgerald (and give him time to tell a captive media with no interest in asking real questions) that injuries, rather than an incompetent and unimaginative OC, were the problem in 2019. So Andrew Marty will walk into 2020 the quarterback presumptive at Northwestern, with about 15 running backs having real experience on account of how abysmal this team has been. So there’s experience, even if that experience is mostly “Nearly stood up to the vicious Chicken of Bristol.”

But let’s not let that distract us from what matters in all of this: The reminder that ultimately, even in their best season in at least half a decade, Illinois is second- or third-banana in the state of Illinois. Bring back the Chief, you inbred fucking clods. It’s not going to stop your circa 2005 “bUt ThEy RiP tHe BaLl On DeFeNsE” has-been from stoically chewing gum as he goes 6-6. Great fucking beard, still a shit fucking program. Long live HAT. Go ‘Cats.

Thump: Illinois comes out and plays by far their worst game of the year against the worst Northwestern team we’re likely to see under Pat Fitzgerald. Cool.

Rutger at PSU | Non-hat LOL, 27-6

Something something PSU didn’t want to be here, Rutgers’ Super Bowl something something. Good look, #10 team.

Aaron Yorke: At least everyone will appreciate Sean Clifford now. Before the game, I predicted that Will Levis would play well enough to ignite a quarterback “controversy” leading into Penn State’s bowl game. That will not be something to worry about since Rutgers exposed Levis as a one-dimensional player. I don’t have much else to say about this one because I was driving from Buffalo to Central Jersey during the entire game. Here’s a text my father sent at halftime: “Are you on the road?? Let us know when you have an ETA. just be happy you’re not watching this football game. I’m near suicidal”

Maryland at MSU | Not with a bang but a whimper, 19-16

2015 MSU is but a memory, as are the winning ways of Randy Edsall. Now we find two eastern Ms locked in a pitched battle for dignity. MSu’s Coughlin kicked the game winner with under 3 minutes to play, and MSU came to the postgame interview in hats that read ““program win.” So that’s the story of 2019.

AnnArbor Kollapski: A fittingly meh ending to a throughly meh season. Nothing like turning 2 first quarter turnovers from your defense into zero points, having your senior QB throw 2 atrocious INTs plus what should have been a third, your senior captain defensive end commit two more egregious after the whistle penalties...and, seeing them live for the first time since this train went off the rails in Madison, the most consistently lifeless sideline I can remember at a college football game. We’re fully into basketball season now and not a moment too soon.

Indiana at Purdue | Bucket of heroics, 44-41

Peyton Ramsey is the redemption story of the year. Benched in favor of an upstart freshman, he re-emerged to lead Indiana to a bowl-qualifying season. In the final game of the season, he electrified the crowd with clutch passes and gritty runs. Tallying 337 yards passing and 42 running, he tossed three TD passes and ran for two more—-including the game winner. Purdue did everything possible to win, battling back from an 18-point deficit, but it wasn’t enough. This game was an all-time classic.

Candystripes: #9Windiana lives. The Bucket is home. Get fucked, Jeff Brohm! Get fucked, Purdue! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Bman: Fire Nick Holt and his 3rd Down prevent Defense.