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Sunday Morning Coming Down // Week 5

The More Things Change, The More Maryland Still Stinks

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Ten B1G Things

  1. Everyone: “Rutgers is the worst addition to the B1G.” Maryland: “Hold my Natty Bo.”
  2. Maryland scored 122 points in their first two games, which is only one touchdown shy of eclipsing their total offense against Penn State.
  3. Mick McCall is probably available in the event Jim Harbaugh wants to improve his offense.
  4. No quarterbacks were harmed in the making of Northwestern at Wisconsin, as dummies were used to simulate real players.
  5. The problem was simple: Iowa had been playing the wrong Tennessee all along.
  6. Shoulder-chips have gone state-wide in Michigan.
  7. The 52-0 win over Rutgers was Michigan’s first shutout since their 78-0 win...over Rutgers.
  8. MSU and Indiana combined for 586 yards passing (or as its called in the West, “a Purdue of passing”).
  9. Statistically speaking, Indiana HAS to win one of these eventually.
  10. Not to be outdone, Minnesota and Purdue combined for 687 yards passing.
  11. Minnesota provided most of those passing yards, with a 95% completion rate.
  12. Yes, THAT Minnesota.
  13. Nebraska has now lost their last 5 games to Ohio State by a combined score of 265-93.
  14. The US Coast Guard Heroic Effort of the Week Award goes to ESPN for tirelessly trying to convince us that OSU at Nebraska would be a great game.

The Rundown

Penn State at Rutgers Maryland | Penn State exorcises Edsall’s ghost, 59-0

You can understand my momentary confusion. How did a team that scored 122 points to begin the season fall to this so quickly? Crabbing season isn’t even over yet (I think)! Perhaps Locksley isn’t the genius he appeared to be at the outset. Sean Clifford threw for nearly 400 yards against an absolutely moribund Maryland defense. Maryland’s Josh Jackson was intercepted on his second throw of the night, and things never improved much from there. He finished 10/21 for an atrocious 65 yards.

87Townie: I know it was against Maryland…but that was a game we really needed. Penn State looked like a coherent football team, finally. On offense, we hit big plays frequently. We have playmakers and they showed up. On defense, we held Maryland’s rushing and receiving in check. The biggest play they had all game was an 18-yard catch.

I was disappointed seeing Micah Parsons make a stupid play and get kicked out for “targeting”. It was a chippy play and at the least it was roughing the passer. Stupid play by a talented player. Hopefully the coaches impress upon him the importance of not being an idiot this week.

This game will give B1G coaches a lot to chew on to get prepared for PSU. On to Purdue!

MC Clapyohandz: A 59-0 loss! In a conference game! That they were looking forward to playing! Can you imagine...doing...that...

Northwestern at Wisconsin | Wisconsin wins Slapfight-in-Phone-Booth, 24-15

That’s some good old-fashioned B1G West football for you. Northwestern and Wisconsin spent the better part of four quarters trying NOT to outdo one another. Coan was tepid in his best moments, with a 15-for-21/116 yard performance. Northwestern’s Hunter Johnson and his backup Aidan Smith spent as much time on their backs as they did on their feet, suffering five sacks at the hand of the Wisky defense. Speaking of which, the UW defense was the star of the show, accounting for more points than the offense. Very B1G. Very West.

Beez: Boring. That game was boring for every minute of it. Neither offense even tried to do anything interesting. Actually Bad Coach Fitzgerald made a terrible decision to go for 2, which took the fun out of the onside kick, NW’s next drive, and really the rest of the game. If you watched it, you did get to see some big time plays by the Wisconsin D, but it was just so, so, so boring all game long.

MC Clapyohandz: What a weird game. At first it looked exactly like how most thought it was going to go. Then Wildgoose committed that moronic special teams penalty that seemed to break everything and warp the game to 1965 for the rest of the half. Then Wisconsin’s defense kept the game out of reach. Then special teams brought the game within reach. Both defenses were really solid and came to play. Wisconsin will have a lot to correct on offense from this one. Apologies to everyone that had to watch this game, which barely includes our student section.

MNW: The Northwestern offense outscored the wisconsin offense. I am not quite sure what to do with that information, other than to pat Mike Hankwitz on the back, congratulate him on committing to stopping Jonathan Taylor (they at least slowed him to 4.6 ypc, easily his worst of the year) and forcing Jack Coan to beat the ‘Cats with his arm. He could not, and holding the badger offense to 10 points in Camp Randall is something to be lauded.Unfortunately, there are two sides to the ball, and the Northwestern offense, while scoring 15 points of its own, also yielded the crucial 14 points to wisconsin on a blind-side sack and a pick-six. Aidan Smith showed life after Hunter Johnson left the game with a knee injury, so that’s fun, but Smith is not the answer barring a complete change to Northwestern’s offensive gameplan. Drake Anderson showed flashes, which is a positive thing, but the stupid, maddening insistence on playing football the Pat Fitzgerald and Mick McCall Way (including head-scratching decisions to go for two and throwing first-year QBs under the bus) is going to continue to cost this team games.

Oh well, I’m sure there’s nothing we can do about all that. On to Nebraska.

LPW: Well shit. At least we didn’t get destroyed. We played wisconsin very tough. If wisconsin didn’t have those two defensive touchdowns we could’ve won this game. Our defense played an outstanding game. If only our offense was better. Fuck it all.

MTSU at Iowa | Iowa wins 48-3

Iowa put up 644 yards of total offense, which is impressive by any measure. MTSU is probably the best team in Tennessee right now, so good on the Hawkeyes for giving their fans some positivity before getting slapped around by the B1G East in their next two games.

Stew: Middle Tennessee State is not good (Best team in Tennessee! -Ed.). Iowa has played lots of not good teams under Ferentz, but no Ferentz team has ever racked up that much yardage. Mekhi Sargent, Toren Young, and Tyler Goodson all got to 90+ rushing yards. WRs Brandon Smith, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Tyrone Tracy, and Nico Ragaini all made big plays. The defense was smothering. It was against a bad team, but Iowa has rarely looked as good.

Creighton: Tyler Goodson was good, son. This recap was written at 1:05 AM.

Maryland Rutgers at Michigan | Run-it-up Jimmy wins 52-0

“We came out with a chip on our shoulder,” Patterson said, proving that he has no idea what that phrase actually means. Michigan made short work of Rutgers. This is supposedly a “confidence-boosting performance” for the Maize and Blue, in the same way that kicking your dog makes you feel like a real big man. 276 yards from Patterson (and one INT, of course) put points on the board easily, but Gattis’ offense managed just 3.4 ypc against the B1G’s worst rushing defense.

Zuzu: #FireAsh

Indiana at MSU | Spartans win a close one, 40-31

This one only looked easy in the box score. With the score knotted at 31, Spartan kicker Matt Coghlin nailed a field goal to put MSU ahead 34-31 with under 30 seconds to play. The ensuing IU lateral-fest turned into a disastrous fumble that Sparty returned for the game-clinching TD. It was a very Indiana ending, if we’re honest. Lewerke finally got his act together with a 300-yard performance, but his defense did him no favors.

Avtomat Kalashnikova: Despite probably deserving to lose to Indiana, I don’t really have all that many complaints about how MSU played. If you’re surprised they got shredded through the air, you shouldn’t be - it’s been the only way to beat them for years, and they also tend to be pretty slow to make schematic adjustments to, say, an opponent hitting about 15 consecutive receiver screens.If MSU’s continued defensive vulnerability to the quick pass and to Whop Philyor in particular was on display, a steadily improving offense was, too. It’s probably not going to be a top flight unit this season, but there are enough working parts here to win with what the defense is usually going to put out there.

Candystripes: Oh look, it appears that this shit is back again. Sadly, they don’t appear to have updated that article as of early Sunday morning when I type this, but yet another game where Indiana gave a ranked team all they could handle and more, only to fail to finish in the end and have a final that looks worse than it should. At this point, I’m pretty sure the only way Indiana is ever going to break into the top 4 in the East is if two of them decide that football is a waste of money and shut down the programs. And even then, the conference would probably give us Wisconsin from the West for “balancing purposes.” Because fuck Indiana for-fucking-ever, am I right?

Allowable Karryonsize: BONUS CONTENT (paywall only): I also caught most of the first half of MSU on the radio, as I accompanied my better half to Ann Arbor for what I correctly deduced were the cheapest Michigan football tickets I’ve ever heard of short of a giveaway (shout outs to Dave Brandon).What I observed was a Michigan team that’s probably more like what we’ll see from them much of this year than the disaster they put on the field against Wisconsin, but also something of a mirage because of exactly how awful Rutgers is. The Scarlet Knights really might only have 3 players I would want suiting up for my team, and one of them is the punter. Michigan still struggled to run the ball despite its OL returning to full health, BUT that might not matter if today convinced them of what this offense should really be - lots of deep shots to Collins and Peoples-Jones with intermediate stuff to Bell and the tight ends. How you defend a well-thrown jump ball to those guys, I’m not sure.

Minnesota at Purdue | Gophers steam past the Boilermakers 38-31

Purdue’s Sindelarian woes continue, with a first quarter injury to Rondale Moore only adding gasoline to the post-crash fire. Both players exited the field on the same play, and Purdue was behind the 8-ball from then on. It didn’t help that the Gophers were simply firing on all cylinders. Tanner Morgan completed 21 of his 22 throws, and 12 Gopher plays went for 16 yards or more. Some days you get the Gopher, some days the Gopher gets you.

WSR: At some point I would love one of our blowouts to stay a blowout. Especially when the offense puts gets an exceptional performance from multiple people (and bad performances from no one) while the defense goes about putting its fingerprints on everyone. Was it perfect? No. The running game, although not really needed at all, was absent in the first half and tackling was a bit of an issue throughout the day. But that was a murder that should never have gotten as close as the final score makes it appear.

That’s now just the 2nd time we’ve won our B1G opener this decade and 6th time since 2000.

Boilerman: So let’s recap Purdue’s season thus far. Preseason: No Lorenzo Neal, lose Tario Fuller. Nevada: Forgot to play a second half Vandy: Team looks better, Sindelar suffers concussion on the last offensive play TCU: Markus Bailey lost for the season with a knee injury. Sindelar unable to go due to concussion protocol. Get blown the fuck out with a Frosh QB in his first start.Minnesota: Lose Sindelar, likely for the season with an apparent shoulder injury AND Rondale Moore with a potential knee injury ON THE SAME DAMN PLAY. Get burned on slants and crossing patterns because the middle of the field can’t be defended now. I’ll give credit though. Jake Plummer looked much better and King Doerue emerged as a potential running threat. They could’ve folded over going down 38-17 but fought back and were a (potentially questionable, I didn’t see the play in question because I was driving) PI call away from having a chance to tie the game.The rest of the season needs to focus on player development and getting guys back from injury. Come back stronger next year.

Ohio State at Nebraska | Go Big Scarlet, 48-7

JK Dobbins became the 11th OSU player to eclipse 3,000 yards, with his third 100+ yard performance against Nebraska in as many years. OSU scored on its first 8 drives, shredding the ghost of the ghost of the ghost of the Blackshirts for 38 points by halftime. Possibly the only truly interesting part of the game for Husker fans was Frost lining the offense up in the I formation on the first series, and getting early success with trap runs (before a Martinez interception).


The Good:

  • It was a gorgeous 60 degrees throughout the game, and rain before and after the game held off during the “game” itself. It really was the perfect night to be watching football; except for the nature of the football that was played. In true Nebraskan fashion, as the game got progressively more icky, the weather was mentioned more and more often by those around me: “Well, at least you couldn’t ask for nicer weather.” No, you sure couldn’t, Rand. Our team sucks though.
  • There were no key injuries. This felt like the kind of game we could lose by 60 and ALSO lose a starting QB for the season, so hooray that didn’t happen.
  • My prediction for the game was very accurate: “Utterly macabre.” Bully for me.

The Bad:

  • Um, pretty much everything about the game.

There was no universe in which Nebraska won this game short of 90% of OSU’s team getting food poisoning, but it was disappointing to see stupid mistakes cost them at least two other scores. Martinez’s throws were disturbingly off for most of the game. Nebraska’s D had no answer for OSU, but it’s also hard to imagine an offense helping a defense less.

It will be interesting to see how Nebraska responds to this one. Last year, they started conference play getting the snot kicked out of them by UM, but responded by being fairly competitive the rest of the season. We will see if the 2019 Huskers have that same capacity, or if they fall to pieces.

Note: I am writing this while watching the Hawaii game and the announcers have said things like “The OSU-Nebraska game was over before it started” and “Before the season, people said Nebraska was the team to beat in the West.” YOU SAID THAT, ANNOUNCER GUY. The national sports media types, you announcers and ilk, ranked Nebraska! You don’t get to distance yourself from your stupidity that easily.