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Sunday Morning Coming Down // Week “4”

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The Great Unraveling

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Ten B1G Things

  1. Michigan’s 28-0 halftime deficit was the worst in Michigan Stadium since 1927
  2. Michigan gained 1 yard total in their first 4 drives
  3. Not so hot without your bagmen, are you Mr. Gattis?
  4. Paul Christ should have to enter the stadium to “Welcome Back, Kotter” for the remainder of the season
  5. Welcome baaaack...your infections were your ticket out
  6. While I have Gabe Kotter on the brain...even Scotty Frost and the Sweathogs Blackshirts couldn’t derp away a 21 point lead
  7. PSU tallied 501 yds of offense and scored only 23 points—a level of “can’t finish the job” normally reserved for men who can’t identify the clitoris
  8. Despite nearly identical total offense stats, Iowa only faced 7 third downs all night to Minnesota’s 16
  9. Indiana has attempted 35 or more passes in all but one game this year, and 25+ in all games
  10. I’m no Don Brown but maybe don’t worry about the run against the Hoosiers.
  11. Rutgers and laterals” is that guy who got a great laugh from one joke and decided to tell it 20 more times.
  12. Northwestern is off to its first 4-0 league start since 1996.
  13. Peyton Ramsey is the Terminator T-800 for Purdue fans, except he tries to kill them in the sequel, too
  14. Purdue finished with 2 yards rushing. Two.

The Rundown

Wisconsin at Michigan | Stop, stop! He’s already dead! 49-11

Every time you think Harbaugh has hit his nadir, he does you one better. That’s the Michigan difference. The Wolverines looked like a limp, lifeless rabbit in Bucky’s maw from the opening series. The Badgers drove the field in just over three minutes. Michigan’s first offensive play? An interception. Fortunes would not converge appreciably from there. Wisconsin outgained Michigan 468-219, mostly on the ground (in keeping with the prophecy). This was just a thrashing and there’s no excuse for Michigan recruiting like they do and still being this bad.

MC ClapYoHandz: What is there to say? Despite numerous Covid-related absences this was a dominant win. Graham Mertz didn’t do a ton in his return but didn’t need to, as Wisconsin rushed for 341 yards and 5 TDs. This one was never in doubt thanks to a defense that kept everything in check and an offense that showed no rust despite the Covid-induced layoff. More key players are poised to return just in time for a key divisional battle against Northwestern.


Iowa at Minnesota | Iowa scuttles the SS Gopher 35-7

Minnesota appears to have the chadburn dialed to “Full Astern” while Iowa is discovering something akin to an offense for the second week in a row. The Hawkeyes’ victory wasn’t an immediate runaway, with only a 14-0 lead through three quarters. But a 21-point showing in the fourth sealed Minnesota’s fate. Neither QB covered himself in glory, with 50% being the better completion rate of the night.

WSR: What the fuck was that?

Stew: Oink oink, motherfuckers!

Iowa thrashed a hapless Minnesota team to win Floyd for the 6th year in a row, the longest streak by either team since the trophy was introduced in 1935. Minnesota’s defense is just as bad as advertised, as Iowa’s anemic running game got a right to the tune of 6.7 yards per attempt and 235 yards. Not going to do the research, but that’s gotta be among the most against a conference opponent in the last decade.

Iowa’s defense smothered Minnesota, not allowing any big plays to a team wholly dependent on them. Minnesota had to rely on keeping the starters in against Iowa’s 2nd and 3rd teamers to finally score in the waning moments of the game.

In those waning moments was some truly midwestern passive aggressive pettiness. Instead of letting the game end, Minnesota called a timeout to get a play in to score. Ferentz didn’t appreciate that so he called all 3 of Iowa’s timeouts in response.

“We figured we’d take Floyd with us and leave the timeouts here.”

Hayden Fry somewhere chuckling right now.


Indiana at Michigan State | Hoosiers cruise 24-0

Indiana is apparently the real deal, racking up 320 yards passing and 3 TDs on the capable arm of Michael Penix. Michigan State proved that last week’s drubbing wasn’t an anomaly, and Michigan’s performance is only cementing the fact that the Spartans’ signature win wasn’t really all that surprising after all.

Aristotle Krustofski: If it was at all in doubt after last week (it shouldn’t be), MSU is really bad. Most of that is just the lack of star power Dantonio stuck Mel Tucker with, but the new staff hasn’t really done much to inspire confidence, either.

I will give them credit for not resisting the inevitable move to bench Rocky Lombardi, so long as they don’t go right back to him next week. Peyton Thorne wasn’t a world beater, but at least his INT was just an off-target throw instead of a heave into double coverage, and his mobility is interesting. This offense’s ceiling is going to be low until they have a line that can run block even a tiny little bit, which plainly won’t be this season.

The defense got roasted by the full-playbook IU offense, and I’m hesitant to give them much credit for forcing a scoreless second half when IU just wanted to run the ball, but once again they did face a ton of short fields thanks to a deluge of turnovers. An already-leaky secondary missing 3 guys was a recipe for disaster, and IU could have named any stat line for Ty Fryfogle they wanted.

All I want to see from here is more reps for Thorne. Elsewhere, it’s going to be a tricky balancing act to decide when and where to pull veterans, especially since they could theoretically all return next year. Normally when MSU loses the Spittoon, it means we go on to win 3 games. That’d be nice.

Candystripes: Folks, I think Indiana may actually be legit this year. It’s a rare year where Indiana gives off more than a hint of “we might be good”, and this team is well past that point now. Reclaiming the Old Brass Spittoon in a game that was close for a bit but never super competitive after the first half is usually the script for a big Spartan victory, and instead they put up a big fat 0 on the scoreboard. Didn’t even matter that Michael Penix got picked off twice, because MSU threw three back at the Hoosiers. Ty Fryfogle had a big receiving game, and the defense held the Spartans under 200 total yards. The only real negatives were that Charles Campbell missed a field goal to ruin his perfect run (not really that bad) and that Thomas Allen suffered yet another injury in a career that’s been marred by some major ones. All that’s left now is to see how high the AP decides to rank us to beef up Ohio State’s strength of schedule.


Penn State at Nebraska | Huskers hang on 30-23

Nebraska blew a 21-point lead! Almost. At least they looked poised to, with Penn State facing an entire “& goal” set downs in the waning moments of the 4th. But three incompletions and a sack saw Nebraska preserve the win—the first of the season for either team. A potential silver lining for Nits is that Will Levis may now become the starter after Clifford bungled it yet again.

Aaaaaaron Yorke: Based on the current pace that Sean Clifford is devolving, he will probably be a pile of goo made up of single-cell organisms by the time the season is finally over. The struggling quarterback threw a horrible interception to set up a Nebraska field goal and then gifted the Huskers a touchdown when he fumbled while in the grasp of Deontai Williams. That snafu prompted James Franklin to give Will Levis a shot at quarterback. He wasn’t much better than Clifford, but thanks to his zero turnovers, one big throw to Pat Freiermuth, and the PSU defense once again clamping down in the second half, Levis nearly led the Lions to a come-from-behind win. Alas, PSU’s final two drives stalled in the red zone, allowing Nebraska to hang on for a 30-23 victory. Everyone now has a win except Penn State, but Michigan and Michigan State are still left on the schedule, so maybe that won’t last forever.

BigRedTwice: I was judging (online) a college forensics tournament while this game was on, so I only caught bits of it in between rounds. It appears that in spite of Nebraska’s efforts to lose this one, they were forced to win, which was nice! While it wasn’t great how many tries PSU got in the red zone, the defense is to be commended for coming up with some pretty big stops when it counted.

Based on last week and this week, which is a meaningful sample size, this team seems to have a weird problem with the second half. They’ve looked really good in the first half in both games, and then it goes all to hell in the second half. I’m curious what’s happening that is causing that letdown.

Dead_read: Outlined against an empty gray stadium, the Cornhuskers failed to lose. Ideally, a winning team would have a downfield passing game, productivity from running backs, minimal mental errors, and could put a reeling visitior away. These are just aspirations. In reality, Nebraska relied on a two-man offense (McCaffrey and Robinson), decent pass defense, turnovers, and faith in the football gods. This was enough as the Big Red held off Penn State in Lincoln yesterday.

I will take it.


Illinois at Rutgers | Worst team wins, 23-20

This was a game of football that occurred. I hate writing about Illinois. I hate writing about Rutgers. Glad we have people for that.

Thump: WE WON A FUCKING GAME! THAT’S GONNA BE THREE STRAIGHT SEASONS WITH A BIG TEN WIN! FUCK YEAH!

we are still very bad, and rutgers should feel very dumb for losing to us because they found the way to beat our defense and couldn’t take advantage. we’re god-awful in coverage over the middle, but three mindbendingly bad decisions by Noah Vedral gave the Illini just enough turnovers to win the game despite two missed field goals in questionable situations. Make no mistake, we have no future without changing our head coach. But Isaiah Williams is nifty as hell!

Maybe I’m just a man of little faith but I just refuse to believe that “capitalize off incredibly stupid turnovers” is a strategy for lasting success. But far be it from me to look a gift horse in the mouth. We got a conference win! God only knows when we’ll get another!


Northwestern at Purdue | Wildcats win 27-20

Peyton Ramsey is the must-have upgrade of the season. With Northwestern’s rushing attack bottled up, he once again put the team on his back. Three touchdowns through the air lifted the Wildcats over Purdue and kept the West a one-game race (if Wisconsin shows up).

BoilerBettor31: I’m legit struggling to write anything meaningful here. Purdue showed fight in the middle of the 4th quarter to bring it within a score but ultimately, couldn’t get the job done. Aidan O’Connell’s fumble turned out to be a backbreaker and while Lorenzo Neal and Derrick Barnes showed up big. The offense couldn’t get the job done, showing nothing in its last two drives.

David Bell got his share of touches but it was Zander Horvath who led the team in receiving. Call it great defense, call it constant grabbing at the jerseys, whatever. Purdue couldn’t get it going when it mattered most. Onto a Friday night tilt with Minnesota. Hopefully Brohm gets it figured out.

LPW: This game was a legit rock fight. I’m glad we escaped West Lafayette with a win. You’d think a game played in rainy weather would have more rushing yards than passing, but that was not the case. Peyton Ramsey went 22/36 for 212 yards, throwing one interception and three touchdowns to Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman.There were only 40 run plays that resulted in 80 total yards, with Isaiah Bowser and Drake Anderson combining for just 32 yards.

Defensively, Mike Hankwitz’s crew limited Purdue to 20 points, despite struggling to slow down Zander Horvath and David Bell.

On Special teams, Charlie Kubhander was perfect, going 2/2 minutes for field goals and 3/3 on extra points.

I’m feeling good about thus team and can’t wait to see how we play the Badgers next week.

MNW: I waffled tonight between thinking Northwestern should’ve won that game by 20 and Northwestern should’ve lost by 10. All in all, a 7-point win is fine for splitting the difference.

Look, this is a dumb season and Northwestern has now won three straight dumb games by one dumb score. That luck will run out. Tonight it involved giving Aiden O’Connell enough rope with which to hang himself; somehow Greg Newsome II avoided a tenth potential DPI and Isaiah Bowser found his sea legs just in time. That won’t hold against a wisconsin team that, well...

...you know what? Who the fuck knows. They’ve beaten two of the four worst teams in the Big Ten (sorry, Penn State and Rutgers). Northwestern could win by 7 or lose by 34. We’ll see.

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