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Sunday Morning Coming Down // Week “5”

Flops abound

NCAA Football: Indiana at Ohio State Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Ten B1G Things

  1. “Kerry Coombs has the OSU secondary wired tight” is my duress signal
  2. Ohio State threw three interceptions but only turned the ball over twice.
  3. This calamitous performance somehow also showed how far ahead of the conference OSU is right now
  4. Ryan Day’s refusal to run Justin Fields is utterly maddening
  5. It was great to see Ryan Field as full as usual...makes things feel normal again
  6. At least Wisco fans can’t claim they would’ve won the West but for COVID-19
  7. The B1G has the worst officiating in football bar none
  8. Reports of Rondale Moore’s death were greatly exaggerated
  9. Why is Minnesota playing football right now?
  10. Scott Frost as the rehabilitator of Mike Riley’s reputation is not a storyline I saw coming, but every Dubya gets a Donald eventually
  11. Penn State’s two leading rushers—both QBs—account for nearly all of the Lions’ 62 yard rushing total.
  12. Joe Milton Era, we hardly knew ye
  13. Rutgers is probably like the 5th best team in this league right now, and it pains me to admit such things (sorry Maryland, you’re benched)
  14. This season remains an absolute waste of time and talent

The Rundown

Indiana at Ohio State | Trouble in the Secondary, 42-35

Ohio State looked as bad as they’ve look in two seasons. Indiana played their absolute best football of the year, got some help from the refs, and still played from behind the entire game. Justin Fields played the worst game of his college career, by far. He still went 18/30 for 300 yards and 3 total TDs. Penix gouged OSU for the 4th-most passing yards they’ve ever allowed, but that brutal pick-six and the numerous overthrows/off-target shots in the 4th were the Hoosiers’ undoing.

C4B: If you’d told me before that game that Ohio State had put up 42 points, I would have asked if IU had even covered the spread. The fact that the Hoosiers gave up 42 points, over 600 yards of offense, and basically failed to have a running game at all, AND STILL managed to have multiple drives late that could have tied up the game if they’d gone anywhere is kind of amazing. And yet.

Once more, Indiana found a way to play the Buckeyes close (eventually). Once more, Indiana failed to find a way to actually beat the Buckeyes. Once more, they took a game that should have been over much earlier and made me think that maybe, just maybe, this would be the time that the longest single opponent losing streak in the Big Ten might finally die the fiery death it so richly deserves. And once more, it lives another year. This immediately jumps into the top 3 “nearest misses” against the Buckeyes in my lifetime, right up there with the utter chaos of 2012 and the sheer never say die attitude of the 2015 game.

I shouldn’t really be disappointed by this loss. The Hoosiers covered the spread, had chances to finish the job, and generally showed the rest of the country that they are indeed a legitimate contender in this unprecedented year. If ever there was a moral victory to be found in any football game, it’s definitely this one right here. So let me make very clear why I am, if ever so slightly, disappointed by this loss: I AM SICK AND FUCKING TIRED OF ALL OF THESE MORAL FUCKING VICTORIES AGAINST THE GODDAMNED BUCKEYES, AND I WANT TO BEAT THE FUCKERS ONCE! JUST ONCE! IS THAT TOO GODDAMNED MUCH TO ASK FOR?

Wisconsin at Northwestern | Cats are King in the West, 17-7

Where art thou, Wisconsin? The Graham Mertz of October has shriveled with the autumn leaves, to the tune of 23/41 passing and Wisconsin’s lone TD. Pat Fitzgerald’s Wildcats showed up to play and Wisconsin largely didn’t.

Beez: I saw zero seconds of what was clearly an extremely dumb game and this is your semi-annual reminder that northwestern is not good and is never ACTUALLY good. Also word on Twitter is refs? Again, no idea. I didn’t see it because sports are dumb

MNW: On that first drive, the DPI penalty given when John Raine was “toppled” by a badger DB in the end zone? Welcome, wisconsin fans. Now you feel the frustration that every person feels watching Brad Davison flop around the Clearance Rack. (That’s not to excuse the call; it’s to say “yeah but your team,” and “go fuck yourself, you cheese-slurping inbreds.”)

Pat Fitzgerald has achieved nirvana. A two-score win against wisconsin in which his offense musters one yard per carry and holds wisconsin under 3.5 ypc. A day where Peyton Ramsey just needed to manage his way to victory and did so with aplomb, taking care of the ball as Northwestern went +4 in the take-give as Graham Mertz came crashing back to earth while doing his best impression of Joel Stave. A day that saw the continued arrival of S Brandon Joseph and the shit-talking attitude of Greg Newsome II and Cam Ruiz frustrate badger receivers. It’s bizarre, it’s awful, rock-fighting football, and shit if it’s not working once again.

Look: This season shouldn’t be happening. Moreover, Northwestern is, as beez notes, Not Very Good. But somehow, stupidly, here they are. First place in the West. Due for a date with and stomping by Ohio State. And I couldn’t give a damn shit. Two scores over wisconsin. First double-digit win over a Top 10 team since 1959. 5-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since Pat Fitzgerald was a player.

Purdue at Minnesota | Refs, 34-31

Easily the worst call this year, and it will be nearly impossible to beat. Purdue won this game and the refs robbed them with an offensive PI call on a receiver who literally didn’t touch the defender. End of story.

BoilerBettor31: As Minnesota kept running through Purdue’s defense like a hot knife through jello, I kept telling my Vegas crew in our group chat that I shouldn’t be this pissed off about a game that should never have been played. And yet, here we are.The call was complete and utter bullshit. There, it’s been said.The positives: Purdue’s offense never quit and made the plays they needed to get into position to win the game. The combination of David Bell and Rondale Moore should be enough to strike fear into most defensive coordinator’s souls. Jack Plummier made some beautiful throws and had a helluva night. The defense figured out after 3.5 quarters that, hey, maybe we should stack the box and maybe, I dunno, get a stop on 3rd down. Given all that Minnesota did, Purdue was still in position to win the game.

The negatives: A 3-4 defensive scheme that doesn’t generate pressure. Soft zone coverage on 3rd and long. A line drive FG attempt into the helmets of the defensive line. A kickoff returner not understanding that you can take a fair catch on the 5 and get the ball on the 25 instead of whatever the hell he was being told to do. The fear that this team will continue it’s past trend of folding the week after a close loss. Sigh.

WSR: Jeff Brohm let his team be in position to get jobbed by the refs and lose to a team down 23 players. That’s incredible. A Purdue team that got George Karlaftis and Rondale Moore back. He willingly hired Bob Diaco to “coach” his defense. Say what you want about the call (it was shit, and there was probably DPI on the INT) but he let his team be in that position.

Minnesota’s offense did a fine job. Tanner Morgan was an effective 15/22 for 267 and 0 TDs for the first time in a very long time. Mo Ibrahim led the way with 102 yards and 3 of the Gophers 5 rushing TDs. It was good enough for a mediocre team to win against a mediocre opponent.

Illinois at Nebraska | Nebraska brings back B1G football, 23-41

The low get lower. After holding off a comeback bid by PSU last week, you might have thought the Huskers had found some direction. Not so, thanks to running headlong into Illinois’ annual Week of Competent Footballing. Illinois’ Epstein and Brown both eclipsed 100 yards rushing as part of a 285-yard, 4 TD ground game for the Illini. It might just be that Scott Frost isn’t so good at coaching outside the G5.

BRT: I miss volleyball.I’m not sure exactly what happened with Nebraska, as in the year of our lord 2020 I have a very low capacity for giving space in my life to ineptitude and idiocy, so I didn’t make it much more than a quarter. It sure appears they were pretty bad at football today though. At least we’ll get Infographics this week.

Jesse Collins: Nebraska is very bad at football and any chances of it getting better rests on development which apparently this group of coaches - like the last group and the group before - refuse to do. I do not have answers for why that is the case nor do I intend to try and say it will all be better. This was Illinois destroying Nebraska off the ball and Nebraska doing nothing to fight back.

Big Ten refs continue to suck. That is not why Nebraska lost but it needed to be pointed out.

Dead_read: Shit sandwich.

Thumpasaurus: I genuinely can’t explain this. All of a sudden, the Fighting Illini sustained drives on offense, challenged a read-option team on defense, and took over a game. This. Never. Happens. This surely portends terrible things for Nebraska, but the Illini offensive line really kicked ass today. They were as good as I’d hoped they would be in 2020. It may have been late, but it wasn’t too late to get the kind of victory we rarely get: decisive yet fun!Also, Nebraska needs to stop with the blackshirt jerseys. From my knowledge of the tradition, the original blackshirts were practice jerseys given to the first stringers for dominant performances. Seems like it goes against the spirit of the tradition to deck the whole team out in that shit on gamedays and go WE THE BLACKSHIRTS.

Iowa at Penn State | Kirkalicious downs Jimmy Ballgame in Hapless Valley, 41-21

Iowa sure does beat the pants off people from time to time. PSU can’t be happy about this season, as the wheels seem to have come off the talent development cart in State College. It’s good to see the Hawkeyes ironing the kinks of their 250 ypg offense prior to another flaccid bowl season performance.

Aaron Yorke: They say that the more things change the more they stay the same. That means that no matter how many times Penn State changes quarterbacks, the team will still turn the ball over way too much. Will Levis got the start and led the Nittany Lions to a touchdown on their second possession of the game, but he was completely ineffective on all his other possessions was replaced by Sean Clifford in the third quarter after losing his second fumble of the game. Clifford completed touchdown passes on his first two plays but then threw a pair of interceptions to seal the game for Iowa.

I’m guessing that Clifford will get the start against Michigan since he throws a better deep ball, but it’s not going to make much of a difference if the Lions don’t tighten up their run defense. Makhi Sargent and Tyler Goodson combined for 179 yards on 35 carries in this one.

Stew: Iowa bullied PSU around both of the lines, despite missing two starting OL. Tyler Goodson and Mekhi Sargent were able to run all over, and Spencer Petras looked competent.

Meanwhile the Iowa defense looked pretty damn good until PSU put Clifford back in, when they just forgot to play for a few series. Daviyon Nixon had himself a game and almost certainly wrapped up the Piesman award with his 71 yard pick 6.

One more thing, though. Down 13 points and under 4 minutes to go, Franklin just conceded the game by punting it away.

Michigan at Rutgers | Hello darkness, my old friend, 48-42 (3OT)

Michigan is a rolling disaster. Benching a QB. Fighting back from behind, then giving up a tying TD/2-pt conversion in the waning moments, flubbing a kick, and finally winning in 3OT. That’s actually a great story if it doesn’t happen against Rutgers. I frankly don’t see how Jim Harbaugh survives this year, but maybe COVID will protect him.