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Sunday Morning Coming Down // Week “3”

Beauty in the Breakdown

NCAA Football: Michigan at Indiana Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Ten B1G Things

  1. Off, Wisconsin! Off, Wisconsin!
  2. Harbz did his best to make sure Donald Trump wasn’t the only one who lost his job yesterday
  3. Tom Allen tackles better than anyone on Don Brown’s squad
  4. First time Indiana has beaten Michigan since Dan Quayle was just a twinkle in the VP Nomination’s eye
  5. This 49-7 drubbing was MSU’s worst loss, ok really thought they didn’t suck quite so much but you learn something every day
  6. MSU’s only score came when a backup punter turned tight end ran it in from the 1.
  7. Scoring 49 points while passing for only 167 yards is one step above Army football, and that is a compliment
  8. Warren Buffett once said “When a manager with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, the reputation of the business remains intact.”
  9. Scott Frost is probably starting to see the wisdom in that aphorism
  10. Rashod Bateman, supposedly the best receiver in the B1G, finally has a TD this year
  11. Justin Fields has thrown more touchdowns than incompletions in 2020
  12. Remember when Tennessee fans rallied to deny Schiano the job? On God, dumbest program in the FBS...
  13. Penn State has outscored their B1G East rival 163-6 in the last three matchups
  14. Pennsylvania has been flipped

The Rundown

Michigan at Indiana | Indiana trounces Little Blue, 38-21

First stop on the Giving Up tour of the B1G East is Ann Arbor, where Harbaugh managed to outdo himself yet again. In a positive Hokeian showing, Michigan ran for a whole 13 yards. Again Joe Milton struggled, notching 3 TDs but also tossing two picks on a barely 50% completion rate. Penix went 30/50 (50!) and didn’t hit any Michigan DBs in the process. One struggles to think this is where Michigan fans thought they’d be in year 6 of Harbaugh’s tenure.

C4B: Defense wins football games. Offense provides a whole lot of highlights, and certainly plenty of points, but DEFENSE. WINS. GAMES. You need proof? Check Michigan’s rushing yards. That’s not a product of some huge sacks; that’s a full game of stuffing the run. Check the turnover battle. 2 very timely picks for the Hoosiers that ended some dangerous looking Wolverine drives, and not a single ball on the ground for the Hoosiers. Giving up 21 points sounds like a lot, but this is Indiana playing Michigan. 21 points is nothing. You know what’s a big deal? In 1987, ranked Indiana defeated ranked Michigan 14-10 in Bloomington. Before this season, that was Indiana’s last victory over the Wolverines. Before this season, that was Indiana’s last victory over a top 10 AP ranked football team. Oh, and there’s one more thing from 1987 that you should know: In 1987, Indiana went to Columbus, Ohio, and beat the Buckeyes in their own stadium. That, while not being the last IU victory over the Buckeyes, was the last time a Hoosier squad went to Ohio State and returned with a victory. Guess where that game takes place this season? I’m not saying, I’m just saying. Kick another one for us, Charlie Brown.

Iowa at Michigan State | Sparty falls back to earth, 49-7

With Michigan proving themselves to be a shambling, decrepit, burned-out hulk of a program at the moment, it’s natural to assume Sparty may have been oversold this past week. Good god, were they ever. Ricky Labamba—which as a made-up name is somehow less ridiculous that Rocky Lombardi—came back down from the stratosphere like a homesick refrigerator. Iowa beat the brakes off Sparty in all phases of the game, jumping out to a 35-0 halftime lead that put the game out of reach before the Ro-Tel dip even cooled. Iowa scored 4 times rushing, once through the air, and added a pick-six and punt return TD. This was a good old-fashioned skulldragging, cathartic in its thoroughness.

Allvotes Kountski: This, to be candid, is more what I expected last week. Despite seeing an Iowa offense running a very similar base play to their own, MSU couldn’t hold the point of attack defensively, and they were such a discombobulated mess on offense that the pressure ratcheted up quickly and they didn’t have an answer. To me, any chance MSU had of making it a game evaporated when Mel Tucker played it safe, already down 21-0, and attempted a field goal, which was nowhere near good. From there it snowballed in all three phases.

Sure, in the context of a rivalry game and a perfect game plan, you might see a result like last Saturday, but today was more like what MSU really is - a talent-deficient program with a new coach and a terribly disrupted offseason. Also, why not give one of the other QBs a shot once this was out of hand? Shouldn’t we be evaluating as many guys as possible?

Creighton: I don’t know what to take from this game other than Sparty is really really bad (Wolverines tho, lmao). Petras looked improved, but he still doesn’t have any touch and it shows in the overthrown balls and dropped passes by receivers. Charlie Jones, a walk on transfer from Buffalo, was brilliant on punt returns. He took one to the house and created field position from nothing like a magician. The biggest key to the game was that Iowa figured out that it was easier to score points if you don’t let the offense on the field, and I’m not sure how I feel about that, but I’ll take the W.

Stewmonkey13: An epic beat down of Sparty is nice, I guess. But it does feel a bit hollow considering the last few weeks of anemic play. Also, ya know. *gestures vaguely *

Lombardi was incredibly careless with the ball so Iowa’s offense never really had to work too hard. Tyler Goodson was really good, and Spencer Petras was passable. The OL was quite serviceable missing a couple of starters.

The DL was much improved, but not sure how much of that was just MSU being not very good.

23 year old freshman Aussie punter phenom, Tory Taylor, was fucking incredible, though.

The Thrifty Car Rental NU Naming Rights Bowl brought you to by Dr. Pepper | NU defeats UN-L, 21-13

The late-game heroics of McCaffrey the Youngest fall short, not unlike his final pass. After watching the Husker offense struggle for most of three quarters, McCaffrey replaced Adrian Martinez to lead the Huskers on one final, futile drive to the Wildcat 14yard line. No signal caller covered themselves in glory in this game, with a combined 387 yds and 4 INTs among the three QBs who saw action. But the Wildcats improve to 3-0 and the West looks like theirs to lose.

BRT: Well, this turned disappointing. Maybe we should just refuse to concede! However, given the larger context of the day, I’m still sleeping well tonight. Defense looked pretty good though, overall. That was nice!

Dead_read: The defense did acquit itself fairly well, and I am pleased about that. The special teams gave up two big returns, which is a (now longstanding) pattern. The offense scored a touchdown on only one of its six red zone opportunities. The mental errors and penalties have to stop. It is just bad football.

Bottom Line: Nebby needs to talk less, then devote all that surplus time and energy toward actually getting better at football.

LPW: I watched the first half of the game. For the second half of the game, for no reason in particular, I was out getting drunk at a neighborhood party. I’m glad we won. I also have to prepare for my son’s baby shower my mother is hosting on Zoom tomorrow. LETS GO CATS

MNW: On a day where Isaiah Bowser was out and Peyton Ramsey wasn’t at his tip-top best for stretches (his throwing motion bugged me more today than usual), Ramsey fought for yards with his legs, Brandon Joseph and J.R. Pace and Greg Newsome II make a decently fearsome secondary, OC Matt Bajakian got the ball to playmakers in space, and lololololololol get dicked, Scott Frost.

There are, like, actual football takeaways here, like how frustrated I was that Ramsey literally took a knee in the middle of a QB power right on 3rd and 11 with 2 minutes to play because that’s Pat fucking Fitzgerald football, but none of that matters. You see, the team that threw fits and threatened lawsuits and inspired parents to stand in the parking lot of a Fogo de Chao is now 0-2 on the season and 5-5 against Northwestern since joining the Big Ten.

Imagine that. Imagine sitting around and having such an inflated sense of self-worth as a program (and as portions of a fanbase that God I’m so thankful have either not made their way to, slunk away from, or been banned from OTE) that you think playing football is going to do anything other than continue allowing the rest of the country to just keep dunking on your asses for completely preventable things. Scott Frost and the Nebraska Cornhuskers are the “Meth: We’re on it” of Big Ten football, and I look forward to watching as this clown car continues to careen over the edge of a sand hill.

Northwestern-Purdue decides the Big Ten West. Get dicked, everyone. You’ve gotten exactly the football you deserve. Roll damn ‘Cats.

Maryland at Penn State | Third time (ever) is a charm, 35-19

This is a case where the stat line doesn’t begin to tell the story. Clifford threw for 340 yards and 3 TDs, marred by two picks. That alone should be enough to keep a game competitive. But Sean Clifford was a man harassed all night long. He never found a sense of poise in the pocket, as Maryland fired delayed blitzes and line stunts all game long, betting on man coverage to buy the front seven time to get home. The gamble paid off. The Terps sacked Clifford 6 times and forced an ugly fumble to completely neutralize the PSU offense. Tagovailoa looked truly dynamic under center for Maryland, and I do not like him.

Aaron Yorke: It was easy enough to explain away Penn State’s first two losses of the season. Dumb turnovers, missed field goals, and poor clock management turned a big yards advantage into a loss at Indiana. Penn State just didn’t have the talent to keep up with Ohio State. Maryland was supposed to be the game that got PSU back on track, but instead it turned into the most embarrassing defeat of James Franklin’s tenure. Maybe Taulia Tagovailoa is just as good as his brother and the first game and a half was just him getting his feet wet. It looks like his connection with Rakim Jarrett will be one that torments Big Ten defenses for the next couple of seasons.

At least the Nittany Lion defense tightened up in the second half. What’s really hard to explain is how poorly the offense played in this game. The run game yielded very little and Sean Clifford couldn’t find anyone open when he dropped back. He ended up taking what felt like a million sacks. At least he threw the ball enough to pad Jahan Dotson’s stats, but Clifford’s performance made PSU fans wonder about the future at QB. I don’t think there’s another viable option on the roster, and that’s a major problem. It seems rash to talk about Franklin’s job status in the middle of a pandemic, but if he loses to Nebraska I might start hoping for him to make a politically incorrect statement that gets spun out of control.

DJ: Don’t do this to me, Maryland. What did I actually watch? A competent QB, an OL that wasn’t manhandled, and a defense that has made adjustments! This game was over mid way through the third when Penn State failed to score on that opening drive and Locksley knew it, choosing to run the clock out all 4th quarter.

The defense really progressed from Minnesota to this week, and will need to make continued progressions of this sort this week as OSU looms next.

Minnesota at Illinois | Just as ugly as you’d expect, 48-14

It seems mean to keep making Illinois play football at this point. Only three third-down conversions and 120 yards of penalties isn’t even laughable. It’s cruel. Let them sit down and rest, cruel B1G overlords.

WSR: Who knew that getting a bunch of yards and not giving up a ton of yards would be an effective strategy? Illinois cures what ails you right now, and Minnesota got our fix at just the right time. Mo Ibrahim’s just tearing through fools right now and is putting up insane numbers. I’d like to lie to everyone and say that I’m looking forward to the Iowa game on Friday night, but I have no idea what’s going to happen so let’s just enjoy the fumes from the tire fire that is the Fighting Illini.

Rutgers at Ohio State | Buckeyes win a snoozer in Columbus 49-27

On the one hand, it’s weird to let Rutgers score 27 points. On the other hand, 14 of them came on kitchen-sink trick plays. So I suppose Buckeye fans should be happy that teams can throw TD passes to left tackles and still lose by three touchdowns. All the same, a boring game to watch. The teams felt listless and the outcome was decided in the first quarter. Fields looked tremendous again, but he also had to play into the 4th. Against Rutgers.

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