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Sunday Morning Coming Down // Week 9

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 06 Michigan State at Purdue Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ten B1G Things

  1. In accordance with the prophecy, Ohio State must complete two yearly rituals to appease the Gods: a hangover struggle after an important win, and a game in which the concept of running the ball is completely forgotten
  2. Ryan Day combined those rituals into one outing in Lincoln...that’s called efficiency
  3. There are men with untreated ED who finished better on Saturday than the OSU offense
  4. Purdue is having a season for the ages, in which they beat everyone they shouldn’t and no one they should
  5. To be fair, the odds of all three B1G top-10s winning this week was 42% and we knew neither Frosty Flake nor the Hoosiers was going to make the math work
  6. If anyone from the B1G besides OSU ends the season in the top 10 it’ll be a Thanksgiving miracle, Charlie Brown
  7. A moment of silence, please, for that time like 10 years ago when Randy Edsall inexplicably beat PSU and it was the last time Maryland was happy about anything
  8. Tagovailoa seriously threw for 371 yards, and it was all Maryland could do to score 14 points off it
  9. What if—and hear me out here—Bert makes Illinois into a competent program?
  10. Iowa was once seriously number 2 in the rankings
  11. Northwestern student protest storming the field and then facing the wrong way to be seen by the cameras? *chef’s kiss*
  12. Wisco-Buttgers crossover: the football is bad, but at least Wisconsonites can say they’ve been to “New York City”
  13. Thanks to Luke Fickell’s failure to believe in style points, OSU will probably not be lumped by Cincy this week. Probably.
  14. Reminder that Army’s OT win against Air Force means the CiC Trophy stays put this year

The Rundown

Ohio State at Nebraska | Borderline unwatchable, 26-17

GF3: How do you turn 405 yards passing into 26 points? 2 INTs and a bunch of dumb mistakes in the red zone. This was reminiscent of the 2015 MSU debacle, in which Zeke Elliott was reduced to a decoy while OSU tried to pass on every down. Stroud attempted 54 passes yesterday...the same number he attempted in the week 2 loss to Oregon, and 60% more than he’s attempted in any game besides that disaster. Henderson averaged a season low 4.4 ypc. Not great, Bob.

BRT: I see Nebraska lost again. How very unsurprising.

Dead_Read: OSU allowed Nebraska to hang around for quite a while. As is custom, the Huskers failed to take advantage. The same problems plagued the team this week: poor special teams, porous offensive line play, and erratic quarterbacking. GBR. I guess.

Jesse Collins: So apparently Nebraska plays to exactly 90% of its opponents ability. It means every game is relatively close - outside of whatever it is Northwestern decided to do to not let Nebraska blow its own foot off - and every game is always just out of reach. That said, JoJo Domann is a god damn joy to watch play defense and I hope everyone is paying attention to how he plays every snap he’s on the field. There aren’t particularly great bright spots this year, but that guy hasn’t given up and I appreciate the hell out of the effort he - and really the entire defense - put up today. Wish the other two phases would have done their part to give back to a unit that has been fairly solid all year.

Michigan State at Purdue | Harbor > Harbaugh, 40-29

BoilerUp89: Life as a Purdue football fan isn’t so bad (except the Hazell years, we don’t speak of those). No expectations and no disappointment when your team doesn’t make the CFP - much less even win the division - and semi-regular upsets of ranked teams. Credit to the defense for getting the job done - sure MSU had some big chunk plays but they didn’t go on any long, time consuming drives. The aggressive style of play means they are going to give up big plays but also give the opposing team negative plays on offense. I’m all for that. The three defensive coordinator system works! Oh and Michigan State thought they could get a win by going against Mackey! Apparently the football team hasn’t paid attention to basketball. CB Mackey got the big pick. Aidan O’Connell had himself a game with 536 interception-free yards. The other two QBs both ran a decent run play. The 3 QB system also works!David Bell is a better receiver than Rondale Moore. Moore was quicker, shiftier, and more likely to cause guys to miss tackles but Bell can go up and catch balls that shouldn’t be caught. Another 200+ yard receiving game. I’ve very grateful that he came to Purdue. Bring on our rivals next week. Pretty sure we are still the last B1G team to beat them. Choo choo! (edited)

Absolution Kismetski: Sooner or later, MSU’s chickens were going to come home to roost, and boy did they ever. Giving up massive yardage totals to Hunter Johnson and Cade McNamara should have been suggestive that facing actually-potent passing attacks was not going to go well, but I have to admit I thought Tucker and his coterie of former defensive coordinators would have figured SOMETHING out by now to stop the bleeding against the pass and prevent one opponent after another from converting third and fourth downs at one of the highest rates in the country. They did not, and Aidan O’Connell might as well have been working against air most of the afternoon.Meanwhile, an offense that was short not only Jalen Nailor, but also LT Jarrett Horst and, unexpectedly, its reasonably-reliable kicker Matt Coghlin, threw down way too many extra possessions for Purdue after 3-and-outs. The Spartans were flagged for a ton of penalties, another recurring theme they can’t seem to get corrected.It would have been nice if the dream had at least survived to Ohio State, especially given the Buckeyes looked very mortal today. There’s still plenty left on the table if MSU can resolve its season-long issues, but nine games in you kind of are what you are: explosive but inconsistent on offense, prone to tons of penalties, and powerless to stop the pass on defense.

Penn State at Maryland | Penn State wins Totally Not a Rivalry Trophy, 31-14

Please submit your ideas for a potential trophy in the comments.

misdreavus79: There were half jokes about how Penn State was going to flip last season’s win sequence. And boy did Maryland do everything in their power to make that “0-4 after starting 5-0” joke come to fruition.

But alas, Sean Clifford and Johan Dotson had other plans. The former three for nearly four hundred yards, the latter went for almost 300 yards receiving, and the Nittany Lions actually ran the ball for more than 20 yards in what feels like an eternity.After three straight losses I’ll take a win no matter how it looks.

pkloa: I’m not sure how the crowd looked on television, but there were a lot of fans wearing blue and white. The entire visitor’s sideline was almost entirely Penn State fans, to the point the few Maryland fans near me seemed like the annoying guests who cheer obnoxiously when their team does something good. Shit, I guess that was actually me.Anyhow, the Lions went 1-0 on the week for the first time in a month. Feels good. Bring on Michigan and the Helmet Stripe Game.

Illinois at Minnesota | The Berts just keep on comin’ 14-6

He Was a HS QB: Illinois can only beat ranked teams on the road. Two weeks from now, Illinois takes on a ranked Iowa team in Kinnick. Hmmm. (For those of you saying what about Nebraska, Illinois didn’t win so much as get out of Nebraska’s way as they fired handguns repeatedly into both feet) I was critical of Brat being hired when it happened and he and Tony Petersen have made some baaaad decisions, but Illinois has already won three B1G games and has a shot for one more win. If Illinois had the 2020 non-con schedule (Bowling Green, UConn, FCS Illinois State) we would quite likely be 6-4 right now and making plans to spend the holidays in Detroit or some other exotic bowl locale. Before today, I thought Minnesota’s O-line was perhaps the best in the conference. I don’t really understand how both Illinois lines looked dominant against PSU, mediocre against rugster, and not quite PSU levels of dominance today, but the orange clad guys were better on both sides of the ball today. Ryan Walters is doing a tremendous job and I’m afraid he’ll be taking a head coaching gig somewhere sooner than I would like. Isaiah Gay and Owen Carney looked like future pros today.

thumpasaurus: Ryan Walters is a tremendous DC and we need to immediately up his salary. He had Tanner Morgan fucked up all day with the pressure even as key rushers went down. He took players that had been coached to suck out loud on defense for years and made the best Illini defense since 2015 with it. On the other side, Tony Petersen’s scripted shit worked wonders. While it would have been cool for them to keep the playbook open after the first two drives and try to do more than “eat clock going 3 and out,” the defense battled and battled all day. Even on the drive where they allowed a touchdown, they made enough plays to run down substantial chunks of clock. Blake Hayes was pretty unimpressive on the day until the moment he had to be great, and then he pinned them at the 1. They quickly got out of there, but Tanner Morgan heard footsteps yet again and threw it to the defense.Bret Bielema is the best first-year head coach since Lou Tepper. For a head coaching debut, this has been transcendent. It’s November and we’re not eliminated from bowl contention yet. That’s fucking astonishing. Out of the three games left on our schedule before today, this was the one I thought we had the least chance to win. We have a bye. Can we make it to Detroit?!?! ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE

WSR: So here we are again. That was ridiculous. As a friend said walking out of the stadium, that was a warm familiar jacket. The Gopher defense held a mediocre Illinois to 14 points and 265 yards, and the offense...well I have no idea what the offense did. The play calling was all over the place, I’m not sure if there were any adjustments, and the passing game for most of the day seemed to be to run 2 verts while hoping for a low-percentage catch or a pass interference. Just disgraceful.

Wisconsin at Rutgers | The West flexes, 52-3

MC ClapYoHandz: We’re throwing on first down! Praise Barry! Now credit for Wisconsin’s recent turnaround starts with the improved O-Line play, but it’s great to be wrong on play predictions every now and then. It says a lot about the effectiveness of said line, but also perhaps a slowly growing trust in Graham Mertz. Mertz has of course become a meme at this point, and he’s still good for a number of wild throws/decisions, but he seems to be putting together a couple more good throws each game and therefore getting a couple more opportunities each game. I think there’s still hope that he can reach his lofty potential as his career progresses.

The game was as lopsided as the score indicates as Wisconsin dominated both sides of the ball throughout. After a start in which the Badgers scoring 52 points for the season was in doubt, it’s refreshing to see the offense clicking more and more each week, and of course it’s great that the team got to play so close to Princeton, the birthplace of college football.

Some injury bummers throughout this one as an already depleted backfield saw another injury, this time to starting RB Chez Mellusi, the severity of which is unknown. Former Badger turned Scarlet Knight Aron Cruickshank suffered a concerning non-contact leg injury that hopefully isn’t serious, but again, non-contact. And scariest of all, true freshman RG Jack Nelson collapsed on the field and was down for some time. Thankfully he returned to the sideline, albeit in street clothes, and hopefully there is no long term issue at hand. Nelson is a former 5* recruit and considered the next great LT.

Iowa at Northwestern | Kirk and Pat’s Mediocre adventure, 17-12

Stewmonkey: Iowa is bad. Padilla replaced Petras due to ineffectiveness because of injury. Padilla was noticeably better than Petras has been pretty much all season. It did not matter. This offense has fundamental, systemic issues. It’s just broken and not looking to be fixed, at all. The defense is still very, very good. But the offense is just fucking terrible. And it has almost nothing to do with the players.

I want to mention that this game took extra time because of a protest some stupid students did at the end of the half that no one even attempted to stop. Hey, jNW, your game day experience is terrible. I know you already know that, but it also can’t go unsaid.

Abolish the jnwpd because they’re terrible at their jobs

Creighton: I’ve got three thoughts about the game I just watched:

  1. Kirk has zero interest in making his offense any better. It’s bad every year, but this year it’s been extra obvious because we’ve had the worst offensive line probably in my lifetime. Typically Iowa can lean on their defense while doing the bare minimum on offense through sheer brute force, but when you can’t run block and can’t pass protect the whole system breaks down. Kirk don’t care, in his mind it’s the execution and not the scheme. You’re going to see the exact same thing next week and the week after so buckle up, kiddos.
  2. Having said that, I guess I should thank my lucky stars that I’m not a Northwestern fan. For every horrible decision Iowa made, every time they fucked up something simple that a 15 year old playing Madden could have gotten right, every batshit insane example of choosing the worst possible option on the table, Pat Fitzgerald was able to one-up the Ferentz brain trust time and time again. Hats off to you Wildcats. There’s only like 40 of you, but you’re like the Navy SEALS of cheering for dumb coaches.
  3. I don’t know if I’ve seen the last snap of Spencer Petras in an Iowa uniform or not, but Iowa’s coaches have done him dirty. Whatever you want to say about the guy and how effective he’s been (or hasn’t been) for the Hawkeyes, he was never put in a position to succeed here. Bad play calls, dogshit schemes, no offensive line, never playing to his strengths.... What I’m trying to say is that he’s been thrown into a no-win situation and still went 12-4 somehow. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been on the “Give Alex Padilla a shot” express since last year, but the ceiling for this offense is so low that any QB you’ve got is going to repeatedly smack his head on it. I’ve seen enough of Spencer off the field to know that he’s one of the most likeable guys I’ve seen in a long time, and whatever the rest of his football career looks like after today I hope he crushes it.

LPW: Iowa is playing down to Northwestern’s level. I didn’t think that would happen. I thought we’d get our ass kicked. And then Marty throws a few interceptions. Eh. Oh well. This season is completely ridiculous. Pass the Malört

MNW: Imagine not covering against Northwestern.Northwestern is just terrible. Iowa is dogshit and deserves to be treated like dogshit—set ablaze on Kirk Ferentz’s doorstep on Halloween.

Indiana at Michigan | The Milkman Cometh, 29-7

RMB: I expected Michigan to be down after last week’s utterly predictable loss to Sparty. In fact, Michigan was...exactly who Michigan is this year. A team that really wants to run the ball, and is good enough to do so against a team that lacks talent or is just really banged up. Michigan kicked three field goals as drives stalled in the red zone. Michigan is a pretty predictable team now, especially compared to other teams in the big10. Only question now is will we get to 9 wins.

BuffKomodo: It’s over. The most hyped Indiana Hoosier season in recent memory is officially over. There will be no bowl. I assume the bucket will reside in West Lafayette. There probably won’t be a B1G win. Indiana seems determined to get their promising freshman QB hurt by plunging him directly into the line. We throw to the TEs so much because our true WR are complete trash. The defense has all but given up. Basketball starts on Tuesday at 6:30 so at lease we have something to look forward to.

Candystripes: Sure is a good thing we beat Michigan last year, because clearly that’s not gonna happen again in my lifetime, probably. Nice of Indiana to decide that one year away from being the suckiest college football program to ever exist was too many, and that regressing all the fucking way back to the mean had to happen immediately afterwards. If Nick Sheridan is employed by Indiana in the 2022 football season, something has gone completely and utterly wrong.