A couple of weeks ago I posted an article with a historical bent grounded in amazement that Illinois and Nebraska were once both good in football at the same time (1983).
I also indicated that I was hoping to do a historical piece each week that focused on noteworthy results (10 or more years ago) from several of that week’s matchups.
Then, last week, I didn’t have power from Wed. night to just before kickoff on Saturday.
Undeterred, I am back. Before we dive into this week, here’s what you missed out on last week:
Ohio State @ Minnesota: Minnesota on has two wins over OSU in my lifetime. I was going to discuss the 1981 victory over OSU and that fact that, somehow, in a year where Minnesota was sub .500 in conference play, they still beat both of the Big Ten’s co-champions (OSU and Iowa). Regardless, Gopher QB Mike Hohensee had himself a day: 37 of 67 for 444 yards and 5 TDs. For Ohio State, I had the 1999 game cued up. That was a mighty good Minnesota team. They went 5-3 in conference play, losing to UW in OT, Purdue by 5 points, and OSU by three (all at home). Ohio State went 6-6 and missed the postseason, yet somehow remained a thorn in Minnesota’s side.
Michigan State at Northwestern: I wanted to highlight just how often this matchup provides big moments and/or offensive explosions. To prove how many good examples there are, I was NOT going to consider the 2001 Wildcat Hail Mary victory or MSU’s 2006 all-time comeback. After all, there is still the glorious Wildcat victory in 2007 (48-41, 1100 yards of offense!) and Sparty’s 2010 victory, which feature a 21-3 4th quarter keying a multiple score comeback.
Penn State @ Wisconsin: Lately, this matchup has occurred late in the season, but there have been some very good early season showdowns. In 1995 Wisconsin went to Happy Valley and ended PSU’s 20-game winning streak. In 2002 Penn State came to Madison and defeated the 5-0 Badgers 34-31.
Indiana @ Iowa: Gotta elaborate a bit here. Back-to-back games. In 1987, #11 Indiana came to Iowa City 4-0 in Big Ten play, leading the conference. Iowa won a pretty fun game. They dominated the early going, but then watched Indiana turn a 13-0 deficit into a 21-20 lead behind a backup quarterback. However Iowa rallied for a 29-21 win, knocking the Hoosiers out of first. In 1988, Iowa came to Bloomington with a 2-0-2 conference record (they would go on to tie a third conference game), which basically translated to 3-1 and a second place tie with the 3-1 Hoosiers. Anthony Thompson has an early fumble, but Indiana held on 4th down. From that point, Indiana dominated the first half, racing out to a 35-3 lead. Then Chuck Hartlieb went to work, cutting the lead to 35-11 at halftime and 35-26 at the end of the third quarter. Iowa made it a one score game at 42-34, before Indiana put it away, 45-34. For the day, Anthony Thompson had 47 carries, but nobody really noticed because Hartlieb went 44-60 for 558 yards.
But that was last week, so no video links or youtube embeds. If you have BTN+ you can find a few of these in their archives. On to this week:
[I’m only going to focus on one game per matchup this week, both because this is already getting long and because these are nonconference matchups.]
Washington @ Michigan: There’s the back to back Rose Bowls where, first, Steve Emtman and company throttled Heisman winner Desmond Howard and, second, Michigan won a shootout behind Tyrone Wheatley’s 200+ yds and 4 TDs. There’s also the 2001-2002 home-and-home (23-18 Washington in Seattle and 31-29 in Ann Arbor). But let’s go way back to, again, 1983. #8 Michigan heads to Seattle and holds a 24-10 fourth quarter lead over the #16 Huskies. After seeing the lead cut in half, Michigan put together a drive, but missed a short FG with just under four minutes to play that would have put the Wolverines ahead 27-17. Washington, behind QB Steve Pelluer, scored, opted to go for the win, and connected, winning 25-24.
Rutgers @ Syracuse: Two-point conversions treated Rutgers worse than they did Washington. In 1994, Doug Graber had the Scarlet Knights off to a 2-0 start, but the Carrier Dome had always been a House of Horrors for Rutgers, and 1994 would be no different. Despite outgaining Syracuse 540-269, Rutgers committed two critical fourth-quarter fumbles and saw a 30-24 lead turn into a 37-30 deficit. Ray Lucas led a last-minute drive and, trailing 37-36, Graber didn’t hesitate to go for the win. Alas, Lucas completed the conversation to Reggie Funderburk, but he was stopped at the 1-yard line. Unfortunately there does not seem to be video from the game. So...fine Rutgers fans, here’s the video for the 38-7 win in 2006. Live it up and hope the glory days are back:
Illinois @ Virginia: Like most of you, I worry about Thump. So let’s focus on an Illini victory. In 1999, the B1G was absolutely loaded. Seven teams went bowling, the conference went 5-2 (should’ve been 6-1, could’ve been 7-0) and they all ended ranked. Illinois was 3-3 when they upset #9 Michigan in Ann Arbor on their way to ending the regular season 7-4. This earned them a bid to the MicronPC.com Bowl (now the Cheez-It Bowl) where they faced a Virginia Cavalier squad who also turned a 3-3 start into a 7-4 regular season behind an offense that caught fire. It was supposed to be a shootout and, with 84 points scored, it was. However, it was also a blowout as Illinois scored 63 of those points, including a dominating 42-7 first half. One of those first half TDs came on a pass FROM Brandon Lloyd TO Kurt Kittner. That opened Illinois’ lead to 21-7 and it was never close again:
El Assico: Many of you know the story, but the 2002 game was electric. Neither team was ranked, but Iowa State would rise to #9 before stumbling down the stretch and Iowa, of couse, would go 11-2/8-0 and finish #8. The Hawkeyes surged to a 24-7 halftime lead before Seneca Wallace and the Cyclones ripped off 29 straight to go up 36-24. Iowa scored late to cut it to 36-31, but was unable to recover the onside kick and Iowa State won their fifth straight in the rivalry, with Dan McCarney moving to 4-0 vs. Kirk Ferentz. While this loss cost Iowa an undefeated regular season, and extended their in-state misery, the Hawkeyes are 12-5 in the rivalry since, with Ferentz sporting a 4-0 record against Matt Campbell.
Enjoy the games tomorrow!