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Sunday Morning Coming Down // Week 4

This Is Fine

Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Ten B1G Things

  1. Wisconsin was favored by 6.5 pts
  2. The Coan-nisters send their regards
  3. We should all be deeply suspicious of the pundits who think they could only find 4 teams better than Iowa in the whole country
  4. Parker Washington is more impressive than Jahan Dotson
  5. Was this because Rutgers is good? Or because Michigan bad? Ours is not to reason why...
  6. This is very clearly the year Michigan beats Ohio State, without a shred of doubt
  7. Finally, the real NU beat the real OU
  8. Illinois and Purdue fans work in depression and self-loathing the way the great masters worked in oils and marble
  9. How soon can we start a “Scott Frost Fired” betting pool?
  10. No, seriously, can we please agree that he had extremely good fortune at UCF and will never, ever come close to replicating it at UN-L?
  11. Even with this debacle against BGSU, PJ Fleck has shown himself to be a much more capable program-builder and in-game coach than Frost
  12. Then again, mediocrity never got any of the lesser Ferentzes sent packing, so maybe that’s how the West works
  13. This season looks to be shaping up about as poorly as possible
  14. But at least Clemson sucks now, for which we are all thankful

The Rundown

Notre Dame at Wisconsin | LOL Wisconsin, LOL Wisconsin! 41-13

I briefly assumed this might be a game. It was not. Paul Chryst seems to have lost whatever offensive moxie he once had, and Graham Mertz is—at best—not improving. The West belongs to Iowa this year, dicktrips notwithstanding.

Beezer07: Wisconsin’s defense remains excellent but Mertz at QB and Chryst at offensive play caller and Rudolph at O Line coach are getting worse by the game. Wisconsin would have been 30-55% more likely to win this game if they’d direct snapped to the Rb every play because Mertz is actively and repeatedly hurting the team. Woof. PS; This was before Mertz’s 3rd INT and 2nd pick 6. Lol.

MC ClapYoHandz: 4th! 4th INT! Give the man credit

Beezer07: Oh dang. And his 3rd pick 6 right?

MC ClapYoHandz: Only 2nd there, it’s still non-conference though, plenty of time to find his final form

Colorado State at Iowa | Dabbling with a dicktrip, 24-14

Thank heaven for fumbles inside the 10 yard line leading to game-tying TDs, lest the Hawkeyes lose their way-too-high ranking.

Stewmonkey13: Is Iowa the 5th best team in the country? Almost certainly not. But who is toss year? Also, I’m going to try and not really care, as should you. Iowa slogged their way to a win against a mostly putrid CSU, and winning is better than losing, even ugly. I’m tired of bemoaning Spencer Petras’s limitations, they’re numerous and obvious. It also looks like they’re not gonna go away to any significant extent. So I’m just gonna be happy he’s arguably the best QB in the division. The defense and special teams are great, but they can only take you so far, and the offense is a dumpster fire. But again, it doesn’t look like that’ll matter much this year. It’s a god Iowa team in a down year for the division and I’ll be happy to take advantage.

Villanova at Penn State | Lions defeat in-state sports powerhouse, 38-17

That sport is basketball.

This game was so bad, none of our esteemed “writers” even commented on it. I guess that’s to be expected when your team averages 2.4 yards per carry against Villanova.

Update: late-breaking opinion from PSU luminary...

pkloa: Penn State beat FCS Villanova, but did not cover the spread. A few missed opportunities on defense, some garbage time scores, and a glaring lack of a running game made the final score closer than it should have been.Clifford became the first Penn State QB to throw for 400 yards on American soil. Jahan Dotson and Parker Washington had 265 yards and three TDs between them. Reserve DB Marquis Wilson played both sides of the ball in the 4th, showing off his ability to get yards after the catch. RB John Lovett was serviceable.The Villanova fans showed up well and the Wildcats played hard. Everyone in the stadium was glad to hear Tyler Will was alert and moving.

Rutgers at Michigan | Harbz nearly Hokes, 20-14

I keep seeing comments about how this is the year Michigan will finally beat Ohio State. I’m not an expert on American Football, per se, but I might want to see more than 275 yards of total offense against Rutgers before making that bold prediction.

RMB: Well it was fun for a couple possessions. Two plays into the second quarter Michigan led 14-3, with touchdowns on both possessions. It looked pretty much like the first three games. And then Rutgers said “you must beat us through the air!”. Michigan replied “Nah.” We got 5 first downs and 3 points the rest of the game (almost 45 minutes of play). Against Rutgers. At home. I expected Lucy to pull the football next week. She showed up 3 quarters early.

Ohio at Northwestern | Cats get it together, 35-6

MNW: Cats avoided the transitive loss to Duquesne. The same problems abound, namely bad tackling and slowness in the linebacking corps, questionable quarterbacking play, and a ninth-year kicker who still can’t hit a 24-yard field goal consistently. Northwestern’s running backs are good at beating bad teams.I hope Andrew Marty is healthy. Edit: he’s not. This is great!

Illinois at Purdue | Indiana #2 ascendant, 13-9

BoilerUp89: So... that game happened. Just like I predicted in the predicto, “... the Boilers to win but it might not be pretty.” Things I liked this week: Yaseen’s emergence as the next WR up in Purdue’s stable. The defense. Pay Brad Lambert, Mark Hagen, and the rest of the defensive staff all the monies. I know the Illinois offense isn’t the best (and neither is Oregon State’s, UConn’s, or ND’s) but the defense looks so much better and is consistently attempting to do the right things. Sure they get beat from time to time, but they have clearly been taught how to play. Things I didn’t like this week: The offensive line. Plummer not making throws he was completely capable of making. More injuries on a roster lacking depth (although apparently we have some at WR). At the end of the day, it’s a win and the march towards a 5 win season continues. Maybe they get lucky and get 6. Or injuries add up and they don’t win any more games. Next week: Gophers - another B1G West team that looks awful. I think the Gophers win as Purdue isn’t going to magically get healthy in a week. Hopefully the bye week after that gives Purdue some time to get healthy before losing to Wisconsin. Oh and I almost forgot - only 45 days til basketball season!

Thump: Our coach was a coward and an idiot.

I feel like I watched a less fun version of last week’s game. Illinois got some breaks that seemed less lucky than last time, such as Kerby Joseph’s end zone pick. The defense did a great job preparing and executing, with the notable exception of dropping 8 on every third down even when it was apparent that slight pressure disrupted O’Connell substantially

They weren’t going to keep stopping them all game, especially not with a three man rush on passing downs. Bret Bielema called a timeout on 4th and 2 from the Purdue 36 with a one score lead late in the fourth quarter. This was to make sure the offense wouldn’t run a play and to make sure his team could punt. On Josh McCray’s next carry, he dragged the entire Purdue defense six yards. 5 games down, 43 to go.

He Was a HS QB: As far as Illinois goes, it was Groundhog Day. After pooching a punt to Maryland deep in the 4th quarter last week to watch them march downfield, we faced another 4th and short even deeper in opponents territory and punted again. Predictably, Purdue marched downfield and won the game. The worst part, Bert said he didn’t kick a FG because McCourt missed from 51 out last time. Earlier in the game, he hit from 54 which was his 7th career 50 yard FG, an Illinois record. Despite that, one miss taught Bert that McCourt couldn’t be trusted. On the other hand, Bert failed to go for it on 4th and short and said he would punt in that situation 100 times in a row so apparently, he’ll never learn that lesson. I guess I shouldn’t say never. We’ve got 2 down, 98 to go. Fuck it all. Maybe we’ll hire a good coach in 2025? Probably not. Realistically, I’ll probably only live long enough to see 4 or maybe 5 more hires at Illinois. Given that the last 7 have been miserable failures, it’s time for me to face the fact that I’ll likely never see good football from Illinois before I die.

Nebraska at Michigan State | Sparty survives, Nebraska suffers, 23-20

Alabama Krumbcake: OK, feels like the heart rate’s roughly back to normal. If last week’s coaching performance before and during the game was a traditional masterpiece, this week was straight brutalism. The first half was pretty evenly matched, but after halftime, Nebraska got a handle on its penalties and came after MSU’s run game so effectively that the Spartans managed FIVE total yards in the third and fourth quarters. In that context, it was a heroic effort by the defense to hold Nebraska to the same 10 points after the half that they managed before it. Jayden Reed was the entire-ass offense for MSU, between catching their only offensive TD and cracking their first punt return TD in TEN YEARS. Defensively, Jacob Slade, Jeff Pietrowski, and Jacub Panasiuk balled out up front to make Martinez and company earn it.For a team that’s not a Playoff contender, it really is ‘how many’ more than ‘how,’ but with a live-wire Western Kentucky offense coming in for homecoming, there’s plainly still a lot of work to do as the Miami afterglow faded quickly.

BRT: Well... that hurt. I tried not to get my hopes up when the Huskers took the lead. I really tried. I know this team, after all.And in the end, they were who we thought we were: a team that no; isn’t actually that bad (except for its horrifying special teams), but that absolutely REFUSES to get out of its own way. I don’t know how to fix that. And clearly, neither does Scott Frost.I did think we’d lose by missing a field goal though, so I guess it’s nice there are still surprises in the world.

Dead_Read: In terms of confidence, there is a fragility about this program. Offensive line errors and mental mistakes continue to plague the Huskers. Martinez missed a bunch of reads in the pass game. Special teams put the final nail in Nebraska’s coffin. Rinse. Repeat. (edited)

Jessecollins: So... Two things. 1) it’s probably true we are on the cusp of not sucking, and the reality is losing 15/20 one possession games - shit, much less having 20 one possession games - is just a sign of wins / losses being such an incredibly razor thin margin. But, when you invite these situations, teams with discipline win. Teams that focus on things like “punt coverage” win. The defense did its job and Martinez - despite the mistakes - did his job. The team just did the dumb things at the worst time. Which leads me to my second point... 2) Is this fixable? Nebraska is a wholly mediocre team but they aren’t trash by any means. They just don’t play full, focused games. It’s incredible and it’s really the thing you gotta wonder with Frost. The gameplan was good. Playcalling - for the most part -ade sense. Defense was actually good. I dunno, it was like one mistake that cost them the entire game. But that one mistake ended them too. How wild is that? And, how do you fix that? Play better? Sure, but I don’t know how you play better minus the one play. Anyhow, 2-3 and I guess everything is meaningless.

Bowling Green at Minnesota | Gophers Goophed Up, 14-10

WSR: I do not have the profanities to describe how I feel right now.

Two Hours Later

The more I think about it, the more this is the most disappointing loss I’ve ever seen as a Gopher fan. There’s no excuse for Fleck to continue to treat non-conference games against non-P5 opponents as a chance to tune up his Tresselball and run continually into an 8 man box so many times in a row you’d think it was performance art. The defense deserved far better than that, holding BGSU to under 200 yards of offense and only had 2 bad plays. But gambling on a 4th and 1 on our own 29 yard line bit us in the ass hard, and that’s just a perfect encapsulation of the game. The offense did not do enough to deserve to win today. The playcalling from Mike Sanford was absolute horseshit, the OL wasn’t effective, the WRs weren’t getting open, and Tanner Morgan had his worst game. All that adds together to a home loss to a team that was a 31 point underdog. Completely unacceptable.

Kent State at Maryland | Maryland makes it 4-0, 37-16

Good job, Terps. *Maryland hubris loading*

Indiana at Western Kentucky | Indiana proves it is slightly better than Tier 2 Kentucky, 33-31

Army beat WKU by more than Indiana did. Just saying.

BuffKomodo: This was a pretty nice game overall for Indiana. Yeah, you expect to beat Western Kentucky by more than 2. Yeah, the defense seemed to be off against a very good offense. Yeah, you settled for 4 field goals. You still won the game.The offensive line played better tonight. Penix looked more competent and dare I say good. The game was managed actually pretty well.The receivers continue to drop balls. Fryfogle has been bad all year and his drops continued today. Mathews going down was not ideal either. Mullen looked like he got dinged up a couple times.Indiana has met bare minimum expectations and advances to week 5 at 2-2. A completely foreseen possibility. Let’s see how next week goes.Also, I got to meet Thump in person, so that was another highlight moment of the weekend. Wonderful to meet you. Sorry Purdue couldn’t suck more.

Akron at Ohio State | OSU bounces back against local patsy, 59-7

There was actually a lot to like in this game for Buckeye fans, with starter C.J. Stroud sitting out due to injury. True FR Kyle McCord went 13/18 for 319 yards with one INT and 2 TDs. There have been worse debuts under center in Ohio State (pause to remember Joe Bauserman). The return of a number of defensive starters was nice, but this is still 1-win Akron we’re talking about here.