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Sunday Morning Coming Down // Week 5

Greetings from the Shire


Your humble writer is enjoying a weekend of low adventure in Somerset, where a man can buy 25kg of potatoes for £10. Not saying I took the offer, but if you happen to know any great recipes for potatoes please drop them in the comments.

Buttger at Ohio State | Thought this would be worse, 49-10.

GF3: Closest Greg Schiano has come to running a good defense.

Maximum Sam: I see some disappointment among the Buckeye faithful for not annihilating Rutgers by 100 points, but I thought they looked fine. The defense was once again strong, giving up fewer than 200 yards. C.J. Stroud missed a few throws on a windy day, but other than that it was another day of steamroller meeting the pavement. Plus we got the coaches fighting, which is always fun.

Illinois at Wisconsin | Bert jumps around on Wisconsin’s corpse, 34-10

HWAHSQB: I don’t even know how to act tonight. I’m just stunned. My daughter who is a sophomore in college wasn’t born yet the last time Illinois won at Camp Randall. Perhaps this isn’t the same old Illinois. Fucking A, man. Fucking A

Kind of..: I picked Wisconsin to win because, well, habit, but I had a bad feeling about the game. Not as bad as I should have though. Dear lord was that awful. Unlike a lot of people I don’t really hate Bielema because there are lots of asshole coaches out there, and plenty of them are successful, so he’s far from unique. In fact, I am on the record as having thought Bielema was a home run hire for Illinois. When he’s your coach, you get a team that is fundamentally sound and knows it’s identity. That sounds nice. I used to know what that was like.

Thumpasaurus: IT’S HAPPENING

beezer07: Just dog crap play by wisconsin start to finish. Can’t tackle, can’t block, and can’t run an offense without committing multiple penalties per quarter. At BEST wisconsin is the third worst team in this division

Michigan at Iowa | Michigan looks less impressive by the week, 27-14

Creighton: Iowa’s offense is just as bad as they were at the start of the season, but nothing is going to change so idk what you want me to say. I’m not claiming that everyone calling for Spencer Petras to be benched is wrong, but you could bench him for the rest of the year and there would only be a marginal difference in how well we play. We’ll be lucky to finish 6-6. Fire Brian Ferentz, etc etc.

stewmonkey13: Michigan has two competent sides of the ball, Iowa has one. That’s really all that needs to be said about the game.

stewmonkey13: Ok, apparently I can’t help myself.


17 total plays in the first half for the Iowa offense. (edited)


And if you think this is as easy as pinning it on Brian or Petras, buddy where the hell have you been for the last twenty years?

RockyMtnBlue: We’re almost halfway through the season and I still don’t know who this team is. The defense mostly looks good, but sometimes gets pushed around by Iowa’s demonstrably D2-level offensive line. The offense looks good for a while and then disappears for a quarter at a time. It was great to get Edwards and Keegan back, and those guys matter, but Michigan continues to miss Nikhai Hill-Green in a big way. 5-0 is a nice thing to have. A win at Kinnick is a REALLY nice thing to have. Don’t know if we’ll beat any of the States, but I’ll take it so far.

Northwestern at Penn State | Lions win the battle of who can care less, 17-7

87townie: Penn State played down to its opponent. They gave Northwestern the ball on five turnovers. All three of our backs fumbled. All everything running back Nicholas Singleton coughed it up twice. And they got no help from their quarterback. Clifford was so inaccurate he couldn’t hit water falling out of a boat. His stat line was 10 of 20 for 140 yards, one touchdown and a pick. Yes it was raining. That didn’t stop Northwestern’s Hilinski from throwing for 210 yards. But he was also hitting his receivers. If Northwestern’s offense had a pulse, they would’ve won this in a rout.

All that ranting aside, I love what Manny Diaz brought to the defense. It’s wild. And sometimes it’s all or nothing. But as he recruits and coaches up these players, his style of chaos is going to be really fun to watch.

misdreavus79: If you didn’t watch the game, you’d be inclined to believe this to be the reason why:

Other than Ohio State, is there a team that Northwestern cannot pull down into a rock fight left on the schedule? Penn State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Maryland, Purdue, Illinois, Minnesota....all appear susceptible to being dragged into a rock fight. Hell, I expect James Franklin’s clock management to be an issue in Happy Valley when Northwestern visits

The game was indeed a rock fight, but Pat Fitzgerald and James Franklin had nothing to do with it. The Nittany Lions turned the ball over a whopping five times in this contest. All three running backs who played —Keyvone Lee, Kaytron Allen, and Nicholas Singleton, turned the ball over at least once, with the latter coughing it up twice. A Sean Clifford interception gave the Nittany Lions its fifth turnover of the game. The last time Penn State had five turnovers in a game, they lost the 2011 Outback Bowl to Urban Meyer’s last Florida team.

The biggest difference in the game is that, while Penn State coughed it up five times, Northwestern had their own turnover issues. The Wildcats got zero points off the turnovers. The Nittany Lions, however, scored both of their touchdowns in this game off the Northwestern miscues.

So yes, C.E. Bell, this game was a rock fight. But James Franklin isn’t the easy scapegoat this time around. That said, the prophecy is now fulfilled. Northwestern has lost the requisite game to an East opponent on the road. Northwestern has lost all their non-conference games. All that’s left is for them to:

Other than Ohio State, is there a team that Northwestern cannot pull down into a rock fight left on the schedule? Penn State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Maryland, Purdue, Illinois, Minnesota....all appear susceptible to being dragged into a rock fight. Hell, I expect James Franklin’s clock management to be an issue in Happy Valley when Northwestern visits, at this point, and Graham Mertz and the curse of Wisconsin visiting Evanston to strike on Homecoming for Northwestern.

and the West is theirs.

LincolnParkWildcat: This is like goddamn Groundhog Day. Same shit. Different week. Our defense came to play (five takeaways! ) but offense pissed the game away. Yeah yeah, rain was a great equalizer, but still. Ugh. Fitz, please leave Bajakian in State college.

MNWildcat: Down 14, the Northwestern defense was doing yeoman’s work (for a change) and forced Penn State into 3rd and 9 at their own 40 with :35 to go in the first half.With two timeouts, Pat Fitzgerald opted to let the clock run out and go into halftime.

Not only is Northwestern beset by an offense not good enough (outside Evan Hull and Donny Navarro) to execute more than once or twice a game, its coach actively does not believe in their ability to do so or, indeed, even want to give them the chance to try.

And so these losses will continue. First-place Northwestern will reign one weekend more, then slide into irrelevance until 2026, when they inaugurate New Ryan Field by losing to Duke by three scores as an Evanston resident writes an angry letter to the editor that they licked a parking meter and got giardia and it is Northwestern’s fault.

Purdue at Minnesota | The boat was never watertight, 20-10

WhiteSpeedReceiver: Man, what the fuck? I’m happy to have been distracted by a 7-3 demolition by Kid1’s soccer team today in which she got an assist while playing keeper and then a goal when they moved her outfield in the 2nd half and wasn’t paying attention to the first half’s Gopher offense, because I probably would have thrown my iPad.

Just a horseshit effort offensively when the defense adjusted after the Purdue script to play just fine. Fuck.

BoilerUp89: If you told me before the game that Purdue would have 3 turnovers, O’Connell would throw for less than 200 yards, and Purdue would win by 10 points I would have told you that you were insane. Yet here we are. Purdue punched in 2 rushing touchdowns, had zero passing touchdowns and the defense was pretty fantastic with the exception of some open receivers at times.

We are only two conference games in, but the West division is shaping up to be super fun. Next week’s Purdue - Turtles is all of a sudden, a very important game. Can Purdue’s secondary hold up against Maryland? I kind of doubt it, but if they do, I might start to believe. Until then, the B1G West is still a lot of fun! Never get rid of these divisions! Just add USC to the East and UCLA to the West

Indiana at Nebraska | Nebraska finally wins Clownshow of the Week, 35-21

BigRedTwice: First, the most important thing: SUCK IT, REST OF QUADRANGLE! FINALLY, we get the full richness of schadenfreude. Historic and noteworthy as a full-QoH loss would be, this was better.Unreal. I didn’t see that coming. Well, some of it I did: Nebraska predictably injected avoidable chaos into the proceedings to make things just a little harder than they needed to be. defense actually performed well at times (in that they had several three-and-outs and even sometimes tackled players on the other team), and while the offense had a more inconsistent performance, they found enough to get it done, and actually had a few really nice plays. Special teams was not a disaster, and in fact turned in a really critical blocked punt for a TD early in the game. Although it was messy, and #69 (who “by his actions has ejected himself from the game” in the immortal words of the ref) was a moron, I was impressed overall with the effort and energy the Huskers displayed tonight— given recent events, they could have gone fully off the rails. But they played hard, were fired up, and got the W! First conference win in eight tries, so that’s good. (Not the seven-game conference losing streak part. The winning a game part.)Plenty of room for improvement, of course— the penalty situation was BLEAK. There were a combined 20 penalties before the 4th quarter. And yes, Indiana is not a heavyweight. But for a team that has struggled against all comers for so long... it feels really good to see one go our way.

jessecollins: Look, it wasn’t always pretty but the whole “we are gonna try and simplify everything and just have players fly to the ball,” shtick sorta worked. Outside of two possessions late in the second quarter - one right after Turner Corcoran decided he didn’t want to play - the defense did pretty good. The penalties were hella dumb but Anthony Grant ran strong and the Casey Thompson to Tre Palmer for long catches play worked all night. It was nice to win! On a day where the quadrangle had a bad day, I’m taking this as a win.

Dead Red: Well, I’ll be damned. We won?

BuffKomodo: Indiana sucks and I’m not sure who to blame yet. The path to 6 wins looks much bleaker. Tom Allen continues to coach in such a manner that results in the most undisciplined program in America. Good thing that massive contract will last until the middle part of this decade.

Michigan State at Maryland | September Maryland gets a 1-day extension, 27-13

Larry31: Since joining the B1G in 2014, MD has lost 6 out of 7 games against MSU. So, winning against MSU, even when MSU is struggling, is something to be celebrated.

In what is becoming a recurring theme, the defense allowed some early scores. But, shut out MSU in the 2nd half, and only allowed 12 yards in the 3rd quarter. Nice.

The offense did it’s thing except…..

When Antoine Littleton busted a 62-yard run the the MSU 2 yard line for a first and goal from the 2, MD couldn’t punch it in in four tries turning the ball over on downs. Woof! But, credit to MSU. A lot of fight during that goal line stand.

Always Krankyski: I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a less-complementary team than 2022 Michigan State. The defense once again yielded two long scoring drives on the opponent’s first two possessions, but this time the offense was game to keep pace for a bit - until they missed a short field goal, and then later a PAT, and then later had ANOTHER field goal blocked as they inexplicably switched between kickers. MSU’s offensive playcalling finally made some sense as they went pass-first...and their receivers utterly failed to rise to the occasion, as I counted nine drops including four by erstwhile #1 Jayden Reed. And, once the offense started spinning its wheels, the defense actually started to find some traction, but too late to make 13 points late in the 4th quarter stand up.

It’s now clear that last year was basically 2017 all over again - a mirage of a best-case scenario hiding that this roster just isn’t very good. Throw in a total of five injured defensive starters and a scheme that the rest of them plainly just don’t understand yet, and you get this. I’ve seen a lot of people in my fanbase point out that in 2009, Pat Narduzzi’s defenses were similarly getting immolated, but because the staff had patience and faith, they were rewarded with a 6-year stretch of the best defense the school has ever played. I think that’s a harder sell in the transfer portal era, as this staff hasn’t had to wait for the previous regime’s incompatible players to cycle out; indeed, the 50-something transfers out and few dozen transfers in mean this roster should more or less be what the coaches want. But it’s made up of a defensive line that can’t get pressure, linebackers who aren’t used to blitz but are also weak in coverage, and defensive backs who often aren’t on screen when the catch is made.

I will say this - let this be a lesson to do the thing, celebrate the good team while you have the chance! Having shelled out to attend the Peach Bowl after not having the ability to get to the milestone games in 2013-15, that might have been the last oasis for a bit here. Anyway, I’ve rarely been as excited to not be able to watch MSU’s next game. Buckeyes, you’ll make it quick, I trust.