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Sunday Morning Coming Down // Week 6

Illinois is gonna win the West, aren’t they?

Iowa v Illinois Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Ten B1G Things

  1. The B1G West is now fully weaponized with the completion of a game in which punts outnumbered points.
  2. MSU’s leading rusher had 9 yards, which is actually greater than the team total of 7.
  3. Remember when good teams feared MSU?
  4. OSU won’t have a single ambulatory running back by week 8 at this rate
  5. Didn’t foresee Marvin Harrison Jr. as the standout threat among WRs but here we are
  6. One wonders how long Michigan can keep putting up pedestrian performances and remain in the top 4
  7. Imagine if Indiana didn’t self-sabotage in every game. Just ponder that New World Order.
  8. IneLOLigible LOLineman DownfieLOLd on MaryLOLand
  9. Tagavailoa is actually maturing into one of those guys who could become a franchise QB in the NFL despite languishing in obscurity in college
  10. Rutgazzzzz has “FTC” on their helmets and it’s the most amusing attempt at spirit since “Row the boat”. (Please submit alternate Rutgers helmet slogans in the comments)
  11. The two-play series of INT and TD pass is the single best period of Nebraska football this year
  12. Has Northwestern given up? Northwestern has given up
  13. Poor Paul Chryst just couldn’t hang on for this jNU ego boost
  14. For the third time this year, Iowa has managed to score fewer than 10 points in a game, and there will be no consequences for this

The Rundown

Nebraska at Rutgazzz | Huskers lightly pillage defenseless coastal town, 14-13

Jesse Collins: Nebraska won two conference games in a row, and one of them was a road game. Sure, it was one of the ugliest games you’ll watch, and sure, it was a fairly downtrodden Rutgers coached by a guy who definitely has no idea what he’s doing offensively, but it was a win. After years of close losses where Nebraska gets patted on the head for it’s tenacity, I’m pumped to get an ugly as hell win. It’s true. Ugly wins >> Pretty losses

BRT: If you can’t tackle, you won’t win many games. That’s especially true when your offense takes entire games off. Nebraska lost to Rutgers, and deserved to do so. I didn’t see the second half, because life is too short and not very sweet even without football, but assume it went about like the first half. It is a dark time in Husker Nation, but presumably it made things a lot brighter for the rest of the Quadrangle after last weekend.

Edit: OK, I’ve been reliably informed that we won, and now lead the Big Ten West. It sounds as though there is ample shame to go around, and that this game (and its officiating crew) has earned a spot in the Hall of Infamy. But you know what they say... sometimes you’re good, and sometimes you’re playing Rutgers. (edited)

dead_read: Nebraska won ugly, but they won. They could have turtled down 13-0 at half, but they did not. One team made dumbfounding game management decisions, but it wasn’t Nebraska. Mickey Joseph has a two game conference win streak after his first three games. Frost won back-to-back conference times exactly once in his four year tenure. Nebraska still is not good, but they are improved. Ample room for growth remains. GBR.

Ohio State at Michigan State | A tuneup in East Lansing, 49-20

GF3: 13 of the 20 points came through OSU’s bumbling (pick-6 and spotting MSU 30 yds on penalties on one possession). Without that, I don’t think Sparty finds the endzone before the scrubs come in on defense. It would be great if an Ohio State running back could make it more than one week at a time without some crippling injury. Or if Jaxon Smith-Njigba could ever make it back (though at this point what difference could he hope to make?). Here’s to a week off in which no one gets injured or a DUI. Touch wood.

MaximumSam: There was a point in the OSU game where the Buckeyes had roughly 600 yards of offense and Sparty had around 100. My twitter feed was full of takes about how the Buckeye corners are trash and the secondary coach is a bum. Never change, Ohio State fans/media.

Apathetic Kwitsearlyski: Four weeks in a row now, I’ve written this at halftime, because it’s the same shit every week; this time, MSU got the ball first, so the sequence was slightly different, but it’s all the same shit.

Offense wastes early downs trying to run between the tackles with guys who are not Kenneth Walker III and therefore cannot make something out of the nothing this god-awful offensive line gives them. Payton Thorne visibly feels the pressure to carry the offense and try to be Peyton Manning, except he’s not, so he turns it over (multiple times eventually but usually only once at first). A receiver group that should be the strength of the team murders at least one drive with a drop.

And, the ceiling covered with spikes descending as the MSU offense tries to navigate the labyrinth to a winning level of production, a defense which still cannot get a stop as long as the opponent is trying. Perhaps that’s not technically true, as a Stroud miscue gave Chuck Brantley the easiest pick six you’ll ever see, but on the rest of its 1st-half drive, OSU was yet another opponent to go without punting, cashing its other 5 possessions without much discernible effort.

This was a defense that was bad when it was healthy, and was without 6 players at kickoff, and then lost another one (get well, Jaden Mangham). I can’t imagine Mel Tucker is going to tie himself to Scottie Hazelton, a coordinator he has no prior history with before hiring him in 2020, but as much as someone has to go, this year has just been a reminder of how badly the program’s talent base has eroded. Reportedly MSU had a ton of excellent prospects in the building today, and the pitch is pretty simple: kid, look how bad we need you.

Baby shower was a great success though! Which means I can turn this off and go try to un-Tetris my living room now.

Michigan at Indiana | Michigan does less than expected, more than needed, 31-10

Brian Gillis: For the second week in a row, Michigan methodically turned back a conference foe, extending it undefeated season. A week after exorcising its Iowa City demons, Michigan overcame its worse half of the season and ultimately pulled away from Indiana, prevailing 31-10. The victory improves Michigan’s record to 5-0, but will no doubt not silence its critics, who’ll point to the the lack of style points in Michigan’s victories. And true, the Wolverines weren’t exactly firing on all cylinders all day, but the Wolverines turned things around in the second half and ultimately prevailed against a game Indiana team on the road.

For Michigan, the fun part of the season now begins. And with Penn State and Michigan State waiting in the wings, the former using its off week to tune up for the Wolverines, style points won’t matter.

RMB: Indiana. Northwestern. Rutgers. These are just a few of the thirteen Big10 teams who get better linebacker play than Michigan. The Wolverines are good. They are emphatically NOT great. The #4 ranking is preposterous. This is a team that’s good enough to be ranked in the upper teens and finish third in the division.

BuffKomodo: The Indiana offense once again wastes a half and loses a game they could have won. The Hoosiers continue to be an undisciplined mess and it’s rather annoying at the point. Give Michigan credit, they’re good. Indiana just can’t stop shitting it’s pants and shooting themselves in the foot. Sometimes at the same time.

The offense is improved this season, but that’s only because Walt Bell is attempting to throw the kitchen sink at this thing in order to keep his job. That line is atrocious. The WR room is a joke. The RBs are lack luster. For all the high powered and improved recruits Indiana has had in the last few years…they’re nowhere to be found. Maryland next week coming off a loss. Should be an ass kicking from the Terps. We’ll see.

Purdue at Maryland | Maryland blows the comeback, 31-29

larry31: So, I was going to attend this game, but one of our cats has a pancreas issue that is requiring vet intervention. We decided to stay home and tend to the sick cat. Smart decision #1. I did some fall yard clean-up and then watched the 1st quarter. It was 7-3 when I turned the TV off.

Smart decision #2.I had a feeling this game was going to be nerve-wracking, so I decided I would continue doing yardwork - blowing the leaves out of the beds, trimming and mowing the grass. It is still warm enough in MD where the grass needs to be mowed once every two weeks. Finished with my yardwork, I came inside in time to watch Purdue kneel down and run out the clock. I am very grateful for not having watched this game. It would have pissed me off. And my wife would have questioned my sanity, AGAIN, for caring so much about how well a bunch of 18-23 yr olds who play for a school I attended thirty years ago play a game.3 turnovers with no points!?! Grrr.

Our awesome kicker was not so awesome. He hit two 50+ yarders against Michigan. Missed a 50+ yarder and had a PAT blocked. Grrrrrr.7 penalties for 75 yards Grrrrrrrrr.

And apparently, the refs took Purdue and the points. This probably would have evoked the most visceral reaction. But, what the hell. Bad calls usually balance out on average over a season. These are the things that will linger when I think about the game: MD scored 0 points on 3 turnovers. And they had the 2-point conversion called back on a dumb penalty. And all the self-inflicted wounds with all the penalties, AGAIN. And the defense looks to be improving from merely competent to above average.

Big picture: Both teams are very equal. Probably sitting in the 2nd tier with IL, Iowa, and MN. MD definitely had their opportunities to win it. Kudos to Purdue for making the MD offense look average. Sitting at 4-2, I still think MD goes 7-5 [my pre-season prediction], maybe 8-4. Upcoming games include NW, IU, rutger, and Wiscy.

BoilerUp89: This is what I wrote as we headed into the 4th Quarter: “Purdue is not a good enough team to win games when they make lots of mistakes. They made lots of mistakes. At the end of the first half, an unnecessary block in the back on a punt return backed them up and was followed up by a bad punt giving Maryland good enough field position to try and score. They did as the secondary got burnt badly. Shades of the Penn State game. Then in the 3Q, the Boilermakers turned the ball over on every drive they had. “Credit to the Boilers and especially Allen for jumping that XP snap at the exact millisecond the ball was snapped (go watch the slow-motion video) to pull off the victory. Bit of a tough break for the Terrapins as they were just missing a XP. These two teams are truly equal of each other. But I’ll take the victory and look forward to next week’s battle with 1st place Nebraska

Wisconsin at Northwestern | Northwestern elects not to participate, 42-7

MC ClapYoHandz: Let the healing begin! Really impressed with the team’s response after what was reported to be a dismal locker room this week following Paul Chryst’s firing. I know Northwestern is having a down year but regardless of competition level this game is always a nightmare, and the difference/uptick in offensive play was painfully obvious, to the point that I’m retroactively angry the coaching move didn’t come sooner. HeisMertz is back? Great to see some verticality in the passing game and cleaner football overall. Kudos to Jim Leonhard who is well on his way to removing the interim tag. I’ve bought back in. I’m ready to hurt again.

MNW: I enjoyed a lovely day by the lakeshore in Manitowoc. Drank a lot of beer at PetSkull Brewery, where I also watched it all fall apart. And then I left the brewery with :20 left in the first half, right before Pat Fitzgerald surrendered and his kicker missed a gimme field goal.

I’m running out of ways to say “Northwestern is Bad.” Thankfully, I’m not running out of ways to enjoy a beautiful fall with my infant daughter. I’m not running out of sports teams — the Loons are still going and the Wolves and Wild start soon. And I’m not running out of ways to spend a Saturday afternoon in the fall.

If Pat Fitzgerald can accept this mediocrity and chide us for not attending, I can drop out. Go ‘Cats and all, but I’m not gonna sit around and watch as they’re humiliated every Saturday. And that’s exactly what today was: a humiliation at the hands of an opponent so whelming that the ‘Cats should’ve had a chance.

But they don’t. Because Fitz refuses to adapt, and his defensive coordinator is so goddamn terrible at his job that it’s criminal negligence. As long as your buddy gets paid, though, Pat, things are all good, right? The presser on Monday will talk about execution and how you can’t miss a chip shot field goal when you’re down 28 points.

You turtled, bud. You gave up, and your players have given up. Figure it out, or you won’t even fill 35,000-seat Ryan Field. You don’t give a shit, but if you owned it and tried to’d go a long way. (edited)

LPW: The highlight of the day was seeing Mike hankwitz being recognized with the rest of the 2013 team at halftime. I can’t believe my wife and I dragged ourselves up to Evanston for this shitshow. We’re getting flat off blown off the field by wisconsin. This is an abomination. Actually, I’m being far too kind to abominations here. I should have just stayed at home and drank beer. Fire O’Neil and Bajakian. Fuck this. I left at halftime.

Iowa at Illinois | Illinois hones the West into its ultimate form, 9-6

He was a high school QB: Some people might say the Illinois game was ugly, but as far as I’m concerned, hang that motherfucker in the Louvre. It’s so beautiful.

I don’t necessarily think that Illinois is the favorite to win the West, but with Minnesota and Purdue both coming to Memorial Stadium, I think it is fair to say that the road to Indy goes through Champaign now.


stewmonkey13: Iowa’s stellar defense and special teams matter almost nothing when the offense is THIS horrid. Illinois was the obviously superior team and the superior team won. Is anything going to change? I think the defense is going to start making riskier and riskier plays knowing they have to literally do all the work, and eventually break. But on offense? Nope. Not a single damn thing.

Creighton: Every single person who made a decision on offense is still going to have a job tomorrow, and they get to plan for ohio state next. lol.