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Sunday Morning Coming Down // Week 8

Reality creeps in

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Ten B1G Things

  1. Once again we see the predictive inadequacy of a cream puff schedule
  2. Penn State started 0-for-15 on third downs...and finished 1-16
  3. Stop trying to make fetch Maserati Marv happen, Gus
  4. Drew Allar decided to go as Joe Bauserman for Halloween
  5. You can actually pinpoint the second when Iowa fans’ hearts rip in half
  6. Floyd of Rosedale makes the trip up I-35 for the first time since Jim Harbaugh was playing quarterback for the San Diego Chargers (credit to ziowa9 for this one)
  7. Marvin Harrison had 30% more yards yesterday than the entire Iowa offense
  8. Rutgers passed for 65% fewer yards than Iowa in a 31-point offensive showing
  9. Rutgers is now one win away from their first winning season since 2014
  10. Wisconsin capping a comeback with a pass to a 300-lbs lineman is the swan song the West deserves
  11. Luke Altmeyer passed for exactly 100 yards, and ran for exactly 100 yards, which means it’s likely someone woke up this morning in Vegas to discover they’ll be shopping for a yacht
  12. Nebraska racked up 8 sacks this week—for the second time this season
  13. Four of those sacks came in the Wildcats’ last two possessions
  14. Michigan’s gameplan for MSU was masterful, with their defense perfectly anticipating Sparty’s every move

The Rundown

PSU at Ohio State | Stoppable force meets immovable object, 20-12

GF3: In 2021, OSU’s defense allowed 120 points through 7 games. In 2023, they’ve allowed 70. Once again, J.T. Tuimoloau owns Penn State. Any talk of how OSU missed out on Drew Allar should be well and truly dead after this game. Allar’s image benefited from a powder-soft schedule and a good defense that gave him more chances to shine. But Buckeye fans of a certain age saw flashes of Bauserman yesterday, albeit the misery of inaccuracy was not ours to bear. Allar was harried by the OSU pass rush and had ball after ball batted away by a secondary that looked none the worse for missing Denzel Burke.

On the OSU side, the running attack looked better in some moments, and the same in many others. OSU is a pass-first team, and with this receiving corps, why would they not be? Even without Emeka Egbuka, McCord had no shortage of targets. Marvin Harrison was amazing. It was frustrating to not see Dallan Hayden get more time on the field after last week. He can still play more without burning his redshirt, though if they’re trying to keep him in their pocket in case they need him, it’s hard to imagine they wouldn’t have used him against PSU.

One thing is for sure...Gus Johnson knows nothing about Maseratis.

misdreavus79: The defense did everything it could to keep them in the game. The offense, on the other hand, stayed in State College. Drew Allar had by far his worst game of the season, in a game where the was rattled in the first drive, and just got worse and worse as the game progressed. Penn State’s lone drive of the game came in garbage time, and, sure, going for two there seems like a bad move, but in what world were they going to recover the onside kick? The game was lost when the penalty flag came down after the scoop and score. After the ensuing Ohio State touchdown, just about everyone knew the game was over. It was just a matter of time until it happened.

Minnesota at Iowa | Lone pig escapes Iowa alive, 12-10

WSR: For the first time since 1999, the Gophers won in Iowa City. Was it pretty? Absolutely not. Minnesota had to turn into Iowa. Bad offense that does just enough to win? Check (Minnesota outgained Iowa 239-127). Win the turnover battle? Check (3-0 in favor of the good guys). Special teams? Nope. Absolutely not. But did we get a questionable call that’s technically correct but also kinda bullshit? Yes, yes we did. And that is Iowa as hell. So fuck you, Iowa. I hope you appreciate getting forced to take your own medicine, and I pray that you enjoy next season when OC/QB coach Brian Ferentz becomes OC/OL coach Brian Ferentz.

Stewmonkey13: Did Iowa get absolutely screwed by the refs on that phantom Fair catch call? Yes. But I kinda look at like they saw the whole, sad fact that Iowa did absolutely nothing the entire game to earn the win and decided to take it into their hands to not let Iowa keep getting away with it. And at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if the refs fucked it, Iowa still gets the loss, Minnesota still gets the win and Floyd. Complain about it all you want Iowa fans, it’ll just make Minnesota fans giggle that much more about it.

Rutgers at Indiana | Scarlet Knights make a crimson stain, 31-14

RUReady4Brazil: Rutgers decided to go Iowa-style and not pass the ball. It was one of those genius moves if successful and would have been embarrassing if not, especially when one of Indiana’s best defensive players was carted off in the first quarter (hope he’s ok). Luckily a special teams touchdown and Indiana muffing a punt were 10 free points. It’s great to be bowl eligible for the first time legitimately since 2014.

BuffKomodo: Indiana loses to Rutgers. They didn’t just lose either. Rutgers took Indiana’s cookies. Took Indiana’s soul. And in that, ended Indiana’s season. Without winning this game, the path to 6 wins is all but done, and by getting blown out by Rutgers Indiana has solidified its position as the worst team in the Big Ten. Behind a team in a rebuild with a new coach (Nebraska), a team with a first year head coach who also has some rebuilding to do (Purdue), and two teams that have no coaches and are pretty rudderless (Michigan State and Northwestern). It’s time to turn the page to basketball season. I missed Indiana in the Buff this week because of work, but this week’s will be the last of the season. I got other things to do and I’m way more interested in writing about Indiana basketball on occasion. See you all in May for Indiana week.

Wisconsin at Illinois | Wisconsin helps Illinois innovate in losing, 25-21

Kind of...(Chris): Given the overhaul of the offense, it would’ve been appropriate to treat 2023 as a rebuilding year, and give Luke Fickell a pass. However, he rolled into Madison talking about competing for championships and rejecting any argument that fans would need to be patient. For his part, new OC Phil Longo noted that at, um, Sam Houston State, they successfully transitioned to the Air Raid in Year 1 pretty seamlessly. Fickell and Co. hit the ground running with a ton of transfer portal activity. Every defensive get was going to be a contributor. Wisconsin had put together its best receiving room ever. Again, at every turn, the message to fans was: expect to be really good, really fast.

Reader, that was a fucking mistake.

This team has no identity. The defense is pretty good, but clearly worse against the run than it has been. The offense is putrid. The sheer number of false starts is embarrassing. The play-calling makes one think Longo has OCD: three runs, now three passes. Doesn’t matter, UW is punting either way. The Badgers seem to think that you aren’t allowed to fair catch a kick off. As a result, they’ve had drives start inside their 10 on successive weeks because of penalties. This week they added a botched FG attempt. Did I mention I’m writing this before halftime? JFC.

This isn’t a call to bring Paul Chryst back. Things had clearly stagnated under him. Nor is it a brief for Jim Leonhard, whose 4-3 performance last year included a loss to bowl-less MSU and a near loss to bowl-less Nebraska.

But facts are facts. Wisconsin is, at best, only marginally better this year than they were last year. And last year was their worst season in 20 years. They might still win today. They could, conceivably go 9-3, still. In which case their best win would be...Rutgers??? Whatever this year’s record ends up being, it will only serve as evidence the West needed to die.

Fickell’s first season at Cincy was pretty rough, and he probably should have been more realistic about expectations. The recruiting has been good. Everything else has been pretty shitty. Next year will be an appropriate referendum. If you took Fickell at his word for most of his time in Madison thus far, this year is essentially over.


Oh hey, look at that, Wisconsin outscored Illinois 18-0 in the fourth quarter to win!

Don’t you look foolish! Why would you show your whole ass like that. BS reverse psychology stuff is for wankers.

I get it. Here’s the reason: About three months ago, I committed to attending the OSU game next week against my better judgment. I even shelled out for a direct flight into Madison. The thought of paying through the nose to watch the version of UW that scored 13 points vs. Iowa and Illinois over six quarters would drive anybody to despair.

Fair enough. You still look stupid.

I won’t argue. Fortunately nobody reads the articles anyway.

MC ClapYoHandz: I didn’t get to watch this one live, per mandate, but I had to take a look at the recording after seeing the result and that backup LT Nolan Rucci(!) scored the game-winning touchdown.First, I saw my colleagues referencing the #refs, so I kept an eye on that and...I don’t see it? The targeting call is the only specific play mentioned and I mean, it’s textbook targeting. Crown of the helmet to the head/neck, bing bang boom. Now if there’s a critique of targeting existing as a rule or that ejection is a part of it, sure, a bunch of people can get on board with that. But if someone were to ask what the targeting rule is you can just show that play and you’ll have highlighted all of its simplest criteria.As for the Badgers, more of the same for most of the game really. You can see what the vision is for how they want to play some of the time, but they’re just too inconsistent executing it on both sides of the ball. It was good to see more of a workload for Braelon Allen and I thought Braedyn Locke showed a lot of promise as the potential QB of the future, but there were some crucial drops again in this one and just generally a lot that still needs cleaning up. Kudos to the offense for coming alive in the 4th quarter; if that’s the new norm then there’s still plenty of life left in this season, but I suspect more growing pains are on the way next week.

Beez: I had a Curderburger at halftime

thumpasaurus: Simply no way I could have avoided being arrested had I gone to homecoming. None. Since we’re not talking about fairness in sports, it’s clearly an economic decision, like rutgerland or killing the pac12. Illinois has many many more living alums than Wisconsin. Poor economical decision to throw out Illinois’ best player for getting a sack on a zoomer ass named quarterback. They’re vastly more obnoxious but we outnumber them. Someday the league’s economic decisions will make sense.I say this because the only rationale for throwing out Newton was for Engagement Numbers

Xzaedynne Locke will convert to tight end next year.

AlmaOtter: I do wonder if we’re trying to speed-run all of the excruciating ways to lose a football game in a single season. There was the complete destruction in prime time by Kansas, Purdue beating the shit out of us in a rivalry match, Penn State picking off Altmeyer roughly 8 times in a half, and whatever the fuck the Nebraska Friday night debacle was. We can add a devastating 4th quarter collapse to Fickell’s Wisconsin team to that list.We shall not speak of the targeting call.

NU at UN | Huskers win right to “NU” on small B1G sports blog, 17-9

BRT: Huskers won the big NUNU tilt! It was fairly ugly, and Haarberg had a bad day that he really ought to strive to never repeat. Happily, it was against Northwestern, and thanks to that fact and a strong Husker defensive performance, it ended up not mattering. Winning by eight is a lot for this particular series, and with that we send the j back to Evanston. Huskers are 4-3, and while I’m still not banking on a bowl, the possibility is at least there, and it’s been a minute since that was the case.

The most notable thing about this game was that it was, surprisingly, the least crazy of all of the Westmas games. Huzzah!

Dead Read: Nebraska found just enough offense to complement a solid defensive and special teams effort. There was more injury attrition to the OL and receiving corps. Let’s see if they can cobble together enough offense to beat Purdue.

MNW: For as pleased as I was to be not-embarrassed at the end of the Penn State game, I’m pleased to be pissed at the conclusion of Nebraska. Both teams spun the chamber and emptied an entire round into their foot, and while Northwestern showed they have a long way to go, they fought. But this isn’t a ‘Cats team of old — in particular, the penalties from the offensive line and tight ends have just been back-breaking. Multiple personal fouls, false is sloppy football that’s putting an already-abysmal offense even farther behind the sticks.And I hope that we’re not done with Ben Bryant for the season, because Brendan Sullivan...woof. I hope Mike Bajakian has to answer for his crimes in hell (or his next job interview).

Michigan at MSU | Jimmy H wins fair & square (the H is for “honest”), 49-0

RMB: So you know you’re spoiled as a football fan when your team barely misses a 1st degree mollywhopping in a night, road game against a rival, and the first word you think of to describe it is “workmanlike”. Other than a long interception return TD, nothing looked flashy. It looked ho-hum, and somehow it’s 42-0 barely over 8 minutes into the second half when Michigan pulled most of the starters. Michigan punted once with starters on the field. MSU’s offense moved the ball a bit in the second half, but never found paydirt. Only complaint was setting a possession on fire with patented Jim Harbaugh Clock Mismanagement. That’s gonna matter against PSU or OSU, but tonight it was only annoying. Ok, another complaint is burning redshirts on people like Myles Hinton, but when these are your complaints, things are going well.

Brian: The battle for the Paul Bunyan trophy wasn’t much of a battle at all. In front of a home-away-from-home crowd in East Lansing, Michigan hammered Michigan State, defending its state championship and extending the Spartans’ losing streak. Not a lot to say about this one. Michigan scored touchdowns on seven of its first 11 possessions. Michigan State finished with more penalties than first downs.

On to Purdue.