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Sunday Morning Coming Down // Week 6

We still don’t know anything

NCAA Football: Maryland at Ohio State Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Ten B1G Things

  1. Nebraska has discovered the secret to tough road wins—kickoff to yourself
  2. Illinois coaches HATE this one weird trick
  3. Kaliakmanis went 5-for-16 with two pick-sixes, which conventional wisdom holds is not good
  4. PJ Fleck is glad the game was only on Peacock, as the natural thriftiness of Minnesotans guarantees almost no Gopher fans saw that thumping
  5. Kyle McCord completed just one of his first 6 attempts. He then completed 18 of his next 23 throws to end the day with a career high 320 yards
  6. Milk cartons in Columbus have pictures of Ohio State’s run game on them, with amazingly-named linebacker Ruben Hyppolite II listed as prime suspect in the disappearance
  8. Rutgers managed one 1st down in its first 5 possessions, which gave Fickell’s offense the chance to jump about to a commanding 3-0 lead through 25 minutes
  9. Rutgers had a score in the bag before the half, only to discover a lot can happen in 4 seconds.
  10. In 2022 some Northwestern fans surely thought “this 1-11 season is truly our low point”
  11. Welcome to 2023 and 3-point wins over Howard
  12. Iowa came into the game ranked 130th in total offense, and promptly saw Purdue outgain them by 20%
  13. Purdue also had an 11-minute possession advantage, 60% more first downs, and converted more than half of their 3rd downs...and lost
  14. Northwestern should hire Mario Cristobal next year. He in turn can hire Brian Ferentz as OC and Alex Grinch as DC, forming a singularity of ineptitude that will swallow the B1G West

The Rundown

NU at Illinois | NU owns the Nebrnois (2 t-shirt halves sewn together), 20-7

BigRedTwice: So, Nebraska remains who they thought they were, and Illinois has real reason to be concerned. For the non-affiliated, this was a classic bout of B1G West hilarity, all that it promised it could be.

With that said, and acknowledgements that both of these teams have HS-level offenses in meaningful ways, there were a few things that I genuinely liked about Nebraska’s performance. First, going on the road after a short week and after getting your ass thoroughly kicked the previous weekend is a tough situation, and I thought it looked like they responded to that pretty well—good energy and good effort. It’s not the only thing, but it does seem to indicate that morale is decent, which is no bad or small thing. Second, the goal-line stand on the first drive of the game was siiiiiick. I know, Illinois offense = bad. But a goal line stand is tough any time, and what a message that was for the Husker defense to send right away. I’m here for it.

Problems included a total commitment to the bit in the 4th quarter - turnovers, silly decisions, a refusal to put away an opponent that should be well and truly vanquished by that point. We can hope those things get better, but they aren’t there yet. Still... this time, they didn’t cost them the game. And I’m going to enjoy that. As the Husker radio guy said after the game with a hint of unseemly surprise... “We haven’t had very many of these, where we’ve got smiles on our faces for the Fifth Quarter Show!” (these = wins) Indeed. Take the W, look forward to the bye week, and then see what they can do with Northwestern.

Dead Read: The team improved this week, primarily defensively. Winning is much better than losing, but there is a host of issues to correct. Many Nebby fans have already engaged in postseason calculation. Stop it. There is not a game on the remaining schedule that the Huskers cannot lose. Let’s just try to beat Northwestern in a few weeks, and go from there.

thumpasaurus: It’s hard to stress just how much Nebraska wanted to blow this game. They did everything they could.

Any time you have 2-10 on the table in year three, you have to start talking about who’s going to be the head coach next year.The second Bret Bielema does one goddamn thing to show that his contribution to our success last year went beyond “hired Ryan Walters” we’ll talk about him continuing to be the coach here. I’d support a midseason firing at 2-7

AlmaOtter: Just embarrassing. I think it turned it off after the second or third botched kick/punt return. Nebraska desperately tried to hand the game back to Illinois, but at no point could the Illini take advantage. The offense is broken and there’s a complete lack of urgency from the coaching staff from Bielema on down. I would say that it couldn’t get much lower than a week in which Memorial Stadium was on fire, Butkus passed, and this game occurred, but it’s Illinois football. There are always further depths to plumb. Good thing I have tickets to the Illini-Turtles game this week.

Michigan at Minnesota | Not even sporting, 52-10

RockyMountainBlue: I am outraged. Michigan lost the Time of Possession battle enroute to giving up double digit points! Seriously, though, for the second straight week, even I can’t complain. It’s a good sign when 74 of the 75 players who travelled for the game played. Like most of the games Michigan’s played this year, none of the stats really pop. It’s just a really efficient team. McCarthy only had 219 passing yards, but he did it on 20 throws (11.0 yds/attempt). He threw one TD pass, ran for two more, and didn’t throw a pick. Blake Corum only had 69 rushing yards, but he had them on 9 carries (7.7avg). The Little Brown Jug is safe once again.

Brian: Michigan continued its roll - overwhelming an overmatched Minnesota team. Michigan’s statistics weren’t eye-popping, but its performance was. The Wolverines continue look better by the week as they head toward the meat of their schedule. On to Indiana.

WSR: We all knew that Minnesota needed to play a perfect game to have a shot, and that didn’t even last 2 plays. That was awful, and we should never speak of it again.

Maryland at Ohio State | A homecoming tale of two halves, 37-17

GF3: Who knew beating the spread could feel like a loss? Well, Iowa fans probably. But the performance of Ohio State’s offense in the first half was positively alarming. With Treyveon Henderson out due to an unspecified injury, the running duties fell to Chip Trayanum. Chip’s not as shifty as Treyveon, but he’s a good back who pounds out yardage—backed by small locomotive Miyan Williams for when the going gets heavy. It turns out even good backs can’t do much when nary a linebacker gets blocked all day long. Justin Frye’s offensive line unit is simply abysmal considering the raw talent he was handed. I shudder to think what Penn State and Michigan’s defenses will do to this offense.

On the plus side, Kyle McCord managed to overcome an awful early performance and settle into a rhythm for a what ended up being a career-high day. One thing that’s clear is we OSU fans didn’t appreciate how incredibly Stroud’s accuracy was, likely because he came on the heels of Justin Fields. The difference wasn’t huge. But when you see McCord be just that 5% off in his accuracy that turns a walk-in TD into a sliding reach-back catch, you can start to very quickly see what made Stroud so incredible—and why he’s doing so well on Sundays.

The defense turned in another good performance, harassing Tagavaioloa all day, sacking him twice, and picking off two passes. Not their best work, but Maryland is a 9 or 10-win team and came into the game averaging 39 ppg and hadn’t won by fewer than 18 points.

Larry31: Today was a bad sports day for me. My beloved O’s lost to the Rangers in Game 1 of the ALDS 3-2. They had their chances. Frustrating loss. I have to remind myself to be happy that they are even playing in this series. They lost more than 100 games in 2018, 2019 and 2021. They were picked to win 76 games this year and they won 101 games. Human nature can be a bitch sometimes when it comes to changing expectations. I’m still disappointed in the loss, but they are still a ton of fun to watch, excellent defense and really agressive base-running.

Likewise, Maryland looked really good in the first half, even with some dumb mistakes, Lia’s stupid pick 6, and his decision to dump a pass to Littleton with 12 sec. remaining on the clock and no timeouts, blowing the chance to kick a field goal. That’s 10 points. They were okay for most of the third quarter, but OSU had upped their game. Then the wheels fell off. The Terps got down on themselves and were no longer playing with the swagger, discipline, and concentration they exhibited in the first half. And Marvin Harrision, Jr. exhibited his brilliance and took over. Is there a better receiver in college football? The Terps have a clear path to a 9-3 record. This loss is nothing that I didn’t expect. And Maryland, for once, didn’t get embarrassed at the Shoe, despite the lopsided score. It sucked watch Maryland become unlued in the 4th quarter and lose, but, overall, it’s hard to be too disappointed.

Rutgers at Wisconsin | Wisconsin Dells > Jersey Shore, 24-13

Kind of...(Chris): Wisconsin won by 11. Seems about right. Never felt like Rutgers was a threat to win, but the Badgers forcefully refused multiple opportunities to turn it into a blowout. Wisconsin benefitted from a 95 yard INT return just before halftime. But that followed a UW fumble at the Rutgers 5. And Rutgers’ second TD was on a short field after a second UW fumble. Overall, the UW defense was in control and the offense was able to move it just enough. Rutgers was pretty sound, so just take the victory and get ready for Iowa next week, in what may be the most important B1G West game of the season. Just don’t bet the over.

RUReady4Brazil: Rutgers just had no offense to speak of until the drive that ended in a pick six. And Scarlet Knight fans can say the upset would have been on the table with that 14 or even 10 point swing minimum not happening, but Wisconsin had their own miscues also. This game played out pretty much as I expected overall, but I’m concerned Rutgers will lose this game twice and not be able to turn the page in time against an opponent coming off a bye for the second straight week in Michigan State.

Howard at Northwestern | It can always get worse, 23-20

MN_Wildcat: Northwestern won. I didn’t watch. I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about.

LPW: NU holds on to beat Howard 23-20. It looked like we were playing down to the level of our competition, but then again they’ve got a baller in Edgerin James’s kid. And then our OC Mike Bajakian remembers, hey, why don’t we run our beefiest running back Anthony Tyus down their throats to get them out of the stadium? Sheesh. I’m happy we’re 3 and 3, and a win is a win, but what the fuck. We should have beaten an FCS team by a bigger margin. Bajakian should lose his job (edited)

Purdue at Iowa | Iowa drowns Purdue in a warm bathtub of boredom, 20-14

BoilerUp89: Purdue couldn’t sustain drives against the Iowa defense and failed to score enough points to keep up with the mediocre Hawkeyes offense. Two costly interceptions and a missed field goal attempt proved to be difference makers. Aren’t you glad you paid for Peacock?