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Sunday Morning Coming Down // Week 3

A step toward normalcy?

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Barbara J. Perenic/The Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Ten B1G Things

  1. Maryland blew out Virginia...a team so bad their kicker is a 32-year-old father of 2 who flew helicopters in the USMC for 10 years before returning to UVA for his MBA
  2. Through 3 games, J.J. McCarthy has hrown for 701 yards and 5 TDs with 3 INTs
  3. Drew Allar has now thrown for 737 yards and 4 TDs, with 0 INTs
  4. Kyle McCord has now thrown for 815 yards and 6 TDs, with 1 INT
  5. Penn State owns the longest 30+ points scored streak in the nation at 10 games, dating back to the 41-17 loss at Michigan last year
  6. Michael Penix Jr. has now won more games against the B1G as a Husky than as a Hoosier
  7. Only Wake Forest has allowed UNC’s Drake Maye (has there ever been a more North Car’lina name?) to throw for more yards than Minnesota did (414 yds...and that was with 2 INTs!)
  8. What can I say about Northwestern that hasn’t already been said about Afghanistan?
  9. Iowa has breached the 25-point threshold despite Brian Ferentz’s best efforts
  10. Tied at 14 in Q3? Luke Fickell is old enough to know it’s not polite to play with your food
  11. Rutgers is 3-0 with wins over two P5 teams. This ranks just behind the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man and the docking of the Titanic in terms of unbelievable events in the NY metro area
  12. Matt Rhule now has his first win at Nebraska, after losing his transfer portal QB
  13. Purdue rushed for 80 yards on 32 attempts, which while terrible is somehow still better than Indiana’s 27 attempts for 58 yards...
  14. ...and yet neither was quite as pathetic MSU’s 27 attempts for 53 yards.

The Rundown

UVA at Maryland | Maryland declared king of commuter belt, 42-14

Larry: Bad Maryland: For two consecutive weeks, Maryland has played a lower level FBS team and fell behind 14-0 early in the first quarter.

Good Maryland: For two consecutive weeks, Maryland has played a lower level FBS team and scored an average fo 40 unanswered points [38 and 42 points, respectively]. I don’t expect either of these two things to happen at MSU next week. Of concern: Safety Beau Brade is PFF’s top-ranked defender for Maryland. He is the defensive QB, calling out coverages. He did not play at all against Virginia. This probably explains why there were so many busted coverages early on against Virginia that led to the surprising 14-0 Virginia lead. I have not heard athing as to why he didn’t play. Despite their shellacking by Washington, MSU has enough pieces to beat Maryland if they don’t get their shit together at the beginning of games.

WKU at Ohio State | Buckeyes win scarlet & red bloodbath, 63-10

GF3: Let me be the first to register my surprise at the progression of Kyle McCord over three weeks. It’s almost as though Ryan Day knows what he’s doing. McCord went 19/23 for 3 TDs, which is great. Simmons remains the biggest liability on the entire damn team, and if Marcus Freeman has more than two brain cells to bang together (he does, he’s very smart) he will absolutely abuse SImmons for 4 quarters next week. On the plus side, the defensive secondary has gone from CBs not intercepting a pass in two years to jumping routes for pick-6s. Which is nice.

Fuck Notre Dame.

PSU at Illinois | Nits win ugly but easily in 5-turnover rout, 30-13

misdreavus79: I’m just going to copy and paste a blurb from what I said on Thursday elsewhere...Four things you need to know about this game:

  1. The Big Ten West does not care about non-conference games. They effectively use them as their pre-season, and would happily give up a win there if it means gaining one in conference play. So if they lose a game or two, so be it. Case in point, Northwestern went 0-3 in the non-conference in 2018 and still won the West. So, don’t look at the Kansas and Toledo results to try and determine what will happen in this game.
  2. Illinois was dead in the water two years ago, then they changed their offensive philosophy “overnight” right before the Penn State game, and, well, you know the rest. Expect some wrinkles we haven’t seen yet.
  3. Drew Allar is doing a lot better than we expected through two games, but this will be his first road game, against a conference opponent, who, as mentioned in 1 above, will happily go 0-3 in non-conference play if it means beating a top team in the East.
  4. James Franklin does not forget.

The last one, of course, is irrelevant, but the first three were exactly how this game played out. Everyone who viewed Illinois as a potential upset target was right, at least for the first half. Illinois gave it their best shot, and, were it not for the five turnovers, maybe we’re having a different discussion right now. But those turnovers happened, Penn State eventually got enough offense going to pull away, and the annual “clunker of a game” is seemingly out of the way. Survive and advance.

AlmaOtter: The defense woke up. The offense took a massive step backward.

Despite a McCray fumble and two Altmeyer turnovers in the first quarter alone, Newton and the defense held Penn State to 6 points after 15 minutes. The pattern continued from there: the defense would heroically force a three and out of Penn State, the offense would immediately hand the ball back. Altmeyer’s 4th pick guaranteed his benching, although Paddock didn’t seem much more inspiring in garbage time.

Jer’Zhan Newton was everywhere. It’s a shame the offense couldn’t contribute a damn thing.

He was a high school QB: Like last year, the Illinois defense showed up around game 3. Johnny Newton might be the best player in the conference. You can’t turn it over five times and win against anybody.

thumpasaurus: We’re Iowa. Thank you Barry Lunney for not being remotely prepared to give me the slightest joy in a very dark time for me personally, super excited to see 9 more of these.

In retrospect, thank you Illini football. This is such a familiar feeling that it’s so welcome right now. “Did I just see our last winning season for decades? Why do I do this stupid bullshit to myself every fall?” I’d so much rather be wrapped up in that than what I’ve been dealing with. I can’t remember a single good illini football game I ever went to with him. Thank you for honoring his legacy by doing the only thing you’ve ever known how to do, Illinois. They say everything changes…but not this!

I’m glad they suck, I can live in a world that reminds me of the one I used to live in.

Washington at MSU | Wheels come off, leave East Lansing completely, 7-41

Ghost of Aperol Kocktailski: Just burn it down.

GF3: Noah Kim registered what the football-minded among us might call a historically bad performance, going 12/31 for 136 yds and 1 INT. Yet somehow, the running game was even worse...notching what—from my cursory research—appears to have been the worst P5 performance this week at 2.0 ypc. Mel Tucker’s team wasn’t good before he lit his career on fire. They’re even worse now.

Minnesota at UNC | Minnesota Nice falls to Southern Hospitality, 13-31

WSR: Just a perplexing game. The offense was disjoin all day long, and every time Darius Taylor made a big play to get us rolling, he’d jog off and the offense would sputter. It was absolutely infuriating at times, and the playcalling was suspect all day long. Defensively, we needed to play a nearly perfect game to slow Drake Maye and that just didn’t happen. The first series ended with a perfect pass under the DB’s shoulder and into the hands of a WR for a TD, and the second had a full line change on a play where UNC didn’t substitute and therefore didn’t need to wait for us to get everyone onto the field. Busted coverage, big catch to the 1, TD next play. The defense played well enough for us to have a shot if the offense would have performed even halfway decently, but that just didn’t happen.Thank Christ we have a bottom tier opponent to fix our shit against next week.

Northwestern at Duke | North Carolina and the B1G West don’t mix, 14-38

mnw: Because “I’ll be home at 2” in Baby Shower Talk means “I’ll be home at 3:15 shrieking about how we need to go to the next event and why didn’t you also run to Kohl’s,” I caught what I believe was Duke’s second touchdown drive. That told me about everything I needed to know, and yet I kept checking the score on my phone like a moron.Having gone back and watched a few of the highlights, it’s about what I figured. Northwestern is still in the Late Stage Fitz belief that they can still bend but not break, when in reality you put a running quarterback out there and it’s curtains. When, in my prediction, I warned that Riley Leonard would extend plays with his legs and gash Northwestern’s slow linebackers...well, I’ve seen this movie before. Now we will see if the Greek Meek can pick apart the secondary with his arm, and I’ll be at a second wedding held in the basement recreation room of a bowling alley.Things are going great this fall.

lincolnparkwildcat: We were simply outplayed by a hungry and much more talented and Duke squad. Just like I thought we would be. Duke QB Riley Leonard threw for 215 yards and ran in two TDS, while our QB Ben Bryant threw for 123 yards, going 17 for 34 with one td and one interception.Onto next week’s disaster, the infestation of Ryan Field by the vile Gopher menace.

WMU at Iowa | Hawkeyes discover endzone has no limit on trips, 41-10

Louisville at Indiana | Distinct lack of running game damns IU, 14-21

BuffKomodo: I’m doing this immediately so that I don’t just completely shit on the program in my weekly piece. Indiana falls 21-14 to Louisville that can only be described as complete incompetence by the coaching staff. That’s it. That’s the story. Whether it’s a team that comes out COMPLELY flat and falls behind 21-0 in the first half or the HORRIBLE goal line call in the 4th quarter, the stain of terrible coaching comes through loud and clear.

This Indiana squad is not devoid of talent. Tayven Jackson is the answer at QB. He played a great game. Jailyn Lucas had a great game offensively. Others had great moments in the second half offensively. Same on the defensive side. There were moments and bright spots galore. And that’s what is infuriating. Indiana failed to score in the first half. To Louisville. They mustered a field goal against Ohio State. Fucking blanked by Louisville.

But Buff, Indiana was a 10.5 underdog. They lost by only 7. HoW cAn YoU bE uPsEt?


The inability of the Hoosier coaches to get their players ready to play in the first half is a problem. The fact that the Offensive Coordinator Walt Bell, WHO HASN’T BEEN TO A BOWL GAME SINCE HE WAS IN HIS FIRST YEAR AT MARYLAND IN 2016, got shutout through 6 quarters against FBS competition is a problem. His fucking, horrendous, terrible, no good, awful play calling on 4th and goal and 4th down in general is a problem.

For all the bitching I’ve done about Tom Allen, my chief complaint is that he’s a horrible program manager. He can’t figure out how to actually hire good coaches or manage his staff. And it’s absolutely looking like he’s now whiffed on 3 of his 4 OC hires. That’s not good. It’s going to get you fired…next year.

Which is the particularly infuriating part. Tom Allen isn’t going anywhere. He’s not getting fired this year despite what ESPN tells you. It’s going to be at LEAST 15 more months of this pathetic garbage until we might get regime change.


Sadly, the worst part is that this Indiana team still has a chance to make a bowl. They are not bad. Rutgers, Maryland, Michigan State, Purdue, Illinois, Wisconsin…all winnable games. Louisville would have been a nice win. However, it’s just another reminder that Indiana has been lapped in the coaching department and will continue to be until that god awful contract buyout gets manageable. On to Akron I fucking guess.

GSU at Wisconsin | Dairy Raid adds milk runs to the mix, 35-14

Beez: My free preview hour of BTN only lasted from the mid 3rd til the mid 4th, and it could not have gone any better! Extrapolating that over the course of an entire game means we’ve got a Natty contender on our hands!!!

Kind of...(Chris): Wisconsin was +6 in turnover margin and barely covered the spread. Very much a work on progress. Three straight weeks with a slow start. 8 penalties for 88 yards (with a couple more declined). In terms of personnel, the DL is a bit worrying. Short week to prepare for @Purdue Friday night. There are enough glimpses that there’s no reason to give up on the season. At the same time, they haven’t come remotely close to putting together a complete game.

MC ClapYoHandz: Wisconsin forced six turnovers and covered a high spread in a dominant win.

Most of that is true but jk this game was rough all the way into the 3rd quarter. After three games, this is the third instance of Wisconsin coming out flat and getting out-schemed early in their matchup. They also once again adjusted very well over the course of the game, with the offense figuring the game out by the 2nd half and the defense tightening up enough to stop more drives (or in today’s case, actually force turnovers!). But the slow starts aren’t going to cut it every game, and there’s already one L on the resume because of it. How do we convince this team during the pregame that it’s actually halftime? I like that they can diagnose problems on the fly but I’d like it even more if they did so during the weekly preparation. At Purdue next and Wisconsin will be favored, but that’s one of many remaining games where messing around for a half can spell doom. Hoping the film on these early games is helping getting this new era in rhythm.

VT at Rutgers | New Jersey ascendant, 35-16

RUReady4Brazil: For the second week in a row, Rutgers was in a one score game in the 4th then blew the doors off an opponent. This is the first time I can remember that for at least 15 years or so. Plenty of warning signs heading into the Big Ten gauntlet, but they did what they had to do to be in position for a bowl appearance. The offensive line isn’t playing great but they are still dominating time of possession. Nitpicking a 19 point win over a Power 5 team hasn’t happened at Rutgers since they joined the Big Ten.

BGSU at Michigan | Wolverines survive a McClunker, 31-6

RMB: Well that was a little rough. The big news is McCarthy had a brutal day, throwing three picks. He also threw a couple TDs, but it was a pretty massive step back for him compared to near perfection the first two weeks. Running game came around a bit (it’s still not good). The defense continued to look good, and getting two starting DBs back improved the tackling noticeably. Play time is over. Next week Rutgers comes to town and brings their very real defense. This team is not good enough to win the conference right now, but they’re coming around.

Brian: A strong defensive performance on one side of the ball, a sloppy, disjointed offensive performance on the other side. Michigan enters the conference season undefeated and largely untested, but there is plenty to work on for Jim Harbaugh and his coaching staff.

Northern Illinois at Nebraska | One win to Rhule them all, 35-11

The OG Jesse Collins: Nebraska didn’t have massive failures every fifth snap, which, unsurprisingly resulted in a comfortable win. Also, huge kudos to the Nebraska defense. They allowed 149 total yards of which 75 were on a meaningless last NIU drive. Heinrich Haarberg - pride of Kearney, NE - was efficient enough and a good runner. Nebraska wins which is much more fun than Nebraska loses.

Dead_Read: Heinrich Haarberg looked good in his first start, managing the game effectively. This is a sincere compliment. Maintaining possession, playing solid defense, with good special teams will win some games. This was encouraging, and just what the doctor ordered. Congrats to Coach Rhule on his first Husker win. May it be the first of many. (edited)

BigRedTwice: I know it’s uncool to get too excited about beating one of your non-con cupcakes, but this is the first one the Huskers have faced this year, and also, let’s be real, probably one of the only wins I’ll get to enjoy this year.Nebraska mostly did what it needed to do. The defense turned in an excellent performance (albeit against a decidedly offensively challenged team) and the offense scored quite a few more points than the other team. Most importantly, they played a much cleaner game— penalties certainly have room for improvement, but there was only ONE turnover!!! After four in EACH of the previous two weeks, a one-turnover game felt like Christmas morning to most Husker fans. Turns out, football is way less stressful when you aren’t stringing together multiple possessions featuring horrific turnovers.So, not many huge takeaways from this game (except that there may be some Greater Nebraska representation at QB now— and as a proud Greater Nebraskan, this pleases me, though I don’t ultimately care where our QB is from if he can run the offense well), but the Huskers did what they needed to do and were supposed to do. And for this fan, who has seen them do both of those things REALLY infrequently in recent years, it was very nice.

Also look at Matt Rhule’s face after the turnover.

If that’s not the face of a man who has already seen too much three games into his coaching gig, I don’t know what is.

Syracuse at Purdue | Air Conditioners beat Boilers, 35-20

BoilerUp89: I’m not convinced Syracuse is significantly better than Purdue (yards gained by each team was fairly equal), but Purdue is definitely not good enough to overcome four turnovers against a solid, if not great, Cuse team. 7 fumbles (3 lost) and 1 interception is terrible. Add on 10 penalties for 116 yards and I can’t help but feel that missing most of the Syracuse-Purdue games the past two years has worked out pretty well for me from a mental health standpoint. Besides the turnovers and penalties, common complaints I’m seeing involve continued poor play calling on 3rd/4th and short (when are you going to learn, Harrell?) as well as an inability to cover running QBs. Hopefully Purdue is ready to face the Illini in two weeks when the Boilers come in 1-3 for that one.