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Sunday Morning Coming Down // Week “2”

And we’re off the rails

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Ten B1G Things

  1. If losing to a coach with 8 months of tenure at the helm of Dantonio’s derelict ship doesn’t sink Harbaugh, literally nothing will
  2. Joe Milton is sus
  3. Ricky White may be the next Plaxico Burress, based solely on a one-game sample sizes (please store your firearms safely)
  4. A hearty welcome back to our recently departed MSU fans
  5. How fitting that Rutgers’ single most memorable play was a high schoolish lateral-fest negated by a penalty
  6. Indiana is 2-0...Purdue is 2-0
  7. This has not been simultaneously true since before Nixon had been implicated in the Watergate break-in
  8. That’s 1972 for those of you whose school lacks AAU bona fides
  9. With his 62-yard run on the first play of the game, WR Garrett Wilson briefly became OSU’s leading rusher on the season
  10. Penn State is now 0-2 for the first time since the last time Joe Biden was on a November ticket
  11. Iowa blew a 17-0 lead...people forget that
  12. You can almost feel bad for Nebraska...almost...and by almost I clearly mean literally not at all
  13. Wisconsin, Illinois, and Trevor Lawrence are further proof that football was a stupid idea this year and the B1G got it right to begin with
  14. Only COVID-19 will finish the year undefeated

The Rundown

Michigan Stage at Michigan | The Return of the Bad Beat King, 27-24

This is, arguably, the worst loss of the Harbaugh era. MSU isn’t OSU. They’re not especially talented. MSU isn’t PSU. They don’t have YOLO luck, designed flukes, or massive standout talent at one key skilled position. MSU is a journeyman squad, roiled by scandal, left in a lurch by their longtime coach, and helmed by a man who had the job only under COVID conditions with none of his own players. And they out-muscled, out-hustled, and just plain out-gunned Michigan. The last defensive series—though it ultimately yielded a TD—was a masterful job of putting an opponent behind the clock. All Michigan had left as an option was a desperate onside attempt that featured all the Harbaugh theatrics only to end in failure—an entire coaching tenure summed up in one special teams play.

Angleiron Kuttingtorchski: I was positive that MSU was going to struggle with Michigan’s multidimensional, deep running attack, but they played a whale of a game defensively, especially Antjuan Simmons. I guess the senior year performance against the school whose stadium is across the street from your high school is quite the motivator. Michigan’s approach baffled me, as they didn’t start deliberately running Milton until they were in comeback mode, and I think those yards were there to be had.

The YOLO Deep Ball offense might seem simplistic, but I think it was actually an expert approach to attacking Michigan’s defense. MSU had no success at all running against Rutgers, and Michigan’s front is much better, but they also have two new, fairly untested corners. So, with Rocky Lombardi throwing a decent deep ball, they took lots of deep shots against Michigan’s corners, who were not up to the task at all. Ricky White feasted to the tune of 8/196/1, but there were a few others that should have connected (Jalen Nailor’s got to haul those in). Is this sustainable? Not at all, and even next week against Iowa’s stronger corners, MSU is going to have to find another way to make yards.

I know I’ve been on record saying this season doesn’t count, but nah, eff that. This counts, it was great, it’s a horrific, hilarious loss for Jim Harbaugh, and really the only realistic way for Mel Tucker to rally the fanbase around him after last week’s disaster. Come on home, Paul Bunyan, we’ve missed you.

Northwestern at Iowa | Comeback Cats claw their way back 21-20

Start with a punt fumble, end with a smile. Northwestern struggled early but managed to win in what can only be described as grinding fashion. Bowser carried the ball 25 times for a hair over three yds at a go. Ramsey added 26 with his legs and 130 throwing. Perhaps the most telling stat of all belongs to Bobby Petras, who connected on barely more than 50% of his Purdue-like 50 passing attempts, with 3 INTs to boots. Hope NU didn’t hurt you boys too bad.

Stew: Nixon is the highlight. He was almost unstoppable. But that’s about the only positive about this game. The offense is a disaster. Spencer Petras is just not good right now, and the system isn’t helping him, exacerbating his weaknesses. Asking him to throw the ball 50 times is insanity. This year is a waste.

Creighton: What a tedious and shitty game football is.

MNW: What a delightfully stupid game football is.

LPW: After falling down into a 17-0 hole in Iowa City , Pat Fitzgerald’s Wildcats rallied to score three touchdowns to escape Iowa City 21-20. Peyton Ramsey went 11/18 for 130 yards with 1 interception and Isaiah Bowser rushed 25 times for 85 yards. Ramsey’s favorite passing targets were Kyric McGowan and Ramoud Chiaokhio-Bowman.

Honestly, if Northwestern did a better job with ball security (the Kyric McGowan kick return fumble led to an Iowa drive for a touchdown, and a Bowser fumble led to an Iowa drive for a TD) Northwestern could have taken control of the game earlier and never looked back: they had a time of possession advantage of 33:33 vs 26:27 against Iowa. Northwestern rushed 60 times vs Iowa’s 23 and Iowa passed more.

Northwestern’s defense continued with its bend but not break ethos and managed to hold Iowa to 77 yards rushing and 216 yards of Spencer Petras passing

Both teams had three turnovers. Long story short, damn, it feels great to be 2-0. ROLL DAMN ‘CATS

Ohio State at Penn State | Buckeyes seize control, 38-25

Ohio State didn’t look great last night. They looked good at times, and ridiculous at times. Missing 20-yd chipshot FGs, twice. Gifting PSU 3 points (literally) by failing to run out the clock properly (that’s what I get for mocking FrankLOLion’s clock management. Even so, the Buckeyes jumped out to a 21-3 lead and never really looked back, winning by 2 scores on the back of Fields’ 314-yd/4-TD performance.

Cardboard cutout of Aaron Yorke: After giving up two touchdowns on the first two Ohio State possessions of the game, Penn State played the Buckeyes pretty evenly for the rest of the night? That’s an optimistic way of describing this one, but the Lions were never really in the game because they couldn’t get Justin Fields off the field. The Heisman hopeful was very comfortable all night as he continued to establish himself as one of the game’s elite players. Speaking of elite players, Penn State got a breakout performance from Jahan Dotson, who kept the game interesting with three TD receptions, including a one-handed snag early in the fourth quarter that will make all the highlight reels. Dotson’s performance, as well as Sean Clifford not turning the ball over until garbage time, kept the Lions from being blown out.

Indiana at Rutgers | Hoosiers make it two, 37-21

A game only ever slightly in doubt, which is a something Rutgers fans are used to and Indiana fans are not. This was a good old-fashioned drubbing, thanks to steady scoring and reliable defense on Indiana’s part. Rutgers is improving, but New jersey wasn’t built in a day.

Zuzu: STILL CAN’T BELIEVE THE REFS GAVE INDIANA A “HUDDLE CAN’T TELL” TOUCHDOWN WITHOUT BATTING AN EYE, THEN ROBBED US OF A “COULD GO EITHER WAY” 8 LATERAL PASS TOUCHDOWN. I am sooooooo angry that the TD of the decade was taken from Rutgers. A legendary play that would have lived on in CFB fame for years to come just taken from us. I knew we were gonna lose. Yes, we kinda played more competitively, but somehow not getting that TD makes me so enraged I can’t explain it. And Allen was such a bircj about it. Just drooling to get it overturned because he knew Indiana’d win would be overshadowed by such an amazing play that came at the expense of his team. God. I don’t think we’ll ever see such a play out if Rutgers again, and I’m so mad that we couldn’t get a play up there with the legedary “The Play” between Stanford and Cal. FUCK.

C4B: Indiana came out of the gate slowly against the ‘Gers, trailing 7-6 until the 5 minute mark of the second quarter. After that, Michael Penix and the Hoosier offense started clicking, and Indiana cruised to victory. This is actually a big step for the Hoosiers for a few reasons. #1, it means that last week’s win over Penn State was not a total fluke. #2, this is exactly the kind of game that Indiana absolutely chokes on in the past, squandering all of the momentum of a big win, so not doing so today was huge, and #3, taking care of business against a Scarlet Knights squad that was also looking to build momentum off a big win last week puts Indiana firmly in front of the B1G Ten East until probably next week. Good, positive steps.

Minnesota at Maryland | Minnesota finds new lows, 44-45

South Rutgers, fresh off a disastrous opener, has rebounded to show us all that even at its worst, the East somehow has the West’s number. Tagovailoa suddenly lived up to his name, throwing for nigh on 400 yards and 3 TDs in a barn-burner that served more as a transitive indicator of Michigan’s Saturday fortunes than anything.

WSR: I have never been happier to have been distracted and missed large chunks of a Gopher game. 8.66 YPR and 8 rushing touchdowns allowed through 2 games? Holy hell, I’m going to need to have company over for every game for the rest of the year. The offense is perfectly serviceable, getting 5.67 YPP and averaging 34 points a game. That alone should be enough to be in every game, yet it seems like allowing FUCKING 9.48 YARDS PER PLAY ON DEFENSE IS NOT A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS. I’m trying to wrap my head around how this is possible, and there are a few things that weigh into it. The LBs are young and depleted, but that’s still not enough to justify this kind of falloff. We’ve given up 2 plays of 70+ yards while nobody else in the conference has any, and plays of 50+ while everyone else has a combined 3! This needs to get sorted quick before the Gophers end up finishing the year at 1-3 or something like that. It’s just wild and insane, It’s absolutely insane that Mo Ibrahim is an afterthought right now, but he’s averaging 5.18 YPC, leads the B1G in rushing yards by almost 100, has 6 TDs in 2 games (including tying Minnesota’s single game TD mark with 4 IN THE FIRST HALF against Maryland) and none of that matters because the team is 0-2 and the everything is dumb. 675 yards allowed to fucking Maryland is not a great way to inspire hope, even in the darkness that is 2020.

Purdue at Illinois | Boilermakers beat QB-less Illini, probably catch COVID, 31-24

With Brandon Peters out due to a confirmed case of the Madison Flu, Illinois still managed to make it a game. Backup Coran Taylor turned in a respectable performance, but his 2 INTs—part of a 4-turnover effort by Illinois overall—left him with a QBR scarcely higher than his jersey number. Craps, indeed.

Thump: The post-2018 extension of Lovie Smith might have been a pretty smart move because of how it restructured buyout, which is now maybe low enough that even a cash-strapped DIA could afford it. Last week, the offense with all the starters failed to show up, and the defense was dogshit against the pass especially over the middle. This week, despite missing starters and going to the 4th string QB, the offense showed up! Gained 440 yards! The defense was dogshit against the pass especially over the middle. I don’t know what in the fuck Rod Smith is doing anymore. There were so many baffling playcalls, including on a fourth and short and especially with 1st and 10 inside the Purdue 20 down a score with 2 minutes to go. FOUR STRAIGHT PASSES. UNBELIEVABLE.

Late in the 3rd quarter, I thought Illinois would hit my threshold I set for abandoning the game, which was “purdue ball, 21 point deficit.” They simply refused to do this and then pulled golden horseshoe after golden horseshoe out of their ass. If that’s Lovieball, and that’s a tactic and not just some random bullshit, I certainly hope they didn’t use all the golden horseshoes on a loss. I’m very worried that we used up our best chance for a win, and it wasn’t even that great a chance.

Our pass defense is so bad that Purdue felt comfortable throwing to run out the clock.

Boilerman31: I missed the first quarter thanks to work. The rest of the game was both teams trying to out bonehead each other. Purdue built a nice lead and then tried to give the game back to Illinois. Lovie wasn’t having it. After an extremely questionable pass play on 2nd down, David Bell, the man, caught yet another insane catch to seal it up. Considering Illinois used their 3rd and 4th string QBs, it doesn’t feel like a great win. But it’s a win.

The Boilers are 2-0 for the first time in forever and The Cannon is back home. Onto Wisconsin, maybe?

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