Well that brought everyone back down to earth a bit. A 19-39 loss where Nebraska dominates you will have that effect. Not a wholly unexpected result, but certainly less pleasant than The Champaign Room was hoping for:
We all knew the defense would be problematic against this Nebraska offense, and it was. The Illini defense was gashed for 329 rushing yards, with the Nebraska offensive line opening huge holes and swallowing Illini defenders up. Ameer Abdullah finished with 225 yards and two touchdowns by himself.
What we had hoped to see was an improved Illinois offense keep the Illini in the game and give them a chance. That did not happen. Nathan Scheelhaase looked like the skittish Scheelhaase of old, and like the Scheelhaase we saw in the Washington game. A lot of it is on him, as he panics when things aren't going well and is slow to make decisions. It's also the fact that the offensive line couldn't do much in pass protection.
Yep, crashing back to earth.
Up next? Bye week. Wait, didn't they just have one of those?
Defeated Penn State 44-24. This is a big deal. It was literally the FIRST. TIME. EVER. that IU had beaten PSU.
The Crimson Quarry? This is your time to celebrate:
With the combination of the rest of the defense and those three players the Hoosiers were able to keep the game well within reach while the offense had time to figure out the opposition. Then it was off to the races. Overall be encouraged. The Hoosiers are back within bowl contention and six wins looks very plausible at this point. If they can go up to East Lansing and take out a susceptible Michigan State team on their first road trip of the season you might even be able to get excited about the possibility of making some noise in the division.
Whoa there, let's not get crazy now. I mean, the gnomes are happy for you and everything but they'd like to remind you...
Up next? Up to East Lansing to have Michigan State's defense shut them down. 11am on ESPN2.
Well that was unpleasant to watch. Not the part where Iowa lost to Michigan State. The part where they punted a collective 13 times in 30 drives (8 of which were Iowa's, including 4 in a row in the second half. Black Heart Gold Pants had some things to say about that:
And so Iowa falls to 4-2, the exact same record that they were at after six games last season. Last year, the season imploded in spectacularly ugly fashion at this point, losing six in a row and looking barely competitive in a few of those games. Iowa can't afford to let that happen again, but they're also going to have to play an even tougher schedule the rest of the way. A trip to Columbus in two weeks is up next. Gulp.
The gnomes would be good with that. You want to know something else that happened against Michigan State? (skip to 3:09)
Iowa's ability to handle special teams trickery is so poor that it almost makes you wonder if they'll just give up on returning kicks altogether. Oh wait...
Michigan State executed a fake for a 25-yard gain against Iowa on Saturday, the second time the Hawkeyes have fallen for a fake this season and the sixth time since 2010. After the game, the Iowa coach said that he was considering never setting up a punt return again.
And he was actually serious.
"If you pressed me today, I’d say we may never try to return a punt again," Ferentz said during his weekly press conference Tuesday. "To do that, to block guys, you have to turn and go with those guys to shadow them. When you do that, you open the door. Michigan State did a good job of taking advantage of that."
Never change Kirk.
Up next? Bye week.
Sigh...Maize n Brew? Your thoughts?
Once again, it seemed as if the Wolverines were doomed to struggle against a team that had not been impressive to date. It has always seemed like Michigan has a penchant for this sort of thing, more so than any other big name team, but perhaps that is just an issue of relative exposure.
As mind-numbingly frustrating as the first half was, Michigan somehow left the field with a 29 point victory in its Big Ten opener. By the box score, the game looks like a standard blowout, which I suppose it was. Minnesota never really had a chance once Michigan put that second touchdown on the board, but it sure didn't feel that way at the time.
Something, something, burn in hell.
Up next? Headed to Happy Valley for an odd 4pm kickoff. Also, whiteout game. 4pm on ESPN.
Michigan State: 4-1
Way to make Iowa sad MSU. The gnomes would like to give you a framed picture to commemorate your victory
Whatcha got The Only Colors?
5) This team can contend in a weak West Division if today's offensive showing was not a fluke.
Nobody in our division has looked like a terror. Nebraska has major problems on defense, Michigan has two near-losses to horrible non-conference opponents, Minnesota got beaten badly by the same Iowa team we just saw, and Northwestern looks like possibly the best team in the division but also has the toughest crossover schedule of the bunch. Cashing in with more touchdowns instead of field goals and improving in short yardage situations would help, but a decent offense and great defense might well be enough to get us to Indianapolis.
Up next? Indiana comes to town to wave at the Brass Spitoon. 11am on ESPN2.
Ran all over Illinois. Corn Nation?
Concessions: F I can't speak to the rest of the stadium, but my wife spent her entire halftime going from concession stand to concession stand in a search for food. I think she got the last two hot dogs in the place at the start of the third quarter. Pizza, Runzas, hamburgers --- long sold out. No excuse for running out of food that early. Grade: F
They ran all over Illinois. This is a more interesting note than anything about the game. The gnomes would mock Nebraska for it's food related errors, but I think we all know there are some glass house issues in that regard.
Up next? On the road playing REDACTED in West Lafayette. 11am on BTN.
I feel like we've seen this movie before...
Ohio State 40, Northwestern 30
Yep, we've seen this movie before. Take it away Sippin' On Purple...
Northwestern lost another heartbreaker in the fourth quarter because of course they did.
Sorry NU bros, but the gnomes' hand was forced:
That's right, it's another "Glen Mason WTF Is Going On Here?" award for lead losing ineptitude. Too bad too, as the gnomes would rather have featured Northwestern winning at GameDay.
Up next? Need to avoid a letdown in Camp Randall to keep their West Division hopes alive. 2:30pm on ABC/ESPN2.
Ohio State: 6-0
Northwestern had them on the ropes, but thanks to plays like this...
...Ohio State escaped Ryan field with a win. Land Grant Holy Land didn't sugarcoat how tight this game was:
The fourth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes survived a trip to Evanston, extending the nation's longest winning streak to 18 games. The Wildcats were undefeated and College Gameday was on campus for the first time since 1995, therefore this game had all the makings of a loss.
Up next? Bye week.
Penn State: 3-2
First loss ever to Indiana?
Had to happen eventually I suppose. Black Shoe Diaries attempts to keep everyone calm:
I am, to the extent that a writer for a mere blog like Black Shoe Diaries can have attained some level of notoriety, famous for my overreactions. I deemed the Bill O'Brien era a failure after the first two games of last season, and have called for so many coaches to be fired that I can't imagine there's one, save LJSR, who I haven't directed some level of vitriol at. I claim that it's a product of my New York-sports upbringing, or maybe my general impatience, but, point is, I'm no stranger to premature hysterics.
But at this point, 5 games in to the season, I wonder whether it's still an overreaction to demand some sort of change within this Penn State program. It's becoming clear that Bill O'Brien can't do it all by himself--recruiting, coaching up a young, inconsistent, talented quarterback, calling plays, and being the spiritual and vocal leader of a team. Not only has his prized protege Hackenberg failed to make much progress these past few weeks--he's regressed, if anything--and not only has the play-calling been as maddeningly predictable as it is completely atrocious, and not only does it seem eminently unlikely that every NFL team with a vacancy will come calling as they did just a few months ago, but, more palpably, his Penn State team has seemed rudderless. We knew that the losses of Mike Mauti, Mike Zordich, and Matt McGloin would leave this team devoid of leadership, but we didn't know it would be so defiantly apathetic. There's no sense of urgency, no us-against-the-world mentality that fueled last team through as much adversity as a college football team can face. We knew the loss of Ted Roof would hurt more than we ever let on. We knew this year would be a step back. But, as this loss and the UCF loss have proved, and as generally uninspiring performances even in the wins over some overmatched cupcakes evinced, this team is failing to learn from its mistakes, failing to take advantage of its opportunities, failing to seize the moment and the momentum and do any of those things that a successful team does.
Up next? White Out game versus Michigan in Happy Valley. 4pm on ESPN.
If a terrible team that doesn't exist has a bye week, does anyone notice they didn't play? On the plus side, no one else got arrested. Per the gnomes' bye week policy, here is something they think represents Purdue:
Hammer and Rails looks ahead to Nebraska:
It is a big weekend of events at Purdue starting Friday night. Not only is the Volleyball team trying to sell out Mackey Arena for the match against Illinois, but a music legend is performing at Elliott Hall of Music that makes me wish I was free to go up.
This could legitimately be the greatest weekend Purdue has seen since Neil walked on the moon.Compared to all that, Saturday's football game is almost a letdown.
Three paragraphs of non-football talk including Weird Al before football gets mentioned. Purdue 2013 everyone.
Up next? The Huskers visit Ross-Aide. 11am on BTN.
The gnomes keep it simple:
Bucky's 5th Quarter takes a look at Northwestern:
The Badgers' defense will have all it can handle when 19th-ranked Northwestern visits Camp Randall Stadium Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats, who are averaging 39 points per game this season and have scored at least 30 every week, can beat a team in a variety of ways, and Wisconsin is trying to prepare for them all.
Up next? Wildcats in Madison. 2:30pm on ABC/ESPN2
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