I've been instructed to open with a haiku:
Grass smoothies taste good
Schadenfreude tastes better
We love Mad Hatter
Who can we thank for this bit of poetic genius? OUR GNOMES!
Ok, so the gnomes need to work on their entrance a bit. What they don't need to work on is snark. The Big Ten was fairly solid this past weekend, which slightly limits what they've got to work with. But have no fear, Wisconsin will pull them through.
You almost lost to some Penguins. In August. In Central Illinois. Penguins do not fare well in hot humid weather Illinois and yet you trailed nearly midway through the 4th quarter. Also, WHY THE HELL IS A SCHOOL IN OHIO USING SOMETHING CALLED PETE THE PENGUIN AS THEIR MASCOT?
So congratulations Illinois, this is you:
(side note, how awesome is it that on the first time I've ever Google'd "penguin attack gif" the images I'd get would show a man in Illinois colors? The level of coincidence here is outstanding. Jobu has truly intervened on the gnomes behalf.)
Let us check in with our friends at The Champaign Room:
For an uncomfortably large portion of this game, it looked like the Fighting Illini were bound for an incredibly embarrassing loss to Youngstown State. That would be the worst possible start to the season for Tim Beckman, who absolutely needs the easy wins to stay employed.
The Hoosiers opened up their year against the mighty Fighting Trees of Indiana State. Unlike last year, the Hoosier offense did not torch the trees to the ground with sulfur and fire. Last year, Indiana hung nearly 3 quarters of a hundred on the Sycamores. This year? 28. On the plus side, the Indiana defense only surrendered 10 points instead of 35. The gnomes are asking me to move along because they'd to save the heaviest bits of Hoosier snark for when Indiana manages to find a way to cost themselves a bowl trip (again). The gnomes would like to extend a hearty "woo hoo" to Tevin Coleman for trampling Indiana State as if he was possessed by one of those inexplicable demon buffalo from the pregame intro video (seriously, we still don't know WTF was up with that...)
Instead, we turn to the Crimson Quarry for thoughts:
On a day when Indiana was honoring former star running back Anthony Thompson, it was only appropriate that the Hoosier ground game would be very impressive, as they racked up 455 rushing yards in an easy victory over Indiana State. Though the Hoosiers only won 28-10, the statistics show much more of a blowout in which the game's final result was never in doubt. Despite the great day on the ground, the Hoosiers' passing game still seems to need work; however, the defense looked much-improved under new DC Brian Knorr.
What was that? You almost had it! You were THIS CLOSE to delivering a schadenfreude sweep! And then you had to go and win and stuff. Boo.
Tell us your thoughts Black Heart Gold Pants:
Without question, there's a lot that Iowa needs to work on, whether or not you think UNI is better than Iowa's next two opponents (and I do). The offense struggled to create big plays (at least until the game-clinching drive) and the defense struggled hugely in coverage in the middle of the field. I'm gonna have a few nightmares about David Johnson running free down the middle of the field. But the defense also stiffened in some key moments in the second half, forcing a few turnovers and getting much-needed pressure on UNI's Sawyer Kollmorgen.
On a more serious note, good on the BHGP community for raising a bunch of money to benefit sick kids and for making noted horse-ist Adam Jacobi do funny things. No snark on that. Cause all of that rocks.
So Michigan decided to go out and play like...wait...hold on...oh no...
Ladies and gentlemen, can I please have your attention. I've just been handed an urgent and horrifying news story. I need all of you, to stop what you're doing and listen.
Maryland is part of the Big Ten and we have to snark about them. There I said it, I'm sorry.
Take it away gnomes.
For reals gnomes, you need to do this.
Guys. Seriously. You came to me asking to do this column on the B1G every week. Maryland is part of the B1G now. They deserve snark too.
ALRIGHT! I guess we'll need to work in to that. Testudo Times, share some knowledge:
Coming into Maryland's season opener Saturday against James Madison, no one really expected the game to be a close one; most expected the Terps to cruise to an easy victory in their first game as a member of the Big Ten. After the Terps' 45 point win over the Dukes, I think it's safe to say the team, for the most part, lived up to the expectations most had for this game.
So Michigan decided to go out and play like they had an offensive line. Oh Appy State...
You deserved better after all the schadenfreude laced joy you brought the rest of the Big Ten. But Brady Hoke is a vengeful Michigan Man and an example had to be set. Maize n Brew, did this quell your bloodlust?
While Funchess takes the obvious top billing, eyes were mostly glued to Michigan's offensive line throughout the day. The Wolverines got off to a rough start with just nine yards on the first five run plays, and six of those coming from the broken play that led to a Gardner scramble. It looked like more of the same from last year. Of course, a funny thing started to happen: Michigan's line began to open up some holes and give the running backs a little space to operate.
This is a bad idea Michigan. You don't want competent offensive line play. It's a fool's paradise. Your new offensive coordinator is just leading you down the primrose path. Don't do it.
The gnomes tip their hat to Max Shortell and would like to scold Jacksonville State for not playing the Ginger Cannon sooner. As for Michigan State? Well then. Good work.
Connor Cook. Hard to do better than 12 for 13, 285 yards, 3 TDs in the first half. The first touchdown was a strike to Tony Lippett as he got hit; the second was again to Lippett who was wide open after a blitz. The third was a beautiful fade to A.J. Troup.
Conner Cook is going to become the gnomes wishing troll. Anytime a Gopher QB struggles the gnomes will rub his belly and think good thoughts.
Way to make FAU pay for firing Carl Pelini. I mean, they definitely deserved to be punished after firing him for going Tony Montana. In any case, you didn't embarrass yourselves. Snark averted.
Corn Nation, spit some wisdom:
Nebraska and Florida Atlantic traded touchdowns on their first offensive series, but it was all Cornhuskers after that as they racked up 784 yards of total offense while holding the Owls to 200. Nebraska won its nation leading 29th straight season opener easily, 55-7, while star running back Ameer Abdullah had a Heisman-worthy performance.
Truthfully, it wasn't until reading that recap that I or the gnomes realized Nebby had put up that many yards. Ok then.
The gnomes were told that Northwestern was fine. They were assured that the loss of Venric Mark and whatever the name of the good wide receiver was would make no difference. Cal's offensive stats from last year were inflated and didn't stand up to scrutiny. They would surely rebound from last year and would finish well above ther Gophers. No one told Cal though. The gnomes would like to honor those tire tread marks that are all over your backs Northwestern. Please accept the Big Rig award with their compliments.
Explain this loss to us Inside NU:
At the end of the day, this is just one loss. A really, truly terrible loss, but just one, nonetheless. It’s fairly likely that the secondary’s performance in the first half was the worst of the worst, an anomaly, and that it won’t be nearly that bad for most of the season. But it’s on Campbell, undoubtedly the leader of the defense, to get them back on track.
You avoided falling to those tricksy Midshipmen and their wicked little triple option. Nice work. Don't know that there's a lot to say. You could have lost, you didn't. Still no Braxton. Land Grant Holy Land, we're sure you have more to say than that:
There were a ton of questions about this Ohio State team heading into the weekend, and I'm not sure we have any more answers than we did before today's kickoff. The first half was an ugly mess that somehow only saw the Buckeyes concede 7 points while only scoring 6. The second half was a different story, as Ohio State strung together 4 touchdowns on its way to a relatively convincing 34-17 victory.
Still, did we honestly expect much different? Our starting quarterback had less than 2 weeks to prepare for his first live action in almost 2 full years, our defensive line was missing one of its terrifying bookends, and there is inexperience up and down the roster, from offensive line to secondary.
Why Ireland? Because bowl ban that's why. Does it make sense? Kind of. Would the gnomes jump at the chance to follow the Gophers there? Yes, even though they hate neutral site games. I mean, it's Ireland! In the end Penn State had to rely on the boot of finicky Sam Ficken, their oft-maligned kicker. And you know what? He did it!
In honor of your triumph over UCF on the foot of a guy who lost you other season opening games, the gnomes would like to present you with the Luck of the Irish award!
Good on you laddy! Is that Scottish? The gnomes don't care! Black Shoe Diaries, share your jetlagged thoughts with us please:
At some point during yesterday's thriller in Dublin, I am guessing we all had this thoguht: Christian Hackenberg is playing just his 13th collegiate football game. It was only a year ago that he became the 2nd true freshman to ever start for Penn State at quarterback, in a 23-17 win over Syracuse.
Saturday's 26-24 win against UCF was eerily similar to that game in several aspects, most notably the reliance on the sophomore's right arm. Sure, there were the interceptions, and a few other throws that I am sure left us scratching our heads, but when plays needed to be made, Hackenberg was the guy that made them (with some help from Geno Lewis).
The trainwreck gif was ready to go. And then an unexpected thing happened. Purdue won a football game. There is only one appropriate response to this.
You earned it Purdue!
It doesn't matter that Western Michigan was 1-11 a year ago.
It doesn't matter that the Broncos were playing a ton of freshmen.
It doesn't matter that it was painfully obvious that Purdue still has a lot to work on.
For the first time since November 24, 2012 Purdue scored more points than a BCS level football team. After a losing streak that was longer than anything we have seen in a century, our Boilers came out and won a football game today, erasing the second-longest losing streak in the nation.
The one we've all been...wait...@#%@&^@#&^#!!!!!!!
That's what I thought. Well, Rutgers defeated the dread pirate Leach anyhow so I suppose they deserve a pass. On The Banks, lets get your thoughts:
The secondary wasn't quite as dominant as we remember, as Connor Halliday threw for over half a thousand yards in a loss against Rutgers. RU's defensive backfield is a work in progress, and it showed tonight. But you knew that if this game was anything like 2013's Fresno State barnburner, the Knights would need just one play.
And they got it.
SMOOTHIES FOR ALL!
The gnomes will admit it Wisconsin. You had this one. You were torching LSU and your defense was holding them in check. And then for reasons that will forever surpass our understanding you decided to pull a Paul Chryst at the Rose Bowl and go away from your bread and butter. For this wonderful decision, the gnomes would like to reward you with the Milk Carton award.
Oh, also they'd just like to say...
Over to you Bucky's 5th Quarter:
If only football games were 40 minutes long. Wisconsin rushed out to an early first-half lead behind a dynamic rushing attack and attacking defense. A score to start the second half gave Wisconsin a 24-7 lead. However, injuries to starting defensive lineman Konrad Zagzebski and Warren Herring doomed the Badgers' defense in the second half.
At full strength, the defense was fast and attacking, and held LSU to 132 first-half yards, 80 of which came on one long touchdown. Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda deployed a variety of blitzes and shifting alignments to confuse the LSU offensive line.
Alas, injuries mounted in the second half, and the offense was unable to produce sustained drives. Then the defense just ran out of gas.