With apologies for last week’s interruption in programming, let’s just dive right in, shall we?
Ohio State/Penn State
In college football, it’s a truism that good teams aren’t just good; they’re also lucky. How else to explain the final sequence of events in Ohio State barely escaping Happy Valley with a 27-26 win?
Contests between these two teams have been bizarre before, but perhaps never as much as when—with the game on the line—the Nittany Lions inexplicably decided to run an inside zone play on 4th-and-5.
Despite the absurd ending, the game did feature flashes of brilliance. Trace McSorley put in a Heisman-worthy performance, passing for 286 yards and two touchdowns and adding another 175 yards on the ground. Indeed, he was more impressive than Buckeye signal caller Dwayne Haskins statistically, but Haskins played well when it mattered, driving his team nearly the entire length of the field for a score late in the fourth quarter. For his efforts, he earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors.
The Buckeyes host Indiana on Saturday, while the Nittany Lions get to lick their wounds through the bye week before hosting Michigan State on October 13.
The Spartans wrapped up the non-conference portion of their schedule with a 31-20 win over Central Michigan. The game began with Central Michigan taking a 3-0 lead that lasted through the end of the first quarter, but Michigan State overcame the slow start and ran out to a huge 31-3 lead, thanks in part to two rushing touchdowns for Brian Lewerke.
But in true SPARTY NOOOOO fashion, the Spartans let Central hang around for the rest of the game, ultimately narrowing the score to 31-20 before the Michigan State defense put the game away.
Michigan State plays Northwestern on Saturday at 11 AM.
And speaking of Northwestern, /FACEPALM. A 20-17 loss to Michigan is no shocker, but the way it happened can only be described as appalling failure on the part of the purple-clad.
Despite being huge underdogs in the game, the Wildcats ran out to a 17-0 lead in the first half, on the strength of two quick scores early in the second quarter, one each for quarterback Clayton Thorson and running back John Moten IV, who took over backfield duties after the recent retirement of Jeremy Larkin.
But alas, it was not enough. The Michigan defense woke up in the second half, holding the Wildcats to just 97 yards for the rest of the game. Meanwhile, Karan Higdon ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns and the Wolverines put 20 unanswered points on the board to give Jim Harbaugh his biggest comeback win in his tenure at Michigan.
Michigan will host Maryland on Saturday at 11 PM, while Northwestern will travel to Michigan State and try to avoid a fourth straight loss this season.
It wasn’t the most impressive of wins, but Indiana will take a 24-17 victory over Rutgers just the same.
The two teams were initially tied at 7-7 in the first quarter after the two teams traded early scores. But in the second quarter, it was all Indiana as the Hoosiers reeled off 17 points to take a 24-7 lead with quarterback Peyton Ramsey passing for a score and rushing for another.
Rutgers did manage a comeback of sorts. Rutgers held the Hoosiers scoreless in the second half, recovered a fumble that set up a trick play for a score, and then found some rhythm on offense. Freshman quarterback Artur Sitkowski drove the team into field goal range to bring Rutgers within a score. The comeback fell short, but Rutgers did make some progress in this game.
Up next, Indiana takes on Ohio State, while Rutgers will play Illinois.
Purdue beat Nebraska 42-28, a huge boost for the Boilermakers who began the season 0-3 but have now won two straight games and looked good in the process.
This was Purdue’s first-ever win over Nebraska, and it came on a day when quarterback David Blough cemented his status as QB1. It also came on a day when the defense did everything it could to give up the game in the fourth quarter. For their part, the Cornhuskers showed real signs of life in this game, although key mistakes cost them a true comeback. Nebraska had 582 yards of offense in this game and the offense looked solid. But the Huskers also had 136 yards of penalties, failed to convert on fourth-down three separate times, and also had a terrible, momentum-killing interception.
Next up, Purdue takes its win streak into the bye week, while Nebraska plays Wisconsin in a game that sort of makes you wish scoreless ties were still a thing.
Nebraska is 0-4 in 2018. Nebraska has now lost eight games in a row. This is a new low for a once-storied program, and...whatever, I cannot muster any sympathy at all. ALL THE SCHADENFREUDE.
My local watering hole @BarleysCB is offering to help our neighbors to the west during this difficult time. @marcmorehouse @ScottDochterman @hawkeyenation @ChadLeistikow @MarkEmmert @HawkeyeReport pic.twitter.com/lXHlorDp6k— Chad Hannan (@ChadHannan) October 3, 2018
May this beer fridge stay locked forever.