B1G Week Four Review: The Last of the Cupcakes

YES! No more cupcakes! Week four was the last of the cupcake portion of the B1G season and we finally get to the intriguing games of the season. Week four was mostly a yawner around the country, including the B1G (the Buckeyes destroyed some helpless high school team, causing non-Buckeye sports writers everywhere to spontaneously combust into thin air over it). Before we get to the good games though, let’s take one last look at what happened in week four:

Minnesota 43 San Jose State 24

This was a nice win for Minnesota, who kicks off the season 4-0 heading into conference play. It was a close game for one half (20-17 at the half), but then Minnesota came out firing in the third quarter and didn’t look bad. The Gophers scored 24 unanswered to start off the second half, putting the game out of reach before the Spartans finally answered with a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Starting in place for the injured Phillip Nelson, backup quarterback Mitch Leidner shined not through the air, but on the ground. Leidner rushed for 151 yards and four touchdowns, while running back David Cobb also chipped in 125 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Minnesota appears to live and die by the running game, which is something for other B1G teams to be aware of when playing the Gophers.

Iowa 59 Western Michigan 3

This was a blowout on paper and it was a blowout on the field. It was never close at any point in this game. Iowa got plenty of playing time for its backups and kept its starters fresh for conference play. Hawkeye quarterback Jake Rudock continues to gain experience and become a more solid player, going 10 of 15 passing for 134 yards and two touchdowns against the Broncos. Rudock will be the key to Iowa’s success this season, as the Hawkeyes have shown they can run the ball.

Nebraska 59 South Dakota State 20

After a week of drama off the field and an embarrassing loss to UCLA, Nebraska was pretty happy to be back on the football field playing a game. This was a pretty easy victory for the Huskers, although South Dakota State gave them a run for one-quarter. The Huskers got a lot of players on the field for this game, which is especially important for their defense. Nebraska had a pretty balanced offensive attack, throwing for 310 yards (two touchdowns) and rushing for 335 yards (five touchdowns). The Jackrabbits did have one bright spot, running back Zach Zenner, who rushed for 202 yards and two touchdowns. Zenner rushed for over 2,000 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, so the Huskers shouldn’t be disappointed by their performance against a talented player like Zenner.

Penn State 34 Kent State 0

Another blowout win for Penn State. Kent State put up a valiant effort, but the strength of the depth charts clearly shined through in this game. The most notable aspect in this game was the dominant rushing attack by the Nittany Lions. The bulk of the 287 rushing yards came from the three-headed attack of Akeel Lynch, Bill Belton and Zack Zwinak. With a freshman quarterback still finding his way, I expect Penn State to continue to pound it out on the ground against teams.

#24 Wisconsin 41 Purdue 10

Wisconsin did Wisconsin things in this game, so everyone knew what the outcome was going to be. The Badgers ran the ball right down Purdue’s throat, ensuring the Boilermakers never had a shot. Once again Wisconsin got 300 yards rushing out of its running game. Melvin Gordon rushed for 147 yards and three touchdowns, James White rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown and Corey Clement ran for 83 yards and a score. We’ll see what this running game does this weekend when they go against the Ohio State defense (I guarantee not as much).

#22 Notre Dame 17 Michigan State 13

Last week I said nice things about Michigan State and predicted they would win this game. Shame on me for saying nice things about the Spartans because they confirmed to me that they’re going to be a great defensive team, but mediocre at best offensively. It’s a shame because the defense is championship caliber. Of course I could say the same thing about Notre Dame too. Both teams will be held back by their offenses for the rest of the season. Michigan State finishes 3-1 in non-conference play and have a bye week now to try to figure out how to conjure up some sort of offense.

#18 Northwestern 35 Maine 21

This game was much closer than I expected. Northwestern appeared to be sleep walking through this game, most likely looking ahead to their biggest game of the year in two weeks. The Wildcats still pulled off victory though and now have two weeks of preparing for the Buckeyes. Both the quarterback and running back positions appear to be by committee at the moment, with the questionable health of Kain Colter and the absence of Venric Mark. Right now the Wildcats appear to be the second best team in the B1G and the favorite to win the Legends Division.

Missouri 45 Indiana 28

I said this game would be a shootout and I was right. Except Indiana didn’t do as much ‘shooting’ as I thought. Missouri actually took care of the Hoosiers rather easily and Indiana looked exposed against the Tigers. Indiana is another team in the B1G this season that is great on one side of the ball, but terrible on the other side. On defense they gave up 623 yards, including 343 passing yards to Missouri quarterback James Franklin. On the other side, Nate Sudfeld threw for over 200 yards, but also threw three interceptions. After this game, I’m not really sure what to make of Indiana.

#15 Michigan 24 Connecticut 21

If the pick machine, Devin Gardner, can keep it under control Michigan should win this game in easy fashion. But we said that last week too didn’t we?

This is what I said in my preview for this game. Let’s all take a moment to laugh at Michigan. Go ahead, I’ll wait for you to stop. Okay now that we got that out of our systems let’s talk about the game. Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner didn’t keep it under control again and as a result Michigan should have lost to the Huskies. Gardner threw zero touchdowns and two interceptions, with only 111 yards passing. I was expecting the ghost of Tom Harmon to show up and take his number off Gardner’s back. The savior for the Wolverines was running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, who rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns (and saved his sorry ass offense). UConn quarterback Cody Whitmer did his best to carry his team, having a solid day passing (159 yards and two touchdowns). Michigan fans sound worried about Gardner and the offense and rightly so. As someone on Twitter said, they’re basically running the Terrelle Pryor offense at the moment (quarterback runs around and prays he makes a play, relies on running backs heavily). Devin “Turnover Machine” Gardner better get it together quick, otherwise he’ll be riding the pine.

Comments

  1. I thought the B1G availed itself rather well the first three weeks, but week #4 was a bit of a “WOOF” situation. Not pretty. Conference play will definitely separate the haves from the have-nots.

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