B1G Week Five Review: Making a Statement

Week five signaled the last of non-conference play for the B1G (except for the bizarre Wisconsin-BYU match-up later in the season) and the beginning of conference play. It was pretty easy to follow the conference this week, being there was only four games. While everyone was focusing on the Ohio State-Wisconsin game (which lived up to its hype), three other games took place. They weren’t exactly thrillers, but they taught us a little bit more about each team. And this is important because the B1G is pretty muddled right now, with no clear pecking order after Ohio State at the top. Let’s take a look at what happened:

Illinois 50 Miami (OH) 14

Illinois was expected to win this game big and they did just that against Miami on Saturday. The Fighting Illini pretty much did whatever they felt like doing in this game. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase shredded the Red Hawks’ defense, throwing for nearly 300 yards and five touchdowns. Miami didn’t score until late in the third quarter on a Austin Boucher touchdown pass to Rokeem Williams. It was 43-0 until this point. Illinois finishes 3-1 in non-conference play and will start their B1G season on the road against Nebraska this weekend.

Northern Illinois 55 Purdue 24

From one blowout to another, this game was also never in doubt. Northern Illinois took control from the start of this game and never gave Purdue a chance. The Huskies of course were led by star quarterback Jordan Lynch, who had no problem dissecting the Boilermakers’ offense. Lynch completed 18 of 25 passes for 207 yards and three touchdowns, while also running for a touchdown. Northern Illinois’ defense also picked off Purdue quarterbacks four times in this game. Purdue yanked starting quarterback Rob Henry in the second half and gave backup Danny Etling an extended look. Etling threw for 241 yards to Henry’s 130 yards, raising the question of a quarterback change in West Lafayette. What a mess for the Boilermakers!

Iowa 23 Minnesota 7

The first two games above were expected to be lopsided in one team’s favor. But this one took everyone off guard! Unfortunately I didn’t get to watch this game live because DirecTV would rather shove a Florida State-Boston College game down my throat and everyone just loves watching ACC games here in Ohio. Back to the game: These two teams appeared even on paper. Then Iowa came out and demonstrated they were clearly the superior team. Minnesota came into the game running the ball pretty well, but the Hawkeyes defense shut them completely down. The Golden Gophers ran the ball 27 times for only 30 yards and zero touchdowns. Ouch! On the flip side, Iowa ran the ball all over a Minnesota defense that looked stout up until this game. Star running back Mark Weisman ran 24 times for 147 yards and basically did Mark Weisman things (But didn’t score a touchdown. How did this happen?). He’s seriously one of the most underrated running backs in the country and deserves more credit than what he gets. Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock outplayed his counterpart Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson, something I said would be the key to this game in my preview last week. Rudock threw for 218 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for one touchdown. Nelson threw for only 135 yards and two picks. Has Kirk Ferentz returned Iowa to its former glory days? We’ll continue to find out next weekend when they take on Michigan State.

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