B1G Week Six Review: Unpredictability

I’ll admit right up front that I was wrong on most of my picks last week. Just when you think you have the B1G figured out, then you have a weekend like the past one. This conference is so unpredictable that it’s pretty much impossible to call these games. Ohio State is clearly the best team in the conference. But after that it’s a tossup. It’s going to be fun watching the rest of the conference schedule unfold, as the slate of games will only get better.

Indiana 44 Penn State 24

When Indiana got dismantled by Missouri (still undefeated), I immediately wrote the Hoosiers off as a flash in the pan who can only beat cupcakes and can’t play defense. Well I was wrong. Indiana’s offense had a great day against a decent Penn State defense, while the Hoosiers’ defense shutdown the Penn State rushing attack. The Nittany Lions came into the game with a pretty solid running game, but were held to only 70 yards rushing on Saturday. The quarterbacks for both teams shined. Indiana quarterback Nate Sudfeld threw for 321 yards (two touchdowns, one interception), while Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg threw for 340 yards and three touchdowns (zero turnovers too). Indiana appears to be one of the teams in the upper part of the conference and could prove to be the trap game remaining for Ohio State on their schedule due to the Hoosiers’ high-flying spread attack that can give opposing teams fits.

Nebraska 39 Illinois 19

Perhaps I was too hasty in judging these two teams. Illinois clearly benefited from their weak non-conference schedule because quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, who had looked great up until this game, had a very pedestrian performance against a defense that was struggling to contain great quarterbacks. Scheelhaase was 13 of 26 passing for only 135 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception. On the flip side, Nebraska’s offense was firing on all cylinders. Backup quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. threw for 135 yards and two touchdowns (zero interceptions). Clearly Armstrong is the future for the Huskers, which will make losing star Taylor Martinez to graduation sting a little less. But the guy everyone overlooked who had an absolutely great game was running back Ameer Abdullah. He rushed 20 times for 225 yards and two touchdowns. Maybe Nebraska reaching the B1G Championship for a second straight season isn’t so far-fetched after all.

Michigan State 26 Iowa 14

I said coming into this game that Iowa would win this game due to the ineptness of the Michigan State offense. Well the Spartans proved they can put up enough offense to win close games. Spartans’ quarterback Connor Cook threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns and the running backs chipped in 135 yards on the ground. The Michigan State defense played even better than they usually do, which is pretty impressive. They completely shutdown an Iowa rushing attack that was pounding opposing defenses, allowing the Hawkeyes to rush for only 23 yards and zero touchdowns. Star Mark Weisman ran seven times for nine yards. This should put into perspective how good Michigan State is defensively and is the reason the Spartans will remain in the conversation for the Leader’s division title.

#19 Michigan 42 Minnesota 13

Michigan took care of an inferior opponent with ease AND quarterback Devin Gardner didn’t have any turnovers. What is going on here? Is this a dream? But in all seriousness congratulations to Michigan for doing what they were supposed to do in this game. Gardner threw for 235 yards, threw for a touchdown and rushed for one also. The Wolverines’ defense kept Minnesota in check all game and didn’t let them get their running attack going. It was a solid day all around for Michigan. Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill suffered yet another seizure before the game and obviously couldn’t coach, which put the Gophers at a disadvantage from the start. I just don’t see how Kill can keep coaching. At most let him coach the rest of the season and then give him an administration role because he’s just not healthy enough to keep his current position. It’s a detriment to his health and it’s a distraction for his team. I hope Minnesota does the right thing.

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