B1G Week Seven Review: Fighting National Perception

For those that follow me on Twitter and Google+, you saw that I was quite livid over the national media’s same old, yearly attack against the perception of the B1G conference. I’m quite frankly fed up with it. I’m not saying the B1G is anywhere near the best conference in America (I’d put the B1G fourth, just ahead of the Big 12), but this conference deserves more respect than it gets. I feel like the Buckeyes are responsible for it too because this derision from the media began after Ohio State lost back-to-back National Championship games to The Chosen the SEC conference. It then escalated after several embarrassing B1G losses in major bowl games to once again the SEC. Many have already written off the B1G again this season and many don’t see the conference redeeming themselves. Well I say they’re wrong. What needs to happen for redemption? Ohio State needs to make it to the national title game, which I think they will because 1) I don’t see the Buckeyes losing. 2) Oregon has too tough of a schedule to not lose at least one game. 3) The ACC champion always loses one game. Wisconsin also needs to win out, which would give them 10 wins and a possible shot at receiving an at-large bid for a BCS bowl game. And of course the rest of the B1G needs to do well on New Year’s Day too. This is all easier said than done, but don’t write off the conference after only seven weeks. There’s still a long way to go before bowl season.

Nebraska 44 Purdue 7

You know one team not helping the B1G’s perception? Purdue. The Boilermakers are just downright horrible. I’m not trying to take shots at them, but that’s just how it is for them right now. Nebraska out gained Purdue 435-216, but it wasn’t even that close. Nebraska’s backup quarterbacks Tommy Armstrong and Ron Kellogg split time in this game and weren’t that impressive, as they threw for three interceptions. But it didn’t matter because the running game did all of the work for the Huskers. The Cornhuskers rushed for 251 yards and five touchdowns, including 126 yards and touchdown from star running back Ameer Abdullah. Purdue’s only score came with 39 seconds left in the game. Let’s move on to the next game.

Michigan State 42 Indiana 28

Michigan State scored 42 points. And they were all offensive touchdowns! Let that sink in for a moment. This is the same Michigan State offense that could barely score against Western Michigan in their opener. Give credit to the coaching staff in East Lansing for turning it around. Also give credit to quarterback Connor Cook, who was 22 of 31 passing for 235 yards and two touchdowns. While Cook and the Spartans offense certainly aren’t lighting the world on fire, they now appear to have a good enough offense to help out their fantastic defense. Speaking of their defense, they were able to keep the Indiana offense in check and didn’t let them get into their normal pace. Indiana starting quarterback Nate Sudfeld completed 14 of 30 passes for only 137 yards. In fact his backup Tre Roberson outplayed him, completing 11 of 17 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns (quarterback controversy in Bloomington?). The Hoosiers’ running game only mustered 92 yards. Who do the Spartans’ defense get to victimize next? Purdue…oh boy.

Wisconsin 35 #19 Northwestern 6

On paper this looked like a fantastic match-up. And then Wisconsin reminded everyone they have a running game that will destroy any opposing defense it faces (minus Ohio State’s defense). Wisconsin did what they do best against the Wildcats, rushing for 286 yards and two touchdowns. Melvin Gordon rushed for 172 yards (one touchdown) and James White rushed for 101 yards (one touchdown). Give credit to the Wisconsin defense too, which is highly underrated. The Badgers held the normally potent Northwestern offense to only two field goals, under 200 yards passing and only 44 rushing yards. The Wildcats were clearly drained from their emotional loss to Ohio State the previous week and just couldn’t overcome a well rested Wisconsin team playing at home. Don’t be surprised if Wisconsin runs the table the rest of the way.

Penn State 43 #18 Michigan 40 (4 OT)

Now for the most thrilling game of the week. This game felt like it was never going to end, with both coaches choosing to play very conservative in overtime and rely heavily on their kickers. Except Michigan relied too much on their kicker, allowing Penn State running back Bill Belton to score the game-winning touchdown in the fourth overtime. Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons was 4 of 7 in his field goal attempts, with two costly misses that could have won the game for the Wolverines. Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner returned to his old ways, throwing two interceptions. But he still had a good performance. Gardner threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing for 121 yards. You can’t pin this loss on Gardner because he brought Michigan back in the game after trailing early (down 21-10 at the half). Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint was simply shutdown by the Nittany Lions’ defense, rushing for 27 yards on 27 attempts. Despite the bad performance from Toussaint, Michigan can pin this loss on their defense who let the Penn State offense make a late fourth quarter charge to send the game to overtime. Nittany Lions quarterback Christian Hackenberg threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns, torching the Michigan secondary. It was a great win for the Penn State football program and head coach Bill O’Brien. On the flip side, it was a damaging loss to Michigan’s conference ranking and national perception. The Wolverines are a mess and will need to get it together quickly if they want to remain in the Legend’s division race.

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