B1G Week 11 Review: Rising and Falling

Nothing really surprising happened in the B1G this past weekend. There were no upsets or outcomes that were particularly shocking. But there were no shortage of stories that came out of it. While some programs are having great bounce back seasons (Minnesota and Iowa), others face serious and problematic questions about what lies ahead (Michigan and Illinois). The end of the regular season is fast approaching and almost every game has something on the line. Let’s take a look at this past weekend’s action.

Iowa 38 Purdue 14

First off congratulations to Purdue on scoring two touchdowns! That’s 11 more points than I thought they would score. They were only down seven at the half actually. But the outcome of this game was never really in doubt. Iowa’s rushing attack steamrolled the Purdue defense for 318 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Jake Rudock completed 12 of 20 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns. The Iowa defense held Purdue to only 53 yards rushing. With the win, Iowa improved to 6-4 on the season and are now bowl eligible. Going back to a bowl game should take some heat off head coach Kirk Ferentz, although his job was really never in jeopardy because there is a ton of money still left on his contract. While Iowa certainly isn’t the Iowa of old yet, it’s a nice stepping stone season for the program. I look for Iowa to be a serious contender again in the B1G sooner rather than later.

Minnesota 24 Penn State 10

Looking at the team stats for both schools in this game and you would’ve thought this game came down to a field goal. But Minnesota won by 14. What gives? Well they committed one less turnover and they simply executed more when it mattered most in this game. Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson had another good game, throwing for 186 yards and touchdown and rushing for 40 yards and a touchdown. Gophers’ running back David Cobb ran for 139 yards and a score. The Minnesota run defense wasn’t as stellar as usual, as they gave up 190 rushing yards to Penn State. Nittany Lions running back Zach Zwinak did the most damage, running for 150 yards and a touchdown. The Gophers’ defense did a good job though limiting the Penn State passing game. Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg was neither good nor bad, completing 14 of 25 passes for 163 yards with no touchdowns or picks. After having a surprisingly solid record last season, the impact of scholarship reductions is starting to show on Penn State. Keep the faith Nittany Lions’ fans. Only two more seasons banned from bowls and with Bill O’Brien at the helm you should recover faster than expected.

Indiana 52 Illinois 35

Last week in my weekly B1G preview column I said this game would be a complete tossup and the winner of this game has to put up a ton of points. Well this lived up to my prediction. There’s all kinds of crooked numbers littering the stat’s sheet of this game. In the end though Indiana’s offense had too much fire power for Illinois to keep up with. Illinois did most of their damage behind the arm of quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, slicing up the Indiana secondary. Scheelhaase completed 38 of 57 passes for 450 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 45 yards and a touchdown. So Scheelhaase didn’t cost Illinois this game. Put it squarely on the Illini defense’s shoulders. Indiana had a pretty balanced offensive attack and could run or pass with ease. Quarterback Nate Sudfeld threw for 267 yards and three touchdowns. The Hoosiers rushing attack racked up 371 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Sophomore running back Tevin Coleman, who is turning into a star, had another great game rushing for a whopping 215 yards and two touchdowns. Backup running back Stephen Houston rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Indiana needs one more win to reach bowl eligibility and they still have to play Purdue, so it looks like the Hoosiers will be going to a bowl for the first time in six years. Indiana will only finish with a 6-6 record, but like Iowa I think they have a very bright future ahead if they can get better on defense because the offense has all of their top play makers returning next season.

#24 Wisconsin 27 BYU 17

The final score of this game is deceiving because it was never really this close. Wisconsin appeared in control for the whole game and didn’t really let BYU get any momentum going. The defense clamped down on the Cougars’ running attack and never let quarterback Taysom Hill get into a consistent rhythm. It definitely helped having the anchor of the unit back, (likely All-American) linebacker Chris Borland. Borland was a wrecking ball on the field, racking up 13 total tackles and two sacks. Expect to see and hear about Borland playing on Sundays next fall. The Wisconsin rushing attack was flawless as always. James White led in rushing for the second straight week, going for 147 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Melvin Gordon, who had been the best running back for most of the season, chipped in 86 yards rushing. I do not envy whomever faces Wisconsin in a bowl game because you have to deal with two star running backs and a suffocating defense. I’m not even mentioning consistently solid quarterback Joel Stave and underrated wide receiver Jared Abbrederis. Wisconsin will need a little help to reach a BCS bowl game now, but there’s still a good bit of football left to play.

Nebraska 17 Michigan 13

The misery continues in Ann Arbor. Woohoo! Sorry Wolverine fans, but it’s my job to take joy in your losing (even if it’s actually hurting Ohio State in the BCS rankings). I’m not sure what to make of the mess, so let’s talk about Nebraska. Looking at the Huskers you wouldn’t think this team has only lost two games. And yet this team continues to find a way to win games. This is the sign of a good team (or a lot of luck). I could talk about the stats of this game, but it would only confuse you more. And as far as highlights I got nothing for you. This was an ugly game and I’m thankful it didn’t go to overtime. It was one of the more painful games I’ve watched this season. I never want to see this game again. Michigan ran for negative yards again, rushing for -21 yards. Both Ohio State and Michigan State out rushed the Wolverines this past weekend (both were on byes). Nebraska turned the ball over twice and only had 273 total yards. With the win, Nebraska has a showdown with Michigan State this weekend that will determine who wins the Legend’s division and faces Ohio State in the B1G Championship game. As for Michigan, well….a 6-6 record is very possible. Will there be a coaching change in Ann Arbor? We’ll have to wait and see how far Michigan continues to fall.

Comments

  1. We used to joke in college that you have to actively try to fail a class. Just showing up and putting your name on your tests will net you a D. I feel the same way about Michigan rushing for negative yards. That takes effort.

    The fact that they’ve done it twice now is quite the feat.

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