B1G Weekly Recap: Conference Shines Bright in Week Four

After two consecutive weeks of subpar performances by the Big Ten, the conference came up huge this week, winning all but one of their week four matchups. As a whole, the Big Ten went 12-1, including four victories over Power 5 conference schools. The lone defeat is one I’m sure most Buckeye fans enjoyed quite a bit, as Brady Hoke’s hot seat got turned up a couple degrees with a home loss to Utah.

Iowa 24, Pittsburgh 20

A halftime quarterback change spurred the Hawkeyes on to victory on the road against the Panthers. Down 17-7 at half, Kirk Ferentz replaced Jake Rudock, who had gone 5-10 for 80 yards and a touchdown and interception in the first half, with C.J. Beathard. Beathard finished the game 7-8 for 98 yards in the air.

Iowa running back Mark Weisman ran for 88 yards on the day and scored a pair of touchdowns in the second half, including the game-winner with 6:56 left in the game. The Hawkeyes open conference play next weekend when they travel to Purdue.

Michigan State 73, Eastern Michigan 14

Michigan State finally got back on the winning track after losing to Oregon two weeks ago and having a bye last week. It did not take long for the Spartans to assert their dominance over their in-state opponents, with Sparty outgaining the Eagles 320-1 in the first half. Yes, one. Eastern Michigan gained one yard in an entire half. Connor Cook threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in the first half.

Delton Williams ran for 103 yards and three scores in the blowout. The 73 points were the most Michigan State had scored since 1989 when they recorded a 76-14 victory over Northwestern. The Spartans close out their nonconference slate with a home game next week against Wyoming.

Northwestern 24, Western Illinois 7

Despite being outgained 376-283, Northwestern finally put a “W” up on the board after starting the season with losses to California and Northern Illinois. Freshmen running backs Solomon Vault, 31 yards and two TDs, and Justin Jackson, 92 yards and one score, led the way for the Wildcats, who only managed 117 yards through the air.

Ohio native and current Wildcat defensive lineman Ifeadi Odenigbo forced three fumbles and recovered another as he helped hold the Leathernecks to no points after their first drive. Northwestern goes to Happy Valley to take on Penn State in their Big Ten opener next week.

Purdue 35, Southern Illinois 13

With their victory over Southern Illinois, Purdue improved to 2-2 on the season and have doubled their win total from 2013. Danny Etling put in another solid performance, throwing for 198 yards and two scores while running for another. The Salukis turned the ball over twice in the first quarter and the Boilermakers took advantage, scored touchdowns after both, and never looked back.

Danny Anthrop caught five passes for 106 yards and a touchdown for Purdue as they go into conference play on a winning note. The Boilermakers host Iowa next weekend in both teams’ Big Ten opener.

Wisconsin 68, Bowling Green 17

Don’t look now, but Melvin Gordon is slowly building his Heisman resume as the Badgers destroyed MAC foe Bowling Green. Gordon spear-headed the Wisconsin rushing attack that set a Big Ten record with 644 rushing yards on the day. Gordon himself ran for 253 yards and five touchdowns…on 13 carries.

In addition to Gordon, the Badgers had two others, Tanner McEvoy and Corey Clement, ran for over 100 yards while Dare Ogunbowlale nearly got there with 94 yards of his own. Wisconsin improved to 2-1 and will host South Florida on Saturday.

Maryland 34, Syracuse 20

Maryland improved to 3-1 on the season with a win on the road over the Orange in the Carrier Dome. The Terrapins were outgained by 220 yards on the day, but took advantage of Syracuse mistakes to earn the victory. William Likely returned an interception 88 yards for a touchdown with less than four minutes left in the first half to put Maryland up 31-13 at the break.

C.J. Brown threw for 280 yards and two scores as Maryland got revenge for their 20-3 loss to the Orange last season in College Park. The Terrapins will start their Big Ten schedule next week with a trip to Bloomington to take on Indiana.

Utah 26, Michigan 10

Is a quarterback controversy brewing in Ann Arbor? Devin Gardner was 14-26 for 148 yards and two interceptions before being replaced in the second half by Shane Morris, who did not do much better. Morris, who came in before the lightning delay and finished the game off after the game resumed, completed just four of his 13 attempts for 42 yards and an interception of his own.

Kaelin Clay scored the first touchdown of the day when he returned a punt 66 yards for a score, but that was not the most notable part of the play. After reaching the end zone, Clay struck the Heisman pose in the same end that Desmond Howard did two decades earlier. Brady Hoke will try to cool off his hot seat when Minnesota comes to the Big House Saturday.

Rutgers 31, Navy 24

Rutgers relied on the run game to beat Navy, and lost their number one running back for the season in the process. Paul James had 96 yards and a touchdown on seven carries before injuring himself in the second quarter. James later learned that he had torn his ACL and will miss the remainder of the season.

Justin Goodwin picked up the slack, rushing for 104 yards and a score, while quarterback Gary Nova added two rushing touchdowns of his own as the Scarlet Knights improved to 3-1 in 2014. Rutgers will host the Tulane Green Wave next week.

Penn State 48, Massachusetts 7

Christian Hackenberg only threw for 179 yards, but Penn State had a balanced attack as they finished with 236 passing yards and 228 rushing yards to put the Minutemen away. Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak each scored two rushing touchdowns.

The Nittany Lion defense came to play as well, holding UMass to just three rushing yards as a team. Penn State will look to improve to 2-0 in the Big Ten when Northwestern comes to town Saturday.

Minnesota 24, San Jose State 7

Minnesota was without starting quarterback Mitch Leidner for this one, but backup Chris Streveler filled in admirably as he ran for 161 yards and a touchdown. He needed every last one of those yards as he only completed one pass to a teammate on the day for just seven yards. He was also intercepted once.

David Cobb ran for 207 yards and two scores to lead the Golden Gophers to victory. Minnesota opens Big Ten play next week against the Wolverines.

Illinois 42, Texas State 35

Illinois could very well be 0-4 on the season. Instead, they’ve used fourth quarter comebacks in each of their three home games to stay unbeaten in Memorial Stadium in 2014. The Illini needed 17 points in the final frame this week to come from behind and defeat the Bobcats. Texas State led by as much as 15 points late in the second quarter before the comeback began.

Josh Ferguson ran for 190 yards and two touchdowns while Wes Lunt threw for 266 yards and two more scores as Illinois finished nonconference play at 3-1. The Illini will look to start conference with a win when they travel to Lincoln next week to take on Nebraska.

Indiana 31, Missouri 27

In the stunner of the weekend, Indiana beat defending SEC West champion Missouri in Columbia just a week after being beaten by Bowling Green on the road. D’Angelo Roberts ran for 65 yards and two scores, including the game-winner with 22 seconds left.

Nate Sudfeld threw for 252 yards and a TD as the Hoosiers knocked off previously unbeaten Missouri. Indiana will welcome Maryland to the Big Ten next week when they play host to the Terrapins.

Nebraska 41, Miami (FL) 31

Ameer Abdullah continued his own Heisman campaign in impressive fashion as he led the Cornhuskers to a victory on the night they celebrated the 20th anniversary of their 1994 national championship team. Abdullah carried the ball 35 times for 229 yards and two touchdowns.

Tommy Armstrong Jr. threw for 113 yards and two scores of his own while adding 96 yards on the ground as Nebraska improved to 4-0 on the young season. Nebraska opens conference play next week at home against Illinois.

What was your favorite part of the B1G weekend the conference had? Was Indiana’s victory the most impressive win the conference had, or did Nebraska going to 4-0 take home top honors? Let us know what you thought of the conference’s performance this week and how you think the Big Ten race will turn out as we head into conference play.

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