B1G Weekly Recap: B1G Letdown on College Football’s Opening Weekend

It was an opening weekend to forget for most of the Big Ten as the conference went just 8-6 including two losses to non-Power 5 conference opponents. Penn State embarrassed themselves against Temple and Purdue fell late on the road to Marshall. Aside from Ohio State’s victory in Blacksburg, Northwestern was the most impressive in victory, upsetting No. 21 Stanford.

Utah 24, Michigan 17

Jim Harbaugh’s debut didn’t go as planned as Utah took advantage of their home field to win their third consecutive game against the Wolverines. Devontae Booker had 124 yards of total offense and a touchdown for the Utes. The Wolverines had their chances to win this game, but a Justin Thomas interception return for a touchdown halfway through the 4th quarter all but sealed the victory.

Jake Rudock threw for 279 yards and two scores, but was picked off three times in his first game as the Wolverines’ quarterback. Harbaugh returns to Ann Arbor for his first home game next week against Oregon State.

TCU 23, Minnesota 17

Minnesota stuck around against the No. 2 team in the country but just couldn’t find a way to overcome the talented Horned Frogs. Trevone Boykin showed flashes of what’s made him a Heisman Trophy contender as he threw for 246 yards and a TD as well as rushing the ball for 92 yards and another score.

Mitch Leidner was good, not great, for the Golden Gophers, going 19-35 for 197 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Rodney Smith led the way on the ground with 88 yards, doing his best to fill the big shoes left by David Cobb. Minnesota travels to play Colorado State on the road on Saturday.

Michigan State 37, Western Michigan 24

Buckeye fans probably had an eye on this matchup in Kalamazoo with two future opponents squaring off. The score made it look a little closer than it was, as the Spartans jumped out to a 27-10 halftime lead before faltering down the stretch. Zach Terrell had a big game for the Broncos, throwing the ball 50 times for 365 yards and two touchdowns.

For Michigan State, Connor Cook was very average, going just 15-31 passing for 256 yards and two scores. Madre London ran in two touchdowns in the early going for the Spartans as they got a tune-up before next week’s primetime showdown against Oregon in East Lansing.

Northwestern 16, Stanford 6

Northwestern pulled off one of the bigger shocks around the conference by taking out No. 21 Stanford. Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson made the biggest play of the day when he took off 42 yards down the left sideline in the 2nd quarter to give the Wildcats a lead they would never surrender. All other scoring plays were field goals as Northwestern held on to start the season 1-0.

The Wildcats will look to build off their early season success when they host Eastern Illinois on Saturday.

Iowa 31, Illinois State 14

In a game some pundits thought the Redbirds might give Iowa a run for their money, the Hawkeyes handled the 2014 FCS runner-ups easily, nearly doubling Illinois State’s yardage total (431-231). C.J. Beathard got his first career start at Kinnick Stadium and was impressive in the victory.

Beathard threw for 211 yards and a touchdown while adding two more scores on the ground as Iowa jumped out to a 31-0 lead before allowing a couple late touchdowns. It’s a rivalry week for the Hawkeyes as they prepare for a trip to Ames to take on Iowa State.

Maryland 50, Richmond 21

Maryland survived a bit of a scare early from Richmond when the Spiders took a 14-13 lead less than five minutes into the 2nd quarter. The Terrapins would put all fears at ease though and they reeled off 37 straight points after falling behind.

William Likely set a Big Ten record for punt return yards in a game with 233 in the season-opening win. Likely took one punt all the way back 67 yards for a touchdown that put the exclamation point on this one. Things get a little tougher next week for Maryland when they welcome Bowling Green to town.

Rutgers 63, Norfolk State 13

Rutgers was expected to dominate their MEAC foe and dominate they did. The Scarlet Knights outgained Norfolk State 539-196 and Leonte Carroo helped blow things open in the 3rd quarter when he caught three touchdown passes.

Mike Leach and the Washington State Cougars come to Piscataway for the return trip of a home-and-home series that Rutgers took the opener of last season.

Illinois 52, Kent State 3

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Illinois faithful so it had to feel good to put a beat down on hapless Kent State in the season opener. Wes Lunt threw four touchdowns and Josh Ferguson added another on the ground to lead the Illini in this game that was postponed Friday night due to lightning.

Illinois will look to keep the good times going when Western Illinois take a trip across the state to Champaign on Saturday.

Temple 27, Penn State 10

For a guy hyped to be a possible first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Christian Hackenberg has done a great job of seeming extremely average. Hackenberg was just 11-25 passing for a measly 103 yards with no touchdowns and an interception.

Akeel Lynch scored the Nittany Lions’ only touchdown of the game in the first quarter to make it 10-0, Penn State. Hackenberg led the Nittany Lions to just 180 yards of total offense all game and will need to get a lot better if they want to turn things around against Buffalo this weekend.

BYU 33, Nebraska 28

Playing without Heisman candidate Taysom Hill down the stretch, BYU shocked the whole state of Nebraska by scoring the game-winning touchdown on a last-second Hail Mary. Backup Tanner Mangum found Mitch Mathews at the front of the end zone to complete the Cougars’ comeback.

Tommy Armstrong, Jr. played well for the Cornhuskers in the loss, throwing for 319 yards and three scores. Nebraska will look to get their first win of the season on Saturday when they take on South Alabama.

Indiana 48, Southern Illinois 47

Indiana escaped their season opener against the FCS Salukis by just a single point after a Southern Illinois two-point conversion failed with 18 seconds left in the game. The Salukis were up 32-21 at halftime but squandered their lead before the 3rd quarter was over.

Jordan Howard paved the way for the Hoosiers, rushing for 145 yards and three scores, including the game-winner with 58 seconds left. Indiana looks to start 2-0 when Florida International comes to Bloomington for a night game.

Alabama 35, Wisconsin 17

Wisconsin couldn’t stop Derrick Henry and the Crimson Tide rode their talented back all the way to a blowout win over the Badgers. Henry ran for 147 yards on just 13 carries but still managed to find paydirt three times. Jake Coker was efficient in his first start, going 15-21 for 213 yards and a touchdown pass.

Joel Stave was the more experienced signal caller in this matchup, but his 228 yards and two touchdowns weren’t enough to keep Wisconsin in this game. The Badgers will look to bounce back in Camp Randall against Miami (Ohio).

Marshall 41, Purdue 31

Purdue had plenty of chances to win their season opener on the road in Huntington, leading at halftime and after the 3rd quarter, but turnovers doomed the Boilermakers. Austin Appleby threw four interceptions, including two picked off by Tiquan Lang that were returned for touchdowns. Purdue was driving with less than two minutes in the game when Lang sealed the game for the Thundering Herd.

D.J. Knox ran for 102 yards in the loss and DeAngelo Yancey added 78 yards receiving for the Boilermakers. Purdue is back at home to take on Indiana State in their next matchup.

Ohio State 42, Virginia Tech 24

Cardale Jones got the start at quarterback. Ezekiel Elliott kicked off his Heisman campaign by taking a handoff 80 yards to the house on his first carry of the game. Braxton Miller looked like, well, Braxton Miller again as he showed off his XBraxOne type moves on his way to being the conference’s offensive player of the week in his first college game in 20 months.

Michael Thomas and J.T. Barrett also got in on the action, hooking up for a 26 yard touchdown pass where Thomas made All-American cornerback Kendall Fuller look like a JV backup. The Buckeyes return home to meet up with the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

What did you think of the conference’s opening weekend? B1G disappointment? Let us know in the comments below.

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