B1G Weekly Recap: Northwestern Impresses Again, Michigan State Jumps to No. 2

The majority of the Big Ten continued non-conference play this week, and was successful for the most part, racking up a 9-3 record with all three losses coming to Power 5 opponents. In the first conference game of the season for the Big Ten, Penn State easily handled Rutgers.

Maryland 35, South Florida 17

Caleb Rowe got his first start of the year at quarterback for the Terrapins and it went well, at least on the scoreboard. Rowe did throw for nearly 300 yards and three touchdowns but he also was intercepted three times and put the ball on the ground another three times. Fortunately for Maryland, they were able to recover all of those fumbles.

The Terrapins improved to 2-1 on the season and face a tough test next week when they go on the road to face Big 12 foe, West Virginia.

Michigan 28, UNLV 7

Ty Isaac paved the way this week for the Wolverines, rushing for a career high 114 yards on just eight carries. The USC transfer essentially ended any chance of UNLV making a game of this one when he took a toss 76 yards to the house halfway through the 2nd quarter.

Jake Rudock did his best to manage the game for the Wolverines, throwing for just 123 yards, one touchdown, and an interception. Another home game awaits Jim Harbaugh’s 2-1 crew, this time with BYU coming to town.

Michigan State 35, Air Force 21

In a game that was not as close as the score indicates, Michigan State was impressive enough in victory over the Falcons to jump to No. 2 in the polls after Alabama’s loss and TCU’s struggle with SMU. Connor Cook stole the show for Sparty, throwing for 247 yards and four scores.

Aaron Burbidge had his way with the Air Force’s secondary, catching eight passes for 156 yards and finding the end zone three times. The Spartans will face their second Directional Michigan of the season this week when the Chippewas come to East Lansing.

North Carolina 48, Illinois 14

Woof. This is more of what people were expecting out of the Illini when Tim Beckman was fired just a week before the season started. A Josh Ferguson 2nd quarter touchdown was the only score for the game until there was less than a minute left in the game, down 48-7 at that point.

Ryan Switzer hit pay dirt twice, catching one of Marquise Williams’ three touchdowns and returning a punt 85 yards to put an exclamation point on the victory. Illinois looks to bounce back next week when they face off against Middle Tennessee.

Minnesota 10, Kent State 7

In an ugly scrum of a game, Minnesota’s defense stepped up and made sure the Golden Gophers got the W. Kent State managed just 142 yards of total offense (79 rushing, 63 passing) and got their only score of the game when Demetrius Monday picked up a fumble and scampered 80 yards to the end zone.

Mitch Leidner hit KJ Maye from 14 yards out late in the 2nd quarter to give Minnesota what would end up being the game-winning score. Another MAC school makes a trip to Minnesota when the Ohio Bobcats will face off against the Gophers.

Northwestern 19, Duke 10

Special teams and the running attack carried the Wildcats to their first 3-0 start since 2013, which was also the last time Northwestern was ranked in the Top 25. Down 7-3 at half, Solomon Vault returned the 2nd half kickoff 98 yards to the house to give the Wildcats a lead they would never relinquish.

Warren Long sealed the victory in multiple ways, first by rushing 55 yards on a 3rd and 1 to give Northwestern a 19-10 lead and then later picked up a fumbled punt return. The Wildcats return to Evanston for a primetime game on Saturday against Ball State.

Ohio State 20, Northern Illinois 13

In one of the worst offensive displays by the Buckeyes under Urban Meyer, the Silver Bullets stepped up to save the day and avoid a major upset at the hands of the perennial MAC power. Darron Lee picked off Drew Hare late in the 3rd quarter and returned it 41 yards for the third touchdown of his young career.

Ezekiel Elliott rushed for over 100 yards yet again and the quarterback situation remains unclear, as J.T. Barrett replaced Cardale Jones in the first half and threw a touchdown pass to Michael Thomas. The Buckeye offense will look to get back on track in another home game Saturday when Western Michigan comes to Columbus.

Miami (FL) 36, Nebraska 33 (OT)

Nebraska nearly pulled off an improbable comeback victory on the road in this one. The Cornhuskers were down 33-10 with just 8:36 left in the game before Tommy Armstrong Jr. threw three touchdowns and completed two two-point conversions to tie up the game.

Brad Kaaya threw for 379 yards and two touchdowns for the Hurricanes while Michael Badgley kicked five field goals, including a 28-yard game-winner in overtime. Nebraska falls to 1-2 and will try to get back to .500 when Southern Miss takes the trip into Lincoln.

Virginia Tech 51, Purdue 24

Purdue played their ACC foe tough for a half in West Lafayette before the Hokies stormed out of the locker room in the 2nd half, outscoring the Boilermakers 27-7 over the final two periods. Austin Appleby struggled with the Virginia Tech defense, completing just 9 of 28 passes for 110 yards and was intercepted two times.

The Boilermakers were outgained 471-265 and converted on just 2 of a possible 15 third downs in the loss. Things might not get any easier next week when Bowling Green visits.

Wisconsin 28, Troy 3

The Badgers were consistent in victory over their Sun Belt visitors, passing for 202 yards and rushing for 199 as a team while not turning the ball over a single time. Joel Stave did well, going 13-17 passing for those 202 yards and a 4th quarter touchdown pass.

Dare Ogunbowale spearheaded the rushing attack for Wisconsin, rushing for 75 yards including a game-opening touchdown early in the 1st quarter. Hawaii makes another trip east on Saturday when they check out Camp Randall.

Indiana 38, Western Kentucky 35

Another lesser conference opponent, another closer game than Hoosier fans would have been hoping for. After trailing the Hilltoppers 28-17 at the break, Indiana used a huge 21-point 3rd quarter to move to 3-0 on the season.

Nate Sudfeld threw for 355 yards and three touchdowns while Jordan Howard added 203 yards on the ground. Next up for the Hoosiers is a trip into ACC country to take on a poor Wake Forest team.

Penn State 28, Rutgers 3

It’s a good thing Rutgers brought that TV market with them to the Big Ten, because they’re not offering a whole lot else. Penn State ran the ball for 330 yards as a team to overcome another so-so day of quarterback play from Christian Hackenberg.

Hackenberg was just 10-19 passing for 141 yards and an interception. Chris Laviano threw for 251 yards and two picks for the Scarlet Knights as they fell to 1-2 on the season. Rutgers hosts Kansas in what is sure to be a thrilling game while San Diego State will try to take down Penn State in Happy Valley.

Iowa 27, Pittsburgh 24

Marshall Koehn started and finished the scoring in this Big Ten-ACC matchup in Iowa City. Koehn hit a 43-yarder in the 1st quarter and bombed a 57-yarder as time expired to give the Hawkeye faithful a thrilling victory.

Tyler Boyd caught an 8-yard touchdown pass with 52 seconds left before C.J. Beathard drove down the field to get Koehn in position. Iowa moved to 3-0 for the first time in six years and will look to stay undefeated when North Texas comes to town Saturday afternoon.

Who were you most impressed with this weekend from the Big Ten? Is there any chance that the conference could actually get two teams into the College Football Playoff at the end of the year?

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