Around the Big Ten: Week 4
Mitch Stewart, Matt Freiler, David Hadar and Will Bodycot discuss this week's football matchups around the Big Ten conference.
Week 3 in the Big Ten brought a mixture of results for its teams. In a week where most expected to fall asleep on the couch in the first quarter of the Penn State- Georgia State game, there were some interesting headlines.
Rutgers got a win in blowout fashion, 65-0, over FCS opponent Morgan State, joining in on the win parade for the first time since beating New Mexico in Week 3 of last season. Eight other Big Ten schools recorded wins as well, including a rising Purdue squad, who came out with a convincing win over SEC foe Missouri 35-3 on the road. Don’t be surprised if this Purdue team gives a lot of teams trouble this year. Their offense is hitting stride and new sideline general Jeff Brohm is leading is players in the right direction.
There was even a postponed game, as Indiana’s bout with Florida International was cancelled due to the effects of the recent storms in Florida.
The bigger storylines, however, came in the losses for the weekend. Illinois lost to then-No. 22 South Florida, 47-23, further solidifying Lovie Smith as a questionable coaching hire last season. However, the biggest storyline came out of Lincoln, Nebraska when the Cornhuskers lost to MAC opponent Northern Illinois, 21-17. The situation in Nebraska seems to be only getting worse as the year goes on.
After a bad loss to Oregon last week, 42-35, where they gave up six first half TD’s, and the tough loss this week, Nebraska Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst expressed his frustrations in a statement, being quoted as saying, “At the end of the day we have to stay together. It’s still early in the season and we need to find ways to win games like this. I want to continue to show our support, but I also understand there is a lot of frustration out there when you don’t win games like today.” Eichorst was fired earlier Thursday in what appears to be an attempt to reboot the football program in Lincoln.
Coach Mike Riley was just given a contract extension to 2020 this week, so time will tell what needs to be changed in that locker room in order to turn their dismal 1-2 start around. They look to start conference play off with a bang against a lowly Rutgers squad.
Looking ahead to this week, conference play begins and there are some other great games to start off Big Ten play.
No. 4 Penn State looks to their first real test of the season as they travel to Kinnick Stadium and the pink away locker room in a primetime ABC showdown with the Hawkeyes of Iowa. Many have labeled this as a trap game and potential upset, while others believe James Franklin has done his homework on this environment and opponent and won’t fall into the trap that Michigan did last year when they lost on a game winning field goal, 14-13, while ranked third in the country.
Some other matchups of note include a renewal of a rivalry between Michigan State and Notre Dame under the lights. Notre Dame holds the series lead 49-28-1, but suffered a loss to Sparty in the friendly confines of South Bend last season, 36-28. The game returns to East Lansing this year, with Michigan State bringing a stout defense that held Western Michigan to fourteen points, while Notre Dame brings in a dynamite backfield in Brandon Wimbush and Josh Adams.
Big Ten conference play begins this week and there will be plenty of actions and headlines to watch. For some, it’s just another game, but for others, it could be the difference between a good and bad year ahead.
Travis Sutton is a sophomore majoring in telecommunication., To contact, please email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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