Around the Big Ten: Week 4
Joe Skinner, Chris Hess, Kyle Canillio and David Saggio preview this weekend's action of Big Ten football:
Week three around the Big Ten Conference can be looked upon as a major let-down. The conference finished 6-7 for the weekend and Michigan State was the lone team with a bye. The Big Ten West finished 2-5 and it was a struggle as a number of upsets and embarrassing losses struck the league.
Illinois invaded Soldier Field in Chicago and held a 19-7 lead going into the fourth quarter. However, South Florida came to life in the final 15 minutes and roared back for a 25-19 win. Illini quarterback MJ Rivers II went 20/29 for 168 yards through the air. Running back Mike Epstein towed the ball 19 times for 113 yards and found the end zone once. The Illinois defense surrendered 626 total yards against the Bulls and allowed 411 yards through the air. Lovie Smith’s team will square off against Penn State on September 21 at 9 p.m. to kick off their conference season.
The Indiana Hoosiers continued their winning ways at home against the Ball State Cardinals with a comfortable 38-10 win. Quarterback Peyton Ramsey went 20/27 for 173 yards through the air. Stevie Scott rushed for 114 yards on 18 carries and found pay-dirt twice. J-Shun Harris II found the end zone once as well on an electric 86-yard punt return in the second quarter to give the Hoosiers a 17-3 lead. Indiana will welcome the Michigan State Spartans on September 22 for a clash under the lights at 7:30 p.m.
Iowa’s offense racked up 545 total yards in a 38-14 win over FCS Northern Iowa. Quarterback Nathan Stanley went 23/28 for 309 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Nick Easley and Noah Fant combined for 15 receptions, 202 yards, and two touchdowns. Iowa also rushed for 207 yards and three touchdowns. The Hawkeyes will host Wisconsin for a battle under the lights at 8:30 p.m. on September 22.
Maryland racked up only 195 yards of total offense in a 35-14 loss to Temple. Quarterback Kasim Hill went 7/17 passing for 56 yards and one interception. Running back Anthony McFarland accounted for 107 of the 195 yards on the ground for the Terrapins. Maryland will welcome the Minnesota Golden Gophers to College Park for a noon kickoff on September 22.
Michigan’s defense turned the momentum of the game when Josh Metellus returned an interception before the first half ended to give the Wolverines a 21-7 lead. Jim Harbaugh’s team then rolled to a 45-20 win against SMU. Quarterback Shea Patterson went 14/18 passing for 237 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. Wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones had four receptions for 90 yards and three of them were for touchdowns. The Wolverines will host Nebraska for a high-noon showdown on September 22.
Michigan State had a bye week and will look to avenge their loss to Arizona State in week two with a visit to Bloomington to take on Indiana at 7:30 p.m. on September 22.
PJ Fleck’s Golden Gophers maintained their winning ways with a stout defensive effort in a 26-3 win over Miami Ohio. Quarterback Zack Annexstad went 12/20 passing for 141 yards. Running back Tyler Johnson stole the show by rushing for 133 yards on only nine carries and found the end zone three times. The Minnesota defense surrendered just 199 total yards and recorded a safety as well. The Golden Gophers will travel to Maryland for a noon kickoff on September 22.
The Northwestern Wildcats had a stable 21-3 lead at halftime and eventually fell to Akron 39-34 after being outscored 36-13 in the second half. Quarterback Clayton Thorson went 33/52 for 383 yards and three touchdowns. However, Thorson threw two interceptions, both of which were returned for touchdowns by Alvin Davis. Calvin Green had 11 receptions for 125 yards and found the end zone twice. Pat Fitzgerald’s team will have the week off then prepare for a clash at Ryan Field against Michigan in week five.
In Urban Meyer’s final game of his suspension, Ohio State traveled to Arlington, Texas and defeated TCU 40-28. The Buckeyes outscored the Horned Frogs 27-14 in the second half and scored 20 points in four minutes in the third quarter. Dwayne Haskins went 24/38 for 334 yards and two touchdowns. J.K. Dobbins ran for 121 yards on 18 carries. Nick Bosa left the game in the first half with an apparent groin injury. The Ohio State defense recorded two defensive touchdowns as well courtesy of Davon Hamilton and Dre’Mont Jones. The Buckeyes will welcome Tulane to the Horseshoe in Urban Meyer’s first game of 2018 at 3:30 on September 22.
Penn State’s offense maintained its explosive status in a 63-10 demolition of Kent State. Trace McSorley accounted for five of Penn State’s nine touchdowns with three on the ground and two through the air. The Nittany Lions racked up 643 yards of total offense and the defense allowed 221 total yards. DeAndre Thompkins had 101 yards receiving and found the end zone once. Sean Clifford and Daniel George teamed up for a 95-yard touchdown and that play is now the longest passing touchdown in program history. Penn State will travel to Champaign to take on Illinois on September 21 at 9 p.m.
Purdue lost their second consecutive game at crunch-time at the hands of the Missouri Tigers by a score of 40-37. Quarterback David Blough went 39/55 for 572 yards, threw three touchdowns, and also threw one interception. The Purdue offense racked up 614 total yards. Rondale Moore had 11 receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown. Missouri’s Tucker McCann kicked the game-winning 25-yard field goal as time expired. Purdue will welcome Boston College to Ross-Ade Stadium for a noon kickoff on September 22.
After getting demolished by Ohio State, Rutgers got embarrassed by Kansas 55-14. Art Sitkowski and Giovanni Rescigno combined for 14/31 passing for 124 yards and three interceptions. Raheem Blackshear rushed for 102 yards on 19 carries. The Rutgers defense gave up 400 yards on the ground to the Jayhawks. Chris Ash’s team will look to rebound at home against Buffalo at noon on September 22.
The Wisconsin Badgers had their 15-year non-conference home winning streak snapped at the hands of the BYU Cougars 24-21. Jonathan Taylor rushed for 117 yards on 26 carries. Quarterback Alex Hornibrook went 18/28 for 190 yards and threw one interception. Redshirt senior kicker Rafael Gaglianone missed a game-tying 42-yard field goal with 36 seconds left to seal the upset win for Kalani Sitake’s team. The Badgers will look to rebound after the upset loss as they pay a visit to Iowa City and take on the Iowa Hawkeyes for an 8:30 p.m. kickoff.
Christopher Hess is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in history. To contact him, email email@example.com