Around the Big Ten: Week Two
South Florida (0-1) vs. Michigan St. (1-0)
Michigan State’s offense struggled in their 26-13 win over Western Michigan in Week One. But the real story is the Spartans defense. The unit forced 11 punts and allowed 204 yards of total offense and only allowed 11 rushing yards. If the Spartans didn’t score 2 defensive touchdowns, they easily could have found themselves 0-1. Can the offense step up and score more points vs. South Florida? Maybe sophomore receiver Macgarrett Kings Jr., who has been elevated to starting wide receiver, can spark the Sparty offense.
Tennessee Tech (1-0) vs. No. 21 Wisconsin (1-0)
Wisconsin destroyed UMass, 45-0, last week. The Badgers’ running game was on fire. They scored four rushing touchdowns, with three different runningbacks tallying over 100 yards. No surprise they moved up two spots in the BCS standings. Can they have the same offfensive success against Tennessee Tech? Likely.
Missouri St. (0-1) vs. Iowa (0-1)
For the first time since 2000, the Hawkeyes’ lost their home opener. Iowa’s quarterback Jake Rudock threw a late interception to Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward, when the game was tied at 27. The pick ultimately led to a game-winning field goal by Northern Illinois, shocking the state of Iowa. For the most part Iowa had pretty good stats but turnovers will kill any team.
Indiana St. (0-1) vs. Purdue (0-1)
Purdue head coach Darrell Hazell, did not have a good first game against Cincinnati. The final score was 42-7 in favor of the Bearcats. In fact, that was the worst season opener for the Boilermakers since 1996. Purdue quarterback, Rob Henry made poor decisions throughout. Purdue needs to step it up or else they will be bottom dwellers in the Big 10 again. But with a new coach, and a new system, can they ramp up their effort versus an inferior opponent in the Sycamores?
Cincinnati (1-0) vs. Illinois (1-0)
Nathan Scheelhaase had a great game for the Fighting Illini in week one. He threw for 416 yds, 2 touchdowns and an interception. No question, he helped preserve a 42-34 victory against Southern Illinois. But the Illinois defense almost blew the victory. Southern Illinois drove the ball to Illini’s 3-yard line before an incomplete pass would seal their fate. Illinois won’t get such lucky breaks against Big 10 opponents. Cincinnati is a formidable opponent in the non-conference. A more consistent effort is needed to avoid falling to .500.
San Diego St. (0-1) vs. (1-0) No. 3 Ohio St.
Even with a 40-20 win against Buffalo, Ohio St. still dropped a spot in the polls. Quarterback Braxton Miller threw two touchdown passes and Jordan Hill rushed for two more. In fact, since Urban Meyer took over as head coach, Ohio St. has been a perfect 13-0.
Southern Miss (0-1) vs. No. 22 Nebraska (1-0)
Speaking of lucky breaks, Nebraska barely beat Wyoming 37-34. Two late turnovers made it a one-possession game and Wyoming had the ball back on their 6-yard line, but time ran out and preserved a Cornhuskers win. Their play dropped them four spots in the rankings. Like Illinois, Nebraska won’t get to many lucky breaks in the Big 10. Nebraska replaced eight defensive starters, so the new guys need to step it up.
Syracuse (0-1) vs. No. 19 Northwestern (1-0)
Starting quarterback Kain Colter suffered a concussion on the first drive of the game against California. But linebacker Collin Ellis stepped his game up by having two interception returns for touchdowns. The final score was 44-30 in favor of the Wildcats. Ellis’s play made him National Defensive Player of the Week. And Northwestern moved up three spots in the rankings. But will Kain Colter be able to play against Syracuse? He is listed as questionable for that game.
Navy (0-0) vs. Indiana (1-0)
Indiana’s offense was on fire. 73 points were scored against Indiana State. Much better then scoring 24 points last season against the same team. Quarterback Nate Sudfeld threw for 219 yards and scored four touchdowns with and interception. Other Indiana quarterbacks, Tre Robinson and Cameron Coffman, combined for 100 total passing yards and 2 touchdowns with an interception.
No. 14 Notre Dame (1-0) vs. No. 17 Michigan (1-0)
This is one of the bigger games of the week. Its 14th-ranked Notre Dame versus 17th-ranked Michigan. Michigan played excellent, clicking on all cylinders, in a 59-9 rout against Central Michigan a week ago. Michigan scored six total rushing touchdowns. But Notre Dame is not Central Michigan. Notre Dame beat Temple 28-6, and is known for playing stellar defense. Notre Dame won last year’s meeting 13-6 so this one might be another defensive slugfest.
Minnesota (1-0) vs. New Mexico St. (0-1)
Minnesota ran over UNLV, 51-23. It was actually a close game entering halftime, but Marcus Jones 98-yard kickoff return TD, sparked Minnesota in the second half to beat the Rebels. Still, Minnesota’s offense threw for less then 100 yards and had 4 less first downs then UNLV. Can Minnesota be the surprise team in the Big 10 and beat New Mexico St.?