Around the Big Ten: Week Two

Story posted September 10, 2015 in Sports, CommRadio by John McHugh

The opening week of college football in the Big Ten gave the country their first chance to see what each of the conference’s 14 teams would look like this year. While some lived up to expectations and some even exceeded them, others faltered, leaving fan bases (and the teams themselves) in doubt. Here’s how the Big Ten faired in week one.

Ohio State
Ohio State showed that their national championship last year was no fluke in their opener against Virginia Tech this past week. The Hokies were able to stay in the game early on, taking the lead into halftime. However, the potent Ohio State offense ran away with it in the second half, cruising to a 42-24 victory. Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the game was the play of quarterback-turned-wide receiver Braxton Miller, who had one of the highlight plays of the weekend with a phenomenal spin move on the way to a touchdown.

The Buckeyes play Hawaii this week in their home opener, a game in which they are the 40-point favorites.

Michigan
The Harbaugh era didn’t start exactly the way the Wolverines wanted it to, as the team suffered a 24-17 loss to Utah. There was at least one positive takeaway from the game for Michigan, as transfer quarterback Jake Rudock had a game-high 279 yards passing, proving that Harbaugh made the right choice in starting him over Shane Morris.

Michigan hosts a 1-0 Oregon State squad this week in Jim Harbaugh’s first home game as Michigan head coach.

Northwestern
Week one’s biggest upset came in Evanston, as Northwestern was able to down No. 21 Stanford by a score of 16-6. The knockdown, grind it out style of the game showed a toughness that we’ve become accustomed to seeing from the Wildcats.

Northwestern will try to keep the ball rolling as they host FCS opponent Eastern Illinois this weekend.

Wisconsin
The Badgers faced off against Alabama at AT&T Stadium in Dallas for week one’s most anticipated matchup. Wisconsin held their own through the first half of the game, trailing by only a touchdown at the half. However, a 14 point third quarter by the Crimson Tide quickly turned the momentum of the game as Alabama came out victorious by a score of 35-17.

Wisconsin welcomes a Miami (OH) team, who has won just two games in the past two seasons, to Camp Randall Stadium this weekend.

Nebraska
Just like Michigan’s disappointing loss, Nebraska’s first game with their new head coach Mike Riley didn’t go as planned either as the Cornhuskers were downed on a last-second Hail Mary pass by BYU. The play was arguably the number one highlight from college football’s opening weekend, but it delivered a crushing blow to a Nebraska team who looked to have pulled out the victory at home.

One silver lining for Nebraska was the play of junior quarterback Tommy Armstrong, who threw for 319 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Nebraska will face the University of South Alabama in a primetime matchup this weekend.

Minnesota
Minnesota had one of the toughest games on the Big Ten schedule in week one, facing off against No. 2 TCU. While the Golden Gophers weren’t able to come away with the win, the close 23-17 score turned a lot of heads around the country. The Minnesota defense did a good job of limiting scoring opportunities for the Horned Frogs, but TCU senior quarterback Trevone Boykin still managed to garner 338 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.

Minnesota will travel to Colorado for a 3:30 kickoff with Colorado State this weekend.

John McHugh is a junior broadcast journalism major. He can be reached at jym5764@gmail.com.