Written by: TJ Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)
Saturday, September 12
Oregon State – 7 at Michigan – 35
After struggling in a season-opening defeat at Utah, the Michigan Wolverines (1-1) came home to the Big House and dominated the Oregon State Beavers (1-1), 35-7. The Wolverines controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball as De’Veon Smith carried the ball 23 times for 126 yards and three touchdowns. Overall, Michigan gained 223 yards on the ground. Oregon State got off to a strong start as they scored on their opening possession. However, over the final three quarters of head coach Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Stadium debut, UM ran 26 more plays than Oregon State and outgained the Beavers, 357 yards to 2.
The final three quarters were a blueprint of what success will look like in Ann Arbor this season. The Wolverines offensive line opened up huge holes, De’Veon Smith pounded the ball for positive yards nearly every carry and the defense suffocated the opposing offense. While Jake Rudock is still a huge question mark (no touchdowns, two turnovers), Michigan took a step forward this week.
Western Illinois - 0 at Illinois – 44
Another week, another blowout. The Illinois Fighting Illini are now 2-0 after waxing the Western Illinois Leathernecks. Two games in and the Illini have outscored their opponents 96-3. On Saturday, Illinois took a 30-0 lead into halftime and coasted to the blowout win. Star running back Josh Ferguson had 81 total yards (including 42 receiving yards, making him first all-time in school history for receiving yards for a running back) and Geronimo Allison caught 8 passes for 124 yards to lead the offense.
Illinois appears to be much better than the tire fire that many expected heading into the season. If Illinois can go to Chapel Hill next Saturday and turn in a similar performance, people will need to start paying attention.
Bowling Green Falcons - 48 at Maryland Terrapins – 27
IU fans are all too familiar with the Bowling Green Falcons (1-1) ability to pull off an upset (despite the BTN’s insistence that BGSU’s last win over a “Power 5” school was in 2010 against Pittsburgh). A sparse crowd at Ralph Byrd Stadium witnessed the Maryland Terrapins (1-1) being added to the list of “MACtion” victims as Bowling Green racked up 692 yards of total offense to obliterate the Terps. William Likely was once again a bright spot as he returned a punt for an 85-yard touchdown (don’t kick him the ball!) and quarterback Perry Hills ran the ball 8 times for 94 yards. Those are about the only positives even the most diehard Terps fan could come up with.
Matt Johnson was incredible, throwing for 491 yards and six touchdowns and Roger Lewis embarrassed cornerback Sean Davis to the tune of 15 catches for 200 yards. Moving forward, Maryland has some serious issues to iron out. The Terps currently have a poor passing game, a questionable running attack and a secondary that looked completely lost (although the Falcons will do that to a lot of teams this season). Maryland fans are frustrated with head coach Randy Edsall and offensive coordinator Mike Locksley. Boos and chants for former head coach Ralph Friedgen were audible on the Big Ten Network’s broadcast from College Park on Saturday. The Terrapins have some outstanding individual talent but on Saturday against the Falcons, the collective whole was extremely underwhelming. As of now, this Maryland team looks very beatable and I think the Hoosiers should be looking at this at their best opportunity for a B1G road victory.
Buffalo Bulls - 14 at Penn State Nittany Lions – 27
The Penn State offense is still struggling mightily but their stout defense and some impressive running by freshman Saquon Barkley were enough to push the Nittany Lions (1-1) past Buffalo (1-1), 27-14. Barkley, a true freshman, ran for 115 yards and a touchdown on only 12 carries (9.6 yards per carry) to lead the offense while fellow freshman Brandon Polk chipped in 45 yards and another touchdown on a jet sweep. Christian Hackenberg struggled once again, going 14-27 for only 128 yards (4.7 yards per completion). National experts are finally starting to question whether or not Hackenberg should still be considered a first round NFL talent. One major injury note, new starting left tackle Andrew Nelson suffered an injury in the first half and left the game. The Nittany Lions coaching staff was vague about Nelson’s status but Paris Palmer finished the game at left tackle. He looked better than he did in week one but he still looks stiff and somewhat immobile, not good qualities for a B1G left tackle.
Penn State only outgained the out-manned Bulls 328-274 but they took advantage of their scoring chances (for the most part) and were sparked by the emergence of Saquon Barkley. If they can continue to find success on the ground and cut down on drops (tight end Mike Gesicki dropped a pair of probable touchdowns), the offense could be occasionally decent. In my opinion, that should be good enough to win 6 or 7 games with this really good defense.
Indiana State Sycamores - 14 at Purdue Boilermakers – 38
The Purdue Boilermakers (1-1) handled the Indiana State Sycamores (1-1), 38-14 behind 289 yards and four touchdowns from Austin Appleby. Appleby also ran for 50 yards on 12 carries. Markell Jones gained 99 yards from scrimmage and scored two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) and the Purdue defense caused some havoc as they generated 13 tackles for loss and forced three turnovers. The decision-making of Austin Appleby continues to be a concern and D.J. Knox fumbled twice but overall, the Boilers did exactly what they were supposed to. The line, “move along, nothing to see here” comes to mind.
The next two weeks are absolutely huge for Purdue’s season and for the future of head coach Darrell Hazell. The Boilers take on Virginia Tech (playing with a back-up QB) and Bowling Green in West Lafayette. If they lose both of these contests and fall to 1-3, serious questions are going to be asked about the direction of Purdue football under the current staff.
Miami (OH) - 0 at (20) Wisconsin – 58
After a season-opening defeat against the Alabama Crimson Tide, Wisconsin (1-1) fans were probably looking forward to a cathartic beatdown of the Miami (OH) RedHawks (1-1). They were not disappointed as the Badgers pounded Miami (OH) at Camp Randall, 58-0. Starting running back Corey Clement sat out with a lingering injury and the running game failed to completely dominate. It wasn’t bad though as Dare Ogunbowale ran the ball 16 times for 112 yards and Taiwan Deal chipped in a pair of touchdowns. It was Joel Stave that led the way though, throwing for 263 yards and four scores. Overall, Wisconsin’s rushing attack churned out 188 yards on 4.2 yards per carry. The real star of the game was probably the Badgers defense. They held Miami (OH) to -3 yards rushing and only 160 yards passing and forced four turnovers. Playmaker Tanner McEvoy stood out with a dynamic all-around game. He caught three passes for 29 yards, had an interception with a 41-yard return and broke up a pass that led to another interception.
The Badgers host Troy next Saturday and will be heavily favored to improve to 2-1.
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors - 0 at (1) Ohio State Buckeyes – 38
The Buckeyes (2-0) have done nothing wrong but they are no longer a unanimous #1 (more on that in a bit) after drubbing Hawaii (1-1), 38-0. Ohio State fans celebrated their national title as the 2014 championship plaque was unveiled in the first quarter. The current version of the Buckeyes didn’t really get going until the third quarter as they led just 14-0 at halftime. The offense was far from dominant and the quarterback competition still appears to be open after neither Jones (12/18, 111 yards) nor Barrett (8/15, 70 yards) impressed on Saturday. Ezekiel Elliott ran the ball 27 times for 101 yards (only 3.7 ypc) and scored three touchdowns to lead the Ohio State attack but it was the defense that won the day for OSU. They held the Rainbow Warriors to only 165 yards of offense and forced four turnovers.
The Buckeyes will continue their quest for a second straight title next Saturday against Northern Illinois.
Washington State Cougars – 37 at Rutgers Scarlet Knights – 34
Despite a lot of off-the-field problems, Rutgers opened the season with a dominant victory over Norfolk State. They had a chance to improve to 2-0 as Washington State, a team that had just lost to Portland State, came to Piscataway. However, the Scarlet Knights (1-1) gave up a 10-play, 90-yard touchdown drive in the final minutes and lost to the Cougars (1-1), 37-34 to intensify the heat surrounding head coach Kyle Flood. Luke Falk threw for 478 yards and 4 touchdowns as the beleaguered Rutgers secondary struggled to slow down Mike Leach’s Air Raid attack.
The standout performer for Rutgers was explosive athlete Janarion Grant, who amassed 337 all-purpose yards and scored on both a kickoff return and punt return. Chris Laviano threw the ball for 204 yards and Rutgers ran the ball for 198 yards but their three turnovers, woeful defense and 11 penalties proved too much to overcome.
Since the defeat, Rutgers has suspended yet another player (this time, it’s standout WR Leonte Carroo following “an incident outside the stadium”) and their game against Penn State couldn’t be coming at a worse time for Kyle Flood, a coach now very much under fire. IU hosts the Scarlet Knights in mid-October and I don’t think anyone knows how many players Rutgers will have suspended by that time or even who the coach will be. Things are not good in “the birthplace of college football” at the moment.
Minnesota Golden Gophers - 23 at Colorado State Rams – 20 (in overtime)
Mitch Leidner threw for 233 yards and two scores as the Minnesota Golden Gophers (1-1) won a hard-fought overtime battle over the Colorado State Rams in Fort Collins, 23-20. Drew Wolitarsky was the top wideout on either side, catching 9 passes for 114 yards with a touchdown. Rodney Smith ran for 108 yards on 21 carries to pace the Gophers rushing attack. The Gophers lost two fumbles and their offense isn’t dynamic enough to have turnover problems so that will be an issue to correct if they wish to challenge for the B1G West crown. The biggest issue for Minnesota though is that their depth is being seriously tested by the injury bug. Wide receiver KJ Maye might have a broken rib, fellow WR Isaiah Gentry has a hamstring injury, left guard Jon Christenson has a knee injury and three tight ends have injuries (including two that could be done for the season).
Eastern Illinois Panthers - 0 at Northwestern Wildcats – 41
The Northwestern Wildcats (2-0) have gotten off to an impressive start by establishing themselves as a physical squad capable of shutting down the opposition. After locking up the Stanford offense, they shutout and dominated a bad Eastern Illinois (0-2) squad, rolling to a 41-0 victory. Redshirt freshman Clayton Thorson threw his first touchdown pass and ran for another one and Justin Jackson chipped in 78 rushing yards with a score as the Wildcats defense held the Panthers to 138 offensive yards.
This game doesn’t show us anything about the Wildcats but next week will be incredibly interesting as Northwestern travels to Durham to play the 2-0 Duke Blue Devils.
Iowa Hawkeyes – 31 at Iowa State Cyclones – 17
The Iowa Hawkeyes (2-0) shut out their in-state rivals in the second half and outscored them 21-0 over the final 30 minutes to knock off the Cyclones (1-1), 31-17. C.J. Beathard ran the ball for 77 yards and threw for 215 yards with three touchdowns and Jordan Canzeri added 124 yards on 24 carries to lead the Hawkeyes to victory. The win ended an emotional week for the program after the death of former player Tyler Sash. Iowa is 2-0 and has been very impressive but things aren’t perfect as running back LeShun Daniels left the game with a knee injury and star defensive linemen Drew Ott was sidelined with an arm injury. Ott was seen with a cast on his left arm and was said to be in intense pain when trainers were evaluating him. Kirk Ferentz told a member of the athletic department both players have “fairly significant injuries”. Ferentz didn’t rule either of them out for Saturday’s game against 2-0 Pittsburgh but that they can’t count on having them.
Losing either one for the game against Pitt would certainly hurt but it appears both should be ready to go by the time IU takes on the Hawkeyes, a game that looks much tougher than I anticipated it would when the season began.
South Alabama Jaguars – 9 at Nebraska Cornhuskers – 48
One week after having Mike Riley’s home debut spoiled by a BYU Hail Mary (the Cougars did it again against Boise State on Saturday night!), the Nebraska Cornhuskers (1-1) left nothing to chance as they blew out the South Alabama Jaguars, 48-9. The victory was the 875th in program history, behind only Notre Dame, Michigan and Texas was keyed by 198 yards from running back Terrell Newby. Tommy Armstrong went 21 of 30 for 270 yards and two touchdowns and the Huskers defense held South Alabama to only 19 yards rushing on the night. Next up for the Huskers is a clash next Saturday at the Miami Hurricanes.
(7) Oregon Ducks - 28 at (5) Michigan State Spartans – 31
Earlier in the recap, I mentioned that the Ohio State Buckeyes were no longer the “unanimous #1 team in the country”. The reason? The Michigan State Spartans (2-0) received a pair of first place votes after grounding the Oregon Ducks (1-1) in a thrilling Top 10 clash on Saturday night. The Spartans ran the ball well, getting 103 yards from Madre London and 76 yards plus two touchdowns from LJ Scott on their way to 197 yards rushing as a team. Connor Cook was perfectly fine, throwing for 192 yards with two scores and one interception.
Vernon Adams Jr. threw for 309 yards and one score but had two interceptions. Bralon Addison was the star of the night for the Ducks as he caught 7 passes for 138 yards and a punt return for a touchdown. The Spartans stopped Oregon on four fourth down attempts throughout the game and both MSU’s offensive and defensive lines looked terrific. While Oregon could have very easily stolen this game in East Lansing (Adams floated a pass just out of the reach of a wide receiver that would have won this game), this contest proved that the Spartans are a serious College Football Playoff contender and a trip to East Lansing on October 24 appears will see IU as massive underdogs.
Florida International Golden Panthers - 22 at Indiana Hoosiers – 36
Hoosier Huddle has extensive coverage of IU’s week two victory over the FIU Panthers, check the rest of the site and come back all week as we prepare for Western Kentucky!