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Quick Outs – 2012 Big 10 Week 1 Review

I’m going to try a quick out segments on the blog that focuses a bit on the games that happened the past weekend and what they mean for the specific team. Let’s kick things off with the Big 10.

#18-Ohio St. 56, Miami-OH 10

Certainly what we’d expect from Ohio St. in Urban Meyer’s debut. Pretty cool to see Carlos Hyde run for 82-yards & a couple of TDs. True freshman Bri’onte Dunn even got in on the action with 31 yards & a TD. QB Braxton Miller was the start of the game. He was 14 of 24 for 207 yards & 2TD while also rushing for 161 yards & a TD. Ohio St. didn’t commit a turnover on his watch, while Miller really did live up to the speculation that he’d be a perfect fit in Urban Meyer’s offensive system. Most impressive was the Ohio St. rush defense which held the Redhawks to -1 rushing yards on the day. Miami-OH QB Zac Dysert did throw for over 300 yards, but threw a couple of picks and was essentially forced to throw when Ohio St. got up 35-3. WRs Philly Brown & Evan Spencer had big games. Something to keep in mind here is that Ohio St. was +3 in TO margin for the game. That’s a solid omen.

Northwestern 42, Syracuse 41

Likely the most thrilling game of the opening weekend, Northwestern was up 35-33 late in the 4th quarter when Syracuse receiver Chris Clark caught a 20-yard pass from Ryan Nassib to give Syracuse a 41-35 lead. Northwestern got the ball back and on a very controversial call late in the game, Northwestern was able to extend it’s drive on an unnecessary roughness penalty. Northwestern’s Trevor Siemian would then throw a 9-yard fade to Demetrius Fields that gave Northwestern a 42-41 lead with 44 seconds left to play. It wasn’t enough for Nassib to work another miracle so HC Pat Fitzgerald & the Wildcats start the season with a victory! Northwestern has to be a bit concerned about their defense at this point. Syracuse isn’t expected to be a great Big East team, but Nassib rolled up 470 yards passing & the Orange totaled 596 yards on offense. If The Wildcats aren’t +2 in TO margin you have to think they lose this game. Kain Colter & Trevor Siemian did a solid job through the air, but Northwestern had problems rushing the football. Northwestern comes home to host Vanderbilt next week which should be interesting seeing how tough Vandy played South Carolina to open the season.

Ohio 24, Penn St. 14

You could see this one coming. The Bobcats are a team many think will win the MAC and with Penn State going through what they’ve gone through, it just seemed like a game ripe for an upset. Penn St. certainly didn’t do themselves any favors. Unlike Ohio St., Penn St. was -3 in TO margin and the entire game plan didn’t feel right. Penn St. got out to a lead, but QB Matt McGloin almost threw the ball 50 times. I understand HC Bill O’Brien is coming from New England where having Brady throw the ball 50-60 times a game is key to winning, but here I think you build a lead, run the clock out by grinding out runs and get out with a win. Penn St. didn’t do that on offense, and they certainly didn’t show up to play defense. Ohio QB Tyler Tettleton was 31 of 41 for 324 yards & 2TD! That’s a 76% completion rate without a single interception. Penn St. also couldn’t stop RB Beau Blankenship who grinding the Nittany Lions down with 109 rushing yards on 31 carries. There wasn’t much PSU did right on Saturday. Allowing 499 total yards to a MAC team is extremely worrisome moving forward.

Illinois 24, Western Michigan 7

The Illini did what they were supposed to do with a MAC favorite. Illinois ran the ball a ton, dominated time of possession, created turnovers and took home a 17-point victory. Nothing real fancy on offense for Illinois. WR Ryan Lankford caught a 64-yard TD pass from QB Nathan Scheelhaase, but pretty vanilla after that. The most impressive performance was the Illinois rush defense which limited the Broncos to -6 yards rushing for the game! WMU actually outgained Illinois on the day, but you have to love the +3 in TO margin for the Illini. Nothing fancy in HC Tim Beckman’s first game roaming the sidelines at Memorial Stadium. Just a 1-0 start!

#17-Nebraska 49, Southern Mississippi 20

The big story here was QB Taylor Martinez who all of a sudden looked like one of the most accurate passers in college football! Martinez had a HUGE day going 26 of 34 (76.5%) for 354 yards & 5TD without throwing a single interception! With that type of production, we didn’t see Martinez run the ball hardly at all, but we didn’t need to. Rex Burkhead ran for 68 yards & a TD on only 3 carries! Ameer Abdullah & Imani Cross combined to rush for 143 yards as the Cornhuskers ran the ball all day long against Southern Miss. Nebraska was extremely efficient rolling up 632 total yards of offense without committing a single turnover which can’t be good news for the rest of the Big 10. Southern Miss hung around for the first two quarters, but Nebraska blew it open after halftime. The Black Shirts could get a little better on defense but that is nit picking. Southern Miss is a solid team & Nebraska went off. If Martinez keeps this kind of accuracy going then the faithful in Lincoln are in for a big year.

#12-Wisconsin 26, Northern Iowa 21

The final score of this one is a bit misleading. The concerns about losing Russell Wilson might be a bit overblown. Maryland transfer QB Danny O’Brien was darn near perfect on the day throwing for 219 yards & 2TD on 19 of 23 (82.6%) passes while Montee Ball chipped in 120 rushing yards and a TD. Ball could have been a bit more dominate. He averaged just 3.9ypc but the 120 yards means he’s on pace for almost 1700 yards rushing! Can we really hammer a guy for almost rushing for 2,000 yards for the 2nd straight season!? Wisconsin was up 26-7 going into the 4th quarter, but Northern Iowa made a couple of big plays through the air in the final quarter to make it look close. That was essentially the problem for the Badgers. They did a good job shutting down Northern Iowa’s running game, allowing the Panthers just 41 rushing yards, but NIU QB Sawyer Kollmorgan hit a few big passes. WR Jared Abbrederis had a solid game as the Badgers #1 WR catching 6 balls for 84 yards & 2TD. It wasn’t the 51-17 beating they gave UNLV in last year’s opener, but it wasn’t quite as close as the score indicates.

Iowa 18, Northern Illinois 17

I guess we can put to bed who will be the lead RB in Iowa City this season. Sophomore Damon Bullock made people all but forget about Marcus Coker as he ran for 150 yards on 30 carries including a TD. Iowa was down 17-9 going into the 4th quarter but rallied to win. This was a run heavy game without the QBs doing much of anything. Iowa QB James Vandenberg had a solid game, but the receivers couldn’t do anything after the catch. Not a single Hawkeye receiver averaged 10 yards per catch & Keenan Davis didn’t make a big play. There were 85 rushes in the game compared to 49 passes. Very unusual in this day and age. Sometimes Iowa plays down to the competition. They almost blew a game to Northern Iowa back in 2009 and this felt the same way. Iowa would finish that season 11-2, ending the season with a BCS bowl win over Georgia Tech.

Purdue 48, Eastern Kentucky 6

It was great to finally see QB Robert Marve dominate a game the way people though he would when he was a highly sought after recruit heading to Miami-FL. Marve was splendid completing 30 of 38 passes (78.9%) for 295 yards & 3TD as the Boilermakers routed the Colonels from Eastern Kentucky. Purdue did a good job of getting everyone involved and outside of Marve, nobody stood out except for maybe RB Akeem Shavers. Shavers rushed for 74 yards & a TD on only 11 carries. Purdue wasn’t so great in protecting the football. They forced EKU into 4 turnovers, but had 5 of their own which means HC Danny Hope will have a lot complain about in the upcoming week. If the Boilermakers commit 5 turnovers in South Bend this upcoming Saturday, their fate might be worse than Navy’s 50-10 spanking in Dublin. Solid start for the Boilermakers.

Indiana 24, Indiana St. 17

Indiana St. wants to become an elite level FCS football school and they are doing a good job of making that a reality. I want to say something positive about Indiana because I’m somewhat of a homer, but even with a win, it’s hard for me to come up with one. Indiana was actually +2 in TO margin and played a near flawless game, yet was still only able to beat an FCS school by 7 points at home. Indiana State ran right over the Hoosiers to the tune of 5.5 yards per game! If the Sycamores can do that to the Hoosiers rush defense, what are runners like Le’Veon Bell, Braxton Miller, and Montee Ball going to do? It’s a scary thought. I love seeing Indiana win, and already this year they’ve matched last season’s win total, but the rush defense was terrible and the pass defense wasn’t much better. That’s a rough start even with the win.

#2-Alabama 41, #8-Michigan 14

Let’s assume for a second that this game says a lot more about Alabama than it does Michigan. The bottom line in all of this is that you can’t give Nick Saban an entire offseason to prepare for your team. That’s nuts and we saw what the results were. We saw what the results were when you give him a month in last year’s national championship game where the Tide dropped the hammer on LSU. Giving him 8 months is just suicide. I also don’t think Michigan is going to see a better offensive line than they did on Saturday night meaning they won’t be getting tuned up for 240+ rushing yards. The best thing for Michigan to do is forget this game and move on. They get home games against Air Force & UMass before going to South Bend. They need to right the ship before conference play because the Wolverines could still easily win out, go 12-1 and play in the Rose Bowl if not get a 2nd chance against Alabama in the BCS Championship if the Tide run the table. FOCUS MICHIGAN!

Minnesota 30, UNLV 27; 3OT

A win is a win is a win is a win! Minnesota has to be happy going on the road in an out-of-conference game against another FBS team and coming home with a victory. UNLV isn’t Oregon, but the Gophers will take it. The win definitely should give Minnesota some confidence & they’ll play their next 3 games (New Hampshire, Western Michigan & Syracuse) at home before opening up Big 10 play against Iowa on the road. If Minnesota can get to 4-0 they might have a shot at bowl eligibilty given that they get home conference games against Purdue & Northwestern. Road games against Iowa & Illinois are also in play. Minnesota got a solid effort from QB MarQueis Gray while RB Donnell Kirkwood & WR AJ Barker really had great games. The Gophers actually had 203 more total yards than the Rebels, but they committed quite a few penalties and had a couple of turnovers. A little bit sloppy & the defense could have been better, but the Gophers will take the road win.

#13-Michigan St. 17, #24-Boise St. 13

Boise St. is a fine football team, but they are in massive rebuild mode & the Spartans should have given them a taste of what big time road college football is like instead of neutral site games the Broncos have been in recently. RB Le’Veon Bell was a MONSTER rushing for 210 yards & 2TD on 48 carries, but Michigan St. couldn’t get anything going offensively. Enter new starting QB Andrew Maxwell who played horrifically going 22 of 38 (57.9%) for 248 yards & 3 interceptions! Michigan St. for the game committed 4 turnovers and was -2 in TO margin! The Spartans did a great job running the football and held Boise St. to just 37 yards rushing for the entire game, but 4 turnovers and 10 penalties for 90 yards kept Boise St. in the game & almost ended Michigan St.’s season before it even started! Andrew Maxwell better get it together because Ohio St., Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Michigan & Nebraska are all teams that will play much much better than Boise State! Sparty needs to be careful here.


September 3, 2012 - Posted by | Big 10, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan St., Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio St, Penn St., Purdue, Wisconsin

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