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BIG 10 – WHAT DID WE LEARN IN WEEK 1?

In general you never really wanted to overreact to games from the first week of the season but the Big 10 had a couple of games that I think brought about seismic shifts in the way the Big 10 could play out. The first game was Northwestern’s loss at home to California. That was a real stunner as I had the Wildcats winning the B1G West! The showed me that Northwestern could be dealing with significant issues with their QB & right now are easily behind Iowa, Nebraska & Wisconsin in the West. That could change but a loss like this to open the season could signify the wheels coming off before Northwestern even gets started!

I think Rutgers win over Washington St. is crucial too. The Scarlet Knights were able to move the football at will. Granted, it’s Washington State but QB Gary Nova did a pretty nice job and the Rutgers receivers played well. Rutgers had the chance to trot out a pretty good offense this season & it looks like they are doing just that. They’ll face much tougher defenses in the Big 10, but if Paul James keeps running like he did against the Cougars, Rutgers is going to be better than people imagine.

The final game I thought signified a big shift in the Big 10 is Wisconsin’s 28-24 loss to LSU. I can’t be too hard on Wisconsin because a 4-point loss to LSU in their backyard is hardly cause for concern, but the Badgers have QB issues and that could hurt them down the road. With how Iowa, Northwestern & Wisconsin played this first week, Nebraska has to be feeling pretty good about themselves and even Iowa has to be pleasantly surprised as they get Nebraska, Wisconsin & Northwestern in Iowa City!

 

ROAD PTS WHAT WE LEARNED PTS HOME
EIU 20 No surprises here really as Minnesota relied heavily on the running game to beat Eastern Illinois by almost 4TD! The Gophers rushed the ball behind David Cobb & Berkley Edwards 40 times while the QBs attempted just 18 passes. Keep an eye on Edwards. He had a 42yd TD run & should get more time, splitting carries with Cobb. QB Mitch Leidner was OK going 9/17 for 144yds & 1TD but he didn’t make any mistakes. It took awhile for Minny to hit stride, leading only 14-0 at the half but they were up 35-0 early in the 4th before EIU scored some garbage TDs. LB Damian Wilson led the team with 10 tackles. 42
41 I didn’t expect Rutgers to come out & play this well on the road. I thought a lot of Rutgers offensive performance would rely on QB Gary Nova getting better. He went 16/27 (59.3%) for 281yds & 2TD/1INT. That’s much better than last season. The real story though is that WSU had no answer for RB Paul James who rushed for 173yds/3TD/6.0ypc! That’s great to see with Justin Goodwin switching positions. WR Leonte Carroo had 6rec/151yds/1TD including a 78yd TD score on the 1st play of the game. The Knights obviously had issues stopping Wazzou’s passing attack but who cares. 41 points & a win! Great start for 2014! 38
JSU 7 It was only Jacksonville St., but on a weekend where so many top-10 teams struggled, the Spartans put the hammer down. Michigan St. led 38-0 at halftime before putting in the JV team. QB Connor Cook had a ridiculous day going 12/13 for 285yds/3TD! The Spartans had the ball for almost 40 minutes & had 200+yds rushing while holding JSU to 22 rushing yards on 25 carries. MSU racked up 5 sacks & 3 interceptions. Didn’t commit a turnover & had 2 penalties. WR Tony Lippett had 4rec/167yds/2TD while RBs Jeremy Langford & Nick Hill rushed for 99yds. Michigan St. did what they were supposed to do which does matter. 45
26 A very sloppy game that included virtually no rushing attack from either team combined with 4 turnovers & 17 penalties for 137yds! I thought QB Christian Hackenberg would miss Allen Robinson, but Geno Lewis, DaeSean Hamilton & Jesse James combined for 26rec/398yds/1TD! This could be a bad sign for the B1G because UCF’s secondary is supposed to be one of the best in the nation & Hackenberg carved them up for 68%/454yds/1TD! Hackenberg did throw 2 picks so maybe PSU could have won this game earlier. PSU outgained UCF 511-246! Great defense by PSU; LB Mike Hull with 11 tackles, DT Anthony Zettel w/5TFL! 24
YSU 17 Illinois got the win but there are certainly concerns. I thought Illinois would be a ball-controlled offense considering what they had returning, but Youngstown St. dominated the line of scrimmage rushing for over 200yds & having the ball for 40+ minutes! After 3 quarters, YSU actually led 9-7! QB Wes Lunt took the game over in the 4th as Illinois outscored the Penguins 21-8, but Illinois couldn’t run the ball worth a darn. Lunt was great going 24/38 (63%) for 285yds & 4TD/0INT. It’s good that Lunt played well, but there has to be some worry about a defense that couldn’t get off the field & an offense that couldn’t run on YSU! 28
ISU 10 If you just look at the final score you might be a little disappointed in the Hoosiers’ 28-point performance because they averaged nearly 40PPG in ’13 & this is Indiana State! However, Indiana outgained the Sycamores 566-170, was 11/17 on 3rd down & rushed the ball for 455yds/4TD/6.6ypc! Tevin Coleman was a beast with 247yds/2TD/10.1ypc but D’Angelo Roberts 129yds/1TD/5.4ypc! Indiana’s O-Line was outstanding & don’t forget that defense had a great day. ISU was 2/14 on 3rd down & had just 30 rushing yards. Indiana completely DOMINATED this game from start to finish & HC Kevin Wilson has to be happy. 28
NIU 23 I don’t know what it is about Northern Iowa, but Iowa always seems to struggle with them a bit. QB Jake Ruddock was solid at 31/41 (76%) for 250yds/2TD/0INT, but Iowa had problems with their running game. Mark Weisman & Jordan Canzeri didn’t play all that well which was surprising. A lot of dinking & dunking with the passing game too although Derrick Willies had a 46yd reception. Defensively Iowa did a great job against the run but gave up quite a few passing yards. On the other hand NIU completed just 46% of their passes & threw 2 picks. Nothing to get excited about here but I would have liked to see more big plays. 31
14 Michigan wasn’t going to let a repeat of 2007 happen this season. The Wolverines left no doubt going up 42-0 early in the 3Q & racking up 560 total yards! The Michigan offense put on a clinic as QB Devin Gardner was 13/14 for 174yds/3TD. RBs Derrick Green & De’Veon Smith both have over a 100yds rushing & combined for 285yds/3TD/12.4YPC!!! WR Devin Funchess at 6’5/230lbs went 7rec/95yds/3TD & will be a redzone nightmare for opposing defenses. Defense was solid holding App St. to 4.1 yards per play & allowing a 51.5% completion mark. A really good day for an unproven O-Line. That’s very good news. 52
34 After seeing Ohio St. & Notre Dame play yesterday it does look like those teams will be losses for Navy, but I’m not discounting the Buckeyes struggling because that would make Navy a 10-2 team by year’s end. Navy actually led 7-6 at halftime & 14-13 late in the 3Q, but it did look like the Buckeyes finally wore the Middies down & outscored Navy 21-3 from that point forward. QB JT Barrett looked awfully good for never having any college experience & WR Dontre Wilson should get the ball every down! He’s ELECTRIC! Tyvis Powell led the defense with 13 tackles. This was a very good win that will look better over time. 17
34 The good news is that Purdue scored 43pts after averaging 14.9PPG in 2013! That’s a huge step forward. QB Danny Etling was OK but he threw 2TD & had no picks. The Purdue rushing game looked good with Raheem Mostert going for 146yds/2TD/6.6ypc & Akeem Hunt chipping in 78yds/1TD/5.2ypc. The O-Line paved the way for 226yds rushing & Etling was sacked only once. The bad news is that W.Michigan is SERIOUSLY awful & they still rolled up 34pts on Purdue & kept Etling pretty much a non-factor. WMU actually had more yards & Purdue & ran for over 200! These are VERY OMINOUS signs for the PU defense. 43
7 A ridiculous display of offensive firepower. The Cornhuskers racked up 784 total yards en route to 55 points! It took them a bit to warm up, but when they did GOOD GRIEF! Most impressive was NU’s running game. Ameer Abdullah ran for 232yds/1TD/11.0ypc while Terrell Newby added 107yds/2TD/6.7ypc! WRs Kenny Bell & Jordan Westerkamp really stepped up too combining for 11rec/241yds/1TD! Westerkamp even made a behind the back catch! QB Tommy Armstrong was solid. Defense was GREAT but star DE Randy Gregory hurt his knee & is day-to-day. That could be an issue if the injury lingers. Great 1st game. 55
31 This was the most shocking game of the day in my opinion. Before the season began I had Northwestern winning the B1G West & finishing the season 11-1! I had Cal having another bad year & finishing 1-11! Instead, the Bears walk into Evanston & go up 31-7 mid-way through the 3rd quarter! Cal QB Jared Goff had a great day & NW had no answer. The troubling part was NW QB Trevor Siemian. The senior QB completed just 52% of his passes & threw 2 picks. Over the last 5-years NW was 17-3 as home favorites & Cal was 2-14 as road underdogs. Sometimes games just don’t make sense. This is one of them. 24
JMU 7 Sure it was only James Madison, but Maryland had an excellent day & was up 45-0 after 3 quarters. I thought the Maryland pass defense had a great day holding JMU QB Vlad Lee to a 43% completion rate & picking him off twice. Offensively I would have liked to have seen a little more from QB CJ Brown, but the Terps running game was solid rushing for 285yds/5TD/5.7ypc. What’s interesting going forward is that Maryland’s defense was dominant against the run & they’ll face MUCH TOUGHER rushing attacks in the B1G which could foreshadow the problems Maryland could have keeping opponents offenses off the field. 52
24 A brutal loss for Wisconsin who led the game 24-7 midway through the 3Q. I couldn’t figure this game out while watching it. Wisconsin seemed to tire at the end which is why I think LSU outscored them 21-0 down the stretch but the Wisconsin offense looked awful & they only gave the ball to Melvin Gordon 16 times! Gordon in those 16 carries rushed for 140yds & a TD & even if you take away his 63yd run he still averaged 5.1ypc! Why not ride that train to a victory? I thought Wisconsin played great D although RB Kenny Hilliard got hot. Wisconsin needs to figure out their QB situation because Tanner McEvoy is terrible. 28
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August 31, 2014 - Posted by | Big 10, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan St., Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio St, Penn St., Purdue, Rutgers, Week 1, Wisconsin

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