Heat Checks and Hail Marys - Spinning Around the Big Ten

By: Mike
October 3, 2022

Mike Cagley, Big Sports Radio show host

October 3, 2022

The Big Ten had another exciting weekend of football. Purdue's upset of Minnesota brings the Big Ten West to an unlikely six way tie at 1-1 in the division. Only the 0-2 Badgers are a game behind at 0-2. Conversely, the Big Ten East is a three-way tie between 2-0 Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State. Rutgers and Michigan State are stuck at the bottom sporting a 0-2 record.

The upcoming weekend features some intriguing matchups.

  • Iowa and Illinois will meet Saturday night. If the Illini win, they have a shot at being ranked for the first time since 2011.
  • Ohio State takes on a struggling Michigan State team. The Spartans have not lived up to preseason hype and they will face Ohio State at home as the Buckeyes leave Ohio for the first time this season.
  • Purdue and Maryland will battle to see which team can avoid a second conference loss. Purdue will try to follow up their upset of Minnesota on the road with a second B1G road victory in a row.

This weekend Minnesota and Penn State will be idle before going on the road for key games in their respective divisions. This gives Minnesota extra time to game plan for the Fighting Illini and Penn State will do the same for their game with Michigan.

Hail Mary's Around the Big Ten

Ohio State - Miyan Williams rushed for 189 yards on 21 carries. He became the third Buckeye all-time to score five rushing touchdowns in a game, matching Pete Johnson in 1974 vs. North Carolina and Keith Byars in 1984 vs. Illinois. Johnson rushed for 148 yards on 26 carries vs. the Tar Heels. Byars carried it 39 times for 274 yards vs. the Illini. The Buckeyes have had only 5 losing seasons since 1951. With one more win next week, they will guarantee at least a .500 season.

Michigan - The match up of the nation's top scoring offense versus the nation's stingiest scoring defense resulted in a decisive victory for the offense. Coming into the game, the Wolverines averaged 50.0 points per game and the Iowa defense only gave up 5.8 points per game. The Wolverines scored 27 points to be the most points given up by Iowa this season and the most since Wisconsin scored 27 against Iowa last year in October.

Penn State - The PSU defense showed up ready to play. The held Northwestern to no first downs in the first quarter and the Penn State defense forced a three-and-out on Northwestern's first five drives. The five three-and-outs to start the game were the most against a Big Ten opponent since holding Illinois to six three-and-outs in 2011. Northwestern finished the day with a meager 31 yards rushing, the fewest rushing yards allowed by Penn State since give up -19 yards rushing to Purdue in 2019.

Indiana - The Hoosiers had their four game streak of forcing a punt by the opposition on the opening drive broken by Nebraska who scored a touchdown on their first possession. The fumble recovery returned for a touchdown by Myles Johnson was the Hoosiers first defensive touchdown since an interception returned for a touchdown against Tennessee in the 2020 Taxslayer Gator Bowl. Indiana now has eight defensive touchdowns under head coach Tom Allen.

Maryland - The Terps victory over the Spartans was only the third Maryland win in series history. It was the first victory since a 2016 win in College Park. Prior to that, the first Maryland victory happened on Oct 7, 1950 in East Lansing. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa continues his climb up the Maryland passing leader lists. He passed up Boomer Esiason for third all-time in passing yards with 6,287. He is also third in all-time career touchdowns with 41 and 3rd all-time in completions with 523. He became the fastest Maryland QB to surpass 6000 passing yards with a pass to Roman Hemby for his third completion of the game.

Northwestern - The Wildcats have struggled with turnovers all season long and Saturday in sloppy weather against Penn State, it was no different. They turned over the ball three times - 2 fumbles and 1 interception to end droves at inopportune times and negate the fact that Penn State gave up the ball 5 times as well. The Wildcat offense was held to 241 total yards a single touchdown. Northwestern has a four game losing streak on the line next week against Wisconsin who will be bringing their own two game losing streak into Saturday's contest.

Nebraska - The Cornhuskers are coming off their first Big Ten win of the year. Despite the struggles of the Frost coaching tenure, the Huskers played the game in front of an NCAA record 386th consecutive sellout with 86,804 fans in attendance. Amazingly, the Nebraska victory cut Indiana's lead in the all-time series to 10-9-3. The Huskers are 2-1 against the Hoosiers while Big Ten foes. Indiana's advantage is due to a 9-0-1 streak versus Nebraska from 1941 to 1959.

Purdue - QB Aidan O'Connell returned to the starting role and went 27-for-40 for 199 yards with no touchdowns. It was the first game of O'Connell's career without a passing touchdown and 25 or more completions. He spread the ball around against the Golden Gophers, finding nine different receivers on his 27 completions, led by six from Charlie Jones, who leads the Big Ten with 47 on the year. Purdue won in Minneapolis for the first time since 2007 and snapped a four-game losing streak against the Golden Gophers.

Illinois - The Illini victory over Wisconsin, where Bret Bielema used to be the head coach, moved the Illini record to 4-1. The last time the Illini started the season at 4-1 was in 2015. The victory in Madison was the first win there since 2002, snapping an eight game losing streak and the first time the Illini have scored over 30 points in Madison since 2002. Illinois held the Badgers to 2 yards rushing for the game, the lowest Badger output since Ohio State allowed 12 Badger yards rushing in 2007. The Illini defense now leads the nation in fewest points allowed with only 42 allowed in 5 games.

Minnesota - The Gophers lost their Homecoming game with Purdue with star running back Mo Ibrahim missing the game due to what appears to be a minor ankle injury. Entering the game, Minnesota was one of only three teams that hadn't trailed entering this week's game along with Georgia and Washington. The Boilers upset the #21 Gophers to add to their collection of upsets from last season when the defeated #2 Iowa and #3 Michigan State last year.

Iowa - Iowa's offense has been struggling this season. At the same time, the offense played better against the Wolverines in a 27-14 loss. Improvement was visible as QB Spencer Petras completed 21-of-31 passes for a season-high 246 yards and one touchdown. The 246 yards are the most for Petras since the 2021 season in a road game at Maryland (259 yards). Petras completed passes to a season-high nine different receivers. The Hawkeyes did not commit a turnover for a third straight game – a first since the 2019 season.

Rutgers - Not much went well for Rutgers in a 49-10 loss to Ohio State. Miyan Williams ran for more yards (189) for the Buckeyes than the Rutgers offense - which only accounted for 187 yards. To make matters worse, according to ESPN Stats & Info, Ohio State has scored 49 points or more against Rutgers in nine straight games. This is the longest streak against any single opponent since the Associated Press poll era began in 1936. Rutgers will be visited by the Huskers next Saturday. The Huskers have the opportunity to win back-to-back Big Ten games.

Michigan State - The Spartans find themselves in a position that is not comfortable, nor expected in the preseason build up. They will play Ohio State at Spartan Stadium in the first Buckeye road trip of the season. The Spartans are 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the Big Ten. The Spartans are 1 of only 3 teams with no wins in the Big Ten this season. With Rutgers playing Nebraska and Wisconsin playing Northwestern, it's not hard to see a scenario that Michigan State could be the only zero win team in the Big Ten by this time next week.

Wisconsin - The Badgers watched former coach Bret Bielema and his Illini team score 17 points off of Wisconsin turnovers and hold the vaunted Badger rushing attack to 2 yards on 24 attempts. Wisconsin star tailback Braelon Allen was held to 7 carries for only 2 yards. The Badgers head to Northwestern to see if they can get into the win column in Big Ten play. If the Badgers lose this game, expect the Wisconsin fan base to be in a very dark place. The Badgers have a 20 consecutive year bowl appearance streak that is at risk. Fans expect wins and Saturday is a day that they will expect the Badgers to prevail over the Wildcats.

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