Well, that was a big week for the Big Ten.
First, the good news. Illinois upset No. 22 Arizona State, Nebraska beat Washington in round three of their series, Wisconsin beat Northern Illinois at Solider Field, Indiana got their first win by beating South Carolina State, Iowa had a huge comeback over Pitt, Michigan beat another Michigan (Eastern this time) team, Minnesota also got their first win by beating Miami (OH) and Purdue beat up an FCS team.
And now, the bad news. Ohio State had no offense against Miami (FL) and lost, Michigan State was upset by Notre Dame, Northwestern was upset by Army and Penn State almost lost to Temple.
ESPN was hyping this weekend as season defining, and for the Big Ten, that cannot be truer, as some teams have seen how they play against tough competition. Where do the Big Ten teams rank after Week 3?
Last week 10-2
National Ranking: Yeah, right
Why 12? Got the first win, against an FCS team
Indiana finally got their first win under new head coach Kevin Wilson, though it was an FCS team, as Indiana beat South Carolina State 38-21.
Indiana racked up 569 yards of total offense, with most coming through the air. Edwin Wright Baker went 21-of-27 for 273 yards with two touchdowns; he also added 41 yards on the ground. Roberts led the running backs with 102 yards and a score. Perez added 45 yards and a score and Houston, 21 yards and a score. Wilson had a 100 yard receiving game with a score.
The defense has been a big issue for Indiana this season; today was no exception. The Hoosiers gave up 377 yards of total offense to an FCS team. 216 yards passing and 161 yards rushing. The defense did force one turnover in the form of a fumble.
Overall, Indiana still has a lot of questions, but they finally got a win.
Indiana Player of the Week: Edwin Wright-Baker, 21-of-27 for 273 yards with two touchdowns and 41 rushing yards
Week 4: at North Texas
North Texas is not that good of a football team. While Indiana is also not that great, they should win.
National Ranking: Uh, no
Why 11? Finally got a win after two close games, and it was against the MAC champion
Head Coach Jerry Kill returned to the sidelines as the Gophers get their first win, beating Miami (OH) 29-23.
Minnesota racked up 399 total yards of offense, and by Minnesota racked up that yardage, I mean Marqueis Gray racked up that yardage. Gray was responsible for all but 57 yards of offense for the Gophers. He went 11-of-21 for 163 yards with a score and added 171 yards rushing. All in all, Gray had 243 yards of total offense. Kirkwood was the best running back, with 55 yards and a score.
Defense is still not good for the Gophers, but they did manage to have arguably the biggest play of the game, blocking a punt and picking it up for a touchdown. The secondary was torched, giving up 325 yards passing and 80 yards on the ground. The defense did manage to get a pick.
Overall, Gray has shown he is the Minnesota offense and can run the ball; the defense needs to step up.
Minnesota Player of the week: Marqueis Gray, 11-of-21 for 163 yards and a score with 171 yards rushing
Week 4: North Dakota State
For some reason, Minnesota has struggled against Dakota schools, and this Dakota school can move the ball and play D.
National Ranking: N/A
Why 10th? Two wins, one from Sun Belt team; other from FCS
Purdue pitched a shutout and dominated SE Missouri State 59-0.
Purdue's offense racked up 627 yards of total offense. TerBush split snaps with Robert Marve, who is back from an ACL injury. TerBush was 14 of 17 for 143 yards, while Marve was 7-of-9 for 91 yards and a touchdown. The run game was impressive, gaining 393 yards. Shavers had 75 yards with two scores, Bolden had 57 yards and two scores and Hunt had 56 yards and two scores. Edison added 32 yards and a score.
The defense only allowed 153 yards of total offense and managed an interception. The Boliermakers only allowed 66 yards passing and 87 yards rushing. Good defensive showing. Not much else to talk about, just another BCS team beating up an FCS team.
Purdue Player of the Week: Robert Marve, 7-of-8 for 91 yards and a score. He is back from a season ending injury last year
Week 4: BYE
Random: The Boilermakers mascot is scary looking.
National Ranking: N/A
Why ninth? Almost lost to Temple; still QB controversy
Penn State trailed for almost the entire game, but thanks to a turnover, they beat Temple 14-10.
I still have not figured out the QBs at Penn State, and apparently, neither has Joe Pa. McGloin and Bolden both played. McGloin went 13-of-19 for 124 yards, while Bolden went 9-of-17 for 92 yards and a pick. My opinion? They need to stick with McGloin and move on. The running bcaks were led by Silas Redd with 86 yards and a score. Zordich had a two yard touchdown that sealed the game for Penn State.
The defense played good. They held Temple to 197 total yards of offense and forced three turnovers, two picks and a fumble; all of the turnovers happened in the fourth quarter. The second interception led to the score and the fumble sealed the game.
Overall, the offense is struggling without a decided leader, but the defense can keep them in some games.
Penn State Player of the week: Michael Mauti, three tackles for loss and one interception that led to the Penn State score
Week 4: Eastern Michigan
Eastern Michigan is bad; this should be an easy win.
National Ranking: N/A
Why eighth? Lost to Army, and without Persa, they don't look good
Not to be mean, but I called this. Teams usually struggle against the service academies, and Northwestern was no exception, falling to Army 21-14.
Did I mention they still don't have Dan Persa? The Wildcats only manged 309 yards in the game, with just 10 yards in the third quarter. Colter had a bad game, going 12-of-23 for 89 yards and a touchdown, but he did add 57 yards on the ground. He was replaced by Siemain, who went 5-of-7 for 105 yards and a score. Trumpy led all running backs with just 34 yards. This offense is struggling.
I mentioned this already, teams struggle defending the triple option. The Wildcats defense gave up 387 yards of offense, with 381 coming on the ground. While teams struggle against the option, the defense has not been the Wildcats strength, and without their star quarterback, Persa, they are struggling.
Northwestern Player of the week: Trevor Siemain, freshman that stepped up when needed, 5-of-7 for 105 yards
Week 4: BYE
Random: Hopefully, Persa will be good to go heading into the big matchup with Illinois on Oct. 1.
National Ranking: 32nd
Why seventh? Terrible offense, undecided at QB, did not play well against Miami
Ohio State is still without some of its star players, and the ineffective QBs don't help, as they fell to Miami 24-6.
The Buckeyes only managed 200 total yards of offense. The passing game was basically non-effective. Get this: They completed just four passes between both QBs. Miller was 2-of-4 for 22 yards and a pick and a fumble, while Bauserman was 2-of-13 for 13 yards. The run game is where the Buckeyes got their yards, with Hall getting 87 yards. The offense was just bad; they only got 46 yards in the second half, with negative four yards in the third quarter.
Ohio State usually has a dominant rushing defense, but not tonight. The Hurricanes got 363 yards of total offense, with 240 coming on the ground. The secondary gave up two scores and 123 yards but did manage two interceptions. The defense is good, but there is only so much they can do when they are on the field most of the game. The Buckeyes need to figure out something, or Luke Fickell's season will be one to forget.
Week 4: Colorado
Colorado is not a good football team, and the Buckeyes should be able to win this one.
National Ranking: 26th
Why sixth? Got the yards and defense, but could not got the points in upset by Notre Dame
Michigan State was able to air out the ball against Notre Dame, but came up short, losing 31-13.
It's not that the Spartans' offense was bad; it just could not get the points. Michigan State racked up 358 yards of total offense. Almost all of that came from Kirk Cousins. Cousins was 34-of-53 for 329 yards with a touchdown and a pick. Most of those passing yards went to B.J. Cunningham, who had 158 yards receiving.
However, a quarterback can only do so much when the rest of the offense is not performing well. The O-line did not play well, and the running game was stuffed only getting 29 yards. Bell led the rushers with 27 yards. Not a good offensive performance for the Spartans as they head towards Big Ten play.
The defense did hold the Irish to 275 yards of total offense, lowest production from Notre Dame this year, and they got a pick and two fumble recoveries. There is only so much the defense can do when the offense under performs. The special teams also gave up a big kickoff return for a touchdown. Lots of questions for the Spartans after their first real test of the season. How will they compete against the better teams of the Big Ten and compete for the title?
Michigan State player of the week: B.J. Cunningham, 12 catches for 158 yards, great playmaker
Week 4: Central Michigan
Michigan State has shown they can beat on cupcakes, which is what Central Michigan is
National Ranking: N/A
Why fifth? Comeback win over Pittsburgh, defense steps up in fourth
Iowa was trailing by 17 heading into the late fourth quarter, but they rallied and won 31-27.
Iowa did not play well the entire game, but they did manage to come through when they needed to. The offense managed to rack up 475 yards of total offense; almost all of it came through the passing game. Vandenberg was 31 of 48 for 399 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Coker led all rushers with 84 yards, and for the first time this season, he did not fumble.
The defense did not play well for the first three quarters, but they did cause two turnovers, a fumble and a pick. The fourth quarter is where they really stepped up, only allowing 60 yards and had a pick. Overall, the Hawkeye defense allowed 422 yards of total offense. Not a great showing, but they stepped up when they needed to in the fourth quarter to secure the win for Iowa. The Hawkeyes are playing better football than the last two weeks, and they get one more tune-up game before Big Ten play.
Iowa player of the week: Micah Hyde, two interceptions
Week 4: Louisiana Monroe
Louisiana Monroe has been blown out by the only FBS competition they played; expect the same here.
National Ranking: 24th
Why fourth?: Big upset over Arizona State
Illinois got a big win over No. 22 Arizona State, as they won 17-14.
Illinois got a huge win, but their offense was not the biggest reason for the win, though they did help. Nathan Scheelhaase continued to look impressive, as he went 11-of-15 for 135 yards with a touchdown and an interception; he also added 67 yards rushing. Ford was the best running back with 58 yards and a touchdown. The Illini did fumble twice and will need to cut down on the turnovers, they had three total.
While the Illini defense gave up yards, 362 total yards of offense, they manged to make some big plays to keep Arizona State out of the endzone. They had two interceptions with both coming on the Arizona State side of the 50, with one in the redzone. They also forced a fumble. The stats do not show how big of a game the defense played. They gave up yards, but they forced Arizona State off the field or denied them points throughout, and that is what led to this win.
Illinois player of the week: Nathan Scheelhaase, 11-of-15 for 135 yards with a touchdown and pick; added 67 yards rushing
Week 4: Western Michigan
Western Michigan is not a bad team for playing in the MAC, but the Illini are better
National Ranking: 22nd
Why third? Slow start over one of the worse teams in FBS; Robinson still electric
Michigan once again beat a directional Michigan school, as they beat Eastern Michigan 31-3.
One week after showing he can throw the ball, Robinson struggled, but ran all over Eastern Michigan. The Wolverines racked up 471 yards, and this time, it wasn't all Denard. Robinson was 7-of-18 for 95 yards with two scores and an interception, but he added 198 yards rushing and a score. Smith led the running backs with 118 yards, and Toussaint added 46 yards and a score. Good day running the ball, not so much passing.
On defense, they only allowed 236 total yards of offense, with almost all coming on the ground. The Wolverines gave up 207 yards rushing but only 29 yards passing. They did manage to force a fumble and an interception. Not much else to say. One thing of concern is that Michigan has yet to score a point in the first quarter. While not a big deal, it remains to be seen if Michigan can rally from a big deficit in the first quarter if they can't score points.
Michigan player of the week: Denard Robinson, 7-of-18 for 95 yards with two scores and an interception, 198 yards rushing and a score
Week 4: San Diego State
I am going to get flak for this, but San Diego State is going to be motivated by facing their former head coach and they are a good football team. It's possible I am wrong, but I think this is a big trap game.
National Ranking: Ninth
Why second? Offense rolls in rematch with Washington; fourth quarter collapse makes it closer than it seems
Nebraska won the rubber match with the Washington Huskies in round three, 51-38.
The offense for Nebraska is playing their best game, racking up 464 yards of total offense. Taylor Martinez was 10-of-21 for 155 yards passing and two scores; he also added 89 yards rushing and a score. Rex Burkhead led all rushers with 120 yards and two scores, and Aaron Green also got into the game with 36 yards and a score.
The Cornhuskers' biggest improvement is that the offense did not have a turnover. The Huskers did botch a punt return that led to a turnover, but the offense has done much better with ball control.
Defense was a mixed bag. The Blackshirts did not start off strong; they played very well in the third quarter and then had a collapse in the fourth to make the game close. The defense gave up 420 yards of total offense. The secondary gave up 274 yards in the air, while the defense gave up 146 yards rushing. They did mange to force three turnovers, one fumble and two interceptions. They played better than last week, minus the huge collapse, but they will need to play better to win the Big Ten.
Nebraska player of the week: Rex Burkhead, 120 yards rushing and two scores
Week 4: at Wyoming
Nebraska travels to Wyoming to face a team that almost lost to an FCS team and has yet to play a good team.
National Ranking: Sixth
Why first? Dominant game; nothing to show they are not still the Big Ten's best team
Wisconsin played Northern Illinois in Chicago at Soldier Field, but the result was still the same, as the Badgers rolled 49-7.
The Badgers racked up an impressive 621 yards of total offense. Russell Wilson was 23-of-32 for 347 yards with three scores and an interception; he also added 37 yards on the ground. Montee Ball and James White both had 91 yards rushing, but Ball scored twice, while White scored once. Brennan added six yards and a score. Another dominant showing from this offense that seems to be on a roll that can't be stopped.
On defense, the Badgers gave up 237 yards of total offense, 173 yards passing and 64 yards rushing. They did not mange to get a single turnover, though. The defense barely let the Huskies be on the field, only allowing 22 minutes of game time possession for Northern Illinois. So another good showing by the Big Ten's best team.
Wisconsin player of the week: Russell Wilson, 23-of-32 for 347 yards with three scores and a pick, 37 yards rushing
Week 4: South Dakota
Wisconsin gets to enjoy one last cupcake before conference play begins