There were three huge games for the Big Ten on Saturday, and aside from that, a lot of patsies getting smacked (or shocking the world... or just the Minneapolis-St. Paul market, perhaps). You know what happened with Ohio State. Here's what happened with everyone else.
Michigan 28, Notre Dame 24
The Legend of Shoelace grows as Denard Robinson essentially remains the entire Michigan offense: he rushed for 258 yards, threw for 244 and didn't commit a single turnover in four quarters. You can hate on ND's defense all you want (and they do deserve some hate for such a performance), but Robinson has looked impressive in these first couple weeks. Not as impressive is, of course, the Michigan defense: the Irish threw for 381 yards, ran for 150 and averaged 7 yards per play against the Wolverines, and Robinson needed to lead a comeback in the closing minutes to finish of Brian Kelly's team. Michigan is going to have to outscore essentially every team it plays. No sweat next week as the Wolverines take on Puppy Dog U (more appropriate known as UMass) at home.
Michigan State 30, FAU 17
In the bizarre FAU home game at Ford Field in Detroit, the Spartans required 183 yards from Edwin Baker to overcome the Owls. Kirk Cousins more or less struggled for the second straight week, completing 9 of 17 passes for 142 yards, a touchdown and a pick. The State secondary looked awfully porous, giving up 256 yards passing to the opposition. Dantonio admiration aside, Michigan State has not looked like a very good football team in the opening weeks. If Cousins regains his form, they could be one of the conference's more versatile attacks, but for now, 8 wins might be optimistic. Michigan State gets the reeling Domers at home next week.
Iowa 35, Iowa State 7
It's looking more and more like Kirk Ferentz has the Iowa State monkey off his back, as the Hawkeyes barely broke a sweat in dispatching a Cyclone team that won a bowl game last year. Ricky Stanzi completed 11 of 18 passes for 204 yards and two scores. The Hawkeye running game, which was actually lackluster last year relative to their usual success, ripped ISU for 275 yards rushing on the back of a 14-carry, 156-yard outing from Adam Robinson. The Hawkeyes travel to Tuscon next week to play Arizona.
South Dakota 41, Minnesota 38
As if he wasn't fired enough already, Tim Brewster managed to lose at home to an FCS squad for the 2nd (!) time in his career. South Dakota QB Dante Warren fired away for 352 yards and 3 touchdowns in leading the Coyotes over the Golden Gophers, who surrendered 444 yards of offense to a team that, again, they probably should have beaten by five or six touchdowns. It's going to be a long, long year in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Feel free to leave some guesses into the comment section as to whom the next coach of the Gophers will be. I imagine USC's film room sessions this week will be a laugh riot for Trojan players, as they take on the Gophers next week in Minneapolis.
Wisconsin 27, San Jose State 14
Quite possibly the most "ho-hum" result of the day, the Badgers were never threatened as John Clay rumbled his way to 123 yards and two touchdowns. Nothing really to see here, especially from Scott Tolzien, who went 15/22 for 192 yards, a touchdown and a pick. The only other note of interest about this game is that San Jose State QB Jordan La Secla managed to pass for 252 yards and complete 20 of his 26 passes. If there was any doubt, Wisconsin's biggest problem right now is its secondary, and especially its corners. It's a long ways away and improvement is likely, but I hope Dane and DeVier are rested and ready for the trip to Madtown in October, as both could have huge nights. Wisconsin takes on Arizona State next Saturday at home.
Purdue 31, Western Illinois 21
The Boilers needed a 102-yard effort from Dan Dierking, a third-string tailback who paced the Purdue offense while Robert Marve continues to learn the ropes. But the biggest story of this game is not Dierking, but WR Keith Smith, who left the game in the 4th quarter with a knee injury. He was later seen with crutches on the sideline. This is a devastating blow for a Purdue offense that really only had one quality Big Ten skill guy to begin with, and given that the Boiler D allowed WIU to outgain the Boiler O, is likely a crippling blow to Purdue's bowl eligibility hopes in Danny Hope's second year.
Northwestern 37, Illinois State 3
The Wildcats made quick work of their chosen prey this week thanks to a 30-point first half. Dan Persa has quickly assumed the role of competent NW QB, going 19/23 for 240 yards, two touchdowns, and adding another touchdown on the ground. Arby Fields also chipped in 96 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Pat Fitzgerald's team travels to Houston next week to take on Sam McGuffie and Rice.
Illinois 35, Southern Illinois 3
If you're keeping track, this is the 4th FCS opponent a Big Ten team played this weekend, and even Ron Zook couldn't screw this one up. Nathan Scheelhaase looked far better against an FCS defense than he did last week against Missouri, completing 14 of 18 passes for 229 yards, Mikel LeShoure racked up 115 yards on the ground, and AJ Jenkins recorded 5 catches for 114 yards as the Illini improved to 1-1 on the season. The offense more or less looked explosive, but... it's Southern Illinois.
Alabama 24, Penn State 3
Joe Pa brought a freshman QB into Tuscaloosa and mostly got the results everyone expected: Rob Bolden finished 13/29 for 144 yards, with two picks in a losing effort. In light of an egregious 3rd-down drop by Graham Zug that may have gone for six, he wasn't completely awful. Still, the fact remains that Penn State was largely outclassed on both sides of the ball when the game was in doubt. Greg McElroy completed 16/24 passes for 229 yards and two scores, while Trent Richardson provided balance with 22 carries for 144 yards and a touchdown. The national media may cast this as a black eye for the Big Ten, but Penn State's rebuilding, and Alabama's the top team in the country. This was expected for anyone with half a brain.