Big Ten Recap - Week Two

By poguemahone on September 12, 2010 at 1:00p

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 

Snazzy hat, Rich Rod

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.


Comments Show All Comments

builderofcoalitions's picture

Minnesota's next head coach? Luke Fickell. [ducks head]

Because we couldn't go for three.

Eric Sammie Byrne's picture

I'd prefer if it is Heacock....

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" - Albert Einstein

741's picture

What's the word on Barnett's injury? His play has been the biggest and best surprise of the 2010 season in my opinion. Would be a shame to lose him for the season (or even a chunk of it).

The Iron Colonel's picture

Reports say that he tore his ACL.

741's picture

Thanks. Hoping for good news here. I like what this kid has done so far this year - he's a hitter, and gets himself in position to make plays.

O-H Kee Pa's picture

"The Legend of Shoelace grows" blah blah blah. They're in the Top 25 now, and they'll start 4-0. But who in their right mind thinks that Iowa, PSU, Wisconsin, and OSU are going to give up over 500 yards of offense on D? Furthermore, if their D gives up 500 yards of offense to any of those teams, Michigan is going to have to score at least 40 to win. No way in hell. They might go bowling this year, but Clayborn, Klug, Heyward, Simon, Rolle, Homan, and even Greg Jones aren't going to be in awe of Denard Robinson. The only source of offense on M*ch*g*n will get broken at some point.

Eric Sammie Byrne's picture

Don't forget Tate Forcier look all world last year until he started playing big ten teams.

Then he just got beat, plain and simple.

Robinson will get beat down once the big-ten starts.

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" - Albert Einstein

O-H Kee Pa's picture

I remember Tate declaring his Heisman candidacy last year as well. It actually might be different this time around, but come the meat of their schedule, their one trick pony offense will be on display for the whole country to see.

Also, 11W shouldn't indulge ESECPN and Wolverine Nation by using Denard's dumbass nickname. B-Rolle won't care if you tie your shoes, don't tie your shoes, or don't wear shoes at all. He's still going to run your ass down.

anchorman's picture

I hate the Golden Gophers! And it could have been worse with Penn St and Bama. Other then that, the Big Ten is looking good and deep this year!

JakeBuckeye's picture

James Madison recieved 11 AP top 25 votes. I didn't know that was possible...?

BTwrestle04's picture

I believe that Appalachian State made it into the Top 25 when they beat Michigan.

BTwrestle04's picture

Just watched highlights from the Michigan/Notre Dame game.... Where the f*** was Notre Dame's defense? Receivers left uncovered seemingly all game... Michigan's secondary got torched quite a few times as well.

btalbert25's picture

This just in, a Brian Kelly team doesn't have a defense. lol.  Michigan may have a hard time when they start playing some complete teams.    I do think Robinson is a great talent, and he's probably better than Forcier was last year when he burst onto the scene, but their defense is horrible.  I'm glad their ranked, it'll make it suck that much more for their fans when they lose 5 or 6 in a row again.

cyt_buck's picture

They were ranked last year as well...when they lost like 7 games in a row. I'm seeing the same type of season this time, maybe a lil they will probly only lose like 5 games in a row.

btalbert25's picture

I do think Denard is much better than Tate was last year, but once they get into conference play they will struggle.  I'm not sure that they'll lose as much in conference though.  They may not lose some of the conference games they did last year like MSU, PSU, or Purdue.  I guess I don't even know if they play all 3 this year, but I could see them picking up some wins they didn't get in conference last season.

poguemahone's picture

I think Michigan is about an 8-win team in this year's Big Ten. Losses to Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio State, and probably Penn State.

osukdawg76's picture

Just to echo what has already been said so far, Denard Robinson is definitely breaking out this year and basically playing NCAA '11 on Junior Varsity with those kind of numbers.  Still, he did it against a couple of rather crappy defenses.  UConn, I thought, would put up a better fight but they refused to make any kind of adjustment out of their defense.  They may as well have been holding up a big neon sign that said "RUN US OVER" which is exactly what Michigan did.


Ntre Ame is such a strange group to figure simply can never tell what kind of game they're going to give you when you watch them on TV each week.  Honestly, if Crist doesn't get injured, the Irish probably win that game because, while Robinson is running wild....their defense is nothing short of awful.  Good teams in the Big Ten will grind it out against that group and use it as their defense against Robinson.  If defenses actually figure out that they simple need to key off of Robinson and force him into obvious passing downs, those numbers are going to dwindle.


I'm still not sold on Michigan being "back" as I've heard all damn day today from certain people, since they pulled this bit on everyone last year and proceeded to stink up the Big Ten, but I don't think they're going to go 5-7 like last year.  I also don't think that Robinson can survive the Big Ten running the ball 30 times a game, especially if they don't have a competent running back to hand the ball off to on the Read Option.  Just look at the numbers:


Robinson: 57 carries, 455 yards

Smith:  21 carries, 68 yards

Shaw:  20 carries, 60 yards


So, basically, it's Robinson and a bag of chips on that offense.  I've seen his passing and, for the most part, you can see the improvement....but you can also see the flashes of the old Robinson who gets flustered the moment you swarm him in the pocket.

7-5 or 8-4 is not outlandish to think of for Michigan, but that will die if Robinson gets himself killed and they have to go to Gardner or Tater Tot.  I just don't see them any higher than fifth or sixth in the conference.

I, for one, welcome our new coaching overlords.



Buckeye_Mafia's picture

Since when has Notre Dame been a good defense? Seriously. This kid is going to get killed running that much every Saturday. Even Brian Kelly said DickRod was stupid if he kept running him that much in conference play.

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama