B1G Recap: Hokelicious

By Nicholas Jervey on October 13, 2013 at 6:00a
If Al Borges were my offensive coordinator, I'd hold my nose too.

This week, one game in the Big Ten stood above the rest. The highest wattage game was the game held in Beaver Stadium, and following a quadruple overtime game between Penn State and Michigan, Ohio State is the Big Ten's lone undefeated team.

The Michigan-Penn State game is an ideal example that close games are not necessarily well-played games, relying on a college kicker's leg is unwise, and that coaches absolutely can choke under pressure.

Penn State (4-2, 1-1) 43, #18 Michigan (5-1, 1-1) 40, 4 OT

Penn State defeated Michigan, but there is so much more to say about the game. This game showcased aspects of the Big Ten we've come to know and endure: existential dread, utter coaching futility, and post-apocalyptic spectacle.

Penn State could have put the game away with a 21-10 halftime lead, but Frank Clark came up with a fumble return touchdown to cut the deficit to four. Devin Gardner’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Gallon in the third quarter gave the Wolverines the lead, then his 37-yard touchdown pass to Devin Funchess should have sealed it. That's when Brady Hoke made the dumbest decision of his Michigan career.

Up 34-27 with 57 seconds left in the game, at Penn State’s 35, the Wolverines punted rather than attempt a game-icing field goal or fourth down conversion. The punt gained 15 yards of field position. Five plays, three spectacular catches and one quarterback sneak later, Penn State tied the game to send it to overtime.

Michigan and Penn State blocked each others' kicks, then traded field goals in double overtime. The Wolverines recovered a PSU fumble in triple overtime to set up an easy score, only for Gibbons to miss a 33-yarder. In quadruple overtime Brendan Gibbons finally hit one, but Penn State made a fourth down conversion and Bill Belton ended Michigan's agony with a touchdown run.

There were problems with Michigan's play besides coaching, but the coaching was clearly deficient. In particular, the decision to punt is reminiscent of what MGoBlog's Brian Cook once called "lizard brain" coaching:

The now rapidly developing lizard brain theory of college football coaching states that there is a certain level of pressure above which rationality goes out the window and coaches revert to who they really are. It came to me in a horrible epiphany when Lloyd Carr punted in the 2005 Ohio State game less than a quarter after going for it on his side of the field. Coaches panic, go to their binkies, and then try to convince you otherwise in the post-game.

Different coaches have different levels. Ron Zook reverts to the lizard brain on the opening kickoff of every game. Kirk Ferentz makes it about five minutes in. We don't know about Tressel because he constructed his team such that the lizard brain was right. Les Miles exists on an entirely different axis with taffy on one end and victory on the other. He is the only one who escapes. The lizard brain is unavoidable.

The decision to punt was bad enough, but the most craven decision was made by offensive coordinator Al Borges.  In overtime, Borges called for Fitzgerald Toussaint – a small running back ill-equipped for power running who had accumulated 17 yards on 17 carries – to run five times into the teeth of a stout defense stacking the box for a run. It went about as well as one would expect.

Michigan had other issues, like Devin Gardner's three turnovers, left tackle Taylor Lewan's injury, the secondary being burnt on Penn State's desperation drive and so on, but the coaches for Michigan were more responsible for losing the game than anybody else. The rest of the season looks bumpy for the Michigan offense; for all his potential, Devin Gardner's TD/INT ratio is 11:10 for the season, and with Taylor Lewan hurt, the offensive line shallow and Toussaint and true freshman Derrick Green as its best rushing options, the Michigan offense has a few obstacles to overcome.

All this talk about Michigan is to take nothing away from Penn State, which came through in the clutch on its final regulation drive and survived all the gut-churning overtimes with an exhilarating win. Christian Hackenberg to Allen Robinson has become a reliable and productive connection, and winning with only 61 scholarship players is a testament to the players' toughness and Bill O'Brien's coaching.

Michigan hosts Indiana on Saturday. Penn State has a bye, then gears up for No. 4 Ohio State on Oct. 26.

Wisconsin (4-2, 1-1) 35, #19 Northwestern (5-2, 0-2) 6

One of the cliches of the football season is to not let yourself be beaten twice. Northwestern’s emotionally draining loss to Ohio State last week did just that and allowed Wisconsin to ravage the Wildcats.

Much like the previous week against Carlos Hyde, Northwestern’s front seven couldn’t handle Wisconsin’s big backs. Melvin Gordon burst for a 71-yard touchdown run and finished with 172 yards, James White had 101 yards and a score, and Joel Stave made significant contributions for once, throwing for 242 yards and two scores. About the only negative for Wisconsin was an injury to Jared Abbrederis, who suffered a concussion.

There’s not much to say for Northwestern’s performance in this game; it was as though the players were sleep-walking. Kain Colter was knocked out of the game, Trevor Siemian couldn’t accomplish anything, the Wildcats averaged under four yards per play, and the defense was blown off the ball all game long. The team MVP was placekicker Jeff Budzien, who made two field goals. To be frank, the day was a lost cause from the opening kickoff to the final whistle.

Next week, Wisconsin will play at Illinois and Northwestern will either earn a comfy rebound win or a horrifying loss at Minnesota.

Nebraska (5-1, 2-0) 44, Purdue (1-5, 0-2) 7

Though Nebraska was a one-dimensional offense, its powerful running back stable was more than enough to wallop Purdue.

Tommy Armstrong Jr. made his second start in relief of the ever-efficient Taylor Martinez and had a miserable day: 6 of 18 passing for 43 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. Fortunately for him, the running backs and third string quarterback Ron Kellogg picked up the slack: Ameer Abdullah, Terrell Newby, and Imani Cross combined for 243 yards, while Kellogg was 10 of 13 for 141 yards. Not so great was Stanley Jean-Baptiste being ejected for this clean hit.

This game was a debacle for Purdue. In place of injured starter Rob Henry, Danny Etling was inaccurate and ineffective. Combined with a measly 32 rushing yards, Purdue’s inept offense led to a 44-0 deficit. The only silver lining was the play of DeAngelo Yancey, who caught five passes for 146 yards and scored Purdue’s sole touchdown with 39 seconds left, allowing the Boilermakers to save an itsy-bitsy bit of face.

Nebraska has Week 8 off, then a road game at Minnesota on Oct. 26. If the Boilermakers thought the offense was bad yesterday, they ain’t seen nothing yet; their next game is this Saturday at Michigan State.

Michigan State (5-1, 2-0) 42, Indiana (3-3, 1-1) 28

Coming into the game, Indiana had the Big Ten’s top offense and Michigan State had the nation’s top defense. Nobody expected fireworks from Michigan State’s offense or Indiana’s defense, but Jeremy Langford led the Spartans to a comfortable victory over Indiana.

Langford was sensational, rushing for 108 yards and four touchdowns before R.J. Shelton iced the game with a 34-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Connor Cook spread the ball nicely for MSU, hitting nine receivers in the first half alone. Delton Williams also helped the Spartans with 92 yards rushing.

Besides a 64 yard run by Tevin Coleman to open the scoring, Indiana looked lost on offense for the first time this season. The quarterback situation isn’t as settled as I thought last week; Nate Sudfield was ineffective and backup QB Tre Roberson was a solid 11-17 passing for 122 yards. Indiana can still make its first bowl since 2007 if it takes care of business against Purdue and Minnesota and wins a dogfight against Illinois, but the Hoosiers will have to have a defensive makeover to compete against tougher teams.

Michigan State next hosts Purdue, and with Illinois the following week will find itself ranked sooner or later. Indiana goes to Michigan next week.

#8 Louisville 24, Rutgers (5-2, 1-1) 10

#RonP4USCThe face you make when your quarterback throws 4 INTs.

This was the game of the season for Rutgers, and with Louisville off its game, the Scarlet Knights had the opportunity to pull off a major upset. They squandered that opportunity with offensive failure.

Gary Nova threw four interceptions on the day and looked all-around terrible after a solid first six starts. The Scarlet Knights defense contained Teddy Bridgewater, even intercepting him and forcing a critical fumble, but were unable to capitalize. Following a fumble deep in Rutgers territory at the start of the fourth quarter, Rutgers had the chance to tie the game down 17-10. But Nova threw another interception, and Rutgers never threatened for the rest of the game. He sure could have used a running game, but Rutgers gained only 12 yards on 27 carries.

Rutgers’ season is pretty much done now. Unless it can win out and Louisville loses twice, it’s going to a mediocre bowl game and running out the clock until it’s in the Big Ten. Rutgers hosts Houston this Saturday.

Maryland (5-1, 1-1) 27, Virginia 26

Last week’s shellacking from Florida State lit a fire under Maryland, allowing it to sneak past Virginia in a back-and-forth game.

Caleb Rowe was excellent in the place of Maryland’s starting quarterback, C.J. Brown, throwing for 332 yards and the go-ahead score with 5:14 remaining. Virginia drove deep into Maryland territory on its final possession, but Alec Vozinilek’s 42-yard field goal attempt missed wide right with 10 seconds to go. Brandon Ross also made an impression for the Terrapins, rushing for 88 yards and two touchdowns.

Some teams are not as good as their record, and Maryland looks like one of those overachieving teams this year. Nevertheless, the Terrapins are well-positioned in the ACC this year; with some help from Clemson, Maryland could still make it to the ACC Championship Game. Maryland plays at Wake Forest this week.

And there you have it: a Week 7 with blowouts and nailbiters only. There's no way any Week 8 game can live up to the Penn State-Michigan game from this week, but Wisconsin/Illinois is the best shot. Indiana/Michigan and Minnesota/Northwestern are also recommended, if you enjoy desperate bowl-seekers tangling with flailing contenders.


Comments Show All Comments

gumtape's picture

That Funchess kid from TTUN has me worried. I hope we have our secondary issues resolved by then.
Though this is also funny, From SI.com Martin Rickman regarding the stanford game:

This week’s game against Utah was never a gimme, but plenty of viewers weren’t paying attention (or couldn’t watch the game on Pac-12 Network) as Penn State and Michigan failed their way to four overtimes on ESPN.

High and tight boo boo

vitaminB's picture

Seriously, what kind of petition do I need to sign to get us to break away from the B1G and become an independent?

bucksfan92's picture

I have felt this way for quite some time.  I'd actually prefer doing away with conferences altogether.  Keep one rival (the ugly rats from the north) and then just schedule a series of home/home games between schools across the country. I have no affinity to any of the other schools in the league, they could all disappear from the schedule and I wouldn't miss or notice it.

NW Buckeye's picture

LMAO!!  Why is it when a lower tier SEC, Pac12, Big12 or ACC team upsets an upper tier in conference team that all we hear is how tough their conference is.  Yet, when an underdog B1G team pulls the upset it's all about how terrible our conference is.  Ok, I get it, the B1G is not as strong as they used to be, and there is room for improvement.  They will improve, and it will get better.  But, look around, lots of upsets yesterday.  Heck, BC had Clemson on the ropes a mere two weeks after they had FSU on the ropes.  Granted in both games they could not hold on, but c'mon man, those games should not have even been close from the opening kick off.  And Utah beating Stanford?  How about hapless Texas man handling Oklahoma?  Oh, I get it, their conference is tough top to bottom.....   And the B1G just sucks....  Can't have it both ways.  

vitaminB's picture

They will improve, and it will get better.

Based on what?  Hoke was supposed to at least save Meatchicken, but now it looks like he's in over his head.  Who else?  Wisconsin is not horrible, but they are coming off losing 3 Rose Bowls.  Michigan State is a nice program, but how long can they get by on Ohio scraps.  Everyone loves Northwestern, but they have yet to prove anything.  Nebraska?  Maryland?  Rutgers?  Iowa?  Indiana?  Penn State, even at full strength hasn't been very good for a long while.  B1G Meh

NW Buckeye's picture

College football is cyclical.  What goes up will come down, what goes down will come up.  Remember, Bama went through a down stretch in the 90's and early 2000's (in 2003 they lost 9 games!).  Yet, they rebounded and are now the class of college football.  The SEC's rise to the pinnacle began with Urban's UF taking down the Buckeyes.  The SEC has had an exceptional run with some really quality teams winning it all.  But to say the SEC is completely dominant does not go along with the overall OCC record and bowl record of the SEC.  Heck, just this year Clemson (from the lowly ACC) took down USCe, and you have two teams from the ACC threatening to jump into the NC fray.  Just 2 years ago you could not have found anyone who would have predicted that the ACC would have any team prepared to compete for the NC. 
However, my real point is that you chose to hammer on the B1G because PSU took down TTUN.  Yet, you offer no such criticism of the PAC12 for Utah taking down Stanford, no such criticism of the Big12 because a weak and broken Texas man handled Oklahoma (who dismantled the independent ND), and no such criticism of the SEC when a middling Missouri takes down Georgia in Athens!   Heck, I live in Seattle where the Huskies were supposed to challenge the Ducks this last weekend, but the game was a laugher for the Ducks. 
Your suggestion that OSU go independent is - how do I say this kindly - laughable.  Name the last independent to win a BCS title.  Oh wait, there is none.  ND got lucky last year (this year is proving that - and remember they should have lost to Pittsburg last year) and played for the NC where they were embarrassed by Bama.  OSU has a pretty good track record in BCS bowls - much better than independent ND and we somehow came out of the B1G conference to do that.  True we are only 1-2 in NC games, but I will take our overall record in BCS games against any independent (or any other team as well). 

vitaminB's picture

There are what, two big time independents?  That's a fair argument.  Look at SoS.  Whose is tougher, ours or ND?  If we didn't have the six cream puffs a year we could schedule whomever we wanted.  Wouldn't it be nice if Gene Smith could show up and get baller status to all of these meetings like ND's AD gets?
No one cares that Texas beat up on Oklahoma.  No one thought they were a contender any way.  No one is beating up on Michigan for losing, we all knew they weren't good.  The fact remains that the ACC, PAC12, and SEC are all better conferences than the B1G.  You know how I know this?  Because I watch College Football. 

Haybucks's picture

Next week, ... Northwestern will either earn a comfy rebound win or a horrifying loss at Minnesota.

Night, night kitty.


If the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati. Everything comes there ten years later. -  Mark Twain


Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

That is horrifying.
Clearly SyFy's next original movie needs to be Night of the Slothpocalypse

Fugelere's picture

How about Slothnado?

Young_Turk's picture

Sloths on a plane!


gumtape's picture

A better caption for that gif:
Relax, just let it happen.
I should clarify that is referring to the allegations against the Michigan kicker Brendan gibbons.

High and tight boo boo

BukFan's picture

Scholarship count.  I guess 61 > 85?  Scum loses!

JohnBoy's picture

Last night while watching the game...my wife, who is a Southerner and knows NOTHING about Hoke just nonchalantly says: "Michigan's coach looks like he's put on his winter 15 already".
I renewed her contract on the spot.

Thank you sir! May I have another?

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Hilarious!!!  Thanks for the out loud chuckle this morning!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Seattle Linga's picture

You beat me to it............. that was great

oregonianbuckeye's picture

Really feel like Nebraska is the favorite to win that division now. They avoid both Wisconsin and Ohio State, and get Sparty and NW at home. 

RedStorm45's picture

But they play no defense.

FitzBuck's picture

But they have black shirts.....

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

AeroBuckeye2001's picture

...and T-Magic.

The Ohio State University Class of 2001

BS Aero & Astronautical Engineering

bucksfan92's picture

I can't see them getting past MSU.  Sparty's D is pretty stout and now they are scoring.  Nebraska and NW will finish neck and neck but probably behind MSU.

1MechEng's picture

Nebraska may not avoid us ... if they make the B1G Championship game.   XD

AJW_16's picture

It was a bad loss at Penn State that effectively ended the RichRod Era (and started the Matt McGloin Era - thanks for that, Michigan). There is no way that Hoke is fired, but that offensive play calling was atrocious; Borges may be on borrowed time. Like the Walrus, Michigan seems to like to go away from stuff that is working (Gardner running, passing to Funchess in the middle of the field, etc) in favor of stuff that absolutely will not gain anything positive (Fitz up the middle).

"Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you." 

oregonianbuckeye's picture

I agree. It's also important to emphasize that Penn St. could not stop the QB running the ball. Hmm ... what other teams in the B1G have a mobile QB?
Also, where have all the good RB gone (tOSU I guess)? Penn State has bad RBs, so does ttun. Sparty's RBs do not look very good this year either. Outside of Wisc, Neb, and tOSU (and NW to a lesser degree) the B1G just doesn't have the studs in the backfield that it used to.

Ethos's picture

iowa and wisconsin

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

Ethos's picture

who new that bollmans disease is this infectious. please keep tom Herman away from any msu personnel.

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

buckifishr's picture

Did anyone else notice the extra small neon yellow bicycle shirts the scum kicker was wearing in place of football pants? Probably cut off his circulation and caused him to develop the shanks.

painterlad's picture

Has the BIG ever been this bad? Ever?

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

Ethos's picture

last year. and the year before that. and the year before that...

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

RedStorm45's picture

Can't fault Hoke on the late punt.  He knows Gibbons' range...at the end of regulation he kicked one from the same distance and came up short.
Uverse sports package has the PAC-12 Networks - all three of them.  So we were watching both games at the same time.
Not surprised by the Wisky beat down.  They run the ball well.  NU can't stop the run.
Also, #karma to Brendan Gibbons.  (Re:his 2009 "incident" on campus)

13THandSummit's picture

Yep, couldn't have happened to a worse person. That dude is human garbage.

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

Shortly after the woman reported the rape, she began to receive threats from Gibbons roommate and fellow football player, Taylor Lewan (now an All-American), that he would rape her again if she pressed charges against Gibbons.

Taylor Lewan is a more awesome human being than Brandon Gibbons.  How are these two sh!tbricks still scholarship athletes when our kids were suspended for selling their own stuff and getting overpaid by $5?  And the fanbase of Michigan with the "holier than thou" attitude?!? 

"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

EvanstonBuckeye's picture

Wisky-NU looked like the 5th and 6th quarters of our game against Wildcats. Now everyone knows they can run it down NU's throat.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Flounder is, and has been, a .500 coach his entire career and it appears he will bring that along with him at TSUN... he has gotten outcoached about every game I've seen.  The only difference in whether he wins or loses depends on the talent caliber of the team he faces.  Against Akron and UConn, TSUN had the gross advantage in talent and managed to eek out a victory.  Yesterday, not so much! 
My favorite moment was watching Kyle Kailis get dominated all day long culminating in a personal foul!!! The look on his face when they zoomed in during the ref's announcement of the penalty was priceless!!!  I though he was going to cry!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Oldschoolbuck's picture

"Flounder ... a .500 coach."
That is cash money, Arizona. Yet it wasn't too long ago that (I believe it was Hail) was saying he was ALWAYS their first choice for HC.
It surely is true, "'Denial' isn't just a river in Egypt!"

hail2victors9's picture

WTF are you talking about?  I've not seen anyone on 11W, Michigan fan or not, that has said Hoke was Michigan's first choice.  You would've had to be living under a rock to not know that they wanted Harbaugh badly.  Miles was contacted (again), too.

Those who stay will be CHAMPIONS!

~Bo Schembechler

Hovenaut's picture

As much I enjoyed watching Borges continue to send Toussaint, I kept wondering where Funchess had disappeared to - I don't think he saw the ball the last ten minutes.


Hilarious, but baffling.

JLP36's picture

We can't even count on B1G teams to lose the right games.  Look out for NW and Michigan to combine for a series of losses that completely blows our SOS to hell.  I guess, to be honest, completely blows what we hoped our SOS to be completely to hell.  Neither are better than pretty good - at times - not very good at all at other times.


MN Buckeye's picture

Aside from our team, it is way too difficult to watch the B1G this year. We have not yet played our A game, and we have beaten everything UW and NW threw our way. But I always celebrate when UM loses, and their fans always take it so well.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

BWWAA HAA HAAAAAA!!!  That is probably the funniest one line wrap up of a game I've seen!  Ace summed it up perfectly!!!
My favorite post on that storyline:

Let's get a list going of all the ways we could have spent the last four and a half hours that would have been more enjoyable than watching that. I'll start with getting kicked in the testicles every ten seconds by Zoltan Mesko.

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

The Butler's picture

Talk about mixed emotions...I wanted ttun to lose, but knew it would be to the detriment of Ohio State. Conflicted....
The Buckeyes may very well be the only B1G team in the top 25 - unless Wisconsin sneaks back in. Only by the face of God do Michigan and Northwestern remain in the top 25. 

I've trained Canaries in the sport of falconry.


bucksfan92's picture

I don't see how this PSU-UM game hurts OSU.  It is better if the teams in our division beat the other division teams.  And it is not like they were going to come into the OSU game undefeated. If they come into that game any better than 8-3 I will be shocked.  Hell, they could lose to IU next weekend. They will certainly lose at least 2 out of 3 to MSU, Nebraska, and NW.

kr66osu's picture

Let's be honest, this Michigan team was never in a million years going to be 11-0 coming into the OSU game. Any thought of Michigan being a quality team was lost long before this loss anyways
Wisconsin was clearly the best team that OSU will face this year aside from the bowl game

thekornidentity's picture

Anyone else worried about Sparty? Their defense is very good and it seems like their offense is improving.

“Nothing that comes easy in this world is worth a damn.” -Woody Hayes

Nicholas Jervey's picture

In a sane world, they and not Florida would be ranked. Who even knows.

Ceci n'est pas une signature.

geoffrsc's picture

You give 2 teams 8 chances to score from the 25 and all the can manage is three FGs and one TD, which required a 4th down conversion. That was hilarious to watch.
Reminds me of the old line that if the defense left the field, it would still take them three plays to score

ibuck's picture

Geoff, that had me laughing. Good thing PSU & UM are not the standard bearers for the B1G. 
Oh, wait.  Historically....

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.

Oldschoolbuck's picture

There is a complete melt down over on MGoBlo... One dude posted "There is no hope..."
Absolutely hilarious!
They're calling for the head of Hoke/Borges/Brandon/etc. And, of course, the MORE delusional are blaming RichRod & his recruiting (or lack thereof).
A few, hanging on to their sanity by a whisker, have pointed out that this is year 3 for Flounder and RR can't be the whipping boy anymore.
Yes, it's truly scrumptious!

Todd-Not Boeckmann's picture

I tweeted this a couple of days ago:
Rooting for the weasels is like quitting smoking....I know I should, but I can't.

On the wall guarding the North Coast from all Weasel invasions.