Beyond the Hashes: The Big Ten Circle of Life

By Chad Peltier on November 10, 2013 at 12:30p
"Everything the light touches, Urban, is your kingdom."

Since the Buckeyes relaxed at home yesterday, we were forced to slog through five Big Ten games while waiting to see if LSU could bring down Alabama. While that didn't happen and we're left hoping for an Auburn miracle, the Big Ten feasted on itself for our "entertainment."

To up your schedenfreude game, I decided to take a look at the stats of our Big Ten brethren this morning. Illinois-Indiana and Nebraska-Michigan were probably the two matchups you cared the most about, so let's dive in.


I'm not sure if I'd exactly call this game of interest to Buckeye fans, but it did feature our next two opponents.

  PPP YPP Ex Plays Turnover Margin
Indiana .73 9.2 8 -1
Illinois .38 6.7 8 +1

Between Indiana and Illinois I'm definitely more worried (and I use "worried" pretty liberally here) about Indiana because of Kevin Wilson's passing offense, which is currently tenth in offensive F/+. But when Nathan Scheelhaase is able to complete two throws of over 50 yards in addition to six more explosive plays on the day, you can't be too concerned about the game's outcome.  Here are my thoughts:

  • Almost every point scored by either team came as a direct result of explosive plays. While both teams had eight explosive plays, Indiana's were more likely to go the distance, while Illinois' were shorter (15-35 yard) plays that still required the Scheelhaase and company to finish the drive. Of the six Illini drives that ended with a punt or turnover on downs, four of them didn't have an explosive play, while the other two had a big play that didn't reach the endzone.
  • Indiana only punted twice against Illinois, though they also had two turnovers for a 67% drive efficency rate.
  • Hoosier runningback Tevin Coleman managed 215 yards on just 15 carries due to several huge runs. 60% of his runs were efficient, which is extremely solid for a big-play guy.
  • Scheelhaase passed for 458 yards on 58 attempts, which is what you do when you're losing in a big-play shootout against a porous defense. Ultimately the 105th ranked F/+ defense couldn't keep up with Hoosier offense.
  • Indiana's Tevin Coleman wasn't the only one to pick up a hundred-yard game, as Stephen Houston averaged close to nine yards a carry and 150 total rush yards.
  • Both squads had a wide receiver dominate, with Illinois' Steve Hull (224) and Indiana's Cody Latimer (189 yards). Hull actually tripled his output for the season yesterday, so that should say something about the Indiana defense.


This was not a pretty game. It was not an exciting game. In fact, I'd say that viewer discretion is probably advised for reading the statistics on this game below:

  PPP YPP Ex Plays Turnover Margin
Michigan .20 7.3 1 +1
Nebraska .26 6.3 3 -1
But it's about the defense, right?Don't let this picture give the illusion of any UM run game
  • So Ohio State alone had 192 more yards, or 43%, more yards against Purdue last week than Nebraska and Michigan did combined. If Indiana-Illinois box scores represent the "new Big Ten" (if there is such a thing), then this game was a nice reminder to the rest of the country that some B1G teams still can't get it together on offense.
  • For instance, Nebraska won 17-13, but at one point during the game – with 11:47 left in the second quarter to 1:52 left in the third quarter – Nebraska punted on every single possession. That's five times in a row and 22 total plays. Then Nebraska fumbled on their next drive and punted on their second-to-last drive of the game.
  • Michigan, on the other hand, had five total punts, one turnover on downs, and one missed field goal on their twelve drives.
  • When you remove the Wolverines' seven sacks for 49 yards, they still managed only 22 yards rushing on 29 carries.
  • I wanted to try and understand Michigan's poor rushing performance by attempting to split the blame between the line and the runningbacks. You may remember runningback block success rate from a few weeks ago. Michigan managed to have 11% of their carries go for five or more yards. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, that was only three carries. On the other hand, both Fitz and Derrick Green only had one efficient carry each (Devin Funchess and Devin Gardner added two more) for a total of four efficient carries by backs on the day. I guess what I'm saying is that neither the line nor the backs seem to be on point right now.

Ugh, I don't even know how to assimilate those numbers in to my brain. I guess if you're a Michigan fan looking for some bright spots, Devin Gardner didn't have a turnover (though there were some chances for a few fumbles) and the defense did play well against the Huskers. But where was the offense that put up 63 against Indiana?


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Rjpfish2's picture

"When you remove the Wolverines' seven sacks for 49 yards, they still managed only 22 yards rushing on 29 carries."   No way they eclipse zero yards rushing against tOSU. I'm guessing Buckeye DB's have more INT return yardage than scUM gains on the ground.

CALPOPPY's picture

Yeah, the sad part is that we could hold them to 15 rushing yards and 76 passing yards (like we did in 2007) and people would still say we don't have too good a defense. If Michigan just doesn't fumble or have a bad shotgun snap, then they will likely end with low positive yards, even if we play lights out. Some of it is just dumb luck.

I'm a hurtin' buckaroo.

BoFuquel's picture

Just remember what it felt like when The Bucks left Whoreville two seasons ago.The TSUN faithful have got to know deep down, this what they have to look forward to as long as Hjoke and his coaching staff are around. Will The BOT stand up and admit their mistake sooner or later. GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

stcburn's picture

Yes the Wishigan game was bland and ugly but, Lord did I love it. Watched it with 4 family members all scUM fans. I didn't have to say a word they gave all the commentary of how truly terrible and poorly coached that team is. A wonderful game in my eyes can't wait for scUM to go 0-3 the rest of the season. Oh make that 0-4 with there bowl loss!

Hovenaut's picture

I thought Kevin Wilson might not survive the year, he has the Hoosiers will a shot at a bowl if they can pull the upset at Wisky next Saturday (then they travel to Columbus before ending at home with Purdue). 
Pelini may have cooled the backlash from his adoration for Husker fans drama earlier this year, and Hoke should, should I say, get a chance for 2014. 
Really think Beckman might get the hook in Champaign now. They had a great game earlier in the year against Cincinnati, and a big win over Miami, OH before running off five straight B1G losses to this point. 
The Illini welcome the Good Guys next Saturday, before traveling to Purdue and hosting Northwestern to close the year. I think they beat Purdue - but if not I believe the Illinois brass is looking for a new coach. 

AndyVance's picture

I have a hard time seeing Beckman lasting much longer... You can't lose ALL your conference games for multiple seasons and expect to continue in your job.

Baroclinicity's picture

The image is great with the mini Brutus head!

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

UrbanCulture's picture

Could be wrong but I think Jeremy gallon had the other efficient carry as opposed to Funchess. That's purely based on me just trying to remember what happened during the game tho

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

I started chuckling immediately when I saw the opening graphic.  Then, as the significance of a baby Simba being raised to the (adoring) populace (all animals fittingly) sunk in, it dawned on me that my dream the other night was real.  [I Dreamed a Dream]
They are all animals...the pundits, the opposing fan bases, the lofty corporations backing the base dollar above all else, the coaches willing to cover up the sins of their "sons", the show off super stars...
And amidst the sea of that garbled mess...Ohio State IS that very same Simba...adored by some and hated by others...but all forced to watch as the "Elephant" in the room when it comes to the national championship elevated game after game, refusing to lose in the face of incredible odds and doing so in the middle of an historic streak under an historic coach. 
History is slapping the college world upside the dim-witted cranium, and only the future analysts will have the courage to say that this was the dawn of the Ohio State Era in College Football. 
...and I began nodding slowly in understanding.
The Circle of Life indeed.

I like cookies.

ToTheHouse's picture

MGOBLOG is CRY'N the blues...pun-intended ! WAAA...boys ! So glad K.Kalis is where he belongs...

To the NC House...Repeat gonna be Sah-weet!

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

With Urban at the helm and the horrid disarray of TSUN's entire program - I look for the Buckeyes to completely and utterly dominate the ugly helmet team in a brutal woodshed beating!  I will be loving every single bit of it!!! 

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

Seattle Linga's picture

I like your style AZ .........I just don't want to take any team too lightly. Including Illy or the Hoosiers who have a very nice offensive attack.

buckz4evr's picture

One of the experts on espn said last night that the Buckeyes must approach the remaining games like Saban does (paraphrased)......We are coming to your town to do business. We know what we are coming to do and you know what we are coming to do, so don't take it personally when we kick your butt and run the score up.
I like that.  

chinooker97's picture

I am a Buckeye born and raised in Michigan.  After watching this hilarious game I posted on Facebook that I wondered if Brady Hoke still thought scUM could win the B1G.  Two of my "friends" called me classless via Facebook comment.  Seriously?  Funny how the scUM fans can't take the medicine they've been dishing out since the beginning of time.  Can't wait for the beat down in AA in a few weeks!

"Because we couldn't go for three."

buckeyepastor's picture

The struggles TTUN is having on both sides of the ball and the fact that they are now mathematically out of contention for the division just makes them all the more dangerous to me.   Maybe it's because I went to tOSU during the Cooper years, but Michigan at home, with the whole world doubting them, I've seen all sorts of crazy happen when they go into THE GAME looking like that.   Under Rich Rod, it meant nothing.  And there's plenty of reason to believe we'll blow them out in AA.  But even if they lose their next two games, I still can't totally relax going into that game.    

"Woody would have wanted it that way"