Big Ten Recap: Badger Boat Race is Yet Another Big-Game Embarrassment for Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines

By Andrew Ellis on September 22, 2019 at 7:05 am
Jim Harbaugh failed once again against the No. 13 Badgers in Madison.

You can just see the sadness and defeat in Jim Harbaugh's eyes.

Saturday was a darn good day. Ohio State's final non-conference game of the year featured a scoring barrage from several familiar faces and plenty of new ones as well. Things went just swimmingly in another particular game of interest as well.

Justin Fields accounted for six touchdowns. Chase Young continues to look like some sort of monster that was created in a lab located inside the nightmares of opposing quarterbacks. Garrett Wilson is living up to the hype and Jameson Williams legitimately looks like a young Theodore Ginn Jr.

There wasn't a ton of action in the Big Ten this week as programs prepare for the heart of the conference schedule. Five of the league's 14 teams got the weekend off, but it was a damn good time if you enjoy the taste of a Michigan man's tears.

No. 13 Wisconsin 35, No. 11 Michigan 14

Some people seem to believe Jim Harbaugh is untouchable in Ann Arbor. Yesterday afternoon plenty of Wolverine fans were clamoring for his termination during an absolute bloodbath in Madison. Heading into this one, we were asking ourselves if Josh Gattis could get things turned around on offense. That question was answered with a resounding "NO."

The final score doesn't even tell the true tale. Wisconsin was up 35-0 in the third, and despite 14 second-half points from the Wolverines, it was mostly domination through and through. Jim Harbaugh brought in Dylan McCaffrey to relieve Shea Patterson in the second half, but McCaffrey exited after suffering a concussion. All in all, Wolverine quarterbacks completed just 17 of 42 passes for 259 yards with two scores and three turnovers.

The Wolverines continue to have a serious turnover problem with four more on the day versus zero for Wiscy. The ground game totaled just 40 yards on 19 carries and actually had zero yards at the half. One of Michigan's prettiest plays was an onside kick while down 21 in the fourth. That should tell you just about all you need to know. 

Badger quarterback Jack Coan connected on 13 of 16 for 128 yards, but his biggest play of the day came on a 25-yard touchdown run just before the half. It was one of two rushing touchdowns for the junior. Jonathan Taylor missed part of the game due to cramps, but he was tremendous when on the field. The Heisman hopeful averaged about nine yards per carry while rumbling for 203 and a pair of scores. 

The Badger ground game gashed Don Brown's defense as they ran for a silly 359 yards and five touchdowns on the day. Searching "Jim Harbaugh" on Twitter is a fun game to play right about now. Lots of talk about hot seats and contract buyouts. Yikes.

Michigan State 31, Northwestern 10

The Spartans headed to Evanston as a nine-point favorite, and I honestly thought that seemed like a little much. Alas, it was not as Michigan State had no problems with the Wildcats. It was a nice win following last week's home heartbreaker against the Sun Devils.

Brian Lewerke threw three touchdown passes and Elijah Collins ran for 76 yards and a score of his own. Tight end Matt Seybert hauled in two of the Lewerke touchdown strikes while Cody White was on the receiving end of the other. Pat Fitzgerald's offense managed just 265 yards on the day. Hunter Johnson was benched in the third quarter for Aidan Smith and he didn't fare any better under center. The duo combined to throw for zero scores and three interceptions. 

Mark Dantonio is now Michigan State's winningest coach of all time. This was his 110th victory which surpassed historic coach Duffy Daugherty.

Nebraska 42, Illinois 38

While everyone was watching the Top-25 contests last night, there quietly was another good one going down on the Big Ten Network. This game came down to the wire in a bit of a back-and-forth between the Huskers and Illini. But in the end, Scott Frost and Co. had enough to capture his first road win since taking over in Lincoln.

Turnovers and kicking woes continue to plague Nebraska, but overall it was a fine offensive showing as the Huskers totaled 690 yards on the day—a new high under Frost. Adrian Martinez had a stellar performance both through the air and with his legs. The sophomore threw for 327 yards and ran for another 118 to go along with his three scores.

All-purpose true freshman Wan'Dale Robinson had his coming-out party totaling 168 yards and three scores. Expected to be used in a Rondale Moore-type of role, Robinson did just that against the Illini. J.D. Spielman was the game's leading receiver with seven catches for 159 yards. 

Nebraska struggled with Reggie Corbin and the Illinois ground game. Corbin ran for 134 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown. Overall the Illini rushing attack totaled 221 yards and four scores while averaging 5.8 per carry. 

OHIO STATE 4-0 1 1
PENN STATE 3-0 3 3
IOWA 3-0 4 4
MICHIGAN State 3-1 5 6
MICHIGAN 2-1 6 5
MARYLAND 2-1 7 7
NEBRASKA 3-1 8 8
MINNESOTA 3-0 9 10
Northwestern 1-2 10 9
PURDUE 1-2 11 11
INDIANA 3-1 12 12
ILLINOIS 2-2 13 13
RUTGERS 1-2 14 14

Indiana 38, UConn 3

Indiana got just what it needed following last week's loss to Ohio State, and it came in the form of a home game against Connecticut. Peyton Ramsey remained under center and had a solid showing against the Huskies. He hit on 23 of 27 attempts for 247 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Stevie Scott was the game's leading rusher as he gained 97 yards and a score on 21 carries.

The Hoosier defense held UConn in check and that included a nifty 44-yard interception return for a touchdown by Cam Jones. The Huskies put up just 145 yards of offense and didn't score a point following a first-quarter field goal.

Boston College 30, Rutgers 16

I know everyone is surprised to see that Chris Ash and the Scarlet Knights lost at home to Boston College, but I can assure you that it actually happened yesterday in Piscataway. I truly wonder where Rutgers would rank in the conference if it played an entire season in the MAC. 

Artur Sitkowski threw for 304 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Raheem Blackshear is a talented kid and you gotta think he'd be more of a household name if he played for a different team. He hauled in nine passes for 130 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles. 

Boston College was led by A.J. Dillon and the ground game. Dillon accounted for 158 yards and two scores. As a whole, the rushing attack went for 272 yards and four touchdowns.

Now that week four has come and gone, there are obviously a few changes to our conference power rankings. Also, a serious question: Does Michigan even deserve to be ranked right now?

Outside of the preseason hype fest, I just don't see any reason to justify the Wolverines as a Top-25 team. Josh Gattis is clearly in over his head and Shea Patterson just isn't a good quarterback (further proof that is NSFW due to language). Don Brown's defense has typically been the silver lining when the team plays poorly, but that was far from true yesterday in Madison.

Wisconsin looks like a well-oiled machine at the moment, but I'm thinking Ohio State will be able to put pressure on Jack Coan when the Badgers come to Columbus on Oct. 26. That one is still over a month away, but I'm sure a lot of people have their calendars marked. 

Scott Frost and the Huskers have already lost nine fumbles on the season and they have no one to kick field goals. That's going to be a major problem if things aren't fixed in the very near future. Adrian Martinez was fantastic, however, and will present a challenge for the Buckeyes next week. 

Outside of Ohio State's trip to Nebraska, we're looking at what should be a good one between the Nittany Lions and Terps in College Park. Michigan will host Rutgers and Northwestern will hit the road to Madison.

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