Did you happen to see the football contest last night — the one where Ohio State did whatever it wanted against the Huskers in Lincoln? That was an enjoyable experience in what many thought could be a challenging environment against an up-and-coming opponent.
The offensive line was phenomenal despite Branden Bowen's absence as Justin Fields had time in the pocket and gaping holes were consistently opening for J.K. Dobbins and Master Teague. The Buckeye defense continues to play at an extremely high level and this week did so against a team with plenty of offensive firepower.
Week five had a few other storylines in the conference with Michigan trying to bounce back and the Badgers looking to keep rolling. But perhaps the most intriguing one of all ended up being a laugher in College Park.
No. 12 Penn State 59, Maryland 0
I had high hopes for this Friday night battle and scratched some things off my non-existent social calendar just so I could sit on my couch and watch. Penn State was a 6.5-point road favorite and this game was pretty much over shortly after the opening kickoff. The Nittany Lion backups took the field in the third quarter right around the same time PSU fans attempted to overtake the Terrapin student section.
Saying that the Maryland defense was outmatched would be a vast understatement. Penn State totaled 619 yards of total offense and probably could have scored 100 points. Sean Clifford put together a near-perfect performance as he completed 26 of 31 passes for 398 yards with four total touchdowns. The ground game scored five times and K.J. Hamler led all receivers with six catches for 108 yards and one ridiculous run after catch for a score.
Maryland's offense managed just 128 yards and turned the ball over three times. Josh Jackson certainly didn't look like the answer at quarterback and not a single player stood out offensively. The Nittany Lion defense played out of its mind despite Micah Parsons' first-quarter ejection for a targeting call.
Remember that time Mike Locksley was 2-0 and it seemed like he may have a solid team? Maryland had to add over 1,000 temporary bleachers to the stadium due to the overwhelming ticket demand. I feel bad for any Terp fan who was in those seats Friday night.
The Terps beat the Nitts during Franklin's first season in 2014, but it's been utter domination ever since. Dating back to 2017, Penn State has now outscored Maryland by a score of 163-6.
No. 8 Wisconsin 24, Northwestern 15
Wisconsin started off strong with a quick opening touchdown drive, but things slowed down a bit thereafter. Following Jonathan Taylor's early score, the Badger offense struggled and it would end up being a pair of defensive touchdowns that helped Paul Chryst pull away in the second half.
The Badgers' "hippo package" may be the most Wisconsin thing I've ever heard of in my life. It worked against Michigan (as did everything else) and did so early on against Northwestern as well. The package features eight offensive linemen (8!), quarterback Jack Coan, tailback Jonathan Taylor, and tight end Jake Ferguson. That's over 2,500 pounds of offensive linemen.
Other than the opening hippo-led drive, it was the Wisconsin defense that did most of the work. Taylor came into this one averaging 7.5 yards per carry, but he managed just 4.6 against the Wildcats. Still, the reigning Doak Walker winner rushed for 119 yards and a score. Jack Coan didn't do a lot under center as he completed 15 of 24 attempts for 113 yards with no touchdowns and an interception.
The Hunter Johnson experiment is still a failing one for Pat Fitzgerald. The Clemson transfer did get banged up a bit in the second half, but even when healthy he was not good. Northwestern did rally in the second half, however, scoring 12 points in the fourth quarter behind backup quarterback Aidan Smith. The junior threw for 99 yards with a touchdown and a pick. Drake Anderson also added a fourth-quarter touchdown rush.
Three turnovers and a number of sacks didn't help Northwestern's chances. Defensive end Matt Henningsen and linebacker Noah Burks did the defensive scoring for the Badgers. Wisconsin's defense recorded five sacks and forced three turnovers to go along with the scores.
No. 20 Michigan 52, Rutgers 0
The Wolverines are officially back! But seriously there was actually some in-game commentary about Michigan "finding its groove" and Josh Gattis now calling plays from the sideline making SUCH a difference. It's almost as though they forgot that Rutgers may be the worst team in the United States.
Truth be told, the offense did look better after last week's horrendous performance, but I'd say that's what most expected against Chris Ash and the Scarlet Knights. Shea Patterson threw for 276 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The ground attack rushed for 141 yards and five scores but averaged less than four yards per carries. Patterson added three touchdowns with his legs.
Joe Milton took over at quarterback late in the third quarter and threw for 59 yards and a touchdown strike to true freshman Giles Jackson. Nico Collins also hauled in a 49-yard score earlier in the game from Patterson.
Michigan's defense was stout on Saturday as Rutgers totaled just 152 yards. The Scarlet Knights haven't won a Big Ten game since topping Illinois in 2017.
No. 25 Michigan State 40, Indiana 31
Indiana is a different team when Michael Penix Jr. is under center, and the Hoosiers have to be proud of the effort put forth in East Lansing. Matt Coghlin kicked a 21-yard field goal with just five seconds left to give the Spartans the lead. Michigan State added another touchdown when Indiana attempted a last-ditch miracle, so this one was closer than the 9-point victory would indicate.
Brian Lewerke completed 50 percent of his passes for 300 yards and a trio of scores. The senior added another 78 yards rushing. Darrell Stewart Jr. was his favorite target on the day hauling in five passes for 117 and two touchdowns.
The country's third-ranked defense had its struggles against Indiana. The Hoosiers put up 356 yards while Penix's strong arm and mobility gave the Spartans some problems. Penix threw for 286 yards and three scores and at one point completed 20 straight against the Sparty defense. Wideout Whop Philyor (such a great name) had a huge day catching 14 passes for 142 yards and a pair of scores.
Minnesota 38, Purdue 31
What are the odds of losing your two best players on the same play in the first quarter? That's a question Jeff Brohm had to be wondering yesterday when Elijah Sindelar and Rondale Moore both got knocked out early on against Minnesota. The Gophers got out to an 18-point halftime lead, but you have to give Purdue credit for fighting back without two of its stars.
How about this stat line for Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan? 21 completions on 22 attempts, 396 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions. It was an unbelievable performance on the road in West Lafayette. Rodney Smith added 115 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Rashod Bateman, Chris Autman-Bell, and Tyler Johnson all hauled in touchdown passes. Bateman led the way with six catches for 177 and two scores.
Backup Jack Plummer did have some success moving the ball for the Boilers. The redshirt freshman threw for 245 yards with two scores and a pair of picks. King Doerue rushed for 84 yards and two touchdowns while David Bell was Purdue's top receiver. The true freshman hauled in eight passes for 114 yards.
Jeff Brohm on injuries to Elijah Sindelar and Rondale Moore: "Elijah, Im not sure about. Probably not good. And Rondale, Im not sure about."— Tom Dienhart (@TomDienhart1) September 28, 2019
No. 14 Iowa 48, Middle Tennessee 3
The Blue Raiders gave Michigan some problems back in week one. The same cannot be said for this weekend's contest in Iowa City. Things went about as expected with the Hawkeyes getting out to a 24-0 halftime lead and never looking back.
Nate Stanley threw for 276 yards and a pair of scores, but it was the Hawkeye ground game that did the majority of the work. Iowa rushers totaled 351 yards and four touchdowns on the day while averaging about seven per carry. Toren Young led the way with 131 yards; a new career high. Tyler Goodson and Toren Young both finished just shy of the century mark. Brandon Smith hauled in both of Stanley's touchdown passes.
I think we mostly got what we expected this weekend. No one thought Rutgers would put up much of a fight and they clearly had no intention of doing so in Ann Arbor. The Wisconsin game was probably a bit closer than most expected. No one was doubting the Buckeyes in Lincoln, but last night's dominant effort likely exceeded expectations.
Minnesota is an interesting team in the West. The Gophers' first three games weren't all that challenging, but I give them credit for going on the road and topping the Boilermakers. Rondale Moore and Elijah Sindelar exiting in the first quarter certainly didn't help Jeff Brohm's chances, however.
Mike Locksley and the Terps have proven to be a pretender after the hot start. Penn State annihilated Maryland on Friday night and a team that at one point seemed to be ascending is back down to No. 10 in our power rankings.
We've got a couple of good ones to look forward to next week with the Wolverines hosting the Hawkeyes and the Spartans heading to Columbus. Penn State takes on Purdue and something tells me Wisconsin won't have much of a problem with Kent State.
This weekend there were only two Top-25 matchups in the entire country. Next week we've got two in the Big Ten alone. What's your early prediction for the Saturday night showdown between the Buckeyes and Spartans?