This week in the Big Ten produced one of the most exciting games of the year in college football.
It took Penn State all 60 minutes to get the win but walked out of Kinnick Stadium victorious. Michigan struggled early on but O’Korn was able to lead Michigan past Purdue. OSU took care of UNLV while Maryland lost their game and their QB.
Rutgers was actually beating Nebraska in the 3rd quarter before Nebraska came back and won. Indiana blasted Georgia Southern and Michigan State looked bad against Notre Dame. This weekend offered excitement, drama, and lots of backup quarterbacks. Here are three of my observations from this past week and what I am looking at this coming week.
1. A couple of key injuries at the QB position happened this past weekend. Wilton Speight left the game in the first half against Purdue with an undisclosed injury. No one really knows the extent and seriousness of the injury as Michigan and their doctors won’t release the information. The second injury happened to Kasim Hill, Maryland’s QB on Saturday. Hill suffered a torn ACL and is out of the season. That is the second QB that Maryland has lost to an ACL tear as previous starter Tyrrell Pigrome suffered the same injury in the season opener. Michigan looked very solid with O’Korn at QB as he looked athletic and fluid in the pocket and seemed to be able to move the offense fairly easily.
2. Boy did I pick a good matchup to watch last week. Last week I highlighted the matchup of Saquon Barkley and Josey Jewell as my favorite of the week, and possibly the year, and it did not disappoint. Barkley racked up over 300 all purpose yards and added a score while Jewell had 16 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 pass deflections, an interception and fumble recovery.
Both players solidified their spots as the top players in the Big Ten on both sides of the ball. Over the fourth quarter we saw several plays that they matched up that impacted this game. The first one in crunch time was a 3rd and 1 with about 4 minutes left. Barkley slipped out of the backfield to the flat and Jewell was late recognizing the play and Penn State converted the pass for a first down and a good chunk of yards that put Penn State in field goal range.
The next key play occurred on the next third down. Needing to force a field goal, Jewell was able snuff out a shovel pass to Barkley on 3rd and 8 for no gain. This forced the field goal that ended up being blocked and turning the momentum to Iowa. After the Iowa touchdown, Penn State needed to drive 80 yards in 90 seconds to win the game. After Jewell was able to stop Barkley on a 3rd down catch on the final drive, Barkley got the last laugh with 20 seconds left.
With the ball on the Iowa 24 yard line, McSorely just got a pass off the Barkley behind the line of scrimmage who found himself one on one with Jewell. With the chance to take down Barkley in the backfield, and force Penn State to take their final timeout, Jewell let Barkley dance and slip right past him and gain 13 yards, a first down and get out of bounds. This play was key to Penn State winning this game and it came down to a battle between two of the top players in the conference.
It doesn’t get much better than that.
3. Either Penn State or Wisconsin will lose at home. I know this is bold statement but both teams face stingy opponents in Indiana and Northwestern. Indiana looked good for two and a half quarters against OSU in the season opener and have lost 35 straight games verses top 10 opponents.
That streak has to end sometime right?
With the split time at the QB position, an emerging tailback, and on of the top WR’s in the conference, Penn State could have trouble with the Indiana offense. The key for Northwestern will be being able to stop the run. That has been their achilles heal so far this year and that is something that Wisconsin relies heavily on. In order for them to win, Justin Jackson will need to outrush Jonathon Taylor. Forcing Wisconsin into 3rd and long and making them put the ball in the air should give Northwestern a fighting chance.
Week 5 Match Up to Watch: Rutgers vs. the Spread
Rutgers is a solid 3-1 against the spread this season and have been in games that they definitely shouldn’t have been in. They were only down 3 at the half against #8 Washington and actually had the lead last week in the 3rd quarter against Nebraska. They have a very solid pass defense giving up less than 200 yards a game and love to run the ball and beat everyone in time of possession.
They had the ball for over 38 minutes against Washington. Playing against a team that has struggled throwing the ball and has the likes of Dobbins and Weber in the backfield, this game will be taken to the ground which plays into Rutgers favor.
By no means will Rutgers win this game, frankly they are not talented enough and don’t have the quarterback play to think upset but this game has the makings of being a lower scoring game and one with fewer point than expected. I think the spread at 30.5 points is too generous. I think Rutgers can cover easily if they can have any success on the ground and can keep Barrett in check. Ohio State 31, Rutgers 10.