Oh boy was it a good weekend to be a college football fan. We saw two top 4 teams tumble on Saturday including 2nd ranked Penn State. The highly anticipated matchup with Ohio State did not disappoint as the Buckeyes beat the Nittany Lions by 1 in Columbus. Another upset in the Big Ten occurred when Northwestern brought down Michigan State in Triple OT. Both Nebraska and Maryland pulled out close wins against Purdue and Indiana respectively. There is a lot to talk about so lets get right into my three thoughts for this week.
1. Ohio State vs. Penn State. Lets get started with what could end up being the game of the year in college football. This was a tale of two halves for these teams. Penn State dominated the first half taking the opening kickoff for a touchdown and adding 3 more TD’s after to take a 28-17 lead at half. Penn State was able to capitalize on good field position after turnovers and blown kick coverages by Ohio State. In the second half, Ohio State was by far the superior team. The OSU pass rush was in McSorely’s lap all night, the front seven contained Barkley and JT Barrett was phenomenal. Barrett ended the game completing 16 straight passes, two of those for touchdowns. The key play of the game occurred in the early in the fourth quarter when down 15, the Ohio State special teams came up with a blocked punt which turned the tide of the game.
2. Michigan QB Situation. Redshirt freshman Brandon Peters will likely start his first game of his career this Saturday night against Minnesota. Peters came into the game this past Saturday against Rutgers and completed 10 of 14 passes for 124 yards and a TD. He seemed to have sparked a struggling offense. I wrote about Peters earlier this year and I think it would be in the best interest of the program both now and in the coming years if he is the starter, at least for a few weeks before Speight is healthy enough to make it a competition. O’Korn has had his chances at Michigan to impress and he hasn’t taken advantage. Peters gives the Wolverines explosive ability as Peters has a great arm, good accuracy, and the ability to make plays with his feet. In his first game, we saw his ability to make plays throwing on the run and exhibiting good arm strength and touch on cold day in Ann Arbor. We also saw him check the ball down and take the easy yards when he could. Hopefully this will help build his confidence and he can integrate some more downfield throws as the season progresses.
3. Buckeyes and Lions Beware. Coming off the high of such a great win or the low of such a difficult defeat, its hard for any team to get their focus on the next game. Both OSU and PSU will be on the road as they travel to Iowa and Michigan State, both teams who have the potential to beat them, especially at home.
Match Up to Watch: Iowa Defense vs. J.T. Barrett
J.T. Barrett is coming off the most impressive performance of the year. Iowa’s defense has quietly had a great season giving up over 21 points only once. While their record at 5-3 may not seem very good, all three of their losses have come by one score including their loss to Penn State, 19 to 21. Josey Jewell has continued to make his case for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year while the rest of the defense is playing physical, disciplined and aggressive as they have the third fewest penalties in the Big Ten and the third most interceptions. They also have one of the best red zone defenses, having allowed only 11 touchdowns on 25 trips. This will combat Ohio States potent red zone offense as they have converted 33 touchdowns on 48 trips. This should make for an incredible battle in red zone. If Iowa can hold OSU to field goals or turnovers, I think Iowa will this game at home. Their offense has enough firepower to put up 20 plus points on the Buckeyes. But I don’t think they can stop J.T. Barrett and their two running backs. Barrett has looked like the Heisman front runner of late while Dobbins and Weber both had good games this past weekend. Ohio State 27, Iowa 20