Each week, I will review the previous week for the rest of the conference and do a preview for the week ahead—highlighting a few games and what to look for.
The first week of Big Ten Conference play is in the books and there were a few surprises in the conference. Iowa struggled to put away Rutgers, and it took a forced turnover in the final quarter to swing the tide. Indiana had a shocking (?) home loss to Wake Forest, while Purdue barely took care of lowly Nevada. And the shocker that everyone is talking about is Wisconsin going into East Lansing and dominating the Spartans. I’ll talk about this game in a bit.
Some things went as expected, as Michigan took Penn State to the cleaners and Nebraska went to Ryan Field (which was 70-30 Nebraska fans) and took care of Northwestern. It was a potential statement weekend for five teams in the Big Ten, and three of them made statements. Those three were Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska. Michigan and Wisconsin made bold statements, and luckily for us fans, the two square off against each other this weekend.
Here’s a look at some things I caught in week four:
1. Michigan ran for a cool 326 yards this past weekend against Penn State. While the Nittany Lions traditionally have a very solid run defense, their linebacking core was very limited due to injury, and Michigan exposed them. Michigan had three runners who had over 70 yards rushing (D. Smith- 107, K. Higdon- 81, and T. Isaac- 74), and the most impressive thing is the leading rusher had only 12 carries. Michigan had an efficient and dominant ground game last weekend, and it must come to play again this week because…
2. Wisconsin will be in A2 this weekend after controlling the LOS against Michigan State—holding the Spartans ground attack to 75 yards on 27 carries (16 yards came on one early play). The Wisconsin defense did a great job against Leonard Fournette in week one, so you have to bet they are legit. They also forced three interceptions and a forced fumble that was returned for a touchdown.
3. Do you want to see #CHOASTEAM described in one play? The game was in hand and all but over, but this play is why you should never play around with CHAOS:
4. I honestly like the targeting rule, but this play is why we need loosen up on the rules and put common sense into affect. Brandon Smith was not attempting to make an egregious hit, he was making a play on the ball. The rule should stay, but let’s add some common sense to the rule. Thank you.
5. HERE’S A NICE HIT THAT’LL GET THE JUICES FLOWING:
Now to look ahead to a couple games for week two in the Big Ten. (Note: Michigan is always a watch)
Normally, I would mention three conference games you should watch, but the only game in the conference you need to watch this weekend is Michigan vs. Wisconsin! Since this is a Michigan based blog, you already read enough about the Wolverines so I’ll just say this: WATCH THIS GAME!
I will, however, name a couple of other games around that nation that you should watch.
UConn at Houston, 8:00 ESPN- (UCONN WAS THE ONLY TEAM TO BEAT HOUSTON LAST YEAR)
Stanford at Washington, 9:00 ESPN
Texas at Oklahoma State, noon ABC
Louisville at Clemson, 8:00 ABC
Until next week, folks.