|This story originally published on CollegeFootballNews.com|
Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Michigan | Michigan
State | Minnesota
Northwestern | Ohio State | Penn State | Purdue | Wisconsin
Big Ten Roundup Week 1
Big Ten Game of the Week
Purdue 38 ... Miami University 31 OT
Purdue got four touchdowns from Kory Sheets including the game-winner on an 11-yard run in overtime. Miami failed to score on its possession with the final drive stalling at the Purdue eight to close out a tough ending. The RedHawks had a chance to win in regulation, but a Nathan Parseghian field goal attempt was blocked with :17 to play. It was a see-saw game with neither team every getting up by more than a touchdown. Mike Kokal threw for 355 yards and four touchdowns for the RedHawks with two to Ryne Robinson and a 52-yard scoring play to Dustin Woods. Sheets scored from two, two, ten and 11 yards out
Big Ten Player of the Week
Michigan State WR Matt Trannon caught 14 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns in the 52-20 win over Eastern Michigan.
Illinois … 0-for-12. That's what Illinois was on third downs against the suffocating Rutgers defense. Tim Brasic and the Illini offense made way too many bad plays and didn't get any help early from the special teams. Illinois has to execute far better and be far more consistent to hang toe to toe with an effective offense like Rutgers'. It would be tempting to say it's time for the Juice Williams era to be underway with Brasic not doing much of anything, but the freshman only completed two of ten passes and didn't look nearly ready. The biggest issue is the running game. How can E.B. Halsey run four times for four yards?
Indiana … Indiana might have found its quarterback. Nothing against Blake Powers, who was hurt for the Ball State game, the the flash and excitement of Kellen Lewis provides more of a pop to the attack. Former number two man Graeme McFarland certainly isn't the answer. Lewis provided a nice rushing element and he spread the ball around well. The defense did its job in the second half, but it was awful early and almost allowed the lead to get too far out of hand.
Iowa … Does Drew Tate really mean that much to Iowa? Apparently so. Jason Manson simply didn't appear to be ready to handle the work against Syracuse, but he still walked out with a win thanks to a goal line stand for the ages. Iowa fans will be talking about the final sequence as long they play football in Iowa City; it was simply that impressive. To beat Iowa State next week, Tate has to be healthy, or else Manson has to stop turning the ball over. Albert Young won't get any room to move if defenses can continue to load up against the run.
Michigan … The Michigan coaching staff has to be happy with the easy win over Central Michigan since if was able to limit Mike Hart's carries to 19 and get Kevin Grady and Brandon Minor more work. There wasn't much explosion and there's still a concern over the passing game that hasn't been all that scary over the first two games. To beat Notre Dame next week, Chad Henne has to do more down the field, and a go-to receiver has to quickly emerge. The run defense isn't going to hold the Irish to the 0.8 yards per game it was able keep CMU to this week, but don't be shocked if it doesn't keep Darius Walker under wraps.
Michigan State … The machine is getting revved up just in time for the big boys. Matt Trannon proved against Eastern Michigan that he deserves a hard look from the NFL scouts as an early round draft pick showing off speed and hands with his record-setting 14-catch day. Drew Stanton, as always, was terrific, helping the Spartans convert ten of 13 third down chances. Now the offense has to remain consistent against Pitt and Notre Dame over the next few weeks.
Minnesota … Minnesota's defense has always been a bit suspect under Glen Mason, but the loss to Cal showed just how far the team has to go before it can handle the better offenses. Cal's receivers, especially DeSean Jackson, blew the doors off the Minnesota secondary. Just as big a problem was the play of the offense after the first drive, specifically QB Bryan Cupito. When the ground game isn't working, rushing for a mere 109 yards, Cupito has to be sharp. He wasn't.
Northwestern … Talk about taking the wind out of your sails. All the emotion of the first home game after the death of Randy Walker, and all the excitement over what the Wildcats were able to do in the opener against Miami University got taken away by New Hampshire's Ricky Santos and his pinpoint passing. Northwestern had a hard time getting enough of a pass rush in the second half to disrupt the UNH offense and it struggled to keep the chains moving. A Big Ten team with a line like Northwestern's shouldn't go 0-for-4 on fourth downs.
Ohio State … Ohio State sure looked like a number one team against Texas. Troy Smith was cool, calm and collected appearing to be way too comfortable throwing the ball. His -13 rushing yards shows how the coaching staff must have thought that the offense could move the ball best if Smith hung in the pocket and found his receivers, and they were right. The Buckeyes did a great job of finding Anthony Gonzalez and getting the ball to him with all the attention paid to Ted Ginn, and Ginn once again appeared polished as a first round caliber wide receiver and not just a first round caliber athlete. While the O will get the publicity, Jim Laurinaitis and the defense stole the show by not letting the Longhorn ground game dictate the tempo.
Penn State … Give Notre Dame credit for coming up with a great performance against Penn State, but it's not like the Nittany Lions didn't have their chances early on. It seemed like every big pass just barely failed to click, and every chance to pick off Brady Quinn in the first half seemed to be fumbled away. Veteran teams make those plays, Penn State didn't. Outside of a couple of nice runs, Tony Hunt wasn't able to get the running game going, while the passing game couldn't find was to get the ball in the hands of Derrick Williams. The Youngstown State game needs to be used as a big-time tune-up or the trip to Columbus to face Ohio State will be just as ugly.
Purdue … Purdue has to be more than a little concerned over the three interceptions thrown by Curtis Painter and the eight penalties committed against Miami. The secondary hasn't been sharp over the first two games and will get tested a bit by Ball State next week, but it appears the offense is going to have to get used to shootouts after allowing 483 yards to the RedHawks. Kory Sheets has been a touchdown machine over the first two games, but he needs to be a bit more effective in between the 20s. With Kyle Ingraham not coming back, a second wide receiver has to do more to help out Dorien Bryant. Greg Orton appears to be close.
Wisconsin … The Badgers were able to go through the motions and beat Western Illinois, but there are concerns to worry about. Backup QB Tyler Donovan hasn't shown much of anything when given the chance, and the receiving corps is still a work in progress with starting QB John Stocco doing his best to get things moving through the air. P.J. Hill is a keeper. He might not be a special back, but he's powerful and always gains the tough yards. The defense has been excellent, but it hasn't really been tested yet.
|Saturday, September 9|
|12:00||Michigan 41 ... Central Michigan 17
CFN Prediction: Michigan 41-10 Michigan -27
|12:00||Rutgers 33 ... Illinois 0
CFN Prediction: Rutgers 38-21 Rutgers -8
|1:00||Purdue 38 ... Miami Univ 31 OT
CFN Prediction: Purdue 31-20 Purdue -16.5
|2:00||New Hampshire 34 ... at Northwestern 17
CFN Prediction: Northwestern 45-31
|3:30||Notre Dame 41 ... Penn State 17
CFN Prediction: Notre Dame 23-17 ND -9
|3:30||Iowa 20 ... at Syracuse 13 2OT
CFN Prediction: Iowa 34-13 Iowa -19
|3:30||Michigan State 52 ... Eastern Michigan 20
CFN Prediction: MSU 48-16 MSU -25
|3:30||Wisconsin 34 ... Western Illinois 10
CFN Prediction: Wisconsin 52-7
|6:30||Indiana 24 ... at Ball State 23
CFN Prediction: Indiana 31-21 IU -4.5
|7:00||California 42 ... Minnesota 17
CFN Prediction: Cal 31-23 ... Cal -9
|8:00||Ohio State 24 ... at Texas 7
CFN Prediction: UT 23-20 UT -2
Past Big Ten Games of the Week
Aug. 31 - Northwestern 21 ... Miami University 3
Sept. 9 - Purdue 38 ... Miami 31 OT
Past Big Ten Players of the Week
Sept. 3 - Northwestern QB Mike Kafka
Sept. 9 - Michigan State WR Matt Trannon