We seem to have the only refs in the Big Ten today who are throwing flags ... all on us. Those two interference calls were big on their first two scoring drives and at least the second one was questionable (the first oneAround the Horn:
was holding, but not interference - the ball was 10 yards out of bounds!). Maybe they're the refs for the Viking game tomorrow and are calling NFL receiver rules?
Our offense runs well between the tackles on the opening drive -- then we go away from that until the last drive of the half ... and we were moving it there, too until a penalty. Our play calling has just been offensive -- little dink passes on 3rd and long? No running Noah Heron in between the tackles just because they stopped it once? Stick with the ground game and don't panic! Sheesh.
Defensively, it's not as bad as it looks. They busted thru for one big run, but otherwise we've made 'em pass to beat us -- and when we put pressure on, their QB has made some bad throws. Stop the interference calls and
cover the TE and we'll be OK there.
Nice return by Jeff Backes though (and the other returns, too), plus the PAT blocks, strong punts and, dare I say, TWO touchbacks in a row! Maybe all we did was work on special teams this week.
Oh well, another big early hole. Gotta be more aggressive in establishing the running game on offense and try and get a turnover to get back into it, but our O-line's gotta step up soon and open some holes. They don't have
the excuses the D-line has with injuries, our O-line needs to start leading this team like they're supposed to.
ILLINOIS 30 PURDUE 38:
Illinois hasn't looked this good against mediocre NC foes -- the Boilers are just small up front and were exposed today on defense. That offense sure didn't slow down, though. Big question is, will Tiller clam up in South Bend next week like he always seems to do -- even when he had Brees, he'd always use the ND game to try and prove that they could run the ball, and it cost 'em a couple games vs. the Irish.
INDIANA 20 vs Michigan State 30
Looks like they [MSU] came back strong - now both teams probably have their bowl hopes screwed
WISCONSIN 16 vs PENN STATE 3
One ugly game -- dunno if both teams have great defenses or just tremendously inept offenses. Probably a bit of both. As for Michigan-Iowa, you wonder why Lloyd Carr wasn't that aggressive on offense vs. Notre Dame. Get Breylon the ball and good things happen.
IOWA 17 at MICHIGAN 30
With Minny and Purdue having some holes on defense and OSU/Mich/Iowa/Wis with big problems scoring, this is really looking like a wide-open race and it might be like 2000 where 6-2 gets you the league title. I don't think there's a team left on our schedule we can not beat ... or lose to either. It's that close - no sure wins or losses. We gotta get our running game going to be competitive, though.
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Items Copyright 2004 by
Stephen J. Truog and PurpleWildcats/Purple Reign