Sunday Morning QB: Test Awaits At Penn State

In our weekly college football column, we look at the weekend that was. OSU's next opponent, Penn State, routed previously unbeaten Minnesota 44-14. Also, Michigan staved off an 0-2 Big Ten start with an overtime win at Michigan State, Notre Dame routed Purdue and No. 1 USC avoided an upset at Arizona State. Click here for more.

Welcome to Sunday Morning Quarterback, a column I intend to stand each week as a quick read on the news, notes and opinion on Ohio State's weekly game as well as the Big Ten and the college football nation at large. With no OSU game this week, we'll go straight to the Big Ten.

Around the Big Ten:

* I know the Michigan-Michigan State game was dramatic and the Notre Dame-Purdue game was momentous. But I'll start with Ohio State's next opponent, Penn State.

The Nittany Lions played their best game against a decent opponent in recent memory as they blasted No. 18 Minnesota 44-14.

One week after a desperation come-from-behind win at Northwestern, Penn State rolled to an all-too-easy win before a raucous home crowd. The Nits improved to 5-0 overall by piling up 539 yards, including 361 yards rushing. Minnesota – the nation's top rushing team at over 300 yards per game on the ground -- never got on track and finished with just 117 yards rushing.

PSU's Derrick Williams and Tony Hunt each rushed for two touchdowns while Penn State's stifling defense held Laurence Maroney to a season-low 48 yards rushing.

The Nittany Lions avenged losses to Minnesota the last two years and notched their first win over a ranked team since beating Wisconsin in 2002. Through two weeks, they are among just three unbeaten teams in conference play.

"I don't want to get carried away here," said PSU coach Joe Paterno. "We got a long way to go."

Hunt rushed for 114 yards, while quarterback Michael Robinson had 112 yards rushing.

"I haven't had the luxury of seeing any statistics yet, but I'm not sure I want to see them," Minnesota coach Glen Mason said. "Any way you cut it, we got our butts kicked good."

Ohio State may be walking into a hornet's nest next week, although we think the OSU defense should have a lot to say about the outcome of that game.

OSU has won three straight over Penn State, including a 21-20 win at Happy Valley two years ago. The Buckeyes also command the series lead at 8-4 since PSU joined the Big Ten in 1993.

But that 2003 win is one of only two OSU has in six tries at Beaver Stadium in Big Ten play. OSU also won there in 1995. (On Monday, we will post our Game Data as well as our complete look at the 20-game OSU-PSU rivalry, which stands dead even at 10-10.)

* It was the ultimate set-up: Michigan State had lost in triple overtime a year ago at Michigan and the Spartans were unbeaten while UM slinked into this annual rivalry at East Lansing at 2-2.

But it was Michigan knocking off No. 11 Michigan State 34-31 in overtime to notch a fourth straight victory over the Spartans and avoid its first 0-2 start in Big Ten play since 1967.

Michael Hart returned from an injury to run for 218 yards and a touchdown. Hart had been out for two-plus games with a hamstring injury. Garrett Rivas made up for missing a field goal in the final minute of regulation by kicking a 35-yarder in overtime for Michigan.

MSU quarterback Drew Stanton was 20-of-30 for 282 yards with a TD and an interception for the Spartans. The door was opened for UM's win after Michigan State's John Goss missed a 37-yard field goal in overtime.

* No. 13 Notre Dame jumped on No. 22 Purdue for a 28-0 halftime lead and hardly looked back in posting an impressive 49-28 win at West Lafayette. The Irish avenged two straight losses to Purdue, including a 41-16 shiner a year ago in South Bend.

Notre Dame QB Brady Quinn became the first passer in ND history to have five 300-yard games. He ended up 29 of 36 passing with 440 yards and three touchdowns. Quinn credits his improvement to new ND coach Charlie Weis.

"He's a great teacher. He's taught me so many things about how to run an offense and be a leader," Quinn said. "A lot of things he learned in the NFL, he's brought down to teach me."

"Brady is performing like the leader we need him to be and I look for him to continue to progress in upcoming games," Weis said.

There will be no bigger game for the Fighting Irish than their next one. After an open week, ND will host No. 1 USC Oct. 15 in South Bend. ND has dropped three straight games to USC – all by 31-point margins. ND completes a rough five-game opening stretch where they improbably won all four of their road games (Pitt, Michigan, Washington and Purdue) and dropped the only home game (Michigan State). ND will play five of its last six at home.

The loss was the biggest by the Boilermakers since losing 31-3 at Michigan in 2003. Purdue fell to 12-27 against ranked opponents under ninth-year coach Joe Tiller.

"We couldn't stop the run or the passing game," Tiller said. "I guess I'm not shocked, but I'm disappointed in the outcome."

* No. 17 Wisconsin cruised to a 41-24 win over previously unbeaten Indiana at Madison. Brandon Williams caught two touchdown passes and returned a punt 63 yards for a score.

The Badgers won for the 10th straight time at Camp Randall Stadium, their longest home winning streak since winning 25 straight from 1900-03.

* Iowa set a school record with its 21st straight victory at home, beating Illinois 35-7. Drew Tate threw for 175 yards and two touchdowns, while Ed Hinkel caught a TD pass and also ran for a score on a reverse.

And a glance at headlines nationally:

* Top-ranked USC rebounded from a 21-3 halftime deficit to defeat No. 14 Arizona State 38-28 in Tempe. LenDale White rushed for 197 yards in 19 attempts, while Reggie Bush gained 158 in 17 carries. They each had two touchdown runs as USC outrushed ASU 373-68.

The Trojans set new Pac-10 and school records with their 26th victory in a row.

ASU quarterback Sam Keller completed 26 of 45 for 347 yards and two touchdowns but was intercepted five times. Four of those came in the decisive second half, when ASU was outscored 35-7. It marked USC's second straight comeback after trailing at halftime. Oregon led 13-10 a week ago before falling 45-13.

The Trojans will have a tune-up next week against Arizona before visiting Notre Dame Oct. 15.

* No. 2-ranked Texas got ready for its showdown next week against rival Oklahoma by dispatching host Missouri 51-20. It was Texas' 11th straight road win and 11th straight victory overall.

Vince Young ran for 108 yards and a touchdown and threw for two other scores, and Texas converted three turnovers by Missouri quarterback Brad Smith into touchdowns. Texas piled up 585 yards of total offense.

Now they will try and end OU's mastery in the Red River Shootout. The Sooners have won five straight over Texas.

* No. 3 Virginia Tech showed it is for real with a 34-17 win at previously unbeaten West Virginia. Marcus Vick threw for two touchdowns and ran for another and Virginia Tech converted two West Virginia turnovers into scores in the finale of a 33-year series between the former Big East rivals.

* No. 15 Alabama got its first win over a top-five opponent ever in Tuscaloosa – remember, the Crimson Tide used to play a number of games in Birmingham – with a 31-3 drubbing of No. 5 Florida. The Gators lost their first game under coach Urban Meyer. It was the Gators' worst defeat since losing 36-7 to LSU in 2002 and ended Meyer's personal 20-game winning streak at Utah and Florida.

Brodie Croyle threw for three TDs, including an 87-yarder to Tyrone Prothro and a 65-yarder to Keith Brown. This was Alabama's biggest win under Mike Shula, now 15-15 in his third year as coach, and it is also Alabama's biggest win since a 34-7 victory over Florida in the 1999 SEC championship game.

Florida failed to score a touchdown for the first time since 1992.

* No. 24 Louisville rebounded from a loss to South Florida by blasting Florida Atlantic 61-10. Michael Bush ran for a career-high 204 yards and three touchdowns.

UL won its eighth straight at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, a $63 million venue that FAU coach (and former UL coach) Howard Schnellenberger helped raise funds to build. Schnellenberger was inducted into the University of Louisville's athletic hall of fame on Friday night and the school named its football complex after him before Saturday's game.

* Florida State QB Drew Weatherford passed for 234 yards and three touchdowns, ran for another score and the sixth-ranked Seminoles beat Syracuse 38-14.

* In the Big 12 North, Nebraska's Zac Taylor was 36-of-55 passing for 431 yards and two touchdowns, setting school records for completions and yards in a 27-20 win over No. 23 Iowa State in double overtime. ISU hasn't won in Lincoln since 1977. Also, Colorado's Hugh Charles rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns as the Buffaloes shut down previously unbeaten Oklahoma State 34-0.

* Like Michigan-MSU, Texas A&M and Baylor needed overtime for the second straight year. Courtney Lewis scored on a 13-yard run in overtime to lift Texas A&M to a 16-13 come-from-behind win over Baylor.

After Baylor's Ryan Havens kicked a 21-yard field goal in the first overtime, Texas A&M ran two plays before Lewis scampered to the end zone untouched. A&M suffered a tough 35-34 loss in overtime at Baylor last year. But the Aggies had to work for this one, forcing overtime on Todd Pegram's 25-yard field goal with less than a minute remaining in regulation.

* Bowling Green rebounded from a 48-20 loss at Boise State by crushing Temple 70-7. Omar Jacobs threw for 326 yards and four touchdowns and Corey Partridge returned a punt 79 yards for a score.

* Former OSU assistant Mark Snyder notched his first Conference USA win as Marshall rallied from down 10-0 in the fourth quarter to defeat visiting SMU 16-13 in overtime. QB Bernie Morris, who threw for 314 yards, scored rushing touchdowns late in regulation and also had the game winner in OT for the Thundering Herd.

* No. 20 UCLA needed 14 fourth-quarter points to avoid an upset at the hands of Washington. The Bruins prevailed 21-17 at the Rose Bowl as Drew Olson threw for a pair of second-half touchdowns and took UCLA on a long scoring march in the closing minutes to rally the Bruins from a 17-7 deficit heading into the fourth quarter.

Maurice Drew dived over from the 1-yard line with 1:08 left for the margin of victory.

* It was another wild midnight classic at Hawaii, where Boise State rallied from down 20-7 to win 44-41. Orlando Scandrick returned two blocked kicks, including the game-tying extra-point attempt for a two-point safety with three minutes left to seal the win. Boise State scored 37 second half points, including two special teams touchdowns, to extend their WAC winning streak to 27 games.

Hawaii's Colt Brennan threw for 426 yards and four touchdowns.

In addition to the extra-point return, Scandrick returned a blocked Hawaii field goal 69 yards for a BSU touchdown.

* Heisman Watch: My order would still be USC's Reggie Bush and Matt Leinhart, Texas' Vince Young and Ohio State's A.J. Hawk.

* My new top 15: USC, Texas, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Ohio State, Florida State, California, Alabama, Notre Dame, Miami (Fla.), Wisconsin, Tennessee, LSU, Arizona State, Florida.

* Games To Watch: Miami (Ohio)-Northern Illinois (Wednesday), N.C. State-Georgia Tech (Thursday), Syracuse-UConn (Friday, and we don't mean the Boeheim vs. Calhoun kind), Marshall-Virginia Tech, Oklahoma-Texas, Minnesota-Michigan, Cincinnati-Pittsburgh (and we don't mean the Bengals vs. Steelers kind), Georgia-Tennessee, Texas Tech-Nebraska, Iowa-Purdue, North Carolina-Louisville, Cal-UCLA, Ohio State-Penn State.

We will wrap up each week with a look at how OSU's opponents fared and check out who they face next week.

Date (Time, TV), Opponent (Record), This Week's Result, Next Week's Game

Sept. 3, Miami (Ohio) (2-2), beat Cincinnati 44-16, Sept. 28; at Northern Illinois, Oct. 5.

Sept. 10, Texas (4-0), beat Missouri 51-20, Oct. 1; vs. Oklahoma (at Dallas), Oct. 8.

Sept. 17, San Diego State (2-3), beat BYU 31-10, Oct. 1; at UNLV, Oct. 8.

Sept. 24, Iowa (3-2), beat Illinois 35-7, Oct. 1; at Purdue, Oct. 8.

Oct. 1, idle.

Oct. 8 (7:45 p.m., ESPN), Penn State (5-0), beat Minnesota 44-14, Oct. 1; vs. Ohio State, Oct. 8.

Oct. 15, (noon, TV TBA) Michigan State (4-1), lost to Michigan 34-31 (OT), Oct. 1; idle, Oct. 8.

Oct. 22, at Indiana (3-1), lost to Wisconsin 41-24, Oct. 1; vs. Illinois, Oct. 8.

Oct. 29, at Minnesota (4-1), lost to Penn State 44-14; at Michigan, Oct. 8.

Nov. 5, Illinois (2-3), lost to Iowa 35-7, Oct. 1; at Indiana, Oct. 8.

Nov. 12, Northwestern (2-2), idle, Oct. 1; vs. Wisconsin, Oct. 8.

Nov. 19, Michigan (3-2), beat Michigan State 34-31 (OT), Oct. 1; vs. Minnesota, Oct. 8.

Big Ten Standings

Team (Overall, Big Ten)

Wisconsin (5-0, 2-0)

Penn State (5-0, 2-0)

Ohio State (3-1, 1-0)

Michigan State (4-1, 1-1)

Minnesota (4-1, 1-1)

Michigan (3-2, 1-1)

Iowa (3-2, 1-1)

Indiana (3-1, 0-1)

Purdue (2-2, 0-1)

Northwestern (2-2, 0-1)

Illinois (2-3, 0-2)

Oct. 1 Results

Michigan 34, Michigan State 31 (OT)

Wisconsin 41, Indiana 24

Iowa 35, Illinois 7

Penn State 44, Minnesota 14

Notre Dame 49, Purdue 28

Oct. 8 Games

Wisconsin at Northwestern, noon (ESPN or ESPN2, pending baseball coverage)

Illinois at Indiana, noon (ESPN-Plus)

Minnesota at Michigan, 1 p.m. (ABC)

Iowa at Purdue, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Ohio State at Penn State, 7:45 p.m. (ESPN)

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