PSU Schedule Breakdown

FOS travels around the Nittany Lion schedule for our weekly review of the ups and downs of all the teams on the schedule. From the USF Bulls to the MSU Spartans, we've got the lowdown on where the Lions have been, and where they still must go as the season approaches the midpoint.


TeamConf W-LOverall W-L
Penn State2-05-0
Ohio State1-03-1
Michigan State1-14-1

South Florida Bulls (3-2)

Florida A&M, 37-3
Central Florida, 31-14
Louisville, 45-14
Penn State, 13-23
Miami (FL), 7-27
Next Up: at Pittsburgh (Oct. 15)

Last week, the Bulls shocked many college football insiders by demolishing then-No. 9 Louisville in a game which gave instant credibility to the young program and made a statement that South Florida will have an impact on the eventual championship in a Big East Conference which lacks an undefeated team following West Virginia's loss to Virginia Tech.

While Louisville got the benefit of a favorable schedule and returned to winning form in a 61-10 whitewash of Florida Atlantic, South Florida had the scheduling misfortune of facing the new No. 9 program this week, Miami (Fla.), which would not take the Bulls lightly. The Canes jumped to a 17-0 first-quarter lead and a 20-0 advantage at the half that USF could not overcome. The Bulls will have a chance to regroup during a bye week in preparation for an Oct. 15 conference battle with 1-4 Pitt.

Cincinnati Bearcats (2-2)

Eastern Michigan, 28-26
Western Carolina, 7-3
Penn State, 24-42
Miami (Ohio), 44-16
Next Up: at Pittsburgh

The Bearcats emerged flat from a bye in a rare Wednesday night matchup last week against in-state rival Miami (Ohio) in a game which gave teams named Miami a 2-1 record against Penn State opponents for the week. Cincinnati quarterback Dustin Grutza tossed up five interceptions and was sacked three times as the Redhawks dropped the Bearcats to 2-2.

Cincinnati will begin Big East play against Pitt Panthers week.

Central Michigan Chippewas (2-3)

Miami Ohio, 38-37
Akron, 31-17
Indiana, 13-20
Penn State, 3-40
Eastern Michigan, 20-23
Next Up: at Army

The Chippewas returned to the win column with a 31-17 victory over Akron to climb into third place in the MAC Western Division. Trailing 17-7 at the half, Central Michigan stormed back to score 24 points in the second half as the Chippewas rolled up 461 yards of offense.

Tailback Orlando Sneed was the difference-maker for Central Michigan, rushing for 183 yards and scoring three touchdowns, including a 45-yarder in the second quarter to begin the Chippewa comeback. Quarterback Kent Smith accounted for 224 yards and two TDs including the toss to Sneed in an 18/33 performance. The Chippewas next face an 0-4 Army squad which was most recently dumped by Connecticut 47-13.

Northwestern Wildcats (2-2)

Ohio, 38-14
Northern Illinois, 38-37
Arizona State, 21-52
Penn State, 29-34
Next Up: Wisconsin

Following back-to-back losses at the hands of Arizona State and the Nittany Lions, the Wildcats got the benefit of a bye week to regroup and prepare for their next Big Ten matchup. Undefeated Wisconsin rolls into Evanston Saturday.

Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-1)

Tulsa, 41-10
Colorado State, 56-24
Florida Atlantic, 46-7
Purdue, 42-35 (2OT)
Penn State, 14-44
Next Up: at Michigan

For the first time this season, the high-powered Minnesota rushing game ground to a halt, and the Gophers, averaging more than 40 points per game, were held to 14 by a dominating Penn State defense that held Heisman hopeful Laurence Maroney to a season-low 48 yards.

In a departure from the wide-open style seen in earlier games, the Nittany Lions rolled up 364 yards on the ground as Derrick Williams and Tony Hunt each accounted for two rushing touchdowns. Penn State notched its first win against a ranked opponent since a 2002 victory at Wisconsin. In summing up the game, Gopher head coach Glen Mason stated, "I haven't had the luxury of seeing any statistics yet, but I'm not sure I want to see them. Any way you cut it, we got our butts kicked good."

Ohio State Buckeyes (3-1)

Miami Ohio, 34-14
San Diego State, 27-6
Iowa, 31-6
Texas 22-25
Next Up: at Penn State

Ohio State spent the weekend in Columbus enjoying a bye week, and undoubtedly watching with interest as Penn State opened Big Ten play by destroying the Golden Gophers. The Buckeyes visit Happy Valley this week for a night game which will also host the crew of ESPN GameDay.

Michigan Wolverines (3-2)

Northern Illinois, 33-17
Eastern Michigan, 55-0
Michigan State, 34-31 (OT)
Notre Dame, 10-17
Wisconsin, 23-20
Next Up: Minnesota

Following an uncharacteristic Big Ten opening loss which dropped the Wolverines to an unusual 2-2 record — and out of the Top 25, the annual state rivalry with undefeated Michigan State became a game of critical importance for Lloyd Carr and Michigan. The game itself was a thriller which was sent to overtime when Wolverine kicker Garrett Rivas missed a game-winning field goal attempt in the final minute of regulation.

Rivas atoned for the earlier miss with a 35-yarder during the overtime period to claim the victory for Michigan, in the first game in this series which saw the Spartans in the Top 25 and the Wolverines out of the Top 25 since 1968, a year predating Bo Schembechler's reign.

Moments before Rivas' boot sailed through the uprights, Michigan State place-kicker John Goss missed an attempt from 37 yards. Goss earlier misfired on a 23-yard attempt in the fourth quarter that would have given the Spartans a lead.

Michigan plays host to Minnesota this weekend.

Illinois Fighting Illini (2-3)

Rutgers, 33-30
San Jose State, 40-19
California, 20-35
Michigan State, 14-61
Iowa, 7-35
Next Up: at Indiana

After opening the season with non-conference wins over Rutgers and San Jose State, the Illini turned in a respectable performance in a loss to California, but coaching for his first year in the Big Ten, Ron Zook has learned just how tough the schedule can be week after week. After being annihilated 61-14 by Michigan State in their Big Ten opener, Illinois faced an Iowa team hungry for some respect following a loss to Ohio State. The Hawkeyes found that respect and humbled the Illini as they flew to a 21-0 lead before Illinois could crack the scoreboard.

Illinois place-kicker Jason Reda misfired on a 20-yard attempt, and had two other FG tries blocked by the Iowa defense, which also picked off a Tim Brasic pass at the Hawkeye 2-yard line to end another scoring threat by the Illini as the Hawkeyes set a school record with their 21st straight home victory.

Purdue Boilermakers (2-2)

Akron, 49-24
Arizona, 31-24
Minnesota, 35-42
Notre Dame, 28-49
Next Up: Iowa

Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn proved to be unstoppable for the usually pass-happy Boilermakers, accumulating 283 yards on a 20-for-23 passing performance in the first half. Quinn finished the game with 440 yards and three touchdowns as the Fighting Irish evened Purdue's record at 2-2.

Notre Dame has a bye week this week before a much anticipated Oct. 15 matchup with the No. 1 USC Trojans. Purdue plays host to Iowa this weekend in a game that was anticipated to figure in the Big Ten championship picture before the season began. Instead, both the Boilermakers and the Hawkeyes will enter the game with two losses and out of the top 25.

Wisconsin Badgers (4-0)

Bowling Green, 56-42
Temple, 65-0
North Carolina, 14-5
Michigan, 23-20
Indiana, 41-24
Next Up: at Northwestern

The Badgers ran their record to 5-0 as head coach Barry Alvarez continues his effort to drive Wisconsin to a Rose Bowl berth in his final year on the sideline. In the process, the Badgers sent Big Ten rival Indiana to its first loss of the season.

With injuries slowing the famed Badger ground game, quarterback John Stocco went to the air, throwing for 274 yards and three touchdowns. Brandon Williams hauled in six receptions for 113 yards and two TDs, while Jonathan Orr added another 128 yards and a TD on four receptions. The game marked the first time since 1993 in which Wisconsin had dual 100-yard receivers.

Michigan State Spartans (4-1)

Kent State, 49-14
Hawaii, 42-14
Notre Dame, 44-41
Illinois, 61-14
Michigan, 31-34
Next Up: Ohio State (Oct 15)

For the first time this season, the Spartan offense was held under 40 points, scoring 31 against cross-state rival Michigan. Still, MSU had enough firepower to force an overtime, in a game which saw misfires during the fourth quarter by the kickers from each team.

During the overtime period, the kickers would decide the game, with the Spartans' John Goss narrowly missing a 37-yard attempt and Wolverine kicker Garrett Rivas hitting for 35 yards to gain redemption for a 27-yard attempt that sailed wide right with 48 seconds left in regulation.

The Spartans have a bye week this week in preparation to play host to Ohio State Oct. 15.

Other Big Ten Games

Iowa Hawkeyes (3-2)

Ball State, 56-0
Northern Iowa, 45-21
Illinois, 35-7
Iowa State, 3-23 Ohio State, 6-31
Next Up: at Purdue

Seeking respectability after an early season loss to in-state rival Iowa State, and a 31-6 drubbing by Ohio State last week, the Hawkeyes returned home to Kinnick Stadium and found at least a temporary antidote in the Fighting Illini. The Hawkeyes scored 14 points in the first quarter and never looked back as Illinois, coming off a 61-14 thumping by Michigan State, never found the ability to finish, failing on three field-goal attempts and suffering an interception at the Iowa 2-yard line during the first half.

The Illini finally found points late in the third quarter on a 1-yard pass from QB Tim Brasic to E.B. Halsey, but it was too little too late against a fired-up Hawkeye team hungry for respect.

Indiana Hoosiers (3-1)

Central Michigan, 20-13
Nicholls State, 35-31
Kentucky, 38-14
Wisconsin, 41-24
Next Up: Illinois

In a battle of unbeatens, Indiana visited Camp Randall Stadium, but found too much Badger airpower. With fullback Matt Bernstein on the sideline, Wisconsin tight end Owen Daniels hobbled off the field with a left leg injury on the Badger's first play from scrimmage. Backup fullback Chris Pressley also left the game in the first half, and the Badgers were forced to rely on the arm of QB John Stocco.

Stocco responded with a 274-yard performance which featured three touchdown passes, splitting tosses to Brandon Williams and Jonathan Orr. Though Williams aggrevated a shin injury and did not play in the fourth quarter, the damage had been done, and the Badgers remained perfect on the year for head coach Barry Alvarez in his final season, joining Penn State at the top of the Big Ten standings.


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