Tuesday Morning Quarterback

The No. 2 Fighting Irish fall hard, Ohio State rolls on and Akron tires out in our weekly look around the Big Ten and the Nittany Lion schedule.

As usual, we begin the weekly wrap with a quick look around the Big Ten. This week several teams took on more challenging out-of-conference rivals.

Michigan State at Pitt

To paraphrase Forrest Gump, the Spartans are like a box of chocolate — you never know what you are going to get. Traditionally one of the most inconsistent teams in the Big Ten, Michigan State opened its game with Pitt looking like Dr. Jeckyll, as it fell behind the Panthers 10-0. Quarterback Drew Stanton would not let that be the story of the day, as he called on MSU's Mr. Hyde side in passing for 198 yards and rushing for 103 more, leading the Spartans to a 38-23 victory. Michigan State is now 3-0 on the season heading into its final non-conference game.

Next Up: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish visit East Lansing Sept. 23, with memories of last season's defeat at the hands of the Spartans on their mind.

Syracuse at Illinois

Penalties and mistakes were the order of the day, as the Illini accumulated 106 negative yards courtesy of the yellow flag. Illinois also turned the ball over twice, and Syracuse made the most of what it was given. Tah Smith, in his first career start, scored two touchdowns as the Orangemen broke an 11-game losing streak with a 31-21 victory. Has a new "fireronzook.com" site sprung up yet?

Next Up: The Illini open Big Ten play by playing host to Iowa Sept. 23.

Iowa State at Iowa

Throw the records out the window (but let the cliches in) in this rivalry which had seen the Cyclones winning six of the last eight matchups including a 23-3 thumping last season. Through three quarters the teams were evenly matched, entering the final stanza deadlocked at 17-17 after the Hawkeyes roared back from the short end of a 14-3 score. Iowa dominated the fourth quarter to take a 27-17 victory and keep the Hawkeyes perfect on the season.

Next Up:Iowa visits Illinois to take on the Fighting Illini Sept. 23.

Ball State at Purdue

The Boilers got off to a slow start, and Ball State drew first blood when the Cardinals capitalized on a Curtis Painter interception and converted a 5-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring. Purdue scored 14 unanswered points in the second quarter to take a 21-10 lead at intermission, then set the cruise control in the locomotive to roll on to a 38-28 win and a 3-0 record.

Next Up: Purdue plays host to Big Ten rival Minnesota Sept. 23.

Eastern Michigan at Northwestern

The Wildcats struggled but ran their record to 2-1, as a fourth-quarter interception by Corey Wootton stopped a late drive by the Eagles. Despite gaining only 266 total yards of offense, Northwestern was able to find the end zone twice to claim a 14-6 victory.

Next Up: Northwestern visits Nevada for a Friday night matchup Sept. 22.

Temple at Minnesota

When Al Golden took over the reigns at Temple, it was clear that he had a lot of work to do. The Owls have been outscored 124-0 in their last two games, and the Golden Gophers, coming off a defeat at the hands of California last week, were the latest to apply a thumping to Temple. Bryan Cupito completed four touchdown passes to Logan Payne and Minnesota cruised to a 45-0 halftime lead and a 62-0 win.

Next Up: Minnesota opens Big Ten action at Purdue Sept. 23.

San Diego State at Wisconsin

The Badger offense was led by freshman P.J. Hill, who accumulated 184 rushing yards and a touchdown, as Wisconsin shut down San Diego State 14-0. The Badgers improved to 3-0 despite starting slowly and never cracking the scoreboard until after halftime.

Next Up: Wisconsin travels to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan in the Big House Sept. 23.

Michigan at Notre Dame

Charlie Weis summed up the game with one statement: "I think it's important to understand that team just came and whupped us pretty good." Prescott Burgess intercepted a Brady Quinn pass on the second play of the game and the Wolverines rolled to a 26-7 lead before the Irish could manage a single first down. Heisman hopefull Quinn threw three interceptions , and finished 24-48 with no touchdowns. The Irish managed just four yards on the ground and 245 total yards as Michigan routed No. 2 Notre Dame 47-21.

Next Up: Michigan plays host to Wisconsin Sept. 23.

Southern Illinois at Indiana

Southern Illinois got a four-touchdown performance from quarterback Nick Hill, as the Salukis overcame a two-TD deficit to become the latest Division I-AA team to topple a I-A opponent. Indiana played without head coach Terry Hoeppner, who underwent brain surgery on Wednesday, and leading receiver James Hardy, who is serving a two-game suspension. Southern Illinois came back from a 21-7 third quarter deficit to take a 35-28 win, the first ever by a team from the Gateway Conference over a Big Ten opponent.

Next Up: Indiana plays host to Connecticut Sept. 23.

Cincinnati at Ohio State

The Bearcats grabbed a surprising 7-3 lead at the end of the first quarter. But after that it was all Buckeyes, as No. 1 Ohio State solidified its hold on the top spot in the nation. Playing a conservative game that wore down Cincinnati, Ohio State erupted for 17 points in the fourth quarter to put the game away 37-7.

Next Up: The Buckeyes play host to Penn State Sept. 23.

Big Ten Record through three weeks: 27-6

Other Penn State Opponents

Akron at Central Michigan

The Zips found themselves in a 14-0 hole at the half after Josh Gordy returned an interception for a 100-yard score. The Zips found some offensive momentum too late, after Central Michigan drew first blood in the third quarter, scoring 13 quick points to cut the deficit to 21-13, but the early miscues were too much to overcome as Central Michigan handed Akron a 24-21 loss.

Next Up: Akron plays host to North Texas Sept. 23.

Michigan at Notre Dame

Reviewed above.

Next Up: Notre Dame travels to Michigan State Sept. 23.

Temple at Minnesota

Reviewed above.

Next Up: Temple travels to Western Michigan Sept. 23.

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