What happened and what mattered in the Week 2 of the Big Ten college football season?
5. The “other” games
Jonathan Taylor fumbled inside the goal line again, but … he also ran for a career-high 253 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries in the 45-14 win over New Mexico. The D struggled with the read-option attack on the first drive, Lobo QB Tevaka Tuioti got knocked out of the game, and the Badger O took over. AJ Taylor caught five passes for 134 yards and a score, and outside of a miscue for a pick, Alex Hornibrook hit 8-of-11 passes for 148 yards and a score.
This was a really, really, really strong 21-14 win by Minnesota over Fresno State. QB Zack Annexstad kept his head in tough situations, the running game got just enough out of Bryce Williams and Seth Green – he scored twice – and with everything on the line, the D got the pick it had to have out of Antoine Winfield Jr. However, the Gophers lost RB Rodney Smith early on to an injury – he’s the one man the team can’t be without. However, the defense stepped up, allowed fewer than 300 yards, and now Minnesota is 2-0 with Miami University up next.
Illinois won 34-14 over Western Illinois, and it did it after losing its main guy. A week after losing WR Mike Dudek to yet another knee injury, Edwin Carter went out after making two scoring grabs. Making things worse, that was after QB AJ Bush was knocked out of the game. On the plus side, the team found a way to get the job done anyway. But the 14 penalties, struggles against the WIU passing game, and mounting injures aren’t what the team needed going into the date with USF in Chicago.
30-of-33 – last week was about the ground game, this was about the air show. Dwayne Haskins hit 20-of-23 passes for 233 yards and four scores in the 52-3 win over Rutgers, and Tate Martell connected on all ten of his throws. Martell also ran for a score and a team-high 95 yards in the annihilation. Rutgers really is okay – it might get bowling – but it ran into a buzzsaw. The O was balanced – in a bad way – with 65 passing yards, 69 receiving. The Scarlet Knights have to blow this off fast with a trip to Kansas – who just rolled Central Michigan – up next.
Maryland needed a little while to wake up, and it took a bit to put Bowling Green away, but it did what it needed to do to roll Bowling Green 45-14. For the second straight week, the run defense was outstanding – allowing 15 yards – and the D as a while gave up just 158 yards. Kasim Hill didn’t do too much – throwing for 121 yards and a score – and he didn’t need to. The Terps rumbled for 444 yards and five scores, with Ty Johnson and Tayon Fleet-Davis each with over 100 yards.
Northwestern’s offensive power outage continued. After struggling in the second half against Purdue, the O managed a first quarter Jeremy Larkin touchdown run, and that was it in the 21-7 loss to Duke. Clayton Thorson still wasn’t great – hitting 22-of-38 passes for 198 yards, and TJ Green didn’t do too much hitting 9-of-18 throws. On the plus side, Larkin ran well again with 121 yards and that score, but again, the offense struggled to keep things moving.
Indiana might not be pretty so far, but with the 20-16 win over Virginia, it’s 2-0 – it doesn’t matter how that looks. Stevie Scott carried the team through the bad weather, rumbling for 204 yards and a score averaging close to seven yards per carry, and Peyton Ramsey did a nice job in the wet weather hitting 16-of-22 passes. The O didn’t score in the second half, and the D struggled to contain UVa QB Bryce Perkins, but it was a tough situation and again, IU got the win.
Ohhhhhhh, Purdue … NOOOOOOO. For the second straight week, the Boilermakers committed some lousy late penalties, and they proved costly in another close loss. Only this time, it wasn’t against Northwestern, it was a 20-19 clunker to Eastern Michigan. DJ Knox ran for 152 yards and a score, Markell Jones ran for 109 yards, and the ground game cranked up 341 yards averaging over eight yards per carry. But the secondary gave up 347 yards, and the seven penalties – even though EMU got flagged ten times – were a killer. 0-2 with Missouri up next, it’s uh-oh time.
There was absolutely nothing pretty about it, but Iowa got by Iowa State 13-3 for the second straight amazing game from the defense. The Hawkeyes only gave up 188 yards, but it’s not like the offense did much of anything to get excited about. Nate Stanley struggled to get the ball down the field for anything deep for the second straight game – and the running game averaged under three yards per carry. Fortunately, Northern Iowa is up next before Wisconsin.