What happened and what mattered in the Week 3 of the Big Ten college football season?
5. The “other” games
Just when it seemed like Maryland was on its way to a massive season, it came up with a shocking clunker in a 35-14 loss to Temple. The passing game was a disaster, with Kasim Hill and Tyrrell Pigrome combining to complete 8-of-21 passes for 63 yards and two scores. Outside of a big Anthony McFarland run, the ground game didn’t work, either. The Temple D was great, but with 195 yards of total offense, the Terps didn’t show up.
It’s a third straight close loss, all at home. Purdue could easily have been 3-0 instead of 0-3, but even though it was a rough 40-37 loss to Missouri, the offense went off. David Blough threw for 572 yards and three scores with a rushing score, three Boilermakers hit the 100-yard mark, and there were chances late to pull off the comeback win, but the defense couldn’t stop anything Mizzou wanted to do, right up until allowing the game-winning field goal. With Boston College up next, there’s no time to hang any heads.
Oh, Northwestern. Clayton Thorson finally went off – throwing for 383 yards and three scores – but the team turned it over three times. Two of those were Thorson pick-six interceptions to Alvin Davis. Cameron Green caught 11 passes for 125 yards and two scores, Jeremy Larkin ran for 82 yards and two scores, but with Michigan and at Michigan State up next, this was disastrous.
The Minnesota defense keeps on dominating Group of Five programs. Beating Fresno State was great, and holding the Miami University passing game to 108 yards was terrific in the 26-3 win. There wasn’t any Rodney Smith on the offensive side, but Bryce Williams made up with it by running for 141 yards on 33 yards. Zack Annexstad was good enough, completing 12-of-20 passes for 142 yards and two scores, both to Tyler Johnson.
It was an even easier win than it seemed. The Iowa defense was fantastic again, helping get the 38-14 win over Northern Iowa with all 14 Panther points coming in the fourth. Nate Stanley hit 23-of-29 passes for 309 yards and two scores, Toren Young ran for 82 yards, and the D allowed just six rushing yards. The team is ready for Wisconsin, with the defense looking more than ready for a massive Big Ten West win.
Ohhhhhhh, Illinois. It HAD USF done, but it gave up 18 fourth quarter points including a 50-yard touchdown pass to all but give away a 25-19 loss. MJ Rivers was fine with AJ Bush out, completing 20-of-29 passes for 168 yards, and the running game worked overall. But the offense only managed a field goal in the second half and the defense couldn’t hold up, allowing Blake Barnett to throw for 411 yards. The Illini were outgunned 626 yards to 380, and they still almost won.
Penn State’s offense kept on rolling. The defense gave up one big touchdown pass in the 63-10 win over Kent State, but there wasn’t any drama after a big first quarter on the way to a 667-yard day. Coming off the blowout over Pitt, the big blowouts continue. Trace McSorley only completed 11-of-22 passes, and he threw a pick, but he went for 229 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 54 yards and three scores. The ground game almost hit 300 yards and averaged 6.6 yards per carry.
Ball State might have given Notre Dame problems last week, but Indiana rolled at will with a big second quarter, two touchdown runs from Stevie Scott, and a stressless 38-10 win on the way to a 3-0 start. Peyton Ramsey connected on 20-of-27 throws for 173 yards, the running game controlled the tempo, and the defense stepped up, only allowing a James Gilbert third quarter touchdown run.
Maybe Kansas is that good, but for a Rutgers team that’s supposed to be sharper, stronger and better this year, to lose 55-14 is a massive disaster. The Scarlet Knights turned it over six times, Artur Sitkowski was awful, completing 7-of-19 passes for 47 yards and three scores, and while Raheem Blackshear ran for 102 yards, the ground game didn’t work, either. The O was outgunned 544 yards to 274.