What really mattered and what’s important from Week 3 of the Big Ten college football season?
So much for Indiana giving the Buckeyes any sort of a scare. Justin Fields wasn’t perfect, but he was terrific, throwing for 199 yards and three scores with a touchdown. It was the offensive line that took over early on and dominated, paving the way for a 193-yard, one-score, rushing day from JK Dobbins, and 106 yards and a score from Master Teague. This was a top five team vs. Indiana playing like a top five team playing against Indiana.
Michael Penix didn’t go for the Hoosiers, but that wasn’t the problem. Peyton Ramsey dinked and dunked – averaging under five yards per throw – but he didn’t get any help whatsoever. There wasn’t any running game to take the heat off the receivers – IU was held to 42 yards.
With Miami University up next, Ohio State will be an easy 4-0 before going to Nebraska. There’s not much to work on, other than maybe being just a wee bit crisper out of the box – like it was against Florida Atlantic. But that’s nitpicking in an almost perfect first three games. The Buckeyes got up for this – it’s an ultra-focused team. Indiana will get to 3-1 with UConn up next before going to Michigan State.
This was a brutally disappointing performance. The Terp offense worked. The chances were there, the opportunities were there, the points were there. Several bad play calls on the goal line. too many missed throws, and great play from the Temple defense created this clunker. The fundamentals of the offense are great, but the execution in this game wasn’t.
Josh Jackson was WAY off. He was under pressure all game long, and he didn’t get any help from his blocking, but he missed three easy early throws that would’ve likely led the way to 21 first half points instead of two. He needed to RELAX – he hurried too many of his throws – completing 15-of-38 passes for 183 yards and a score with a pick.
Again, the offense worked … to a point. Anthony McFarland ran for 132 yards and a score, the plays were there to be made, and two horrible series on the goal line – STOP HANDING THE BALL OFF FIVE YARDS DEEP ON THE ONE – proved costly. Don’t be shocked if the Terps do something crazy like hang up 55 on Penn State in two weeks. Maryland was the Left Points On The Field cliché.
Oh, Illinois. Just when it seemed like things were in place to get to three wins, and assure four with Rutgers on the schedule, there’s this clunker of a defensive performance. Eastern Michigan’s Mike Glass has been good so far, but the Illini just gave up 316 yards and three scores through the air. That’s not supposed to happen against a MAC team at this point in the Lovie Smith era.
Reggie Corbin was back and fantastic, running for 144 yards and a score, but the running game didn’t take control of the game. Brandon Peters wasn’t awful – throwing for 297 yards and two scores – but the Illini offense stalled after a great first quarter. The nine penalties and two turnovers – EMU was flagged just twice – didn’t help, but there’s no excuse. This was a bad look.
The home game against Nebraska is winnable if everything clicks, and the trip to Minnesota is terrible, but the Illini have to do a better job of closing out drives with points. They misfired too much against UConn, and now against Eastern Michigan. Again, at this point in the Lovie era, these should be layup games, and they’re not.