Quick thoughts and takes on every Week 4 Big Ten game.
Boston College 30, Rutgers 16
After the embarrassing performance last week in a 30-0 loss to Iowa – with absolutely no offense whatsoever – and with QB McLane Carter out – the Scarlet Knights at least got the O going a bit. Artur Sitkowski threw for 304 yards and a touchdown with a pick, but the defense couldn’t do a thing against the jacked up Boston College offensive line and running game. The Knights are having a hard enough time without all the mistakes – committing 11 penalties and going -2 in turnover margin is a killer for a team that has to be perfect. What’s next? They go to Michigan – yippee.
Michigan State 31, Northwestern 10
For everyone worrying about the Michigan State offense reverting back to 2018 form after the rough day against Arizona State, all is okay. The running game wasn’t amazing, but Brian Lewerke threw three touchdown passes and the defense – led by a massive day from LB Joe Bachie – made sure there wasn’t any drama. He had a terrific day, but he wasn’t under a ton of pressure – whatever. The Spartan offense is a back on track, Indiana is up next to tune up for the trips to Ohio State and Wisconsin, and Mark Dantonio is now the winningest head coach in MSU history.
Northwestern’s defense needed to be amazing, and it wasn’t. The offense was able to come up with 139 yards and a score, but there wasn’t any downfield passing game, going -2 against this team isn’t okay, and Hunter Johnson continues to struggle. With Wisconsin up next a trip to Nebraska to follow, and Ohio State after that, the defending Big Ten West champs will need a minor miracle to not start the year 1-5 before hosting Iowa.
Indiana 38, UConn 3
Michael Penix was out, but there wasn’t any problem for the Hoosier passing game that ripped up UConn to shreds. Peyton Ramsey was almost perfect completing 23-of-27 passes for 247 yards and three scores, and Stevie Scott added 97 yards and a score. The defense was fabulous, holding UConn to just 145 yards and nine first downs – it was a nearly-perfect performance all the way around.
Wisconsin 35, Michigan 14
This was Wisconsin’s big statement game. It dominated Michigan from the start, kept pounding away, and it controlled the game throughout. Now it’s time to start putting the Badgers into the mix of that second-tier of teams behind the biggest of big boys, but at the very least they’re looking like the Big Ten’s second-best team and a true challenger to Ohio State.
Totally disastrous for Michigan, now everything about Jim Harbaugh and his inability to win big games gets ramped up to a whole new level. The Wolverines were sloppy, indecisive, and worst of all, shoved around and beaten up to a pulp before finally getting the passing game going way too late. To be positive, there’s a chance Wisconsin is really just that good. But Michigan is supposed to be just that good.
Ohio State 76, Miami University 5
Forgetting shutouts, has there ever been a bigger run of unanswered points in the history of college football? Miami University is bad, but it doesn’t matter – this Ohio State offense is a killer machine at the moment. Justin Fields threw for 223 yards and four scores and ran for two more, but everyone was getting into the act – all too the backups were rolling, too.
As much fun as the offense was, and as great as Fields played, Chase Young was able to stand out on the other side with three tackles, two sacks, and two strips as he showed off his incredible quickness …
Nebraska 42, Illinois 38
The Huskers managed to get by even with a whole slew of mistakes and a rough start. Adrian Martinez kicked it back in with 327 yards and three touchdowns passing to go along with 118 yards on the ground, but it took a whole lot of fight – and a whole slew of questionable coaching moves from Lovie Smith – to pull it off. The Huskers finished with 671 yards, but the ten penalties and four turnovers kept the Illini alive. Against Ohio State next week – with Gameday in town – the Huskers have to be night-and-day sharper.
The Illini couldn’t put it away. They only had the ball for just under 23 minutes and gained fewer than 300 yards, and they couldn’t come through in the fourth quarter when they had their chances. Reggie Corbin ran for 134 yards and the Illini averaged close to six yards per pop, but they couldn’t keep things moving. The problem? The passing attack fizzled with absolutely nothing happening down the field. Now the Illini get two weeks to get ready for the trip to Minnesota.