Quick thoughts and takes on every Week 5 Big Ten game.
Penn State 59, Maryland 0
Maryland really, really didn’t show up. Give Penn State all the credit for one of the sharpest big game performances yet under James Franklin, but that was a miserable gave by a Terp team that didn’t adjust, didn’t have any answers, and was totally outclassed.
THAT’S the game we’ve been waiting for out of Penn State. Sometimes, a team needs a few warm-up games before it figures things out, and the Nittany Lions certainly looked and played tuned up. Sean Clifford was fantastic, hitting 26-of-31 passes for 398 yards and three touchdowns and a score, and ran seven times for 54 yards and a touchdown.
Josh Jackson hasn’t been on for the last few games. He missed too many open throws and plays in the loss to Temple, and he was way off against Penn State. There were plays there to be made, and he didn’t do it. He only connected on 10-of-21 passes for 65 yards and two picks.
619 yards to 128. This was total domination that kept on rolling even with the backups in – the Nittany Lions didn’t let up. Now that get a wounded Purdue team up next. Maryland has three road games in the next four, but it gets Rutgers next week.
Michigan 52, Rutgers 0
There you go, everyone. Michigan is okay, the fundamentals of the program are strong, and … its Rutgers. Even so, to look at this in another way, just imagine if this wasn’t a 52-0 blasting. Considering all the slings and arrows the program took over the last week, this was a much-needed performance, just to prove it could do it.
The passing game showed off just how good it can really be. Shea Patterson connected on 17-of-23 passes for 276 yards and a score with a pick – with three rushing scores – and the receivers ripped it up with big play after big play. There’s still a running back problem, but for now, take the 52-0, and don’t get into a twist about the 3.4 yards per carry.
Rutgers didn’t have McLane Carter, and Artur Sitkowski did what he could. He hit 17-of-24 passes, but they didn’t go anywhere. It was all check downs and short-range throws. The ground game and offensive line didn’t help a lick.
Now the Scarlet Knights get an angry and desperate Maryland team next, and Michigan gets Iowa at home. This was nice, but get by the Hawkeyes, and all of a sudden the narrative of the season changes. Illinois is after that and them come the showdowns against Penn State and Notre Dame.