2014 Big Ten Week 4 Recap

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Week 4…

September 20, 2014

The Big Ten needed Week 4 to help boost moral and confidence as conference play looms. And well, all of the teams responded except on as they went 12-1 – its best record of the season – with blowouts, road wins and an upset of a ranked team. For once, the Big Ten looked like an actual power conference.

Northwestern 24, Western Illinois 7

Lucky win? Who cares… it’s a victory for the Wildcats as they had 283 yards of offense, were out gained by nearly 100 yards at home, and have no passing game to speak of. The only bright spots were Ifeadi Odenigbo (three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery), Justin Jackson (92 rushing yards, one TD) and Solomon Vault (two rushing TDs).

Northwestern fans are mad at the playcalling and the effort. Give credit to Pat Fitzgerald, who said after the game, “[m]y size 12 is going where the sun don’t shine with this team for the rest of the year.” Should be an interesting week of practice.

Purdue 35, Southern Illinois 13

The Boilermakers jumped out to a 25-0 lead and never looked back. They did this mostly with takeaways and field position; their four touchdown drives on the day went 23, 44, 26 and 43 yards. Danny Anthrop had five catches for 106 yards and a touchdown, and the rushing defense excelled.

Illinois 42, Texas State 35

Illinois outscored Texas State 24-7 in the fourth quarter to survive an upset scare. WHEW!!! This game also had a weather delay, after which the Illini recovered from a 21-6 deficit thanks to Josh Ferguson’s 233 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns. V’Angelo Bentley had a pick-six in the waning minutes to give Illinois a two-score lead, which it needed when Texas State scored soon after. Illinois has struggled in every game this year, but find ways to win…

Indiana 31, Missouri 27

Indy put in work and it paid off with a huge win over ranked Missouri.

The Hoosiers led for much of the first half and third quarter, but they traded leads with Mizzou several times in the fourth quarter. Trailing 27-24 with two minutes left, Nate Sudfeld and Tevin Coleman engineered a 75-yard drive to win the game.

Indiana’s defense held up surprisingly well against the Missouri spread. The Hoosiers beat a ranked team despite going 1 of 14 on third down conversions, suggesting that things are looking up for Indiana.

Nebraska 41, Miami (FL) 31

Ameer Abdullah set a Nebraska record for most career all-purpose yards as the Cornhuskers outslugged Miami in front of a record crowd of 91,585 in Lincoln.

Nebraska chose to run on the Hurricanes, to great effect. The Cornhuskers racked up 343 rushing yards, paced by Abdullah’s 229 yards and Tommy Armstrong Jr.’s 96 yards.

Michigan State 73, Eastern Michigan 14

The Spartans had 320 yards of offense in the first half, and they out gained the Eagles by 319. Thorough stand in the State of Michigan!

Wisconsin 68, Bowling Green 17

The Badgers set a modern era Big Ten record for rushing yards (644), and Melvin Gordon is a shoe-in for offensive player of the week with 253 rushing yards and five TDs. Gordon is now averaging 8.26 yards per carry for his career, tied with Glenn Davis for the highest career average in history.

Iowa 24, Pittsburgh 20

The Hawkeyes knocked off Pitt on the road and upgraded their starting quarterback.

Iowa had trouble stopping Pitt running back James Conner, and the Hawkeyes trailed 17-7 at the half. With the offense stalling, it appeared starting QB Jake Rudock was yanked in the third quarter for CJ Beathard, whose magnificent hair sparked the offense. Iowa got into a late groove, Mark Weisman scored two touchdown runs to take the lead, and the stingy Hawkeye defense held on to preserve the win.

Maryland 34, Syracuse 20

Syracuse outgained Maryland by 220 yards and demolished Maryland’s rushing defense, but Maryland had all kinds of luck against Syracuse. Will Likely had an 88-yard pick six, Brandon Ross turned a swing pass into a 90-yard touchdown, and timely turnovers helped the Terrapins beat the Orange in the Carrier Dome. A late touchdown by Syracuse made the score closer to reality, but it was still a comfortable win for the Terrapins.

Rutgers 31, Navy 24

Rutgers overcame Navy’s triple option offense and a knee injury to Paul James to defeat the Midshipmen in Annapolis. They even had success pounding the ball with James, but he left the game after taking a helmet to the knee in the second quarter. Justin Goodwin and Desmon Peoples filled in with a combined 186 rushing yards, while Gary Nova had two short touchdown runs and didn’t screw up. Navy drove as far as the Rutgers 6-yard line in the final minute, but the Scarlet Knights’ defense held strong. While Rutgers won’t win the division, they’re playing like a potential bowl team.

Penn State 48, Massachusetts 7

The Nittany Lions displayed an active running game for the first time, destroying Massachusetts to improve to 4-0. Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak each had a pair of rushing touchdowns, while Akeel Lynch added 81 yards. Even more impressive was the Penn State rushing defense, which held UMass to 28 yards (sack-adjusted) on 28 carries.

Utah 26, Michigan 10

As I stated above, the Big Ten lost only one game on the day. It came in a miserable, rain delay-lengthened slog of a game, Utah defeated Michigan at the Big House. The Wolverines offense just couldn’t – period. They only scored 3 points, a field-goal, a-l-l game… the other score came on a pick six by Willie Henry.

Next week will feature more nonconference sleepers and a couple of conference games where teams better pay attention including Minnesota-Michigan; Maryland-Indiana and Michigan State-Wyoming. See you then…..

Minnesota 24, San Jose State 7

 

“BIG TEN HELMET STICKER 4 the Week”

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Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska 229 yards, two touchdowns

 

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