2014 Big Ten Week 6 Recap
October 4, 2014
What an EPIC college football weekend as five top-10 teams lost in the same week for the first time ever, and two others barely survived. The Big Ten was just as strange and after six weeks of play, the best conference record belongs to Northwestern. Who knew….
Purdue 38, Illinois 27
Purdue coach Darrell Hazell promoted QB Austin Appleby to starter which lead to an efficient performance. The Boilermakers, led by Appleby and Akeem Hunt, exploited Illinois’ horrid rush defense for 551 yards of offense, 349 of those on the ground.
Illinois was never able to dig out of a 7-11 point hole, and quarterback Wes Lunt left the game late with a leg injury. Only receiver Mike Dudek (eight catches, 200 yards) was a bright spot for the Illini.
The Boilermakers won their first Big Ten game since 2012.
Northwestern 20, Wisconsin 14
Northwestern pulled off a Big Ten stunner for the second week in a row, taking down a ranked Wisconsin team in Evanston for the fourth time since 1999.
It was Miles Shuler who put the Wildcats up 17-7 in the third quarter, and Godwin Igwebuike had three interceptions to move Northwestern to 2-0 in Big Ten play for the first time since 2000.
Melvin Gordon had a career high 259 rushing yards, but Wisconsin’s quarterbacks were worse than ever. Tanner McEvoy was so ineffective that he was pulled for Joel Stave, who is battling the yips. The Badgers are afflicted by Le’Veon Bell Syndrome, which occurs when a team relies on a star running back so much that the rest of a team’s offense becomes ineffective (see Michigan State, 2012).
Michigan State 27, Nebraska 22
The Spartans jumped out early with a 27-3 lead until the tables turned… The Spartans had three giveaways in their own territory, two of them in a row, and Nebraska still couldn’t score.
A good punt return gave Nebraska strong field position, which it converted into an Abdullah power-rush touchdown. Nebraska again pounded Abdullah for a rushing touchdown, and a 62-yard return by De’Mornay Pierson-El after a MSU punt made it a one score game. Michigan State’s field goal attempt with a minute left hit the upright; Nebraska advanced to the MSU 37, but an interception by Trae Waynes sealed the game.
Rutgers 26, Michigan 24
The Scarlet Knights defeated Michigan to move one win away from bowl eligibility and send the Wolverines to 0-2 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1967. Michigan had a chance to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, but Kemoko Turay blocked a 56-yard field goal to preserve the win for Rutgers.
This was a classic good news/bad news game for Michigan. The good news: the rush defense is stout, the Wolverines averaged 4.5 yards a carry, and Devin Gardner was nearly good enough to guide Michigan to an upset of Rutgers. The bad news: Devin Gardner was not quite good enough to guide Michigan to an upset of Rutgers, and 2-10 is a real, horrifying possibility with Northwestern and Indiana looking spry.
Indiana 49, North Texas 24
Indiana has to be the Big Ten’s most hot-and-cold team. They were hot on Saturday, trouncing North Texas.
The Hoosiers used a short field and a timely onside kick to race out to a 21-0 lead, which they maintained for the rest of the game. The maligned defense, led by Donovan Clark, contained the Mean Green to 348 yards. Tevin Coleman, the Big Ten’s leading rusher, added 150 yards and a touchdown to seal the win.
Week 7 will put some interesting matchups on the same field including Northwestern-Minnesota, Indiana-Iowa, and Penn State-Michigan among others. Hhhhmmmmm see you next week!
“BIG TEN HELMET STICKER 4 the Week”
Gary Nova, QB, Rutgers – 404 yards, 3 three touchdowns
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