Big Ten Week 11 Recap
November 13, 2015
What a week: Buckeyes and Iowa are still unbeaten… Hoosiers push Wolverines in OT… Sparty’s Cook is hurt
Given what we have to look forward to over the next couple weeks, this week’s lineup felt a bit like the calm before the storm. There weren’t any “huge” surprises… Let’s recap…
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Ohio State now may look ahead to the Michigan State game many have had circled all season as they defeat Illinois 28-3.
Ohio State (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) again started the game sluggish as the Buckeyes led just 14-3 at halftime. After J.T. Barrett was ruled short of the end zone on back-to-back runs and Ohio State missed a field goal on its opening drive, he hooked up with Thomas for a 24-yard touchdown pass on the second drive of the game.
Illinois then added a field goal to trim the deficit to 7-3 before Barrett plunged it in from 6 yards out late in the second quarter to give the Buckeyes their 11-point halftime lead.
Running back Ezekiel Elliott topped the 100-yard mark for the 15th-straight game, the Buckeyes limited Illinois to just 20 yards rushing and Ohio State racked up 440 yards of total offense and scored in each and every quarter – Whew!
Elliott gained 181 yards on the ground on 27 carries with a pair of touchdowns. The junior running back scored from 1 yard out to give the third-ranked Buckeyes a three-score lead midway through the third quarter and then put the game on ice with a 10-yard scoring run early in the fourth.
Barrett went 15-for-23 passing for 150 yards with one touchdown and one interception and Michael Thomas led the Ohio State wide receivers with six catches for 76 yards and a score. Barrett also gained 74 yards on the ground on 16 carries.
Ohio State held the Illini to just 101 yards of total offense in the first half while racking up 209 of its own. Barrett was 9-for-13 passing for 106 yards and a touchdown in the first half, while also carrying the ball 11 times for 56 yards and a score. Elliott had 47 of his yards in the first half.
“To come on the road, our defense is playing lights out and that’s obvious. The only issue I have, I think we controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides and the negative is we have to be more balanced,” coach Meyer said after Ohio State won it’s 10th game of the year, defeating Illinois 28-3 Saturday. “We know what’s coming down the road next week and we have to be a little bit more balanced than we were and that starts with pass protection. That was the only negative.”
Ohio State hosts 13th-ranked Michigan State next Saturday, and I’m certain ESPN GameDay will be in Columbus for this one!
NOTE: Ohio State has won a Big Ten-record 30 conference games in a row, breaking the current conference landscape mark of 29 consecutive wins in the ACC by Florida State from 1992-95.
The health of Connor Cook is going to be a pretty big discussion point leading up to next weekend’s showdown in Columbus. The senior went out in the first quarter with a shoulder injury and was clearly in a lot of pain. Though Cook did return for the second quarter, backup Tyler O’Connor was under center for the second half.
It wasn’t the most prolific passing day for the Spartans as Cook completed just 6 of 20 passes for 77 yards and an interception. O’Connor was 6 of 11 for 44 yards with one touchdown and an interception of his own. Gerald Holmes led the rushing attack with 18 of the team’s 41 carries. The sophomore finished the day with 83 yards and a score. After a hot start to the season, true freshman L.J. Scott continues to see limited touches, rushing just two times for 12 yards. Wideout Macgarrett Kings Jr. added 48 receiving yards—including a very nice one-handed grab—and hauled in a touchdown pass.
The Maryland offense was plagued by turnovers and could only manage 289 yards on the day. Quarterbacks Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe combined for 182 yards and three interceptions. Junior tailback Wes Brown rushed for 52 yards while Hills added another 39 on the ground.
Gigantic contest next week… who will seal the victory Sparty or Buckeyes?
It is being reported that LeShun Daniels had a career day for the Hawkeyes, rushing for 195 yards and a trio of touchdowns. And his QB, C.J. Beathard, connected on 18 of 26 passes for for 213 yards and an additional 50 yards on the ground with a pair of scores.
Mitch Leidner and Shannon Brooks led the way for the Gophs’ offense. Leidner totaled 291 yards of offense and a pair of scores. Brooks added 86 yards and a rushing touchdown. The freshman tailback also connected with Drew Wolitarsky for a touchdown off of a halfback pass.
With a win over Purdue next week, the Hawkeyes will clinch a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game. Any takers that they won’t win next week?
The Hoosiers had a chance to tie the game—or possibly win it—but they were unable to punch it in as Nate Sudfeld’s pass fell incomplete at the goal line. The Indiana ground attack had been gashing the Michigan defense all game, leaving many to question the decision to throw the football from two yards out.
De’Veon Smith and the Wolverine running game were stymied for the majority of the day, but quarterback Jake Rudock put together the best performance of his career. The senior threw for 440 yards and six touchdowns while adding another 64 yards on the ground. Outside of a bad third-quarter interception, Rudock was nearly perfect. Jehu Chesson hauled in ten passes for 207 yards and four touchdowns, including the five-yarder that tied the game with no time left in regulation. Amara Darboh and Jake Butt each caught touchdown passes as well.
Junior tailback Jordan Howard put on a show for the Hoosiers, rushing for 238 yards and two scores against the nation’s third-ranked rushing defense. Sudfeld threw for 220 yards and a score. Simmie Cobbs Jr. led all IU pass-catchers with four receptions for 86 yards. The Hoosiers have now lost six consecutive games after starting off 4-0.
Believe it or not, the Wolverines kept their Big Ten title hopes alive with a double-overtime win in Bloomington.
With Week 11 in the books, we are down to just two more weekends of regular season Big Ten play. Yes, it’s sad that things are winding down, but the fun is really just beginning. Ohio State fans have watched their Buckeyes (mostly) cruise through the past few weeks, but it’s going to be a different ballgame from here on out.
Next weekend is gonna be a doozy. The Buckeyes will host the Spartans (and a number of the nation’s top high school talent will be on the sidelines – visitors weekend in Columbus), the Wolverines travel to Happy Valley, and the Badgers are home against Northwestern. Should be a good one in the Big Ten!
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