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Wha Happened? Week Six

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Yes, there were other games involving Big Ten teams before Kinnick Stadium turned into a turnover-forcing black hole and Rich Rodriguez went apeshit... so Wha Happened?

Some people have too much time.

Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 13
Offense?  Who needs fucking offense to not only win a football game but cover a seemingly ludicrous 16-point spread?  Then again, if Vegas truly knew Scott Tolzien was going to throw not one but two pick-sixes to Ohio State defenders (although the latter pick six was a truly gorgeous deflection, catch, and runback by an OSU linebacker), I'm never going to bet against them again, because clearly their psychic monkey army is not to be trifled with.  Anyway, in the game itself Wisco dominated time of possession (42:47 to 17:13), total yardage (368 to 184), first downs (22 to 8, and 3 of those came on the OSU offense's lone TD drive)... basically any offensive stat you care to look at.  But they lost decisively for two reasons: they couldn't convert that offensive dominance into many points and they gave up three critical big plays (the aforementioned two pick sixes and a 96-yard kick return touchdown, which occurred immediately after Wisco had sliced OSU's lead to 21-13 and effectively served as the nail in the coffin for the game). 

So what to take away from this game?  Well, Wisconsin is fairly legit -- you aren't going to give up 217 return yards and three touchdowns too often and their defense did an impressive job of stifling Ohio State's offense -- and Ohio State's defense is scary.  They did a fair amount of bending against Wisconsin, but they almost never broke and they came up with more than enough big plays to win the game. With the Pryor-led offense continuing to flail around like drunken ostrich whenever they play a defense that's at least halfway good, the defense and special is going to have to pick up the slack.  So far they seem more than capable of doing so.

Also an apt description of the Illinois offense.

Michigan State 24, Illinois 14
Hey, remember when the Zooker was turning to Eddie McGee to light a spark under the moribund Illinois offense?  Remember how he said it wasn't a "knee-jerk reaction"?  Right.  It sure seemed that way after he pulled McGee after barely more than one half of work and went right back to everyone's favorite massively-domed quarterback named after a beverage.  Then again, a quick look at McGee's line (2/11, 31 yards, 6 carries, 11 yards rushing, and one crippling pick-six interception that was STANZIBALL-esque in its awfulness) would reveal why a new knee-jerk reaction was in order.  Juice was bad in the early going this year; McGee was, improbably, even worse yesterday. 

On the bright side, Juice did lead the Illini to their first touchdown against BCS competition that was scored before the fourth quarter this season.  Baby steps, Illinois!  At this rate, you'll be scoring first quarter touchdowns by the Cincinnati game at the end of the season!   Anyway, Illinois is still terrible and the only reason to watch them is out of a macabre desire to see how disastrous this season can get for the Fightin' Zookers -- and to see if the head cheese himself can escape the guillotine.  As for Sparty... ho hum.  What does a win over Illinois really tell you at this stage?  Maybe the biggest positive is that they finally mustered a solid running game; it took a cast of thousands (or, like, five dudes), but they ran for 193 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 45 carries.   Then again, their two main running backs (Larry Caper and Glenn Winston) left the game due to injury (although The Only Colors says Caper is going to be alright).  24 is also the fewest points allowed by the Illini to FBS competition; even the offensively-challenged Buckeyes managed 30 points against Illinois, and they were playing in a monsoon.


This video may be too late to help Purdue, but you can still take its lesson to heart.

Minnesota 35, Purdue 20
Purdue is either the unluckiest team in football this year... or they just kinda suck.  If good teams make their own luck, do bad teams make their own bad luck?  A week after giftwrapping a victory for jNWU, Purdue was back to those same tricks.  Once again, they jumped out to an early lead (10-0 this week).  And once again, their inability to protect the football led directly to defeat.  Three of Minnesota's touchdowns were scored on drives that started at the Purdue 30 or better; one of the other touchdowns was scored off a return from a blocked field goal.  Like Ohio State, Minnesota was outgained (402 to 281), but still won comfortably thanks to turnovers and special teams.  When their offense did have the ball, Minnesota opted for a surprisingly effective ground-and-pound strategy, mashing the Boilermakers for 207 yards and 4 touchdowns on 44 carries.  Wha Happened? man crush target Eric Decker had a largely anonymous day (three catches for 50 yards), although the 47-yard bomb he hauled in helped set up one of the Gophers' touchdowns.  For Purdue, this was the latest embarrassing death rattle in a season that's officially gone belly up.  For Minnesota, this was a critical win in the pursuit of bowl eligibility; the next two weeks send them to Happy Valley and Columbus for games, which should put them at .500 heading into the home stretch of the season.



Northwestern 16, Miami (OH) 6
Oh LOLcats.  Don't ever change.  16-6?  Almost getting outgained in total yardage?  Against the other Miami?  Now, some people would cry "glass houses, motherfucker!"  Or, "hypocrisy, bitchface!"  To them, I would say three things.  One, that's just fucking rude.  Two, our ugly wins against lesser foes came against better teams.  Three, I don't really care.  Watching justNorthwestern struggle with inferior competition is just funny.  Motherfucking Kent State scored almost twice as many points against Miami as jNWU.  jNWU scored 21 points less than Miami has been giving up on average.  They completed less than 50% of their passes and ran for barely more than three yards a carry.  Again, against Miami (OH), one of the legit worst teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision.  You want to talk about "moral defeats"?  Look no further. 


Much like Indiana football, this is not for the faint of heart.

Virginia 47, Indiana 7
No, that is not a typo.  Virginia, the same schizophrenic sad sack outfit that lost badly to I-AA William & Mary a little over a month ago, took Indiana behind the woodshed for one of the most jaw-dropping beatings of the season.  Actually, scratch that -- they straight up fed them to the wood chipper (NSFW).  How else to explain a game in which they were almost doubled up in total yardage (536 to 272), made Jameel Sewell look like a Davey O'Brien Award candidate (20/30, 308 yds, 1 touchdown, 7 carries, 29 yards, 1 touchdown, 0 turnovers... he had three interceptions against William & Mary), and were down 47-0 at one point in the fourth quarter?  Going back to last year, Indiana has lost their last six games against BCS conference opponents (who was their last win against?  Guess who.) and they haven't even been remotely competitive in any of them except the Michigan game a few weeks ago.  Aside from being a gosh darn nice guy, how does Bill Lynch still have a job?


60% of the time, it works every time.  Just like scheduling Eastern Illinois.

Penn State 52, Eastern Illinois 3
Despite what you may have heard, rest assured that there is no truth to the rumor that Penn State is lobbying to have Jake Christensen start for the opposition in all games in Beaver Stadium.  But you can't blame them for trying.  First visit?  16/29, 146 yds, 1 TD, and a 20-point defeat.  Second visit?  13/25, 137 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT, and a 49-point defeat.  I'm not positive, but if he comes around again, I think he'll throw four interceptions and they'll win by 100.  Something like that - I'm no mathemagician.  Anyway, hail to the conquering victors; they won their first game against ranked competition, after all.  They ran well (285 yards and 3 touchdowns on 36 carries), they passed well (Clark threw for three touchdowns and 234 yards on 13/19 passing)... they did whatever they wanted.