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Wha Happened? Week Eleven Around The Big Ten

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Wha Happened? is the weekly round-up of the rest of the games that were in the Big Ten -- you know, the ones that were going on while you were shotgunning that beer, or watching Iowa, or sleeping off that early-morning tailgating.  Who won?  Who lost?  Who made us quiver with fear?  Who made us laugh hysterically?  In short... Wha Happened?  Now with new-and-improved performance ranking system!

So much for the Big Ten's image as a plodding, low-scoring league.  A week after Illinois and Michigan combined to obliterate scoring records and stage a flag football game for the ages, Wisconsin decided to get in on the scoreboard incineration game themselves, rolling up EIGHTY-THREE POINTS on hapless Indiana.  83!  In a fucking football game!  According to ESPN, that's the most points in a Big Ten game since Ohio State ran up 83 in 1950 (against Iowa - ugh), the most points Wisconsin has scored since 85 against Marquette in 1915, and the most in any BCS-conference game since 2000.  Oh, and they did it without their starting center (Peter Konz) and their starting running back (John Clay).  Didn't fucking matter.  Montee Ball went off for 167 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries and Jason White added 144 yards and two scores on 19 carries.  Scott Tolzien went 15/18 for 181 yards and 3/0 TD/INT.  The Badgers scored 11 touchdowns and never punted all game.  They did whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted.  Whose defense gets to try and stop that juggernaut next?  Michigan?  Fuuuuuck.

Meanwhile, in Hoosier-land, it may be officially time to raise the threat level on the Is Bill Lynch Gonna Get Shitcanned chart.  They're 0-6 in conference play this year and they've lost eleven straight conference games overall and 15 of their last 16 conference games.  The close home losses against Northwestern and Iowa were cause for some optimism, but teams can't live on moral victories alone.  This was supposed to be the year where Indiana had one of their best chances to get bowl-eligible in years, thanks to their cuddly-soft non-conference slate (Towson, @Western Kentucky, Akron, Arkansas State; combined record: 7-33).  All they needed to do was poach  two conference wins and a trip to Detroit could have been theirs.  Instead, they've been on the hands of increasingly ugly beatdowns on the road (38-10 to Ohio State, 43-13 to Illinois, now 83-20 to Wisconsin) and seem to be regressing.  At 4-6, bowl eligibility is still possible, although it requires winning a "home game" against Penn State (at FedEx Field, sure to be Beaver Stadium South) and going on the road to beat TMHR.  Based on results like this weekend, that doesn't seem too damn likely.  And if Indiana is sitting there at 0-8 or even 1-7 in conference play, on the heels of back-to-back 1-7 conference seasons, well, it's probably time to start wondering if the program is headed anywhere good with Lynch in charge. 

For a half, it seemed as if Penn State would be able to continue their three-game winning streak in conference play; Matt McGloin had guided Penn State to a 14-3 halftime lead and seemed to have all the momentum.  They were moving the ball well through the air and on the ground and their much-maligned defense was actually slowing down the vaunted Ohio State offense.  Unfortunately, JoePa's deal with the devil apparently expired at midnight, as Ohio State rattled off 35 straight points to reduce PSU to cinders.  Those 35 straight points included not one, but two pick-sixes and one fluky touchdown bomb when Pryor threw into double-coverage only to have the ball deflect into the arms of a trailing receiver, who easily scored a touchdown.  Pryor, in fact, wasn't that sharp all day -- 8/13, 139 yards 2/1 TD/INT, plus 49 rushing yards on nine carries.  Dan Herron was the star of the day for the Ohio State offense -- 21 carries, 190 yards, 1 TD. 

Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that we were fawning over Illinois and their new coordinators?  Well, offensive coordinator Paul Petrino is still ripping shit up; a week after directing an offense that rolled up 65 points and half a zillion yards against Michigan, the Illini once again shredded a terrible defense: 401 total yards and 34 points, led by Mikel LeShoure (18 carries, 141 yards, 2 TD).  Unfortunately, the Vic Koenning-led defense that was stout earlier in the season has dissolved into a fucking wreck.  Giving up 67 points and a jillion yards to Michigan is one thing, but 38 points to Minnesota, including two scoring drives late in the fourth quarter?  That's just baaad.  Speaking of... Adam Weber went 20/36, 225 yards, 2/0 TD/INT and directed those two scoring drives in the fourth quarter, including the game-winner in the final minutes.  I'm sorry, but I don't want to live in a world where Adam Weber is a more clutch quarterback late in the fourth quarter than Ricky Stanzi.

MICHIGAN 27, PURDUE 16 (coverage)
Thanks for ruining the best sure thing in college sports wagering ("take the Michigan over"), assholes.  But that's what happens when two teams combine for TEN TURNOVERS.  Ten turnovers?  Are you fucking kidding me?  Half the Iowa-jNW game was played in a rainstorm/wind tunnel and there were still only two turnovers the entire game.  Whatever.  The stats say that for once the Michigan defense actually played well, holding Purdue to 16 points (9 if you consider the only TD scored by OMHR was an INT return), 256 total yards, and 12 first downs -- figures which have to be season bests for Michigan.  But what really happened was that the Michigan defense finally ran into an offense as beat up, inexperienced, and all-around lousy as itself (if not worse), which is what happens when a team is forced into starting third-string options at many spots.  On the other side of the ball, the Michigan offense apparently decided to take a break with the defense actually playing well for once; they amassed only 395 yards of total offense and Denard Robinson had just 244 yards of offense himself -- and just one touchdown.  But the real star of the game was Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan, who had a FUCKING RIDICULOUS stat line: 10 tackles, 5 TFL, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles,1 fumble recovery.  It pains us to say anything nice about a member of OMHR, but he's a beast and a half and hands down the best defensive lineman in the Big Ten; the fact that he wasn't named a finalist for the Lombardi Award is a fucking sham.