Yes, there was life outside of Columbus, Ohio this past weekend. That life yielded some pretty good football and gave us a couple of interesting numbers in regard to the Big Ten.
Here are some numbers I pulled after Week Nine’s games.
This is how many Big Ten teams are currently ranked in the Top 4 of both the AP and Coaches Polls right now. Ohio State is No. 3 and Wisconsin is No. 4 in both polls. With the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season being released tonight, it will be interesting to see where those two teams fall in the playoff committee’s all-important Top 4. Regardless of what a bunch of old guys in a hotel in Dallas decide, those two teams are solid and can play with anyone in the country.
And they just so happen to be Iowa’s next two opponents.
This is how many catches Iowa tight end Noah Fant had against Minnesota. It’s also the third straight game where he has caught exactly three passes, and the fourth time this season. It’s also the number he can’t seem to get past. He hasn’t caught more than three passes in any game so far this year. Sure, he’s had chances to eclipse that number here and there and missed out with some drops, but it’s not like he’s getting a ton of targets, either.
Look, I’m just a guy on the couch with a laptop. I’m not a coach or much of an expert of any kind, but I gotta think Brian Ferentz can find ways to increase his opportunities -- especially in the red zone. He may not have the best hands in the world, but he’s a rare athlete and a matchup nightmare for most team. A three-catch ceiling seems low.
This was the quarterback rating of Michigan’s Brandon Peters against Rutgers. It was a small sample size, but Peters’ performance on Saturday was far and away the best that any Wolverine quarterback has posted this season. He went 10 of 14 for 128 yards and one touchdown pass. He looked calm and in control in the pocket against the same Scarlet Knight defense that John O’Korn had been struggling against for more than a quarter.
I gotta think he’s the guy going forward. If that’s the case, and Harbaugh has finally found his leader in the offensive huddle, the next two or three years could be the beginning of something big in Ann Arbor.
Or maybe some kid with nothing to lose and everything to gain had a solid game against Rutgers.
This was how many yards Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson threw for in the Wildcats’ overtime win against Michigan State. The Wildcats are 4-0 when he goes over 290 yards through the air. They are 1-3 when he doesn’t. That one win came against YOUR Iowa Hawkeyes.
This was how many times Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee threw the ball against Purdue. It was the most pass attempts he’s had in a single game all season and the first time since the game on September 16th against Northern Illinois that he tossed more than 40. He completed 32 of those passes for 431 yard and two scores. Since tossing two picks against Rutgers on September 23rd, Lee has now thrown eight touchdown passes and only one interception in his last four outings.