The Whistlestop Tour: Week 7 Of Big Ten Football

Pat Lovell-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

A quick rundown of week 7 in Big Ten football.

Danny Hope is at it again. He is one again going to bat for the embattled Caleb TerBush according to Mike Carmin of the Lafayette Journal & Courier:

"I know he threw a pick and the ball was a little high and they probably could've caught it. Going back and looking at, I don't know if pulling him and having him sit out all that time and putting him back in the second half - that's a long time to sit out as a quarterback. You have to get warmed up again. He was significantly less effective in the second half than he was in the first half. I don't know why. Maybe he was out too long.

At this point, Danny, just pick a guy and stick with him. I don't care if it is TerBush, Robert Marve, Rob Henry, Austin Appleby, Bilal Marshall, Austin Parker, or Kawann Short running the super-jumbo wildcat every play. I am tired of picking quarterbacks at random and throwing them out there. J Money at Boiled Sports said it best Saturday:

You know, it's almost as though nonsensically playing multiple quarterbacks in a willy-nilly fashion is not a formula for success. Of course, if you're going to do it, it's always good to let your team get behind and then ask the guy you say isn't "efficient" to come in and be....efficient, I guess. And then when it gets later in the game and you really have no choice but to pass a lot to try to make up ground, that's the perfect time to bring in your option quarterback who has never been a good passer.

Again, just pick a guy, please!

Wisconsin 38, Purdue 14

Bucky's Fifth Quarter was predictably pleased that their power run game finally clicked. I guess they need to only face the Purdue run defense, who the Badgers have run over for years:

Ball rushed 29 times for a career-high 247 yards and three touchdowns. His record-tying, 67-yard touchdown scamper to start the scoring in the second half set another record - the longest run of Ball's illustrious career.

Glad we could help!

Iowa 19, Michigan State 16 2OT

It looks like the Spartans will not be returning to the Big Ten title game to face off against Wisconsin. They're now 1-2 in the league and would probably need to be perfect the rest of the way. Their best hope is to continue their recent mastery over the Wolverines this coming week and hope it turns momentum back in their favor:

There was the obvious mishap with the "do we spike it or send out the field goal team" screw-up right before halftime - a mistake I thought we excised along with John L. Smith. (At least this one didn't result in a block and a touchdown for the other team, I guess.) Handle that correctly and the headline at the end is Kirk Ferentz's insane decision to call two timeouts for us early in that drive (one of them on 3rd and 1!) to give us time to do it instead.

For The Hawkeyes, it wasn't pretty, but it was still a victory:

It had to be this way, didn't it? I mean... if Kirk Ferentz was going to get his 100th win at Iowa, it was going to come in the most Kirk Ferentz-y way possible, right? That means a game where Iowa scores one touchdown, but kicks four field goals (three from thirty yards or less). That means a game where the defense is stout and frustrates the opposing offense. That means a game where the special teams make key plays for Iowa. That means a game where Iowa wins in double overtime off a tipped-ball interception. It was ugly and it was beautiful but, more than anything, this was a pretty perfect encapsulation of Iowa football over the last 14 seasons.

Northwestern 21, Minnesota 13

The Wildcats are back rolling along and they sit only a game in the loss column behind Michigan and Iowa going into their most brutal stretch of the season. Bowl eligibility is clinched, a first for a Big Ten team this year, so now it is time to look for more:

It's nice to be 6-1 after seven games, especially since there hasn't been a time all year when we've walked away from a game and said "hey, Northwestern played well for 60 minutes." Seriously, hasn't happened once.

The biggest news for Minnesota is not the loss, however, but that Jerry Kill suffered another seizure after the game:

This is concerning news after dealing with seizures for parts of last season. I do hope he recovers quickly and is able to get back to his normal routine This has to be a scary situation and I sincerely hope he is healthy.

Best wishes to coach Kill. The Golden Gophers need him back soon.

Michigan 45, Illinois 0

The Fighing Illini are now the worst team in the Big Ten, as the offense is awful and the defense isn't much better With two more losses they will be the first team out of the bowl picture, and for Purdue to reach a bowl this is now a must-win game.

For Michigan, there is still bad to take from a blowout such as this:

Al Borges has made a clear effort to let Denard do what Denard does best, and that won't ever be passing. He attempted 16 passes against a formidable Purdue defense, connecting on only half of those attempts. Against Illinois? Seven completions on eleven attempts. Luckily for the Michigan offense everyone in the Big Ten looks like crap, so maybe this whole one-dimensional issue won't ever really be a problem.

Ohio State 52, Indiana 49

I was torn last night. While it was fun to watch the gnashing of teeth from Ohio State fans on Twitter because of their struggles with Indiana, it was still Indiana. I am conditioned not to like anything involving the Hoosiers even if I do pity their football program. Right now they are a better team than Purdue, who at the moment is playing better only than Illinois.

Indiana fans are learning though. There is no such thing as a moral victory even in a game like this that is a huge mismatch on paper:

It was a game of big plays, and what has most Hoosier fans encouraged is that even thought IU would fall behind by a touchdown or two throughout the game, they always came back. And when Sudfeld came in with 3:58 left, and took Indiana from their own 26 to endzone in 2:18, Hoosier fans had to be especially encouraged. The fact that the Hoosiers then recovered the onside kick at the OSU 48, and scored again in a mere 1:40 has to have Hoosiers hopeful and opponents fearful going into the final moments of any game from here on out. The Hoosier offense is better than I thought it could be, especially given that our starring QB went down halfway through game 2 this season.

Ohio State, meanwhile, is in freak out mode:

The defense will steal all the story lines for the fourth fifth sixth seventh straight week as they allowed an absurd 481 yards to a just top 50 Indiana offense (though sure to be rising after Ohio State's display of defensive generosity). While the Hoosiers showed much more than signs of life offensively in Kevin Wilson's second year at the helm, giving up 352 passing yards is particularly troubling from a secondary that's given little reason for optimism week in week out this young season.

Trust me, Buckeye fans, when you score early next week things will look just fine on both sides of the ball. I have confidence that Danny Hope will stare blankly as his team runs the same four plays over and over, resulting in punt after punt. Just take an early lead and it is over.

Non-Conference Opponents:

Eastern Kentucky 45, Austin Peay 14 - The Colonels are now 5-2 and 3-1 in the Ohio Valley Conference and they might be the best team we have beaten.

Notre Dame 20, Stanford 13 OT - No comment from me on the touchdown-or-not by Stanford at the end.

Toledo 52, Eastern Michigan 47 - The Eagles are one of three winless FBS teams in the country.

Marshall - on bye

Special Shout out game:

Indiana State 17, North Dakota State 14 - The mighty Trees of Indiana State went to No. 1 and defending FCS champ North Dakota State and stunned the Bison thanks to two pick sixes from Johnny Towalid. What resurgence from a team that was probably the worst Division I program in the country as recently as five years ago.

For the record, their head coach is Trent Miles who patiently waited through three bad seasons before going 6-5 last year and now breaking through in year five. His teams are playing tough defense and have a strong running game.

Not that we would be interested in anything like that...

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