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The Whistlestop Tour: Week 2 of Big Ten Football

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Purdue helped the B1G to a 12-2 week.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks a lot, noobs. The Big Ten went 12-2 this weekend, with a couple of nice wins like Michigan State over Oregon. The two losses? Rutgers and Maryland. Rutgers lost to Washington State, who had lost to an FCS team at home a week before flying across the country not beat Rutgers. Maryland was tied with Bowling Green after three quarters before the Falcons and this offense hit warp speed. As we will see in this week's Whistlestop Tour, there is plenty of reason to fear Bowling Green in two weeks, and maybe more so than Virginia Tech.

Purdue 38, Indiana State 14

Our friends at Boiled Sports were cautious in their optimism over this weekend's win:

I liked enough of what I saw (and I saw most of it, before I turned away to watch Jacksonville State nearly win at Auburn; WatchESPN only stopped working twice, which is a new record for me), but I also saw enough problems to make me wonder about the rest of the schedule, particularly because Bowling Green put up 48 points at Maryland today, and the Terrapins only stayed within 3 TDs because someone punted to Will Likely again. The Boilers played like a bad Big 14 team against a pretty good I-AA team - unless Hazell can get some of these issues ironed out quickly, prospects for a win in any of the remaining games are dim.

Michigan 35, Oregon State 7

The Wolverines trailed for a good portion of this game, but after giving up an early TD Michigan gave up little else. De'Veon Smith had 126 yards and 3 TDs as the best running back performance in years for the Wolverines:

Following a performance full of missed opportunities against Utah, Smith erased any doubts about whether or not he deserves the starting spot against the Beavers on Saturday. 23 carries for 126 yards and three touchdowns fails to illustrate the determination and power Smith displayed throughout the contest. Time and again he powered through defenders to gain extra yards like it was nothing. De'Veon was a workhorse on Saturday, a critical piece in Harbaugh's offense, and he could prove to be very dangerous behind an improving offensive line.

Illinois 44, Western Illinois 0

Who has the best defense in the conference after two games? It's Illinois! They have given up only three points so far:

The defense. Illinois' defense during the Tim Beckman years was horrible. Just downright hideous. And yet over the first 2 games this year they've allowed a combined 3 points, 386 total yards, and 17 first downs. They've forced 6 turnovers. A punt was blocked for a touchdown. What a time to be alive.

Bowling Green 48, Maryland 27

I hope Bowling Green got all of its "beat a Big Ten team" out of its system. Matt Johnson has now throw for over 800 yards and 7 TDs in just two games against major conference teams too in Tennessee and Maryland:

Since before this season started, the best hope for Maryland in 2015 was somewhere around a 6-6 record. That was predicated, based on a tough Big Ten East, on Maryland not losing any of its first three out-of-conference games at home. Well, that's out the window. And the Terps didn't just lose on Saturday. They were obliterated, by a mid-major opponent on their own field. There are a great many flaws to this iteration of the Maryland football team - and also some excellent individual players - but this looks like a solidly below average team. Maybe it will change. But we need to deal in probabilities, and it probably won't.

Penn State 27, Buffalo 14

Hey! Penn State scored a few real life touchdowns! A pair of them came in the fourth quarter as the Nittany Lions pulled away from Buffalo:

I am optimistic by nature, and admittedly am looking for positives to take away from a rather ugly affair all around. Penn State's offense still has issues, and the questions and doubts about the coaches leading it are certainly justified. Three scoring drives against an out-manned Buffalo team did not cure the offense, but it was a step in the right direction, and hopefully can be followed up by a few more next weekend under the lights.

Wisconsin 58, Miami (OH) 0

My God, the blood!

The Badgers rolled to a 37-0 lead in the first half after a slow start during the first quarter where they did not capitalize on early miscues by the RedHawks. Though Wisconsin put up 13 points in the first quarter -- including a 13-yard touchdown to Wheelwright -- opportunities arose with two turnovers by Miami (Ohio) put them in prime position to add on to their advantage, but only led to three points.

Ohio State 38, Hawaii 0

This game was not as bad as expected, and Hawaii was only down 17-0 after three quarters. Ezekiel Elliott was over 100 yards and had three TDs:

Were the Buckeyes out of gas following a tough, physical Monday night game? Perhaps. The offensive line was not nearly as sharp as it had been in the season opener against Virginia Tech, and we saw much more pressure put on Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett than we would like to against a team like Hawaii.

Washington State 37, Rutgers 34

A late TD by the Cougars capped a fourth quarter where the Scarlett Knights outscored Washington State 22-17, but still lost. Then, social order continued to breakdown in New Jersey as Rutgers' top receivers was suspended for a postgame incident. Right now, it sucks to be Rutgers:

Rutgers will now be without their best offensive player for the biggest game of the year and possibly for the remainder of the season. Carroo is Rutgers' most indispensable player on offense and inexperienced players are going to have to step up. Let's take a look and how the Knights are going to try to line up without their best player.

Minnesota 23, Colorado State 20 (OT)

This was a wild finish as Minnesota scored with less than two minutes to go only to have Colorado State tie it with a field goal as time expired. Dalyn Dawkins, yes, the Purdue transfer, fumbled on CSU's OT possession and Minnesota only needed a field goal to win:

The concerns we had after TCU are the same.  Leidner's lack of consistency is brutal, the offensive line was often part of the problem and receivers dropping catch-able passes is not doing anyone any favors.  All three can hold back an offense on their own but together they make things extremely difficult for Minnesota.

Northwestern 41, Eastern Illinois 0

Directional Illinois did not even manage to score a point against two Big Ten teams this week. Southern Illinois is still leading that category by scoring all of the points against Indiana:

Northwestern ran the ball early and often against an Eastern Illinois defense that looked overwhelmed at times, rotating mainly between Justin Jackson (22 caries, 78 yards, 1 TD) and Warren Long (12 carries, 72 yards, 1 TD). Clayton Thorson played well in his second career game (11-16, 152 yards, 1 TD, 2 carries, 8 yards, 1 TD), and cemented his dual threat status by throwing a 44 yard touchdown and rushing for one as well.

Iowa 31, Iowa State 17

A pair of fourth quarter touchdowns and a defensive shutout in the second have has Iowa finally winning EL ASSICO!

I don't think Jake Rudock wins that game. I don't think he makes the critical throws or runs that Beathard did, and I don't think there were any mistakes by C.J. Beathard that Rudock wouldn't have made. We can marvel over the 44-yard rush from the 2-yard line that sparked the touchdown drive that tied the game at 10, but Iowa wouldn't have even had that play from scrimmage if Beathard hadn't wriggled out of a safety sack on the snap prior, and Rudock's not that kind of improvisateur. If it's 12-3 and Iowa State's getting the ball back on a short field, the game gets dramatically more different for Iowa. Beathard's leadership was stellar there and it kept Iowa afloat until it was time to take over in the second half.

Michigan State 31, Oregon 28

This was an entertaining game that followed the familiar Oregon loss script. If the Ducks can't get the death machine rolling on offense they don't know what to do:

This is more of a general College Football thing but it ties in with the Spartans. While the expectation might be there for MSU to run the table up until the Ohio State game, nothing is given and you have focus on September and October before you even breathe a word about the game in Columbus. While the schedule is favorable, plenty of huge upsets or potential upsets could happen. It's college football, and you have to bring it every week regardless of opponent.

Nebraska 48, South Alabama 9

It looks like Terrell Newby is the new great Nebraska running back after 198 yards and two TDs:

Terrell Newby was the star of the game with 236 yards of Total Offense and 3 total TD's. Armstrong and Fyfe spread the ball out to 8 total Nebraska receivers.

The Huskers totaled 303 yards passing and 258 yards rushing. South Alabama had 19 yards Rushing and 313 yards passing for a 332 yard total. Cody Clements went 23-40 for 271 yards and 1 interception for South Alabama.

Indiana 36, Florida International 22

The Indiana defense, a week after giving up almost 700 yards to an FCS team, actually made a big play. Jameel Cook Jr. sealed the win with a 96-yard pick six as FIU was driving to tie late and move Indiana to 2-0, albeit a shaky 2-0:

Sure, this team might not be Kevin Wilson's best or most talented team. But through two weeks, they're doing the one thing against inferior opponents that many other Big Ten teams haven't been able to do -- win. The opening two weeks of the season shouldn't -- and won't -- have anyone in the Hoosiers locker room intimidated. Maryland was properly inducted into the B1G with a MAC beatdown at the hands of Bowling Green. Rutgers just lost to a team that lost to Portland State the week prior. Penn State couldn't score on Temple and looked hapless at times against Buffalo. Michigan is, at best, okay. Indiana's crossover games are Iowa and Purdue. Anything scare you there?

Non-Conference Opponents

Ohio 21, Marshall 10 - Yeah. That happened.

Virginia Tech 42, Furman 3 - I am going to guess that Furman is not quite as good as Ohio State. Backup QB for the Hokies Thomas Sirk threw for 315 yards and 3 TDs while rushing for 86 yards and a TD.