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The Whistlestop Tour: Week 2 of Big Ten Football

Our tour around the Big Ten makes fun of Rutgers.

Eastern Michigan v Rutgers Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Ohio State was supposed to be the class of the conference, but Oklahoma beat the pants off of them on their home field. That leaves Penn State as the Big Ten’s top 5 team, and that is pretty disgusting, to be honest. Minnesota had a quality road win in the Pacific Northwest. Michigan continues to have a strong defense and questionable offense. As for the rest of the conference, they are touched on here in the Whistlestop Tour.

Purdue 44, Ohio 21

A Friday night home blowout was a lot of fun to experience, and the Boiled Sports guys concurred:

Purdue did what they were supposed to do tonight….and that’s news. It’s been a while since a Purdue team came into a game and did what we all think they should do. Frankly, even when it’s looked promising, Purdue has found a way to lay an egg, find a banana peel, whatever metaphor you’d like. Tonight, in the first night game under the permanent lights at Ross-Ade, Purdue was coming off a very encouraging performance against a very talented team and were facing a MAC team at home. That should mean a victory in your home opener if you’re a Power 5 team that has any shot of being taken seriously.

Oklahoma 31, Ohio State 16

I certainly expected more from the Buckeyes in this one, but J.T. Barrett and Co. apparently don’t like playing at home:

In the past year, Ohio State has played six games against teams ranked in the S&P+ top 11: Oklahoma (twice), Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan, and Clemson. They’ve won half of those games. Their combined score was 142-160 for an average score of 24-27. In the last 5 games, Ohio State’s offense has averaged just 22.4 points.

Penn State 33, Pittsburgh 14

In keeping with tradition, Penn State deserves as little attention as possible:

Despite beating the Panthers and looking in control for much of the contest, the Nittany Lions struggled mightily on offense for much of the contest. Trace McSorley had one of his worst games since Michigan in 2016 and the receiving corps struggled to create separation despite getting a number of 1v1 matchups. While the Penn State defense has unquestionably been a bright spot thus far, the Nittany Lions need to improve upon Saturday’s performance if they want to compete with the big dogs of college football.

Michigan 36, Cincinnati 14

The Wolverines slowly pulled away from a Cincinnati team that was pretty overmatched:

Speight was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination on Saturday, but the entire offense is a work in progress right now. When Michigan led by a slim margin at 17-14, somebody had to make a play.

The blocking was inconsistent and it seemed like the wide receivers and tight ends had problems getting open. With a young team, these issues can be seen as an annoyance, they are also necessary.

Wisconsin 31, Florida Atlantic 14

This was a much closer game than I expected. Even though the FAU folk had larger concerns back in Boca Raton with hurricane Irma, their guys put up a good fight:

Now, according to a report from ESPN’s Myron Medcalf, head coach Lane Kiffin and his team will stay in Madison indefinitely. You can only imagine what the program has gone through with the varying forecasts, which now have the eye of the storm hitting the Gulf Coast-side of the state.

Duke 41, Northwestern 14

Northwestern sure has not looked good so far. The Blue Devils jumped on them early and never let up:

Just over two-and-half minutes after Jones put the Blue Devils on the board, Williams fell down in one-on-one coverage and Duke receiver Chris Taylor walked into the end zone on a 52-yard sucker-punch.

It wasn't that McGee's absence alone caused the defense to implode, but that is what happened after he left the game.

Duke hit Northwestern with an ambush of 21 unanswered points at the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second, a stretch where Jones facilitated the offense like he was Tyus Jones at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Iowa 44, Iowa State 41 (OT)

El Assico was a classic this year, going to overtime with haymakers being thrown all over the place:

It just felt like another stupid loss to an inferior Iowa State team that Iowa had no business losing to.

Thank god Iowa remembered how to play football.

Maryland 63, Towson 17

Ty Johnson had 124 yards and 2 TDs on 5 carries and it was still a worse day than he had against Purdue last year:

As is usually the case, Moore and Ty Johnson were responsible for many of those explosive plays this afternoon. The two combined for five of the Terps’ nine touchdowns on the day, four of them counting as “big plays.” Moore even had a punt return touchdown called back because he had signaled for a fair catch before being run into and fielding it on a bounce.

Indiana 34, Virginia 17

The Hoosiers had a very questionable call go against them late, but still pulled away for a nice road win:

Richard Lagow probably lost his job today. If so, it’s the right decision. But it’s not Lagow’s fault. Last week in Three Things, I was harsh on the offensive line, which couldn’t hold off the Ohio State defensive line. Some pundits and critics thought that it was just because it was Ohio State’s stellar defensive line on the other side. Others thought that Greg Frey’s departure was an issue. But today, we saw that this is not a schematic issue, nor was it a matter of being outclassed by a top-5 opponent. No, this is a talent and tenacity issue. The offensive line stinks right now, and aside from one drive today (with about 12 minutes left that resulted in a turnover on downs on the goalline), they’ve shown no signs that improvement in anywhere on the horizon.

Michigan State 28, Western Michigan 14

The Spartan defense is getting it done this year against a WMU team that gave USC all it could handle:

The Week 2 win looked, in many ways, similar to the Spartans win in the season opener. The difference was their opponent. One member of the Broncos, specifically – Darius Phillips. The defensive back and kick returner was the only man to score for Western.

Eastern Michigan 16, Rutgers 13

Eastern Michigan, who comes to Purdue next year, got its first ever win over a Power 5 conference team:

There were multiple reasons that Rutgers suffered an embarrassing 16-13 loss at the hands of Eastern Michigan from the MAC on Saturday. Mental mistakes led to nine penalties committed, including the Dorian Miller “hands to the face” call that pushed Rutgers out of field goal range with just seconds left in the game. The coaching decisions, particularly on offense, were questionable at best. The players came out flat and looked like they underestimated Eastern Michigan, a team that was 0-58 against power five teams entering this game. However, one aspect of the loss brought up a reminder that during this current eleven game losing streak, the longest for Rutgers in almost two decades, quarterback play and scoring points has been a consistent issue throughout it.

Oregon 42, Nebraska 35

Nebraska trailed 42-14 at the half, then the Oregon offense fell asleep, nearly allowing the Cornhuskers to make a comeback:

Nebraska’s fourth quarter woes on offense punctuated a day where the whole team never meshed. Nebraska, after giving up 403 in the first half, gave up 157 in the second half. The offense didn’t catch up though, as the Huskers only put up 44 yards of offense in the fourth.

Illinois 20, Western Kentucky 7

The was an extremely surprising result, as the Illinois defense was dominant in prime time at home:

Despite being a touchdown underdogs in the second game of the season, the Illinois football team was impressive from the opening whistle in a 20-7 throttling of Western Kentucky on Saturday at home.

And for how much he gets criticized for conservative decisions, Lovie Smith’s gameplan was executed to perfection as Illinois controlled the field position and possession of the ball for much of the night.

Minnesota 48, Oregon State 14

After a shaky first week the boat was successfully rowed out on the west coast:

“The ball is the program.” We’ve heard that over and over from PJ Fleck. Turnover margin is so critical to winning and losing, tonight the Gophers were +3 in turnovers and paid off. Oregon State had 3 fumbles to just 1 for Minnesota as the Gophers ran away with this one 48-14 for a big road win.

Non-Conference Opponents:

Louisville 47, North Carolina 35 – Lamar Jackson is pretty good at this football thing.

South Carolina 31, Missouri 13 – Missouri score 82 points in the first 77 minutes of the season, and 3 points in the last 43 minutes.