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The Whistlestop Tour: Week 5 of Big Ten Football

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The favorites roleld in almost every game.

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Purdue Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

It was an awfully chalky week this week in the Big Ten. The favorites rolled in almost every game as we take a look at week 5:

Penn State 59, Maryland 0

Goodness, Penn State was completely unstoppable Friday night:

Clifford and his 217.2 QB rating led the Nittany Lions, going 26 of 31 for 398 yards and three passing touchdowns, while rushing for 54 yards and another score. Hamler had 108 yards on six catches, including a touchdown, Bowers had 70 yards and a score, and Cam Sullivan-Brown contributed with five catches. Defensively, Castro-Fields and Johnson each had an interception, while Ellis Brooks had six tackles and 2.5 sacks in relief of Parsons.

Let me remind you that Maryland was ranked as recently as 2 weeks ago:

Going into its first Big Ten game of the season, Maryland football was set out to prove its 20-17 loss to Temple last time out was a fluke.

Head coach Mike Locksley’s squad was looking to set a new tone against Penn State, showing it could at least put up a fight against the one of the conference’s powerhouses.

And quarterback Josh Jackson was hoping to get back in his groove, bringing the offense back to the dominance it showed in the first two games of the season.

None of that happened in the Terps’ 59-0 loss to the No. 12 Nittany Lions. It started ugly, got uglier and never got better.

Ohio State 48, Nebraska 7

There was no Big Ten West road game magic for the home team against the Buckeyes this year as Ohio State crushed the Cornhuskers:

Even though it was the first primetime matchup of the season for the Ohio State Buckeyes, it was business as usual. Behind a 212-yard, three touchdown effort in the air from quarterback Justin Fields; and a 26 carry, 177-yard ground effort by running back J.K. Dobbins, the Bucks cruised to a 48-7 road victory against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

For Nebraska, it was a chance to prove at home Scott Frost was “it”, and it did not work out:

Kade Warner sighting. Austin Allen sighting. Kanawai Noa. Martinez converts a fourth down. Dedrick Mills sets up first and goal. Buckeye backups are no match for us! (/sobs) Or maybe they are. Fourth and goal - Martinez falls down at the 12. No points. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

Wisconsin 24, Northwestern 15

The Badgers finally got slowed down a bit, but it was not enough for a loss:

Wisconsin’s defense scored more points than its offense. Need I say more?

If I do, let’s go point by point. Northwestern’s pass defense strategy seemed to be the polar opposite of Michigan’s strategy last week. The Wildcats played more zone and picked its moments to blitz.

Jack Coan was off today. Northwestern’s defense was determined to keep Wisconsin in front of them and come up to make the tackles. When that happens, the quarterback has to hit the short passes quickly and on target so the receivers can quickly transition downfield and earn some yards after the catch.

The Wildcats had a strong day defensively, but it was not enough to turn the tide:

The Wildcats overcame their early season tackling woes and limited Jonathan Taylor to 119 yards and 4.6 yards per carry, both well below his per-game average, with some well-timed aggression. Northwestern was also supremely effective at limiting yards after catch, with some clutch play keeping Wisconsin from converting on third down throws that didn’t reach the sticks.

In their first three games this season, Northwestern struggled to consistently make tackles, with their defensive backs and sometimes their linebackers looking exposed in the open field, but today’s performance proved that the unit has gained plenty of confidence. Thanks to an aggressive Mike Hankwitz game plan and some key players getting the job done, this defense is starting to look every bit as fierce as they did in 2018.

Iowa 48, Middle Tennessee State 3

It is safe to say Iowa is better at football than Middle Tennessee State:

41-3... Should I just do the rest of the Wisconsin game? Let’s flip over to see what’s happening. Facing 3rd & 10 in Wisconsin territory, Hunter “Northwestern is the same as Clemson” Johnson drops back, gets hammered andddd PICK 6! LOLOLOL. Wisconsin’s back and running. Northwestern is still so bad. But the tape on how to beat Wisconsin might be out now. Harness JT. Make Coan beat you. Don’t throw picks.

Feels like that plays into Iowa’s hands quite well.

Michigan 52, Rutgers 0

The Wolverines were quite angry in this one:

Michigan football hosted the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor and destroyed the Big Ten’s doormat program by a score of 52-0 in a drubbing that quite frankly, they needed to have. This was a bad football team coming to town and staring question about their heart and their fight in the face, Michigan delivered its cleanest performance of the season to this point.

It was more of the same for Rutgers, who has been shut out twice in conference play so far:

On Saturday at the Big House, The Rutgers Scarlet Knights took on a Michigan Wolverines squad that was embarrassed at Wisconsin last week. As per usual, Rutgers won the coin toss and deferred. The Wolverines immediately marched down the field for a touchdown. After a Rutgers three and out where they punted on 4th and 1 from their own 31 yard line, Michigan marched down the field again. The home team moved the ball down the field fairly easily, but did face a few critical third downs they converted. Rutgers did themselves no favors with back to back penalties at one point at it was quickly 14-0.

Michigan State 40, Indiana 31

The Spittoon stays in East Lansing, as is right and proper:

Michigan State couldn’t get off the field or stop the Hoosiers from attacking them with short throws. The part of MSU’s team everyone relies on to make plays and save the day was nowhere to be found.

Spartan nation was busy watching their team get picked apart by a redshirt freshmen quarterback in Michael Penix Jr. — who ended up finishing the game 33-for-42 with 286 yards passing and four touchdowns (one rushing and three through the air).

It also appears as if #9Windiana is dead:

Three plays killed Indiana today. Early in the game, Bryant Fitzgerald dropped a sure pick six that would have completely changed the game early. In the second half, Michael Penix overthrowing Whop Philyor by centimeters on what would have been a sure touchdown. Then, a defensive holding on what would have been a turnover for Indiana extended Michigan State’s drive that ended in a field goal to make it a seven-point game.

Minnesota 38, Purdue 31

The Gophers had only one incompletion as Tanner Morgan threw just one incompletion:

Tanner Morgan was 21-22 for 396 yards and 4TD. This is peak good Tanner and I am here for it the rest of the season.

Rashod Bateman had six receptions for 177 yards and two TDs. His compatriots Chris Autman-Bell (3-97 and a TD) and Tyler Johnson (8-73 and a TD) showed why Minnesota has the best receiving corps in the Big Ten West.

Non-Conference Opponents:

Hawaii 54, Nevada 3 - The Wolf Pack could not slow down the Warriors at home.

Vanderbilt 24, Northern Illinois - Unlike Purdue, the Commodores can beat Northern Illinois.

TCU 51, Kansas 14 - The Horned Frogs got revenge after losing to Kansas last year.