Whole Nine Sports

Week 6 B1G Takeaways

B1G Football
Devin Jackson
Follow Devin on Twitter @RealD_Jackson
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Another interesting week in the B1G has come to a close, and once again, Ohio State is the top dog of the conference. However, Michigan surprised us all, Iowa’s offensive line is a head scratcher, Nebraska’s struggles on offense continues, and Penn State dominates again. Welcome to another week of some strange Big Ten football.

Illinois overwhelmed by Minnesota

Illinois

The season is getting dimmer and dimmer for the Illinois Fighting Illini. A once promising season took a turn in a surprising loss to Eastern Michigan, a gut wrenching loss to Nebraska, and now fall to Minnesota, as their quarterback Brandon Peters was lost for the game.

This offense has slowly become Reggie Corbin or bust. If Corbin doesn’t break off long runs and makes something out of nothing, this offense struggles to move the ball. And the Minnesota defense is not dominating by any stretch. They struggled to stop Purdue’s passing attack without Rondale Moore and Elijah Sindelar last week.

Illinois linebacker Jake Hansen had another impressive game for this defense, but boy have they struggled to stop their run. In Big Ten conference play so far, the Illini defense is giving up 330 rushing yards per game. You are beating nobody with that type of production. I am also disappointed in Oluwole Betiku Jr.’s performance after a dominant season so far for the USC graduate transfer.

Also, both Illinois touchdowns came from the defense. That is not a good sign for this team.

Lovie Smith’s hot seat is getting increasingly hot. With Michigan up next, the Fighting Illini could be the second team to fire their coach mid-season after a loss to the Wolverines.

Iowa struggles to find offense against Michigan

Iowa

Just when you thought Nate Stanley turned a corner as the Hawkeye’s quarterback, he has his worst game of the season against Michigan. Not only was his decision making bad, but his offensive line was bad too. An offensive line that features to future NFL draftees at tackles, Alaric Jackson and Tristan Wirfs, struggled to contain the Wolverines blitzing and causing pressure to Stanley nearly every drop back. And with a non-consistent running game, Iowa turned into a passing team, something they’re not built to be. Stanley threw three interceptions, and against a team like Michigan, with every possession meaning a little bit more, Iowa lost out on scoring opportunities.

On the flip side, the defense played as admirably as one could ask for. AJ Epenesa finally showed up in the statistics department, making his impact with a sack in the game. EDGE player Chauncey Golston also made a huge impact on the game as well, leading the team in tackles, adding a sack of his own and two tackles for loss. Iowa is good enough to compete for a Big Ten title, but if their offense gives them nothing, they won’t go very far. And they better iron out their offensive line, because Penn State is coming to town off a 10 sack performance against Purdue.

Maryland beats lowly Rutgers

MAryland

What better way to bounce back after being embarrassed then playing Rutgers, who are without their coach and best two offensive players?

At this point, teams can start to pencil in a win against Rutgers. Josh Jackson returned to form, Anthony McFarland looked good in limited action, all in all a solid bounce back win for the Terps.

Next week, they face Purdue, another team on the downswing, so luckily Maryland gets some games to find their rhythm again and gear up for a tough late October, early November stretch against some powerhouses in the Big Ten.

Michigan defense dominates in Iowa win

Michigan

Once again, another unimpressive performance from Shea Patterson against a quality opponent. While he helped lead the Wolverines on some lengthy drives and made some nice throws on the run, he once again had poor ball placement on missed touchdown throws. Michigan’s offense sputtered in the second half, and if it wasn’t for the defense, it could have been another disappointing loss for the Wolverines.

Khaleke Hudson and crew dominated Iowa’s front five in both the running and passing games. The consistent pressure Nate Stanley felt all game long led to his bad decision making. 8 team sacks will certainly rattle any quarterback, and Michigan has to be proud of the way their defense responded after being punched in the mouth repeatedly against Wisconsin a few weeks ago.

Michigan State’s offense can’t keep pace against Ohio State

Michigan State

Brian Lewerke played a lot better than most expected. The one thing most criticized about his game is his lack of consistency in throwing the ball and putting balls on target. For the most part in the first half, he did just that. They were a couple of third and longs, and Lewerke would step into the pocket and rifle some darts in tight windows for first downs. However, late in the second quarter, he missed Cody White on a crossing route, who would’ve walked in for a score to cut the lead to three. Instead, they settle for three points and Ohio State’s offense goes down and scores before halftime, effectively killing the Spartans momentum.

Darell Stewart Jr. had too many drops in this game. He had the best stat line of any of the Michigan State receivers, but three or four passes he took his eye off of and dropped them. Against a juggernaut like Ohio State, attention to detail is the difference between good and great teams.

Chase Young was a menace as well. Too many times Lewerke was running for his life, and too many times, drops, penalties or poor play calling put Lewerke in predictable third and long throws.

Joe Bachie is an NFL linebacker and you can’t change my mind about it. Bachie had a monster game, recording 11 tackles, 2 sacks and three tackles for loss. Also, Mike Panasiuk was a monster as well with 3.5 tackles for loss for the Michigan State defensive line.

Minnesota dominates Illinois defense

Minnesota

Welcome to the party, Minnesota’s rush offense! They absolutely punched Illinois in the mouth time and time again with the tandem of Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks. They could not be stopped, leading Minnesota to rushing for 332 yards in the game.

Another game, another Tyler Johnson highlight catch. His concentration on the play was off the charts, but he also had some point blank drops. He is no doubt one of the most talented receivers in the conference. He just needs to catch the ball consistently.

Carter Coughlin turns in a solid performance for the Golden Gopher defense. Now, it’s time to see if the Minnesota is a contender in the Big Ten West or not. They have the talent at receiver, a quarterback who’s a good decision maker, and some solid running backs.

Nebraska squeaks by Northwestern

Nebraska

Nebraska is struggling with an identity right now and it shows. Adrian Martinez and JD Spielman both go out with injuries and Nebraska still squeaks out a win. None of their wins this season have been very convincing nor dominant. Northwestern has a tough defense, no doubt.

Wan’Dale Robinson is going to be a star at Nebraska. He was the majority of Nebraska’s offense on Saturday and scored their only touchdown. He is special, man.

Nebraska is going to be fighting for a decent bowl game. It will be interesting to see if Adrian Martinez can come back healthy from his leg injury this week against Minnesota, as well as JD Spielman.

Northwestern loses tough game to Nebraska

Northwestern

We’re not looking at Northwestern’s offense because their defense is the star of the show. You take away the interceptions and fumbles lost by the Northwestern offense, this team has a chance to not only beat Wisconsin last week, but beat Nebraska as well. Paddy Fisher balled out with 10 tackles. Joe Gaziono is a gamer too, adding seven tackles, one sack and three tackles for loss.

If Northwestern had a somewhat better offense that consistently moved the ball with a decent quarterback, this team could be dangerous.

Ohio State surges past Michigan State

Ohio State

Just when Michigan State thought they had an answer for Ohio State after the first quarter. JK Dobbins goes wild in the second quarter, and completely runs through and by a talented Michigan State defensive line.

Let’s show some love to the big guys up front for the Buckeyes on both sides of the ball. Jonah Jackson, Rutgers transfer, was moving people up front. On the flip side, Chase Young is simply unblockable and proves you better double team him or your quarterback will be running for his life all game.

Justin Fields handled early adversity beautifully. He looks poised, and almost veteran like in his pocket presence. His ability to run in between the tackles and past defenders, in addition to his touch throwing the deep ball continues to make him a Heisman candidate. Ohio State’s offense simply can’t be stopped.

Penn State beats up Purdue

Penn State

The Penn State pass rush is legit. With multiple starters out for Purdue, Penn State’s defense took full advantage. Yetur Gross-Matos finally showed us why the hype around him is real, and that people should be on board with his hype. He is as talented as the other EDGE players in this conference, and in college football. Shaka Toney showed us flashes of being the next EDGE guy after Gross-Matos leaves for the NFL. Micah Parsons continues to show his growth and potential.

Penn State still has some questions in the secondary, and whether or not they can stick some of the top receivers in the B1G conference. They will have their hands full with Iowa and Michigan’s receivers the next few weeks.

Sean Clifford looks really comfortable in the offense. I did not like the stagnation in the second half, but the run game had its spurts and KJ Hamler is the most explosive receiver in the conference right now with Rondale Moore out.

Penn State has the pieces and NFL worthy talent to be a legitimate threat in the Big Ten, Now, it’s time to prove it against better competition over the next month and a half.

Purdue injuries too much against Penn State

Purdue

Purdue absolutely had no resistance from the Penn State front 7. Giving up 10 total sacks leaves you little to any time to throw the football, and for freshman Jack Plummer, you have to admire his heart for sticking in and taking that beating.

Purdue may pan out to be a solid team in a year or two, but injuries continue to plague this team unfortunately.

Rutgers lose again

Rutgers

Artur Sitkowski and Raheem Blackshear have decided to redshirt. They have no head coach at the moment. It is looking really bleak in Piscataway, New Jersey right now. At this point, all you can ask for is competitiveness from this team and to find a coach willing to change the culture of this program.

Wisconsin wins easily against Kent State

Wisconsin

Won’t spend too much time here. Jonathan Taylor is a frontrunner for the Heisman, and his 5 touchdown performance continues to add to the legend of JT for Heisman. He is the best offensive player in the B1G, and making his case for RB1 in the 2020 draft.

Zack Baun also had himself a game. His three sack performance continues to show his versatility and skill as a linebacker.