This was supposed to be the weekend that the Big Ten planted its flag on back towards the front of the national college football conversation. Instead, the Big Ten came up with a big fail during Week 2 of the season, losing all three of its most important matchups and looking awful in just about every other win of the day.
Both Top 10 teams, Michigan State and Ohio State, couldn’t find ways to win winnable football games and took the Big Ten out of the conversation for the College Football Playoff for the foreseeable future. One may say it will take complete chaos for the conference to get anyone in to the first playoff, that’s for sure.
While the top of the conference struggled to losing efforts, there wasn’t much to write home about in the middle of the league either. The conference won just eight of its matchups, but only two of those wins were of the blowout variety…so golf clap to both Rutgers and Wisconsin for making the weekend not be a total epic fail.
Twitter provided the opportunity to sum up Week 2 of the 2014 season, and just about any season really:
Can we just call losing in Week 2 of the season “pulling a Big Ten” from now on? Good lord.
— Andy C (@AndyOnFootball) September 7, 2014
So, let’s just get down to business and give you the bad and the ugly of this week in Big Ten football action.
Biggest Winner: NO ONE
When your choices are Wisconsin winning 37-3 over Western Illinois or Rutgers crushing Howard you know the weekend was a total embarrassment.
While there were things to like about what the Badgers did in the second half of their win, including outscoring the Leathernecks 28-0, the fact of the matter is UW should’ve taken Western Illinois out behind the woodshed from the get go. Instead, Wisconsin struggled to run the ball early and if it weren’t for a two-point head start the score could’ve been 0-0 after the first quarter.
Rutgers’ Paul James was an individual beast, but come on…it was against Howard, who isn’t exactly a power school in the mighty MEAC.
Outside of those games there was no team who played well enough to even be thought about, and every Big Ten big shot was taken down a peg. It was a truly sad weekend in Big Ten country and we are all worse off having had to watch this abomination.
Biggest Loser: Purdue Boilermakers
On a weekend full of disappointment at the top of the conference, it was the bottom feeder that was most disappointing. Purdue got run over like the locomotive they so famously have on their logo, losing 38-17 to Central Michigan at home. That was simply embarrassing on a weekend full of near misses for most of the conference (save you Michigan).
Danny Elting was downright awful against the Chippewas, going 17-of-32 for 126 yards and two interceptions and no touchdowns. It didn’t cut it against Central Michigan, and it sure isn’t going to cut it against Big Ten teams.
This loss is especially difficult to take coming off the heels of beating fellow directional Michigan school, Western Michigan, last weekend. Any positive momentum the Boilermakers had came to a complete stop in this one.
Standout Player: DE Drew Ott, Iowa
While there were plenty of really important performances on the offensive side of the ball including quarterbacks Wes Lunt (Illinois) and Tanner McEvoy (Wisconsin), this week’s award goes to a defensive player who made sure his team escaped an upset bid.
Drew Ott was a beast for the Hawkeyes defense, and he kept it going from start to finish — forcing a fumble on the final play of the game for Ball State with Iowa up just four points. He also amassed a career high 13 tackles, had 2.5 tackles for loss and had one sack. Simply put, Iowa doesn’t win this football game without his effort and that’s worthy of our standout player award.
Best Tweet: This one is a tie this week folks.
First, just no words OSU fan….
Like clockwork. pic.twitter.com/BGUU9YWQFH
— Eleven Warriors (@11W) September 7, 2014
Secondly, this about sums up the MSU vs. Oregon 3rd quarter:
Guess Oregon bought the TSA pre-check for the No Fly Zone
— ESPN Big Ten (@ESPN_BigTen) September 7, 2014
Best TD: MELGOR…catching a pass for a TD
Biggest Surprise: Michigan gets shut out
Most of you that will read this have never seen the above happen, as Michigan just doesn’t get shut out, like ever. Well, at least not in the last 30 years of playing college football. In fact, the last time the Maize ‘N Blue got shut out I was just short of three years old.
Notre Dame fans made sure to make it clear of just how big a streak they ended too:
Only note that matters: Michigan hadn't been shutout in an NCAA record 376 games before tonight (Oct. 27, 1984) #bertschybits
— Michael Bertsch (@NDsidBertschy) September 7, 2014
The reality is this is about as shocking as it gets, especially with all that was on the line with the rivalry ending. However, we saw more of the offensive line issues and a non-existent run game rear their ugly heads in South Bend and it resulted in a 31-0 beating by the Fighting Irish.
Quotable Coach: Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
When asked about throwing the ball 55 times and whether that was the game plane, Ferentz responded with this:
It isn’t. It’s a by‑product of where we’re at and the way we were playing. We were really fortunate to be down by the score we were down at that point based on what we had done. The defense is who kept us in it and gave us a chance to be in there.
Best Moment: I’m a sucker for great defensive hits and this one qualifies as one of the best of the season this year.
(Side Note: ESPN College GameDay’s piece on the Make-A-Wish for Michigan Wolverines fan Steve Loszewski was amazing and if video of the segment existed it would’ve been in this place)
Craziest Stat of the Week: 17 completions in a row
Wisconsin quarterback Tanner McEvoy had a brutal introduction to the 2014 season against LSU, but he found his rhythm in a big way against Western Illinois. McEvoy completed 17 passes in a row for the Badgers after a few big missed opportunities early in the game. It wasn’t just 17 completions either; it was the crazy amount of yards and the spread of receivers that mattered most.
#Badgers McEvoy 17 in a row: to 7 receivers for a total of 207 yards. Erickson led way w/7-96 yards during streak.
— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) September 6, 2014