It may be but a baby step, but after years of futility, the Big 10 has quietly gone 21-3 in non conference play through the first two weeks. Sure, it hasn’t exactly been a murder’s row of opposition, but well, no one has lost to Appalachian State. Here’s a look at what happened around the league this past weekend.
Michigan 41, Notre Dame 30
Devin Gardner accounted for all 5 of the Wolverine’s touchdowns on Saturday night at the Big House (4 passing, 1 rushing), and overcame a late uh, blunder, to knock off the Irish in the final scheduled meeting in Ann Arbor. Gardner put up 294 yards through the air, and rushed for another 82. Senior receiver Jeremy Gallon caught 3 of the 4 Gardner TD passes, and racked up 184 yards on 8 receptions.
Up Next: Akron
Northwestern 48, Syracuse 27
This one was over with 1 second left in the first half when the Wildcats went up 34-7 on the visiting Orange. After being knocked out with a concussion in the week 1 win at Cal, quarterback Kain Colter returned to go 15/18 for 116 yards and a TD, while rushing for another 79 yards on 11 carries and 1 score. Trevor Siemian also played well, going 15/19 for 259 yards and 3 more touchdowns.
Up Next: Western Michigan
Michigan State 21, South Florida 6
Michigan State has a quarterback problem, and a tailback problem, and well, a general offensive problem. Despite putting up just 265 yards of offense, with just 94 of that coming through the air, the Spartans were able to hold off the visiting Bulls with another impressive defensive effort, holding the Bulls to just 165, and returning both a fumble and interception for scores. They have now scored 6 touchdowns in 2 games, with only 2 coming from the offense. Former PSU quarterback Steven Bench did see a few snaps for USF.
Up Next: Youngstown State
Ohio State 42, San Diego State 7
This one was over practically as soon as it started, with freshman speeder Dontre Wilson scoring his first touchdown as a Buckeye just 3 minutes in. Ohio State was up 21-0 by the end of the first quarter and never looked back. However, Urban Meyer did lose Heisman candidate Braxton Miller early on with what is being called an MCL sprain, and played most of this one with backup Kenny Guiton. All Guiton did was go 19/28 for 152 yards and 2 TDs through the air, with another 83 yards and 1 score on the ground. Meyer is optimistic Miller should be ready for next week’s action.
Up Next: @ Cal
Wisconsin 48, Tennessee Tech 0
The Badgers have played 8 quarters of football this season, and have not surrendered a single point. Sure, it’s been against UMass and Tennessee Tech, but two shutouts are still two shutouts. They again rode a strong rushing game, with all 3 backs going over 100 yards for the second straight week, with freshman Corey Clement leading the way with 140 yards and 2 touchdowns. QB Joel Stave was an impressive 24/29 for 219 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Up Next: Arizona State
Iowa 28, Missouri State 14
Well, at least it was a win? Iowa rolled up nearly 300 yards on the ground (180 of them from Mark Weisman) en route to the 2 touchdown win, but this one was a bit too close for the Hawkeyes. The Bears pulled to 21-14 early in the 4th quarter after scoring on consecutive plays from scrimmage, with the 2nd score coming on a Jake Rudock pick 6. Rudock would put the home team back up 14 with a two yard scoring run of his own on the following possession to essentially end it.
Up Next: @ Iowa State
Illinois 45, Cincinnati 17
Raise your hand if you checked this score for yourself after seeing it the first time. It’s a short list, but this is undoubtedly Tim Beckman’s biggest win with the Illini. Senior QB Nathan Scheelhaase threw 4 more touchdown passes (6 total on the season already), and put up 312 yards. The much maligned Illinois defense surrendered over 450 yards of offense, but came up big when needed, including forcing the lone Bearcat turnover on a Munchie Legaux QB sneak on the Illinois 1 yard line that would’ve cut the lead to 21-17 in the 3rd quarter. The Illini put together a 99 yard drive after that fumble to go up 28-10.
Up Next: Washington (Soldier Field)
Purdue 20, Indiana State 14
Darrell Hazell got his first win with the Boilermakers, but it was much closer than the first year coach would have liked. This one was not over until Indiana State was picked off inside Purdue territory with less than a minute to play. Thing did start off well, with Akeem Hunt returning the opening kickoff for 6. Purdue only put up 284 yards of offense as first year starter Rob Henry again struggled at quarterback, going just 15/24 for 150 yards.
Up Next: Notre Dame
Nebraska 56, Southern Miss 13
A week after giving up 600 yards for the 3rd straight game, the Nebraska defense recovered to hold Southern Miss to just 284 yards of offense, and 2 defensive scores, while Taylor Martinez, and Ameer Abdullah lead the potent Huskers offense to 284 yards on the ground, and nearly 500 yards of total offense. Martinez went 15/24 for 170 yards and 3 scores, while Abdullah put up 114 yards and 2 more touchdowns.
Up Next: UCLA
Navy 41, Indiana 35
The Midshipmen, playing with heavy hearts following the death of head coach Ken Niumatalolo’s mother, raced out to a 17-0 lead, and would lead by that margin 2 additional times in the game, before hanging on for a 6 point win in Bloomington. The Hoosiers defense struggled to contain the triple option attack as the Middies put up 444 yards on the ground, and over 500 yards of total offense. Nate Sudfield threw for 363 yards and 4 touchdowns, but it was not enough to avoid a costly home loss.
Up Next: Bowling Green
Minnesota 42, New Mexico State 20
The Gophers rode a strong rushing attack, timely defensive plays, and special teams to a big road win in Los Cruces. For the second week in a row, Minnesota took a punt back for a touchdown, and also scored on defense, this time on a 50 yard fumble return. Rodrick Williams Jr. (148 yards, 1 TD) and QB Phillip Nelson (122 yards, 1 TD) lead the ground assault that put up 324 yards total.
Up Next: Western Illinois