Every Sunday, after an entire Saturday’s worth of college football, we'll take a look around the Big Ten. As the conference as a whole fights for respectability in the non-conference, or as its power dynamics shift on a week-to-week basis in this fall, we'll follow every team and try to piece together the puzzle that is the 13-week-long season all the way up until Indianapolis.
It was a good opening weekend for the Big Ten on the whole. With all 14 teams in action, the league went 10-2 in games against teams from other conferences, with Ohio State and Indiana playing each other. Here were the main takeaways:
Here are the top three headlines from Week 1:
Maryland hangs 51 on No. 23 Texas in upset
When Texas snuck into the Top 25, people were wary that voters had given too much weight to the impact of new head coach Tom Herman. And in Week 1, that sentiment proved true. The Terps dominated on the ground, rushing for 298 yards and four scores compared to just 98 and one score for Texas en route to a 51-41 win. Terrapin QB Tyrrell Pigrome left the game early for the visitors following a leg injury, but former Northwestern target Kasim Hill came in and picked up right where Pigrome left off. It was a huge win for Maryland, and one that would’ve been by an even bigger margin had Texas not scored three touchdowns on defense and special teams.
No. 11 Michigan stomps No. 17 Florida at AT&T Stadium
Michigan may have plenty of new faces this year, but the talent is still absolutely there, especially on the defensive side. The Wolverines forced three Gator turnovers, allowed under 200 yards and registered a game-sealing punt-block-turned-touchdown en route to a 33-17 win. Wilton Speight responded from two pick-sixes and a brief benching with a solid second half, and the Wolverines’ balance — 218 yards through the air and 215 on the ground — powered them against a Florida team riddled by in-house player suspensions.
No. 2 Ohio State runs away from Indiana
The day-long College Football Gameday party continued into the eve in Bloomington on Thursday as the Hoosiers hung around with the Buckeyes for most of the night. With less than five minutes left in the third, Indiana actually led 21-20. But then Ohio State’s athletic superiority took over, with two long catch-and-run scores before the final quarter opened, and JK Dobbins taking over. Dobbins broke the Ohio State freshman record with 181 rushing yards and Ohio State cruised, 49-21.
- The don’t call it the Fun Belt for nothing. Arkansas State, representing the Sun Belt Conference, gave Nebraska all it could handle. In the early fourth, Nebraska led 41-26, but the Red Wolves got to within a score with 47 seconds left and then recovered their own onside kick. The magic wasn’t meant to be, though, when the Cornhuskers stopped two late pass attempts into the endzone, surviving 43-36. Tre Bryant led the way for Nebraska with 192 yards and a score on the ground while Justice Hansen endeared himself to the late-night crowd, throwing for 415 yards and three touchdowns on 68 (!!!) passes.
- Purdue put on one of its better performances in recent memory, giving No. 16 Louisville all it could handle before succumbing to the Cardinals, 35-28, in the first game of the Jeff Brohm era. WR Jackson Anthrop balled for the Boilers but Lamar Jackson was too much to handle down the stretch for Purdue’s D.
- Wyoming’s Josh Allen is considered a possible top pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but on Saturday, Iowa thoroughly dominated both him and his team, winning 24-3. The Hawkeyes picked off Allen twice and got three touchdown passes from Nathan Stanley. Akrum Wadley added 116 on the ground.
- No. 6 Penn State beat Akron 52-0. Penn State is good.
- Illinois scored late to sneak by Ball State 24-21. Mike Dudek scored a touchdown in his long-awaited return for the Illini.
- Michigan State took care of business, 35-10, over Bowling Green.
- On Friday, Rutgers put up a very respectable fight against No. 8 Washington, eventually falling 30-14 to the Huskies.
- Also on Friday, No. 9 Wisconsin overcame a very slow start to blow away Utah State 59-10. Four different players rushed for a touchdown for the Badgers.
- On Thursday, Minnesota beat Buffalo 17-7. There were only 3 points scored after the first quarter. Row the boat.