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 as respectability in the non-conference, or as its power dynamics shift on a week-to-week basis this fall, we’ll follow every team and try to piece togather the puzzle that is the 13-week-long season all the way up until Indianapolis.
Here are the top storylines from Week 3:
The conference had a historically bad day:
Big Ten teams lost 7 nonconference games against unranked opponents Saturday, the conference's most such losses in a single day since the AP Poll debuted in 1936.— Jason Starrett (@starrettjason) September 16, 2018
1. No. 6 Wisconsin falls at home to BYU
It happened. Wisconsin finally lost a regular season game for the first time since October of 2016. Despite scoring first, the Badgers fell behind 14-7 in the second quarter continuing their trend of slow starts. The Badgers got away with sleepwalking against Western Kentucky and New Mexico but a strong BYU defense exposed Wisconsin’s stagnant offense once and for all. Alex Hornibrook was unimpressive yet again and a missed field goal with under a minute ultimately sealed the deal on a game Wisconsin didn't deserve to win. The Badgers also lost senior linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel to a leg injury, which could potentially be a huge blow to the defense depending how serious it is. With this loss, the Big Ten West looks completely up-for-grabs as the bulk of conference play is set to get underway. The Badgers get a chance to rebound in Iowa City next week in a game that might help us get some understanding of what to expect in the Big Ten West this year.
2. Nebraska starts the season 0-2 for the first time since 1957
Another disappointing home loss has dug the Cornhuskers into a deep hole just two games into the Scott Frost era. Junior Andrew Bunch got the start at quarterback in place of the injured Adrian Martinez and threw a crucial interception late in the fourth quarter to seal the loss for the Cornhuskers. No one expected an immediate turnaround in Lincoln, but losing back-to-back home games against Colorado and Troy should deservedly raise some eyebrows. Frost is still searching for his first win as the Huskers’ head coach, and things aren't going to get any easier for him as Big Ten play gets underway — they head to Ann Arbor next weekend.
3. No. 4 Ohio State fights back against No. 15 TCU to prove they’re the real deal
With three weeks in the books, there’s absolutely no doubt that the Buckeyes are the best team in this conference. Dwayne Haskins continued to play like one of the top players in the nation, throwing for 344 yards and two touchdowns in the Buckeyes 40-28 win. We’ll have to keep an eye on the Nick Bosa injury (left game in 3rd quarter), but with the Urban Meyer suspension now over, Ohio State has solidified its place as a top playoff contender.
4. Indiana is good at football?
The Hoosiers thrashed Ball State on Saturday to cap off an undefeated non-conference campaign. While their opponents weren’t exactly the best of the bunch (FIU, Virginia and Ball St), Indiana deserves some credit for an impressive start. Indiana looked solid on all sides of the ball and special teams against a Ball State team that took Notre Dame to the fourth quarter last week. Expect a good atmosphere in Bloomington next Saturday for their conference opener against Michigan State under the lights.
5. Rutgers gets blown out by...Kansas?
This loss was bad even for Rutgers-standards. Kansas’ 55-14 drubbing of the Scarlet Knights was the Jayhawks’ first win against a Power 5 opponent since 2016 and just their second in the last four seasons. True freshman quarterback Artur Sitkowski threw three interceptions against a KU defense that had just four total interception all of last season before being benched in the third quarter. The Scarlet Knights have now been outscored 107-17 in their last two games. Here were some highlights from the game:
This will bring a tear to your eye pic.twitter.com/iS5kcLqcrQ— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) September 15, 2018
Maryland 14, Temple 35
It was a day to forget for the Terps who were completely blanked at home to a Temple team that lost to Buffalo and Villanova at home to start the season. Kasim Hill and Tyrrell Pigrome combined to throw for a dismal eight completions and two interceptions.
Penn St. 63, Kent St. 10
This game was not supposed to be close and it wasn't. The Nittany Lions cranked out 667 yards of total offense against the Golden Flashes in this battle of descriptive, multi-word mascots.
Michigan 45, SMU 20
This game was more competitive than the final scoreline suggests. SMU hung with the Wolverines for most of the first half before Josh Martellus took an interception 73 yards to the house as time expired to give Michigan a 21-7 heading into the break. Michigan still doesn't look like they're playing their best football heading into Big Ten play next week.
Minnesota 26, Miami (OH) 3
Miami (OH) is not a good team and Minnesota beat them. Junior wideout Tyler Johnson had a big day for the Gophers hauling in nine catches for 133 yards and three touchdowns.
Illinois 19, South Florida 25
The Fighting Illini couldn't salvage their hopes at an undefeated season and USF spoiled Illinois head coach Lovie Smith’s (much anticipated?) return to Soldier Field.
Lovie Smith pulls off the impressive feat of losing a game in the NFL stadium where he used to coach against a college team that plays in the other NFL stadium he used to coach— Rodger Sherman (@rodger_sherman) September 15, 2018
Iowa 38, Northern Iowa 14
The Hawkeyes join the Golden Gophers as the only Big Ten West teams to win on Saturday. If Iowa can take down the Badgers at home next weekend, the division title will probably run through Iowa City given the Hawkeyes’ weak strength of schedule.
Purdue 37, Missouri 40
David Blough threw for 572 yards and the Boilermakers still lost. Purdue is 0-3. Ha.