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Around the Big Ten, Week 2: Ho hum throughout the Midwest, Sparty goes down

A dearth of marquee matchups was evident in the Big Ten this week.

NCAA Football: Colorado at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

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 2:

1. Arizona State pulls off the upset against Michigan State

Against Utah State, MSU looked shaky. This week, it got punished. Up by 10 heading into the fourth quarter, Herm Edwards’ squad was able to put together three scoring drives, including a 27 yard touchdown pass from Manny Wilkins to N’keal Harry.

This is a big win for Herm Edwards. Since arriving at ASU, some of his unique coaching methods have been criticized, but as he said yesterday, “winning always justifies what you do.” For Dantonio, this loss spells a lot of trouble for MSU’s aspirations of making the playoff. A team that looked so promising in the offseason is now 1-1, after two poor performances.

2. Colorado spoils Scott Frost’s debut

The Scott Frost era at Nebraska got off to an exhilarating start. In a back and forth battle, Colorado pulled out a 33-28 victory. Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez put forth a solid effort, completing 15-of-20 passes for 187 yards, with a pick and a touchdown.

Late in the game, Colorado faced a third and 24 from their own 45 yard line, but Nebraska committed a silly late hit penalty to reinvigorate the drive for CU. A beautiful pitch and catch for a TD followed.

After Martinez got hurt in the fourth quarter, walk-on Andrew Bunch was forced into action. Bunch led the Huskers to the Colorado 20 on the final drive of the game, but was unable to convert. This leaves Nebraska at 0-1, as their game against Akron last week was cancelled.

3. Ohio State hammers Rutgers

In the only intra-conference matchup of the week, OSU had their way with Chris Ash’s Rutgers team. OSU opened up a 35-0 lead at the half and never looked back, earning a 52-3 win. The teams have met in each of the past 3 years, and this was the first year that Rutgers managed to get a point. So, that’s improvement. The big story here was the absolute dominance of Nick Bosa, who wreaked havoc in the Rutgers backfield, earning 3 tackles for loss, a sack and a QB hurry.

Writers are beginning to opine that the projected top 5 pick has already surpassed his big brother in terms of talent at the collegiate level.

4. Iowa guts out a slugfest to win the Cy-Hawk trophy

In a classic Iowa battle, Kirk Ferentz led his team to a 13-3 win over Iowa State. Iowa’s defense was the story of this game. Iowa allowed 186 yards the whole game, forcing five three and outs and recovering a fumble.

This was a big win for Iowa. The team has Northern Iowa next week so they will almost certainly enter Big Ten play sitting at 3-0, and, outside of Wisconsin and Penn State, there are no massive tests on their schedule. On the backs of the defense, Iowa could find itself in the hunt for the Big Ten West title at the end of the year. The Hawkeyes will host the Badgers in Kinnick Stadium to kick off the true start of Big Ten play.

Your customary Iowa wave viewing:

Other games

-Indiana holds off Virginia

IU earned a nice win over the Cavaliers. True freshman Stevie Scott ran for 204 yards, and Indiana was able to manage scoring no points in the second half, fending off a late effort from Virginia QB Bryce Perkins. Indiana also has a relatively easy foe next week in Ball State, so they should be able to enter conference play at 3-0. On the other hand, BSU competed impressively in South Bend this week, falling to Notre Dame by 8. You never know in college football.

-Penn State obliterates Pitt

James Franklin’s crew rebounded from a nervy battle against App. State, disposing of their in-state rival Pitt. Trace Mcsorley threw for 145 yards and two touchdowns, aided by a 118 yard effort from Miles Sanders on the ground. Deandre Thompkins had an impressive punt return touchdown for the Nittany Lions, as PSU cruised to victory, 51-6.

-Purdue falls to Eastern Michigan

Man, that NU performance against Purdue last week is really starting to fade into the distance. After NU fell to Duke in a poor performance, Purdue lost to Eastern Michigan, 20-19. A last second field goal for EMU capped off a stunning upset of the Boilermakers.

-Wisconsin rolls on against New Mexico

In another chapter of Wisconsin’s epic non-conference schedule, the Badgers played a typical UW game. Jonathan Taylor ran the ball for 253 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries, while the defense suffocated New Mexico. After New Mexico scored the first touchdown of the game, Wisconsin put 45 points on the board, ultimately coasting to a 45-14 win. Wisconsin caps off its non conference schedule next week with BYU.

-Michigan gets its first win of the year

After coming out of the gates at 0-1, Michigan trounced in state opponent Western Michigan. Shea Patterson found his rhythm, passing for three TDs, while Karan Higdon remained steady with 156 yards and a score. The Michigan defensive line acted as the main force in holding WMU to 208 yards, and the defense looked commanding. Michigan has SMU next week before coming to Evanston September 29.

-Illinois beats Western Illinois

Illinois grinded out a 34-14 win over the FCS opponent, but the bigger story this week for the Illini was the news of yet another season ending injury for Mike Dudek. Dudek is a stand up guy and this was tough news for everyone. He’s had two previous season ending knee injuries, and this one will likely end his football career. It was truly heartbreaking news.

-Minnesota fends off Fresno State

Minnesota improved to 2-0 on the season behind the efforts of Zack Annexstad, who threw for 175 yards on 16 completions, and Bryce Williams, who earned 87 yards on 25 carries. The Gophers charged out to a 10-0 lead before conceding the next 14 out of 17 points. They fought back well, eventually separating themselves from Fresno State and winning, 21-14.

-Maryland improves to 2-0

A week after pulling off an upset in Austin, Texas, the Terps defeated Bowling Green 45-14. Despite a fairly pedestrian effort from QB Kasim Hill, Maryland was just fine. Ty Johnson and Tayon Fleet-Davis both carried the ball for over a hundred yards, and Anthony Mcfarland and Lorenzo Harrison III both ran the ball well, racking up a combined 158 yards.