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 together the puzzle that is the 14-week-long season all the way up until Indianapolis.
Here are the top storylines from Week 3:
No. 6 Ohio State destroys Indiana
After an impressive opening two weeks at home, the Buckeyes went on the road to Bloomington and dominated in the only Big Ten game this week. They smashed Indiana, who was without starting quarterback Michael Penix Jr, putting the game out of reach by the middle of the second quarter. It’s scary to consider an Ohio State team that is looking like it has an elite defense now, as that’s the unit that (barely) held it back last year, especially in their loss to Purdue.
Northwestern’s offense shows life, wins out of conference
Party like it’s 2017, when the Wildcats had last won a non-conference game. After a very slow defensive start that included giving up three runs of thirty or more yards to the quarterback/running back combo of Armani Rogers and Charles Williams, the unit tightened to pitch a shutout second half. Hunter Johnson looked in command of the offense and his pedestrian stat line could have been helped if receivers didn’t make some key drops. The running game burst onto the scene behind a dominant offense line performance and a career day (141 yards and a TD) from Drake Anderson.
No. 18 Michigan State falls to Arizona State in late game gaffe
The Spartan offense was fixed after last week, right? In another unbelievable ending to cap off a stinker of a game, the Sun Devils took the lead with about 90 seconds left only to see Brian Lewerke march MSU into field goal range. Kicker Matt Coughlin drilled a 42-yarder to send it to overtime, but there were 12 men on the field after Mark Dantonio and co. waited too long to send the kicking team out! After the penalty, Coughlin hooked it to the left — his third miss of the afternoon — and there are plenty of questions for Dantonio to answer as his team heads to Evanston next week.
CHAOS as ASU pulls off the stunner over Michigan State!— PointsBet Sportsbook (@PointsBetUSA) September 14, 2019
Too many men on the field nullifies a made FG, and the redo is no-good!
No. 19 Iowa sneaks by rival Iowa State
Another clunky game. Two lightning delays, sixty sandwiches purchased during a delay and a bad muffed punt at the end of the game by the Cyclones gave Iowa its fifth straight win, 18-17, in El Assico. The Hawkeye defense came to play once again and lifted the team to victory, as QB Nate Stanley did just enough to propel his team to an ugly win.
No. 21 Maryland crashes back down to earth
The Maryland hype was real. After dismantling a ranked Syracuse team by 43 last week, though, the Terps could not follow it up on the road in Philly. There wasn’t much positive on offense from Maryland except running back Anthony McFarland Jr,. who ran for 132 yards and a touchdown but was stopped on a couple of goal line stands by Temple late in the fourth quarter. Owls QB Anthony Russo threw for 277 yards and three scores in the 20-17 upset win, as Temple took both ends of this home-and-home.
No. 13 Penn State 17, Pitt 10
These early-season rivalry games are usually a slugfest, and this one proved to be no different. Pat Narduzzi’s Panther defense held the Nittany Lions in check, but it was his decision to kick a field goal on fourth down at the Penn State one-yard line with under five minutes to go that turned many heads. Kicker Alex Kessman missed the chip shot, and that was all James Franklin’s team needed to move to 3-0.
Eastern Michigan 34, Illinois 31
The early season, non-conference success Illinois has come to enjoy came to a halt Saturday at the hands of a MAC opponent. After coming from 14 down late in the fourth quarter behind Michigan transfer Brandon Peters, the Illini allowed EMU to drive down for a field goal as time expired. LOLinois.
Folks,,,,,,,,,,,,,,— Inside NU (@insidenu) September 14, 2019
Minnesota 35, Georgia Southern 32
What is it with Minnesota and close non-con games? Three weeks and three narrowly avoided upsets, all against traditionally difficult Little 5 or FCS foes, by a combined 13 points. Star receiver Tyler Johnson provided the heroics this time around, catching the game-winning TD with 13 seconds left.
TCU 34, Purdue 13
The Horned Frogs ran the Boilermakers out of their own stadium. Literally. TCU outgained Purdue on the ground 346-23 and rolled to an easy victory as Purdue’s offense struggled without QB Elijah Sindelar, who was out with a concussion.
Nebraska 44, Northern Illinois 8
The Huskers left little doubt in this one after blowing last week’s large lead to Colorado. Adrian Martinez threw for 257 yards, two touchdowns and ran for 44 yards and another score while the defense did not allow NIU into the end zone.