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 13-week-long season all the way up until Indianapolis.
Here are the top storylines from Week 2:
No. 7 Michigan escapes Army in double OT
Army nearly pulled off the upset of the weekend as they fell just short of taking down Jim Harbaugh’s team in Ann Arbor. The Black Knights missed a 50-yard field goal in regulation to win the game before fumbling the ball away in the second overtime to seal a Michigan victory. The Wolverines will be happy to move to 2-0, but Harbaugh can’t feel good about his team, particularly the offense, after a narrow win albeit against a tough Army team. Quarterback Shea Patterson’s two fumbles on the day and overall sloppiness nearly cost the Wolverines what would’ve been an embarrassing home loss.
No. 25 Nebraska blows a lead against Colorado...again.
The Cornhuskers lost control of a fourth quarter lead and fell to the Buffaloes for the second year in a row. Just as you thought Scott Frost’s team was rising to the occasion to meet its preseason hype by jumping out to a 17-0 lead, the Huskers blew it thanks to turnovers down the stretch and a missed field goal in overtime. It was essentially a home game for Nebraska in Boulder, but the Huskers let yet another late lead slip away in what turned out to be one of the more thrilling games all weekend.
This game is in Boulder not Lincoln. pic.twitter.com/A3EW6IIRCr— Ryan Mahoney (@coach_mahoney10) September 7, 2019
No. 17 Wisconsin and No. 5 Ohio State setting the tone early
The Badgers and Buckeyes appears to be the two teams to beat in this conference after just two weeks of football. Ohio State rolled past Cincinnati at home by a score of 42-0 while Wisconsin posted its second shutout in two games with a 61-0 rout over Central Michigan at Camp Randall. The Badgers haven’t gotten much competition in their first two games, but with a seemingly legit defense and Heisman contender in Jonathan Taylor — they look to be the early favorites in the West division. We’ll get a better sense of this Badger team as they take on Michigan two weekends from now after both teams get a bye week.
Maryland making moves
The Terps might have put together the most impressive win of any team in the conference thus far through two weeks as they rolled past No. 21 Syracuse by a score of 63-20 at home. Maryland put up 42 points in the first half and its offense has now combined to score 142 points (!) in two games. If the Terps can take care of business against Temple next week, they’ll be undefeated heading into a huge home showdown against Penn State on Friday September 27.
Minnesota pulls out a miracle win 2OT win in Fresno
Somehow, Minnesota is 2-0 after the first two weeks of the season.
While most of you were asleep, P.J. Fleck’s Golden Gopher team needed a miracle fourth down catch just to force overtime at Fresno State before squeaking out a win in double OT thanks to an interception.
WHAT A GAME! WHAT A GAME!@GopherFootball defense comes up CLUTCH!— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) September 8, 2019
Golden Gophers 38 Bulldogs 35 pic.twitter.com/oyiwHK9GsC
Minnesota was a popular pick as a “surprise” team in the conference this year, but has certainly not looked the part in its first two games. After a narrow home win against South Dakota State last weekend, the Golden Gophers were sloppy all night in Fresno but somehow came out with a win despite three turnovers and countless penalties. The Big Ten West narrowly avoided losing to a Mountain West team for the second week in a row.
No. 20 Iowa 30, Rutgers 0
The Hawkeyes took care of business at home in the first conference game to take place this season. They’ll now brace for a tough rivalry showdown against Iowa State next weekend as College Gameday heads to Ames.
Purdue 42, Vanderbilt 24
The Boilermakers prevailed in the Battle of the Mediocre Power Five Black and Gold schools. Purdue quarterback Elijah Sindelar threw for 500+ yards and 5 TDs in a much-needed bounceback win after the team’s embarrassing opening loss at Nevada. They get TCU in West Lafayette next weekend.
Purdue QB Sindelar almost got a safety for intentional grounding... because he lined up behind the left guard instead of the center!! pic.twitter.com/2enjufLQoh— Chris B. Brown (@smartfootball) September 7, 2019
Indiana 52, Eastern Illinois 0
The Hoosiers spoiled former NU offensive line coach Adam Cushing’s return to the Big Ten. Cushing is now 0-2 as EIU’s head coach after suffering a loss to Chattanooga in the opening week of the season.
No. 19 Michigan State 51, Western Michigan 17
Sparty has quietly taken care of business in its two opening games of the season with what looks to be another strong run defense and strong running games. If MSU can take care of business at home against Arizona State next weekend, Northwestern will get an undefeated Top 25 Spartan team at Ryan Field in a few weeks to open conference play.
Illinois 31, UConn 23
A milestone win for the Illini. It wasn’t pretty, but Michigan transfer Brandon Peters’ four passing touchdowns were just enough to lift Lovie Smith’s team to 2-0 to start the year.
No. 15 Penn State 45, Buffalo 13
The Nittany Lions actually trailed this game by three points at half before running away with things in the final two quarters. Junior quarterback Sean Clifford put together another solid start as he threw for 279 yards and four scores.