B1G Midseason Offensive Power Rankings
Yesterday, we looked at the B1G defenses and how they’ve been vastly superior to the offenses so far. Today, it’s about the O. Here’s how the B1G offenses stack up at the midway point of the season.
If you don’t have a quarterback, you don’t have a chance. As a result, the Terps lack an offensive identity at the midway point of the season.
Markell Jones and D.J. Knox are actually one of the better 1-2 punches in the conference. The problem is that both of them don’t get involved as much because the Boilers fall behind and turn to their inconsistent passing game.
I couldn’t put the Gophers behind Purdue after what they did in West Lafayette last week. Still, outside of that game, Minnesota averaged 15 points. Until the passing attack shows some sign of life, the Gophers will struggle to hang around against the B1G’s better defenses.
Pat Fitzgerald knew that his team was going to be a run-heavy offense with a redshirt freshman quarterback. The problem is that — as we saw at Michigan — they aren’t built to play from behind. If Justin Jackson is contained, usually the offense is, too.
Against their three true opponents, the Illini offense averaged 16 points per game. Wes Lunt has actually moved the Illini well down the field. So what’s holding the offense back? It ranks 121st in red zone offense.
With Leonte Carroo, the Scarlet Knights actually have a chance to hang around against some of the B1G’s better competition. But it’ll be ugly when somebody draws up the gameplan to contain him.
8. Penn State
Even when Saquon Barkley and Akeel Lynch were leading the way, this offense wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire. Christian Hackenberg played well without them last week, but the Lions still have issues on the offensive line that are preventing the unit from maximizing its full potential.
Two weeks ago, you could’ve made a case that Nebraska belonged in the top two in this category. But since B1G play started, the once emerging passing game has taken a serious step back. And far too often this unit lays an egg in crunch time.
For the Badgers to rank in the top half of the conference with all of their injuries is a small miracle. If Dan Voltz doesn’t start on Saturday, it’ll be Wisconsin’s fifth different offensive line combination. Paul Chryst is also down to his third tailback. Joel Stave hasn’t been perfect, but he and Alex Erickson have righted a ship that could easily be sinking.
With Jordan Howard and Nate Sudfeld, this is a top-three unit. Without them, they’re in the bottom two or three in the conference. Howard was the nation’s leading rusher before he went down and Sudfeld was second in the conference in passing. Luckily for the Hoosiers, both could be back on Saturday.
The Wolverines offense has looked much better than it is because of its defense. They’ve been blessed with short fields to operate with, but they’ve made the most of them. The Wolverines have the B1G’s best red zone offense. A vastly improved offensive line deserves plenty of credit for that.
Balance, balance, balance. The Hawkeyes finally have it. This unit was one of the big question marks coming into the season with the unproven C.J. Beathard taking the reigns. He’s leading a group that ranks second in the conference at 31.7 points per game. Jordan Canzeri is capitalizing on an offensive line that’s still dominating despite the loss of Brandon Scherff.
2. Michigan State
Find me one player in the B1G that you’d rather give the ball to in the final two minutes than Connor Cook. This unit is clearly not as high-powered as last year’s school-record group. Still, it’s riding a streak of 21 straight games with at least 24 points. That’s as consistent as it gets.
1. Ohio State
Before you talk about how overrated the Buckeyes are, consider this. One B1G team ranks in the FBS top 49 in scoring. That’s Ohio State. The Buckeyes average 36.8 points per game, which is more than five points better than the next best offense in the B1G. If the Buckeyes weren’t horrific in the red zone to start the season, they’d be ranked even higher. Quarterback issues aside, nobody in the B1G has a big-play threat like Ezekiel Elliott or Braxton Miller. Even scarier? This offense hasn’t put 60 minutes together yet.