Week 6 B1G Grades
I don’t like to call a performance “perfect.”
Coaches don’t either. There’s always something that can be improved. A pass here, a missed block there. Jim Harbaugh wouldn’t admit that his team played “perfect.”
After all, Jake Rudock didn’t lead some aerial assault. Clayton Thorson did complete a couple passes.
Still, if a 38-0 drubbing of the No. 13 team in the country isn’t A+ worthy, then nothing is.
With that said, here are my Week 6 B1G Grades.
All things considered, to go into Iowa City and hang with a red-hot Hawkeye team wasn’t half bad. A healthy Josh Ferguson could’ve provided a major lift. This defense has to contain the big plays better to pick up more Nebraska-like wins.
I hate faulting a team that’s dealing with crippling injuries. Playing without Nate Sudfeld and Jordan Howard at Penn State made Saturday’s test a hard one to pass. It was even harder when second-string quarterback Zander Diamont went down in the third quarter. Still, IU’s defensive backfield woes surfaced again and prevented the Hoosiers from making it a game.
Jordan Canzeri’s monster day was the product of some dominant offensive line play. He wasn’t even touched on his 75-yard touchdown run. New-look Hawkeyes they are, but they showed they can still punish people like the Kirk Ferentz teams of old.
Every player in that locker room had to know they were playing for Randy Edsall. And for three quarters, it showed against the nation’s No. 1 team on the road. Considering the pounding the Terps were handed the two weeks before this one, that’s saying something.
The most complete performance of any B1G team all season. And it’s not even close.
Michigan State: B-
I know. You want me to be harder on the Spartans. Once again, they let an inferior team hang around and sniff an upset. But this is easily the most beat-up team in the conference. To be at 6-0 right now is a small miracle, no matter how ugly some of the wins are.
To go from an ‘F’ to an ‘A’ in a week tells you all you need to know about the Gophers bounce-back effort. And speaking of teams that are incredibly banged up, Minnesota definitely did not look like it on Saturday. What kind of a fool picked the Gophers to lose? Oh, right. This guy.
Incredibly back luck and some awful late-game execution — from coaches and players — killed the Huskers yet again. For 59 minutes, the Huskers did enough to beat one of the better teams in the conference. But this bend-don’t-break defense breaks far too often in the last minute.
Remember how were were wondering what the Wildcats were going to look like when they finally fell behind early? Well, it doesn’t get any earlier than the opening kickoff. It almost felt like Northwestern was planning on jabbing and wearing down the Wolverines by the 14th round. Instead, Michigan came out with the haymaker and got the first-round knockout.
Ohio State: B
The best offensive game of the year saw Urban Meyer use the 2006 Florida model for success. It took until midseason to figure it out, but the Buckeyes finally played a complete offensive game. Still, the defense allowed Perry Hills to look much better than he is.
Penn State: A-
Christian Hackenberg delivered his best performance of the year, despite the fact that he felt pretty consistent pressure all afternoon. We even had a DaeSean Hamilton sighting. And there might not be a tackle in a country that can contain Carl Nassib’s pursuit right now.
Yuck, Boilers. This was supposed to be Purdue’s first B1G home win of the Darrell Hazell. Instead, it was a crowd-clearing laugher that saw Purdue give life to a previously lifeless offense. The loss of Ja’Whaun Bentley was extremely evident.
Don’t let Chris Laviano’s odd last play spoil what the Scarlet Knights showed throughout Saturday night against one of the nation’s top teams. Leonte Carroo almost willed Rutgers to a monumental victory. But the defense struggled to get key stops late and let an upset bid slip away.
Let’s just accept the fact that road wins in the B1G are going to come ugly for basically everyone. Joel Stave was calm, cool and collected on that final drive to set up Rafael Gaglianone’s second shot at a game-winner. And credit the defense for allowing Nebraska to take just 12 seconds off the clock when it had a chance to ice the game. The Badgers are back on track.