B1G Week 2 Grades
What if I told you Illinois would fire its coach a week before the season, and manage a 96-3 scoring advantage through the first two games? Ok, so maybe you wouldn’t make a 30 for 30 about it, but you’d certainly be impressed.
Once again, IU found itself battling deep into the fourth quarter against a team it should’ve smoked at home. The Hoosiers are 2-0, but the secondary has to improve and Nate Sudfeld needs to be more efficient to hang with Western Kentucky.
Iowa overcame injuries to LeShun Daniels and Drew Ott to take the Cy-Hawk trophy back. The defense stepped up without its defensive leader and delivered a dominant second-half effort.
This game was closer than the final score might indicate and Bowling Green is better than advertised. Still, the dominant Terps corners were torched for 491 passing yards and six touchdowns. That can’t happen to a Big Ten team, much less against a MAC school at home.
Michigan allowed two total yards of offense after the first quarter. Even better, De’Veon Smith did his best Marshawn Lynch imitation and powered his way to three touchdowns. If not for some mediocre quarterback play, the Wolverines would’ve had the most complete performance of the weekend.
Michigan State: A
That Spartans defensive line is no joke. It bottled up Vernon Adams all night and prevented him from getting into a rhythm. What makes the Spartans so dangerous is that they can win shootouts with Connor Cook or they can play smash-mouth football and contain a high-powered offense like Oregon.
Mitch Leidner and K.J. Maye connected for the go-ahead score in regulation and Ryan Santoso’s kick won it in overtime. Jerry Kill’s defense traveled well and gave the Gophers a chance to pull it out late. Winning in Fort Collins isn’t easy, as Minnesota found out on Saturday.
There was no BYU hangover to be found in Lincoln. If anything, South Alabama was the one feeling the effects of a Husker beatdown.
The Wildcats turned in a stellar encore performance and the nation took notice by putting them into both polls for the first time. A 344-70 rushing advantage isn’t better, either.
Ohio State: B
There was nothing extraordinary out of the Buckeye offense, but Darron Lee and Vonn Bell led a complete defensive domination. Had the Buckeyes been clicking offensively, they could’ve won this one by 60.
Penn State: B-
A miracle unfolded in Happy Valley. The Lions didn’t allow a sack for the first time since 2013. Christian Hackenberg was less than spectacular, but big games from Saquon Barkley and Carl Nassib led the Lions to an all-important double-digit victory in the home opener. Exhale, Penn State fans.
The largest win of the Darrell Hazell era saw Austin Appleby throw three TD passes of 50 yards or more. It got a little too close for comfort with just a 10-point late in the third quarter, which could’ve been the product of a team that isn’t used to playing with a big early lead.
Without Janarion Grant’s record-breaking day, Rutgers might’ve been looking at an F. The offense was inconsistent and the defense couldn’t prevent a 90-yard drive in the final 91 seconds. Times are tough in Jersey right now.
Without Corey Clement, the Badgers still ran, threw and stomped all over Miami (OH). The Redhawks mustered -3 yards of rushing against the Wisconsin front. The Redhawks might’ve been just a bit easier than Alabama was to slow down.