Week 9 B1G Grades
Lopsided games made for some lopsided grades.
Until the Michigan-Minnesota game, B1G games were decided by an average of 26 points. Naturally, the Week 9 marks reflected that.
And yes, I’m well aware I’ll take some heat for that Nebraska grade.
General rule: If you don’t score a point and let up 39, you will not receive a passing grade. Illinois played its worst game of the season in Happy Valley. Wes Lunt hadn’t faced pressure like that all year, and as a result, the Lions took over. They also couldn’t keep Christian Hackenberg from dicing up the back end of the defense. That’s a blueprint for failure.
Good, not great. Iowa had a chance to step on the gas early in the second half, but couldn’t get the passing game going at all. Desmond King prevented Saturday from getting really interesting down the stretch. A 16-point win is nothing to scoff at, but the Hawkeyes didn’t earn themselves a bunch of style points in the second half.
Speaking of those Terps, they actually fought back in the second half. They didn’t quit on Mike Locksley when that one could’ve gotten out of hand against a top-10 team. Yannick Ngakoue was a stud and Perry Hills again made impressive plays with this legs. Still, the turnover issues plaguing Maryland overshadowed all of it.
That was the first time all year that the Wolverines scratched and clawed to pull out a win. Minnesota played inspired football all night and did everything it possibly could to upset Michigan. Still, Jabrill Peppers bailed out the Wolverines — the over-reliance on him when Jake Rudock went down is another conversation — in a game they had to have to keep their B1G East title hopes alive.
The Gophers handed the nation’s top scoring defense its worst game of the year. Mitch Leidner made throws he hadn’t made all year, K.J. Maye made his top catch of the season with a potential All-American corner draped all over him and the Gopher defense took De’Veon Smith out of the game. They were one quarterback sneak away from the highlight of their season. What a scene it would’ve been.
I get it. If you lose to a team that hasn’t won a B1G home game in three years, you deserve an ‘F’. The Blackshirts get a big, fat ‘F.’ But the Nebraska offense put up 45 points without its starting quarterback, running back and playmaking receiver. It was a horrific loss, but nearly hitting 50 points with those injuries showed that Nebraska didn’t COMPLETELY give up on Mike Riley.
Penn State: A
The Lions completely dominated Illinois in all facets that didn’t involve first-quarter extra points. After a couple sub-par performances, the defense got back to stuffing the run and putting the offense in third-and-longs. Oh, and Hackenberg was very good. Again.
The streak is over! The streak is over! David Blough knifed through the Nebraska secondary with his arm and legs to lead Purdue to its first B1G home win in three years. The Boilers do receive a knock for allowing 29 fourth-quarter points to a backup quarterback, but for once, they kept their foot on the gas offensively. It only took nine weeks for the Boilers to beat an FBS school.
That was a horrible matchup for the Scarlet Knights. Defensively, they were faced a hungry Corey Clement after they averaged 50-plus points allowed in the last two games. Offensively, they were lost without Leonte Carroo. Chris Laviano managed just 31 passing yards and the running game couldn’t be used effectively because of the early deficit. Those issues lead to routs in Madison.
Oh, so that’s what Wisconsin was missing. Corey Clement’s three touchdowns in his first game back from sports hernia surgery brought the Badger offense life on a day when Joel Stave was not at his best. The conditions weren’t very conducive to passing, but that’s still no excuse. Stave isn’t earning himself any supporters in Madison. Lucky for him, he plays with an elite defense and a game-changing tailback.