Around the Big Ten Week 4
Dave Arroyo, Mitch Stewart, Zach Kaplan and Will Desautelle break down all you need to know about this week's games in the Big Ten.
Week 3 in the Big Ten provided fans with some much needed excitement after Week 2 with three prime matchups: No. 22 Oregon at Nebraska, No. 12 Michigan State at No. 18 Notre Dame, and No. 3 Ohio State at No. 14 Oklahoma. These, along with an upset or two, helped reaffirm recent speculations that the Big Ten is becoming one of the top conferences in college football.
Oregon struck first this weekend against the Cornhuskers and held a steady lead until just before halftime when Nebraska punched one in to make it 20-14 going into the break. Both teams traded scores through the second half until Nebraska’s QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. ran it in from 34 yards to give the Cornhuskers the win. Oregon will host the Colorado Buffaloes in Week 4. This has usually been a pretty one-sided matchup in Oregon’s favor, but the Buffs are showing new signs of life this season. The Huskers also have another exciting week ahead as they travel to face Northwestern whose recent surprisingly lackluster pass defense could allow Armstrong to have a solid performance.
Notre Dame’s three touchdown streak late in the fourth quarter didn’t shake twelfth ranked Michigan State as the latter held out for a 36-28 win on the road this past Saturday. The Spartans’ front seven shined through and gave running back Gerald Holmes the room to run for 100 yards and two touchdowns. The Spartans’ strong offense led to a predictable victory. Thrilling as it was, Michigan State was always going to walk away from this one with a win. Week 4 features the newly No. 8 Spartans hosting (also) newly No. 11 Wisconsin whom they haven’t played since a thrilling 16-13 overtime win in 2012.
Ohio State lost 16 starters in last year’s graduating class but they showed no lack of experience as they dominated Oklahoma for a 45-24 victory in their first away game of the season. Ohio State set the tone early with two scores in the first quarter, and pretty much dominated from then on. Both teams have a bye week this coming Saturday.
Penn State found redemption against Temple in Week 3 with a 34-27 win at home. Trace McSorley showed significant improvements over his performance at Pitt, and Saquon Barkley came back from a first half injury to give Penn State their winning TD. This Saturday the Lions will certainly have their work cut out for them on the road against Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines.
Perhaps the most exciting game in Week 3 was No. 13 and Big Ten West Champion Iowa’s loss to unranked (and Carson Wentz-less) North Dakota State. Fans were nervous as the Bison failed a two-point conversion attempt to give Iowa the ball, leading by one with 3:41 left on the clock. However, the Hawkeyes failed to capitalize and gave the ball back to North Dakota State. The Bison would march and punch it in for the win as time expired This loss was brutal for Iowa, as it’s hard to justify a playoff berth for a team after losing to an FCS school. However, a strong winning season and possibly a sixth consecutive FCS title certainly is in the cards for the Bison this year. Next week Iowa has their first road game of the season in New Jersey to face Rutgers in what should be an easy win.
College football has been looking for a spark for some time now. With Alabama being more or less the only dominant name in SEC football anymore, fans are looking for a new conference that brings excitement and competition – a conference they know won’t be consistently ruled by one team -Alabama- with the standings remaining pretty much stagnant. The Big Ten may be exactly what they’re looking for.
The conference is totally up for grabs right now, mainly between Ohio State, Michigan, Iowa, and Michigan State. The Big Ten is also posed to have a strong playoff showing this year. The most likely Big Ten CFP candidate this year is Ohio State whose chances were boosted by their win over Big 12 elite Oklahoma. Along with Notre Dame’s loss to Michigan State, both losing teams essentially are eliminated from the CFP. The CFP in recent years has featured or considered more Big Ten teams than ever before, and have included more Big Ten teams than any other conference.
Make some room SEC. The Big Ten is here.
Kevin DiGuiseppe is a junior year student pursuing a political science major. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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