I’ve come to realize a few things over the first five weeks of the season.
First, outside the top four teams (OSU, PSU, Wisky, and UM) and the bottom two teams (Illinois and Rutgers), it is almost impossible to judge who is actually good or not. Secondly, much like Tony has no idea when I’m turning this piece in every week…none of us really know who is going to win those crapfest games when the middle of the B1G play each other. I mean there really is no result which would catch me off-guard unless it involves Michigan looking competent on offense.
Last weekend, I was pretty confident Minnesota would beat Maryland and that Iowa would beat Michigan State. The conference decided to flip me the old bird and have both of those teams lose.
The Iowa one really surprised a lot of people because both teams were coming off of polar opposite previous games. Michigan State had just been whooped at home by a pretty bad Notre Dame team and Iowa had just lost on a last second touchdown to really good Penn State team.
Another thing that surprised me was Indiana laying a complete egg out the gate against Penn State. I figured Penn State would win, but I did not expect the Hoosiers to spot them 21 points out of the gate. It did make for some fun Twitter watching though as too many people were complementing the Penn State offense after that quick 21-0 lead. Watch games folks…not box scores.
Let’s go ahead and check out the Big Ten and how everyone is looking heading into week 6.
Illinois (2-2 overall, 0-1 conference)
Last Week: Loss vs Nebraska, 28-6. I’m really not sure what was worse for the Illini in this game. Was it being held to under 200 yards of total offense, or the defense getting no interceptions against Tanner Lee? Either way, the end result was another loss for Illinois. Junior Chayce Crouch really struggled moving the offense along as he only threw for 99 yards and ran for another 71 yards (on 18 carries). After struggling all season, it is no surprise the Illini have turned the reigns over to sophomore Jeff George Jr. for the foreseeable future. George has only played in one game this season where he threw for 211 yards and one touchdown against South Florida. To answer your question, yes his dad is THAT Jeff George.
This Week: at Iowa
This Week in Recruiting: Illinois received a decommitment from 3-star QB Cordel Littlejohn out of Georgia. They sit at 14 members in the 2018 class with a 247Sports Composite average of 83.59.
Indiana (2-2 overall, 0-2 conference)
Last Week: Loss at Penn State, 45-14. As I mentioned above, I had high expectations for Indiana to at least be competitive for a little bit, but that certainly did not happen. The first nine minutes for the Hoosiers game went like this: PSU kickoff return for TD, Hoosier fumble setting up a short-field TD for PSU, and Hoosier fumble on punt which was returned for a PSU TD. Even after scoring 14 points in the second quarter, the quick 21-0 lead was too much for the Hoosiers to bounce back from.
Buckeye-killer and senior Richard Lagow started the game for the Hoosiers and threw for 97 yards before being replaced by freshman Peyton Ramsey. In a stunning fall from grace from opening weekend, Lagow officially has lost his starting job to Ramsey for the remainder of the season. It makes sense for the Hoosiers to begin looking towards the future after losses to Ohio State and Penn State early on. My favorite middle linebacker in the B1G, senior Tegray Scales, had a great day with 11 tackles, 3 sacks, and 3 tackles-for-loss.
This Week: vs Charleston Southern
This Week in Recruiting: Indiana did not receive a commitment last week. They sit at 15 members in the 2018 class with a 247Sports Composite average of 84.14.
Iowa (3-2 overall, 0-2 conference)
Last Week: Loss at Michigan State, 17-10. Teams like the Iowa Hawkeyes are why I could never be a betting man. In my massive pea-sized brain, I would have given the Spartans about a 3% chance (I’m scientific and stuff) of beating Iowa…especially after both teams’ previous weekends. But college football is going to college football and there is nothing we can do to stop it. Senior RB Akrum Wadley had his worst game of the season as he only had 47 yards of total offense on 20 touches. Senior LB Josey Jewell had another amazing game with 16 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 3 tackles-for-loss, and 1 forced fumble. For the year, he now has 60 tackles through 5 games.
This Week: vs Illinois
This Week in Recruiting: Iowa did not receive a commitment last week. They sit at 13 members in the 2018 class with a 247Sports Composite average of 85.30.
Maryland (3-1 overall, 1-0 conference)
Last Week: Win at Minnesota, 31-24. After looking completely flat against UCF after freshman QB Kasim Hill went down, I fully expected a Maryland loss here. Losing two pretty good QBs early in the season can be pretty disheartening for a young team with little previous success. To my surprise, the Terrapins rallied around their third QB and knocked off a decent Minnesota team. The Terrapins’ big-play machine junior RB Ty Johnson had 130 yards rushing (7.2 ypc) and 1 TD. For the season, Johnson has 411 rushing yards on an amazing 8.93 yards per carry. The Buckeye LB corps will have to figure out their assignments or Johnson will make them pay. On the defensive side of the ball, the Terrapins are giving up 248 passing yards and 131 rushing yards per game.
This Week: at Ohio State
This Week in Recruiting: Maryland did not receive a commitment last week. They sit at 20 members in the 2018 class with a 247Sports Composite average of 86.55.
(7) Michigan (4-0 overall, 1-0 conference)
Last Week: Bye Week. The Wolverines had a much-needed bye week to get things figured out offensively. Senior QB Wilton Speight is out for the next couple of weeks after being injured by a cheap shot at Purdue. Taking his place is senior John O’Korn who transferred to Michigan after losing his starting job at Houston. O’Korn played most of the game against Purdue and had a good day throwing for 270 yards and a touchdown.
The even bigger need for Michigan is ensuring senior RB Ty Isaac is completely healthy, and that is why the bye week came at a perfect time. After being injured against Air Force, Isaac was used sparingly against Purdue and the ground game suffered with 3.2 yards per carry. Isaac leads the Wolverines with 6.25 yards per carry and 356 rushing yards. He will have to be completely healthy facing a Spartan defense that only gives up 3.07 yards per carry and 96 rushing yards per game.
This Week: vs Michigan State
This Week in Recruiting: Michigan did not receive a commitment last week. They sit at 14 members in the 2018 class with a 247Sports Composite average of 89.77.
Michigan State (3-1 overall, 1-0 conference)
Last Week: Win vs Iowa, 17-10. The Michigan State defense came to play on Saturday and held the Hawkeyes to 231 yards of total offense. On the day, they combined for 3 sacks, 9 tackles-for-loss, and 2 forced fumbles. It was a pretty dominant performance for a unit that had given up over 350 yards the week prior to Notre Dame. Sophomore QB Brian Lewerke had another efficient day, throwing for 212 yards and two touchdowns while also adding 42 yards on the ground. Lewerke now leads the Spartans in passing and rushing yards, which has to be a little disheartening for a Spartan backfield which has junior L.J. Scott and senior Gerald Holmes. Both backs were expected to shoulder the rushing load, but both are under 4 yards per carry this season.
This Week: at Michigan
This Week in Recruiting: The Spartans had a busy week on the recruiting trail as they received commitments from 3-star RB Elijah Collins (MI), 3-star C Jacob Isaia (NV), and 4-star OT James Ohonba (GA). They sit at 18 members in the 2018 class with a 247Sports Composite average of 85.75.
Minnesota (3-1 overall, 0-1 conference)
Last Week: Loss vs Maryland, 31-24. I think I’ve decided for everyone that Minnesota is not a very good football team. The junior RB duo of Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks is a pretty good combination, but I’m not convinced the offensive line is good enough to allow them to dominate a game. Additionally, senior QB Conor Rhoda is about as far from a difference maker you can get. Teams can just sellout against the run and watch Rhoda struggle throwing the ball. Against Maryland, Brooks and Smith were shut down as they only managed 80 rushing yards on 31 carries. The Terrapins forced Rhoda to win the game and he responded by throwing two interceptions.
This Week: at Purdue
This Week in Recruiting: The Golden Gophers did not receive a commitment last week. They sit at 23 boat rowers in the 2018 class with a 247Sports Composite average of 84.26.
Nebraska (3-2 overall, 2-0 conference)
Last Week: Win at Illinois, 28-6. The Cornhuskers continued to focus on establishing their run game as they ran the ball 38 times. This led to possibly the best game of Tanner Lee’s Cornhusker career as he threw for 246 yards, three touchdowns, and more impressively zero interceptions. The Cornhuskers have an uphill battle moving forward with their run game as injuries are beginning to pile up.
They were already dealing with the loss of their starting RB, sophomore Tre Bryant (299 yards, 2 tds in 2 games), and now they may be without their backup, junior Mikale Wilbon (251 yards, 3 tds in 3 games). That leaves junior Devine Ozigbo (215 yds, 1 td in 3 games) and a bunch of question marks to head up the ground game against Wisconsin. Ozigbo ran for 106 yards (5.9 ypc) and one touchdown against Illinois and I expect him to have 30+ carries on Saturday.
This Week: vs Wisconsin
This Week in Recruiting: The Cornhuskers did not receive a commitment last week. They sit at 10 members in the 2018 class with a 247Sports Composite average of 89.42.
Northwestern (2-2 overall, 0-1 conference)
Last Week: Loss at Wisconsin, 33-24. I’m a big enough person to admit when I am wrong and boy was I wrong about Northwestern. I thought junior Clayton Thorson was a pretty good QB and I was positive senior Justin Jackson was one of the top 3 backs in the league. Riding those two, I thought Northwestern would finish at worst second in the west and battle Wisconsin to the end.
Four games into the season and Thorson only has 7 TDs and has thrown 5 picks while Jackson is only averaging 68 yards per game. It is crazy how simply taking away Austin Carr (90 catches, 1247 yards, and 12 TDs) from this offense has completely changed it from potent to mediocre at best. This Wisconsin game was both of these players’ chance to shine and they both fell flat on their face. Thorson had 219 passing yards, 3 TDs, and 2 INTs, while Jackson managed only 25 rushing yards on 2.8 ypc.
This Week: vs Penn State
This Week in Recruiting: The Wildcats did not receive a commitment last week. They sit at 15 members in the 2018 class with a 247Sports Composite average of 85.57.
(4) Penn State (5-0 overall, 2-0 conference)
Last Week: Win vs Indiana, 45-14. The Saquon Barkley Heisman campaign kept chugging on as the Nittany Lions cruised to another victory. The Hoosiers decided to sell out against the junior RB and successfully held him to 56 yards (2.8 ypc) on 20 carries. Unfortunately for the Hoosiers, the Nittany Lions have other ways to get Barkley the ball. Even though he had a rough day toting the rock, Barkley was able to add 51 yards receiving, had a 98-yard kick return for a touchdown, and even threw a touchdown pass. With the running game held in check, junior Trace McSorley responded with 315 passing yards and two touchdowns. Senior LB Jason Cabinda was all over the field with 14 tackles, 1 sack, 1.5 tackles-for-loss, and 1 fumble recovery.
This Week: at Northwestern
This Week in Recruiting: The Nittany Lions did not receive a commitment last week. They sit at 23 members in the 2018 class with a 247Sports Composite average of 90.65.
Purdue (2-2 overall, 0-1 conference)
Last Week: Bye Week. Purdue came off of a hard-fought loss to the Wolverines and were able to regroup with a bye week . The good news for Purdue is the return of junior RB Markell Jones who has been out most of the season. Jones had started the past two years for the Boilermakers before being injured in the first game of the season. Jones rushed for 1,491 yards and 14 touchdowns over the past two years as starter. Filling in for him was sophomore Tario Fuller who tallied 261 rushing yards and 2 TDs before missing the Michigan game with an injury.
This Week: vs Minnesota
This Week in Recruiting: The Boilermakers did not receive a commitment last week. They sit at 22 members in the 2018 class with a 247Sports Composite average of 82.57.
Rutgers (1-4 overall, 0-2 conference)
Last Week: Loss vs Ohio State, 56-0. Dear Rutgers, I really tried to give you a chance to be worth anyone’s time. A few weeks ago, I was very mean and used your spot to plug the great things going on around the O-Zone. Since then, you have failed all of us time and time again and I’m done.
So in your spot, I’m going to talk about the newest addition to The Sons of Schmidt. In addition to hearing Mike and I talk Buckeye football, we have added our good buddy Michael Citro to the show. In terms of podcast additions, this has to be a 5-star commitment from Mr. Citro. Prior to joining us on the O-Zone, Michael was with Our Honor Defend before moving over to Eleven Warriors. I truly have to pinch myself thinking about how I’m working with people like Tony, Michael, and the rest of the O-Zone crew. Come check us out.
This Week: Bye Week.
This Week in Recruiting: Rutgers did not receive a commitment last week. They sit at 19 members in the 2018 class with a 247Sports Composite average of 83.29.
(9) Wisconsin (4-0 overall, 1-0 conference)
Last Week: Win vs Northwestern, 33-24. If it weren’t for two very late touchdowns by Northwestern, this win would look even more impressive to the voters who don’t actually watch games. As good of a win as this was for the Badgers, the offense struggled more than we are used to seeing.
Freshman Jonathan Taylor only had 80 yards rushing, which was over 50 yards less than his season average. Sophomore QB Alex Hornibrook also struggled as he only threw for 197 yards and had 2 interceptions. The Badger defense was firing on all cylinders as they racked up 8 sacks and 11 tackles-for-loss. Senior LB Garret Dooley had his best game of the year as he registered 3 sacks and 4.5 tackles-for-loss.
This Week: at Nebraska
This Week in Recruiting: The Badgers received a commitment from 3-star DB Donte Burton out of Georgia. They sit at 19 members in the 2018 class with a 247Sports Composite average of 85.38.
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