I guess everyone saw it coming. With so many cupcake matchups in the Big Ten this weekend, most of the teams in the Big Ten would be cruising through their Week 4 games. What maybe so many of us didn’t expect was two teams to drop 70 points, another to put up 65, and a pair of teams with 45 more.
The biggest surprise out of this weekend’s slate of games might be the fact that the Michigan Wolverines were able to put up 65 points on Bowling Green, without Denard Robinson. Robinson left early in Saturday’s contest, but his knee injury isn’t considered serious, but it also wasn’t worth risking anything against a lowly Falcons squad. Robinson did leave some lovely parting gifts, carrying for 129 yards and a pair of scores, while completing all four of his attempted passes, as well. Tate Forcier was solid in relief action, completing all 12 of his tosses, and throwing one of two Wolverine touchdown passes. Robinson’s two TD runs added to the seven that Michigan put on the board.
Despite the offensive outburst from the Wolverines, Ohio State and Wisconsin ruled the day for offense, both breaking that 70-point barrier. The Buckeyes disposed of a winless Eastern Michigan squad, winning by 53 in their 73-20 win over the Eagles. Terrelle Pryor led the way, tossing four touchdown passes, all to my man Dane Sanzenbacher, while rushing for another one. After looking “average” in their first three wins, the Badgers of Wisconsin broke out in decisive fashion on Saturday, surrendering just three points, while scoring 70 of their own. While John Clay was very good, averaging almost eight yards a carry against Austin Peay, freshman James White stole the show, rushing for 145 yards on 11 carries and four scores.
Michigan State and Iowa also combined for big wins, teaming up to down their opponents (Northern Colorado and Ball State, respectively) by a total of 90-7. Michigan State allowed that one touchdown, but still put up 45 on the Bears, playing inspired ball for head coach Mark Dantonio. Quarterback Kirk Cousins led the way, completing 80 percent of his passes and throwing a pair of scores. On the other side, Iowa rebounded nicely from their loss against the University of Arizona, shutting out the Cardinals. Ricky Stanzi led the Hawkeyes with a trio of touchdown passes, with sophomore running back Adam Robinson adding two touchdowns on the ground.
In a game with upset potential, Temple let an early lead slip away against Penn State, before falling in a close one, 22-13. The Owls won the first quarter, taking a 13-6 lead and even led by four at the half. However, they weren’t able to overcome quarterback Chester Stewart‘s three interceptions, nor were they able to contain Evan Royster. The senior rushed for 187 yards, averaging over seven yards per. Despite the ridiculous numbers, Royster wasn’t able to find the endzone, with the Nittany Lions scoring only one touchdown as a team for the game.
If you want to call them “upsets”, Northern Illinois put down Minnesota, while Toledo managed to stave off a late Purdue rally to knock off the Boilermakers. Minnesota retained their place as the doormat of the Big Ten, despite a 373-yard performance from quarterback Adam Weber. Though he threw a pick, the Golden Gophers dominated in many parts of the game, including time of possession, but penalties, as well as their inability to stop NIU’s Chad Spann (223 yards on 15 carries, not a typo), doomed them in the end, losing to the Huskies, 34-23. Toledo’s upset of Purdue is a bit more curious. Their stats are comparable, and Toledo accrued almost 100 yards in penalties, but got ahead early and hung on.
Wins by Northwestern and Indiana round out the Big Ten lineup from Week 4, with both remaining undefeated in their victories. The Wildcats avoided an upset from Central Michigan, behind Dan Persa and his two touchdown passes. The Hoosiers dispatched of a winless Akron Zips team, with senior quarterback Ben Chappell finding the endzone four times through the air in their 35-20 win.
Be sure to check back with ChiCitySports.com for next week’s Big Ten preview, as the teams open up conference play, putting up some very exciting matchups for us next Saturday.