While three of Ohio State's 2013 opponents got an early weekend of the season off, there will actually be more of Ohio State's enemies sitting at home watching the action this coming Saturday. Four teams will have a bye week this week, and will more than likely be watching one of the marquee games of the Big Ten schedule this year when Wisconsin comes into Columbus to take on Ohio State.
Buffalo (1-2), Bye Week, NEXT GAME: vs. UConn, Saturday 3:30 PM
The Bulls didn't play last week, giving them a little extra rest after their 26-23 victory over Stony Brook in 5 overtimes. This week brings UConn in to Buffalo, in the final non-conference game that the Bulls have before stepping into conference play next weekend.
San Diego State (0-3), LOSS vs. Oregon State (34-30), NEXT GAME: at New Mexico State, Saturday, 8 PM
San Diego State looked to have put their bye week to good use when they went into halftime with a 24-14 lead on Oregon State. The Aztecs extended the lead to 27-14 after three quarters, but Oregon State dominated the fourth quarter to notch the comeback victory. Quinn Kaehler made his first career start for San Diego State after taking over for Adam Dingwell in the loss to Ohio State. The ending wasn't quite what Kaehler had in mind for his first start, with Oregon State's Steven Nelson intercepting a Kaehler pass and returning it 16 yards for the touchdown with less than three minutes left to give the Beavers the lead. San Diego State continued to have trouble rushing the football, only gaining 74 yards on the ground. Running back Adam Meuma carried the football a career-high 28 times but was only able to grind out 71 yards on the ground.
Rocky Long's squad will have to put this tough loss behind them quickly, as they'll head to Las Cruces to try and gain their first win of the year when they face New Mexico State.
California (1-2), Bye Week, NEXT GAME, at #2 Oregon, Saturday 10:30 PM
California was able to get a little extra prep time for this week's matchup with Oregon, as they didn't have a game last week. The Golden Bears will need all the help they can get when they have to try and stop the explosive Oregon offense. This will be the third ranked team that California has played so far this season, with two of those teams being ranked inside the top five.
#24 Wisconsin (3-1), WIN vs. Purdue (41-10), NEXT GAME, at #4 Ohio State, Saturday 8 PM
In the first Big Ten conference game of the season, Wisconsin didn't have too much trouble bouncing back from the controversial loss they suffered against Arizona State. Melvin Gordon averaged 9.2 yards per carry on his 16 carries, but saw his yards per carry average on the season drop from 12.9 to 11.8. Gordon scored three touchdowns for Wisconsin, while James White added a 70-yard touchdown run near the end of the first quarter. Wisconsin rolled up 388 yards on the ground in the blowout, while the defense put the clamps on the Boilermakers. After only totaling one sack in the first three games, the Badgers were able to bring down Rob Henry four times.
Things will be considerably tougher on Saturday when Wisconsin heads into Columbus for the showdown with the Buckeyes. Establishing the running game early will be critical for the Badgers, as the more time the Ohio State offense is kept off the field, the better the chances of Wisconsin pulling the upset are.
#18 Northwestern (4-0), WIN vs. Maine (35-21), NEXT GAME: vs. #4 Ohio State, October 5th, 8 PM
In their final game before their matchup with Ohio State in two weeks, Northwestern was never really in danger, but didn't exactly do too much to impress on Saturday. The Black Bears actually had more total offense (379-373) and first downs (23-20) than the Wildcats, but two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns were in the difference in the game. Damien Proby returned a pick 49 yards near the end of the first half, and Dean Lowry added a 19-yard pick-six early in the second half for Northwestern. The Wildcats again didn't have the services of running back Venric Mark, so they relied on Mike Trumpy to try and spark the running game. Trumpy carried the ball 17 times for 94 yards and punched in a touchdown. After going for 158 yards and two touchdowns against Western Michigan, Treyvon Green only was given nine carries against Maine.
Now with two weeks to prepare for Ohio State, Pat Fitzgerald will have his hands full with figuring out how to stop the Buckeye offense, along with how to balance the running game with Mark expected to be back, and the quarterback gameplan between Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian. At least the Wildcats should have a little extra juice in the crowd in a couple weeks, with Evanston being the probable site for College Gameday.
Iowa (3-1), WIN vs. Western Michigan (59-3), NEXT GAME: at Minnesota, Saturday 3:30 PM
Behind a pair of punt return touchdowns from Kevonte Martin-Manley and interception returns from B.J, Lowery, Iowa cruised to an easy victory over Western Michigan. Martin-Manley ran back punts of 83 and 63 yards about a minute apart early in the second quarter, while Lowery returned a interception 35 yards at the end of the first half and had a 13-yarder early in the second half. The Hawkeyes spread the wealth around on the ground, running for 258 yards. Six Hawkeyes ran for at least 30 yards on the ground, with the leading rusher being Jordan Canzeri with 73 yards. This was the third Big Ten team that Western Michigan played in four games, but was by far the most lopsided loss that they suffered.
Iowa now is on a three-game winning streak, which is their longest since 2010. This week will see Iowa step into Big Ten play and travel to Minnesota to try and keep their winning streak going and move closer to bowl eligibility.
Penn State (3-1), WIN vs. Kent State (34-0), NEXT GAME: at Indiana, October 5th
Christian Hackenberg had the worst game of his young career at Penn State, but it didn't hurt the Nittany Lions as they had no issues with Kent State. Hackenberg was only 13 of 35 through the air with 176 yards passing, and was only able to find favorite receiver Allen Robinson three times for 43 yards. Penn State didn't need too much from the passing game though, as the running game was more than picking up the slack. Akeel Lynch led Penn State with 123 yards running, while Bill Belton added 90 yards and Zach Zwinak pitched in 65 yards and three touchdowns. Without Dri Archer, the Kent State offense really sputtered, only accumulating 190 yards of total offense on the day. The Golden Flashes are now 0-10 when facing off against Big Ten teams, including 0-4 against Penn State. This was the first shutout by Penn State since 2010.
Penn State will now get this weekend off before opening up their conference schedule against Indiana in Bloomington next Saturday.
Purdue (1-3), LOSS vs. #24 Wisconsin (41-10), NEXT GAME: vs. Northern Illinois, Saturday 12 PM
Following showing some fight in the close loss to Notre Dame last week, Purdue wasn't able to build on that, getting gashed by the Wisconsin running game in Madison. The Boilermakers had no answers for Badger running backs Melvin Gordon and James White on Saturday. Purdue looked like they might make this a game early in the second quarter, pulling to within 14-10 after a Paul Griggs 24-yard field goal, but those were the last points that Darrell Hazell's team would score on the day. Purdue was only able to gain 180 yards of total offense and notch 12 first downs on the day. The running game for Purdue continued their struggles and was only able to gain 45 yards in the game. Hazell might have to make a change soon at the quarterback position, as Rob Henry just isn't creating much for the offense. On the season, Henry is only completing 58% of his passes and has only passed for 200+ yards in one game.
After playing their first conference game on Saturday, Purdue will now step big into non-conference play when Northern Illinois visits this Saturday. The Huskies will be looking to pick up their second win this season over a Big Ten team, and with the way that Purdue is playing it wouldn't be a surprise to see them do it.
Illinois (2-1), Bye week, NEXT GAME: vs. Miami (OH), Saturday 12 PM
The Fighting Illini had a week to lick their wounds after losing to Washington in Chicago last Saturday. Tim Beckman's team will look to get back into the win column on Saturday when they entertain Miami (OH). The Miami game will be the last tune-up that Illinois will get before starting conference play against Nebraska next Saturday.
Indiana (2-2), LOSS vs. Missouri (45-28), NEXT GAME: vs. Penn State, October 5th
The Missouri/Indiana game was one of the few games on the slate of games last weekend that looked like it might be able to create some fireworks, and it did for most of the first half before Missouri pulled away from the Hoosiers. Indiana fell behind 14-0 after the first quarter but showed some fight in answering with touchdowns from Cody Latimer and Tevin Coleman to tie the game at 14. What might have broke Indiana was a 49-yard interception return by Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy to put the Tigers up 28-14 heading into the break. That interception was one of three that Nate Sudfeld threw in the game, putting the Hoosiers in a hole that they couldn't climb out of. One of the bright spots for the Indiana offense was wide receiver Cody Latimer, who has now caught 14 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns in the last two games. The balanced offense that Missouri had was too much for the Hoosiers defense. The Tigers gained 620 yards in the game, with 343 coming through the air and another 280 on the ground, and held the ball for over 13 minutes more than the Hoosiers did.
Indiana will now have an extra week to try and get a handle on some of the issues that they have defensively. Penn State will come to town next Saturday in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
#18 Michigan (4-0), WIN vs. UConn (24-21), NEXT GAME: vs. Minnesota, October 5th 3:30 PM
After squeaking out a win over Akron last week, many thought that Michigan should have an easy go of it when they hit the road to take on UConn. That never materialized as UConn was a game opponent, jumping out to a 21-7 lead in the third quarter before Michigan scored the last 17 points of the game. Brady Hoke got another week of shaky quarterback play out of Devin Gardner, who has now thrown five interceptions over the past two games. Early in the second half UConn's Ty-meer Brown returned a Gardner fumble 34 yards to put the Huskies up by two touchdowns, and had the fans in East Hartford thinking upset. Michigan had over an 11 minute edge in time of possession but four Wolverine turnover helped to give the Huskies a chance to win. Michigan's Desmond Morgan intercepted Chandler Whitmer early in the fourth quarter and returned it down to the UConn 12-yard line. From there Fitz Toussaint would rush the football in, tying the game at 21. The Wolverines would add a Brandon Gibbons 21-yard field goal with under 5 minutes left to claim victory. Toussaint was one of the few bright spots for the Wolverines, carrying the ball 24 times for 120 yards and two touchdowns.
The defense doesn't seem to be the problem for the Wolverines, holding UConn to just 206 total yards on Saturday night. The problem for Michigan is the offense is committing too many turnovers and forcing the defense to bail out their mistakes. After edging past Terry Bowden and Pau Pasqualoni the last two weeks, Brady Hoke and company will have a week off to think about the gameplan that they'll want to execute when Minnesota comes to Ann Arbor a week from Saturday.