2014 Big Ten spring football game recaps, top performers

Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Spor

Ohio State had a spring game. But many other teams also had spring games, and you probably didn't watch them. Here are the CliffsNotes.

As you may have heard, Ohio State had a spring game. Despite proclamations that the spring game, as an institution in college football, may be dying, lots of other schools in the Big Ten also had them. Since you probably didn't watch them all, we tracked down some information on games you may be interested in, so you can get all caught up to speed.

With all of these, a caveat, courtesy of Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer: there's a chance little of what we saw in these practices will have a ton of bearing on the end products we see next fall. It's worth noting that Michigan State, Iowa, and Rutgers' spring games are all yet to come (and don't happen until the end of this month).

Michigan

TL;DR: If you're a Michigan fan, the good news is that the defensive line looked pretty stout. The bad news is that part of that probably came from the fact that the offense looked just as ugly as it did last year. The offensive line, which will be replacing Taylor Lewan, looked spotty, according to Maize n Brew. Michigan's QB play did little to inspire anybody, as Devin Gardner was 2-10 for 53 yards. Shane Morris was 5-11 for 73 yards.

Jourdan Lewis did have two picks for Michigan, though. Early-enrollee Freddy Canteen had a 44 yard reception from Gardner as well.

Also, as  Braxton Miller reminded us, not very many were around to watch Michigan's struggles. So they have that going for them.

Penn State

TL;DR: The Blue team beat the shit out of the White team, 37-0. Christian Hackenberg, who should be one of the best QBs in the Big Ten this season, had a relatively modest stat line (4-10, 43 yards), but his backup did quite nicely for himself, as Michael O'Connor went 11-16 for 81 yards.

Like with Michigan, the defense apparently performed much better than the offense. Penn State's offensive line did not have their best day, giving up nine sacks, and apparently struggled a little in getting the running game going, a situation not improved when center Wendy Laurent left with an injury in the second quarter and did not return.

Penn State did show some looks from the Wildcat (not Wild Lion or other nonsense), and displayed a willingness to get creative with the offense, something that may need to be a necessity if their offensive line has depth problems.

Maryland

TL;DRThe White team beat the Red team, 187-143, in another one of those weirdo scoring pseudo-games. Look Maryland, I know that you're a basketball school and all, but if you're going to start hanging around with us, know that there is virtually nothing less B1G than triple digit scoring for anything, except APRs and LSATs.

This may surprise you, but just like with all these other spring games, the offense apparently struggled. C.J. Brown tossed three picks and lost a fumble, and his backups didn't fare any better (Perry Hills also apparently threw an interception). Of course, it didn't help that Maryland's two stud wideouts, Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, perhaps the best pass catching duo in the Big Ten, didn't play.

The Terps did get a solid day from running back Brandon Ross, who scampered for 90 yards and two scores – on four carries (getting a 75 yard run helps). Cornerback Will Likely picked off two passes as well.

Illinois

TL;DR: The Blue team clobbered the Orange team, 38-7, in front of about 5,000 fans.

Riley O'Toole outplayed Oklahoma State transfer Wes Lunt at the QB spot, with O'Toole going 12-17 for 126 yards and two touchdowns, while Lunt only went 6-16 for 99 yards and a pick. Former walk-on Peter Bonahoom had seven catches for 95 yards, leading the team.

Defensive end Paul James III had a big day as well, with two sacks and four tackles for loss. V'Angelo Bentley also added an 89 yard pick-six. Illinois will continue to need to focus on their defense, especially their secondary, if they want to take steps forward from last season.

Indiana

TL;DR: The Cream beat the Crimson, 24-14.

Wideout (and former Glenville great) Shane Wynn had himself a game, grabbing five balls for 141 yards and a touchdown. Look for Wynn to go deep early and often this year.

The Hoosiers look to go to a two-QB system again, with both Tre Roberson and Nate Sudfeld getting time. Roberson was 10-22 for 176 yards and a pick, as well as a 65 yard scoring run, while Sudfeld was 29-40 (40!) for 273 yards, a score, and two interceptions.

David Kenney had seven tackles and two sacks for the defense, which still gave up 9 yards a carry on the ground, which is uh..not a good sign.

Again, take these stats and box scores with the requisite grain of salt. A lot can change from now throughout the summer.

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