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Big Ten, Ohio State opponent Week 1 recap: Michigan cruises, Rutgers surprises

While most of the 2014 opponents of the Buckeyes cruised to victories against their opponents, there were a couple teams that were pushed to the limit in the opening weekend.

Christian Hackenberg threw for a Penn State record 454 yards in Dublin on Saturday
Christian Hackenberg threw for a Penn State record 454 yards in Dublin on Saturday
Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

Navy (0-1), LOSS vs. #5 Ohio State (34-17), NEXT GAME: at Temple, Saturday 1:00 PM

Navy rushed for 370 yards against the Buckeyes at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Saturday, but they didn't quite have enough to keep up with Ohio State. The Midshipmen hung tough with Ohio State for the better part of three quarters, but a couple late Buckeye touchdowns sealed the deal in the season opener. For a more in-depth review of what happened in Saturday's game check out the recap that Ian filed after the game went final.

This Saturday will see Navy hit the road to take on a Temple team that dominated Vanderbilt 37-7 on Thursday night. Even with the loss on Saturday to Ohio State, Navy should be in store for a pretty successful season which should see them becoming bowl eligible again.

Virginia Tech (1-0), WIN vs. William & Mary (34-9), NEXT GAME: at #5 Ohio State, Saturday 8:00 PM

Virginia Tech started the season with a solid 34-9 win over FCS school William & Mary as they try and work out the kinks with Ohio State looming on deck in Ohio Stadium on Saturday night. Texas Tech transfer quarterback Michael Brewer completed 23 of 30 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns as the Hokies overcame a little bit of a slow start to pull away midway through the game. A Bucky Hodges eight-yard touchdown reception made pushed the score to 14-6 Virginia Tech with 5:40 left in the second quarter. The touchdown was setup by a sack/fumble by Chase Williams on William & Mary quarterback Steve Clulely which was picked up Derek Dinardo and take 45 yards down to the two-yard line. The Hokies scored on three straight drives and four out of five drives that spanned the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half to erase any doubt.

Now the Hokies and Brewer face the tough task of heading to Columbus to play the Buckeyes under the lights. One area that Frank Beamer will surely be wanting to fix from the season opener is the amount of penalties that the Hokies racked up on Saturday, with 10 flags which set them back 75 yards. The Hokies were able to get away with those fouls against weaker competition, but against the Buckeyes it could be the difference in the contest.

Kent State (0-1, 0-1), LOSS vs. Ohio (17-14), NEXT GAME: vs. South Alabama, Saturday 2:00 PM

Ohio gave Kent State plenty of chances to earn the victory in the MAC opener for both teams on Saturday, but the Golden Flashes just weren't able to cash in on the mistakes of the Bobcats. After Ohio took a 14-7 lead into halftime, the Bobcats fumbled on the first four possessions of the second half, but Kent State wasn't able to turn those miscues into any points. With 3:34 left in the fourth quarter, Chris Humphrey caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Colin Reardon to tie the game up at 14-14. Overtime wouldn't be in the cards though, as Ohio kicker Josiah Yazdani kicked a 44-yard field goal as time expired to give Ohio the road victory.

After opening the season in-conference, the Golden Flashes will step out of the FBS for their second game of the season, when they host South Alabama on Saturday afternoon. While the result wasn't exactly what head coach Paul Haynes was looking for, he has to be intrigued by the play of Reardon, who went 30-41 for 264 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. South Alabama will be playing their first game of the season on Saturday when they take on the Golden Flashes.

Cincinnati (0-0), Bye week, NEXT GAME: vs. Toledo, Friday 9/12 7:00 PM

While many college football teams kicked off over the weekend, the Bearcats have to wait another week and a half before they play their first game. Cincinnati will take on Toledo next Friday night at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. The Bearcats will take on a Rockets team that overcame a slow start to defeat New Hampshire 54-20 on Saturday night in Toledo, and will host Missouri on Saturday again at home.

Maryland (1-0), WIN vs. James Madison (52-7), NEXT GAME: at South Florida, Saturday 3:30 PM

Coming into Saturday the Terrapins had previously played James Madison twice, and while they had won both matchups the combined margin of victory was only 11 points. That number got padded a little bit on Saturday with a 45 point win for Maryland. After the first quarter Maryland held a 17-0 lead and never looked back, opening up a 45-0 lead before James Madison was able to get on the board. The 52 points scored by the Terrapins was the highest total under head coach Randy Edsall, who is now in his fourth year as Maryland head coach. Quarterback C.J. Brown was the offensive catalyst for Maryland, scoring four total touchdowns in the game, with three of them coming on the ground. This was the first game for former Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers as head coach of James Madison.

Now Maryland will try and build off Saturday's win when they travel down to Tampa to square off with South Florida. The Bulls didn't exactly impress in their first week matchup, as they squeaked by Western Carolina 36-31. After missing the final five games of last season, Stefon Diggs caught five passes for 53 yards against James Madison, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him put up even bigger numbers against South Florida on Saturday.

Rutgers (1-0), WIN at Washington State (41-38), NEXT GAME: vs. Howard, Saturday 12:00 PM

Rutgers kicked off their inaugural season as member of the Big Ten in style with a Gary Nova 78-yard touchdown pass to Leonte Carroo on the first play of the game on their way to an eventual win over Washington State at CenturyLink Field in Seattle on Thursday night. The back-and-forth game was the most entertaining one on Thursday night, with the Scarlet Knights rallying to top Mike Leach and the Cougars. Rutgers was able to overcome five touchdown passes and 532 yards passing from Connor Halliday. Paul James was the offensive force for Rutgers with 173 yards on 29 carries and three rushing touchdowns, including a three-yard touchdown run with 3:28 left to give the Scarlet Knights the lead back, and would turn out to be the game-winner.

Saturday will see Rutgers play their home opener against FCS foe Howard in Piscataway. If the Scarlet Knights can get production from James and quarterback Gary Nova, who threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns against Washington State, Rutgers could be a little tougher foe in the Big Ten than many were anticipating coming into the season.

Penn State (1-0), WIN vs. Central Florida (26-24), NEXT GAME: vs. Akron, Saturday 12:00 PM

Penn State and Central Florida traveled across the pond to kickoff the season at Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland, and fans that made the journey were treated to a entertaining football game on Saturday. Christian Hackenberg became the first quarterback in Penn State to eclipse 400 yards passing in a game with the 454 yards he put up against Central Florida. The only touchdown pass by Hackenberg was a 79-yard strike to Geno Lewis with 55 seconds left in the third quarter to give Penn State a 20-10 lead. Central Florida came back behind backup quarterback Justin Holman to take a 24-23 lead with 1:13 left. Hackenberg calmly engineered a final minute drive to put the Nittany Lions in position to allow kicker Sam Hicken to hit a 36-yard field goal, his fourth field goal of the day, to secure James Franklin's first victory as Penn State head coach.

Now the Nittany Lions will return to the United States to open up in front of their home crowd on Saturday when they host the Akron Zips. Even though he is just a sophomore, Christian Hackenberg looks like he is the best quarterback the Big Ten has to offer right now, and with the amount of time he still has left in Happy Valley, he could own many of the Penn State passing records by the time his career as a Nittany Lion ends.

Illinois (1-0), WIN vs. Youngstown State (28-17), NEXT GAME: vs. Western Kentucky, Saturday 12:00 PM

Illinois held off pesky FCS opponent Youngstown State in Champaign on Saturday afternoon, after the Penguins held a 17-14 lead with just under 11 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Youngstown State took the lead on a two-yard touchdown run by Martin Ruiz, and the following two-point conversion by quarterback Dante Nania. Wes Lunt, playing his first game for Illinois after transferring from Oklahoma State, tossed a 15-yard touchdown to Josh Ferguson with just under nine minutes left to regain the lead, and another another touchdown pass with under three minutes to go to secure the victory. Lunt played well in his debut for the Fighting Illini, passing for 285 yards and four touchdown passes.

Tim Beckman will try and lead his team to a 2-0 start on Saturday when they host the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Illinois shouldn't sleep on Western Kentucky, who destroyed reigning MAC champion Bowling Green on Friday night to the tune of 59-31. While Illinois ended up winning the game, one point of emphasis for Beckman will be the time of possession battle. Against Youngstown State, Illinois only had the football for 19:59. If they leave their defense out there against teams that are more capable of scoring, like Western Kentucky, it could make for a long day.

#8 Michigan State (1-0), WIN vs. Jacksonville State (45-7), NEXT GAME: at #3 Oregon, Saturday 6:30 PM

Michigan State wasn't tested at all against Jacksonville State in East Lansing on Friday night, but the victory didn't come without some worry, as Connor Cook's left leg was hit late after he threw his first touchdown pass of the evening. Spartan fans didn't have to hold their breath too long with Cook returning to the game to throw a couple more touchdown passes on his way to 285 yards passing. Tony Lippett was Cook's preferred receiver on the night, catching touchdown passes of 64 and 71 yards on the way to Michigan State building a 38-0 halftime lead. Jacksonville State did score in the fourth quarter which marked the first touchdown that Michigan State had allowed at home since October 12th of last year, a span of 215 minutes and 40 seconds.

The real test for Michigan State comes this week when they play in one of the marquee games of the season against Oregon. The battle of Michigan State's physical style against Oregon's high-octane offense will be an intriguing matchup. After beating Stanford in the Rose Bowl to close out last season, Michigan State will hope to make it two wins in a row against Pac-12 competition.

Minnesota (1-0), WIN vs. Eastern Illinois (42-20), NEXT GAME: vs. Middle Tennessee State, Saturday 3:30 PM

After splitting time with Philip Nelson last season, the quarterback job is all Mitch Leidner's and he had a solid performance for the Golden Gophers in the season opener. The offense was a little sluggish to start with for Minnesota, but Leidner finished with 184 yards passing and three total touchdowns, two of them on the ground. Minnesota held a 14-0 halftime lead, and the lead grew early in the third quarter when the Golden Gophers blocked a punt for a two-yard touchdown. Jerry Kill's team was able to hold a Eastern Illinois team, that is dealing with the loss of Jimmy Garoppolo to the NFL and head coach Dino Babers to Bowling Green, in check and avoid the upset that San Diego State wasn't able to avoid last season against the Panthers to open the season.

Next up for Minnesota is a Middle Tennessee State team that made a bowl game last year. David Cobb rushed for 71 yards to start the season, but the Golden Gophers will need more from him if they hope to go bowling again this year. If Leidner continues to improve, Minnesota could be a tough game on the schedule for many of the Big Ten teams.

Indiana (1-0), WIN vs. Indiana State (28-10), NEXT GAME: at Bowling Green, Saturday 9/13 12:00 PM

It wasn't quite the 73-35 win that Indiana registered over the Sycamores last season, but a win is a win for the Hoosiers. This year being a little quieter on the scoreline for Indiana could have something to do with a rain storm that delayed the start of the football game 50 minutes. Once it got started Indiana State had no answer for Indiana running backs Tevin Coleman and D'Angelo Roberts. Coleman rushed for 247 yards on the day, which ranks fifth in a single game in Hoosier history. Roberts added 129 yards on the ground as Indiana amassed 455 yards rushing on the day. Coleman had two first quarter touchdown runs that went for 13 and 73 yards. With the success Indiana was having on the ground it left quarterback Nate Sudfeld with little to do besides handing off the football.

Now Indiana will get a bye week before hitting the road to take on Bowling Green. Last year the Hoosiers played the eventual MAC championship and had their way with them, earning a 42-10 victory in Bloomington. If Coleman and Roberts have the same success against Bowling Green that they did against Indiana State, it could make for a long day for the Falcons.

Michigan (1-0), WIN vs. Appalachian State (52-14), NEXT GAME: at #17 Notre Dame, Saturday 7:30 PM

Appalachian State came into Ann Arbor on Saturday looking to add another win at Michigan Stadium to their resume, but the Wolverines had other ideas. Devin Funchess scored the first three touchdowns of the season for Michigan, with the Wolverines eventually building a 35-0 halftime lead. Devin Gardner only threw one incompletion on the day, and Derrick Green ran for a career-high 170 yards on 15 carriers. This game was the first game that Appalachian State played as a FBS team and they weren't able to replicate their upset of Michigan from seven years ago.

Michigan hits the road this week for the last scheduled game against Notre Dame for the near future. Saturday's meeting will be the 13th consecutive year that the teams have met. The teams have cancelled games through 2019 and it isn't known if the rivalry will pick back up in the years after that. With how good Notre Dame looked in their demolition of Rice on Saturday, the rivalry could be ending with a pretty entertaining game.