clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

B1G Thoughts: Don’t run cover zero at the end of games and more insights from Week 3 in the Big Ten

Purdue can’t survive bad coaching and Pat Fitzgerald is washed, The B1G West is officially down bad.

NCAA Football: Purdue at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Every Monday after the Big Ten slate of games, I will bring you some B1G thoughts on everything that happened! This will include analysis, stats, key players, moments, and maybe a joke or two. Be sure to check out the I-70 Football Show in the Land-Grant Holy Land podcast feed for more in-depth analysis and to preview the next week of B1G games.

Purdue can’t overcome bad coaching and poor discipline

Purdon’t, the team formerly known as Purdue, lost a game against Syracuse in the most asinine way possible. The Big Ten West is full of coaches who just do not want to win and it is getting ridiculous. Purdue went down 25-15 after quarterback Aidan O’Connell tried to give the game away by handing the ball to Syracuse and ushering them in for a pick-six. Many of us thought the game was over at this point, but O’Connell led the Boilermakers on back-to-back touchdown drives ultimately leading Syracuse 29-25 with just 51 seconds left.

Then all hell broke loose; immediately after the touchdown, Purdue got two personal foul penalties, one on a coach, that forced the ensuing kickoff from Purdue’s 10-yard line. After gifting the Orange the ball at midfield, they then get called on five more penalties, four of which were accepted.

To make matters even worse, Purdue decided to call Cover Zero, man-to-man coverage with uncovered players blitzing with 12 seconds left and Syracuse punished them with a game-winning touchdown.

This was honestly just a disgraceful showing by the coaches and players in a game they absolutely should have won.

Charlie Jones had a big day

Boilermaker wide receiver Charlie Jones has been exorcised from the evil spirit that is Iowa’s offense and the world is better off for it. The transfer WR singlehandedly did enough for Purdue to win this game including catching a 55-yard touchdown to mount Purdue’s comeback. He finished the game with 11 receptions for 188 yards and a touchdown.

After losing David Bell, Jones has been a revelation for Purdue, showcasing a connection with O’Connell that goes back to little league baseball. Three games into the season and Jones has 32 receptions for 474 yards and 5 touchdowns. Safe to say he’s having a special season already, too bad Purdue keeps finding ways to lose games.

Blake x Five

Michigan obliterated Uconn on Saturday 59-0 wrapping up one of the weakest non-conference slates of all time. Much of that can be attributed to Blake Corum who finished the game with five rushing touchdowns. Three of the five TDs came from the one-yard line which is worth discussing since Michigan is trying to replace their star running back Hasan Haskins, who handled all short yardage duties last year for the Big Ten Champions.

Pat Fitzgerald Referendum

Northwestern, it is time to move on from Pat Fitzgerald. You do not even need to fire him, let him retire, give him a job in administration and place him in the school’s Hall of Fame. Do whatever you feel is necessary but his tenure as the head coach needs to end.

Northwestern is 1-2 on the season with losses to Duke and Southern Illinois, their only win was against a Nebraska team being coached by a guy who was in line to get an extra $7.5 million if he got fired before Oct. 1. This is about more than just one upset, Fitzgerald was out-schemed, out-coached, and his players were outplayed in every facet of the game.

His staff refuses to recruit, typically pulling in a bottom-three class in the Big Ten. The culture seems to be eroding too with star players like Brandon Joseph transferring; Fitzgerald has clearly lost his fastball. This team is junior and senior-laden, which is typically when Northwestern is at its best; instead his program has failed to develop players and many of them seem to be worse than they were as freshmen during Northwestern’s last Big Ten Championship campaign.

There is nothing left to salvage here besides Fitzgerald’s pride and relationship with the university. That should not be enough to stop them from moving on.

No one is SAFE (pun intended)

Maryland tamed the SMU Mustangs on Saturday with a 34-27 win in a thrilling game in large part due to junior safety Beau Brade. Brade finished the game with 15 tackles, 2 pass breakups, and an interception. He was all over the field making play after play as Maryland’s defense came up big in the end, allowing the offense to score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to win the game.

Maryland is not known for its defense, and they still gave up 27 points, but Brade emerging as a force in the secondary is a good sign for the Terrapins moving forward as they hope to reach back-to-back bowl games and make some noise in the stacked Big Ten East.

Penn State bullies Auburn

Did you all know that the SEC is the best conference in all of college football, maybe the NFL too? It is also the deepest and their lesser teams would beat even the better teams from other conferences because it just means more in the Southeastern Confernece.

Well, that belief took a hit this weekend when Penn State went into Jordan-Hare stadium and blew out the Tigers 41-12. Last year, Penn State beat Auburn as well but that was a lucky game and they had a home-field advantage. According to SEC lifers, there is no way Penn State could come to the south and beat an SEC team.

I wonder what they will say now after the Nittany Lions dominated Auburn in every facet of the game en route to a dominant win. Penn State has found a running game with five-star freshman Nick Singleton and they enter Big Ten play with momentum as they hope to regain their standing among the conference’s elite.

Why do college kickers exist?

What are college kickers and why do they exist? I’m starting to believe that college kickers don’t practice, they just show up in games, specifically big moments for the sole purpose of breaking the hearts of their respective fanbases.

Three weeks into the season, it feels as though kickers have missed every single meaningful attempt this season leading to multiple failed upset bids. The bug has entered the Big Ten as well; before I stopped keeping track, I tallied three missed kicks in big moments.

Purdue’s kicker missed a 41-yard kick in a game that they lost by three points. Western Kentucky lost an upset bid against Indiana after their kicker missed a 44-yarder that would have won the game and got a 39-yard kick blocked in overtime.

It is apparent that kickers are not handling their duties, it’s time to wonder if coaches should just stop kicking at all and just play for touchdowns.

Offensive masterclass

The offensive juggernaut that is the Ohio State Buckeyes awakened from its hibernation on Saturday, much to the dismay of the Toledo Rockets. After a shaky showing against Notre Dame and knocking some rust off against Arkansas State, the Buckeyes went supernova against UT.

C.J. Stroud led Ohio State on seven straight touchdown drives, and the success didn’t stop as the backups scored when they were in the game too. By the end of the game, OSU put up 77 points and scored a touchdown on 11 of 13 possessions as everyone ate against the overmatched rockets. Those 77 points were a sign of mercy because the offense could have scored a few more times if it wanted to.

Sure, it was Toledo, but Ohio State put the rest of the country on notice that the Buckeye’s offense is back in god mode.

Walk-on touchdown

College football is full of stories of unknown walk-ons getting placed on scholarship in creative ways while the whole team celebrates. We have grown accustomed to that and personally, I look forward to those videos every year.

What we do not typically see is a walk-on get into a game and score on one of the best runs we’ve seen since the Marshawn Lynch beast mode run. After scoring at will against Toledo, Ohio State put in the walk running back on TC Caffery and he decided to make a name for himself refusing to go down despite multiple attempts.

This may be the only action he sees all season but he is already a legend in the eyes of Buckeye fans.

TC Lynch, Marshawn Caffrey, the same:

Fullbacks are people too

Today’s college game is almost exclusively run out of the shotgun, frustratingly so in my opinion. Teams rarely take snaps under center, even when short-yardage situations dictate that they should. A majority of teams don’t even have a fullback listed on the roster.

So when a team lines up under center in the I-formation it is worth talking about. After getting inside the five-yard line, Ohio State lined up in the I-formation and ran the ball two straight plays but failed to get into the end zone. On third down, they did the only thing worth considering and what 90% of programs would refuse to do; they ran a fullback dive to Mitch Rossi for a touchdown.

It was reminiscent of an older style of football, fitting for the season-long celebration of Ohio Stadium’s 100th anniversary. Here’s hoping the Buckeyes continue using I-Formation and finding ways to get the full back involved.

Watch Mitch Rossi’s touchdown: