Every week 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. With the Big Ten expanding from 14 teams to 18 teams in 2024, this article will also include the newest members, Oregon, UCLA, USC, and Washington. Check out the I-80 Football Show for more in-depth analysis and to preview the next week of B1G games.
Kyle McCord is Ohio State’s QB1
Congrats Ohio State, you have a quarterback. Is he a good quarterback? Probably. Is he a star? That is yet to be determined, but what should be determined is he should be the starter for the rest of the season.
McCord showed major areas of improvement in his second game. Namely, he remembered that he had the two best wide receivers in the country on his team. McCord played limited snaps — 30 in total — but completed 15-of-20 passes for 258 yards and three touchdowns. He found his star receivers, showed a willingness to throw deep, and was accurate on most of his passes.
McCord has a long way to go to be mentioned among CJ Stroud and Justin Fields. He has a lot of ground to make up if he wants to win Big Ten Quarterback of the Year or become a Heisman finalist. He may not reach those heights, and we won’t know until his career is over, but he has earned the right to be QB1 for this season. He needs to play every important snap against Western Kentucky to prepare for Notre Dame in two weeks.
Welcome back Marv and Emeka, happy to have you
Objectively and at near consensus, Ohio State entered the season with the best wide receiver corp in the country, and two potential first-round picks in Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka. You wouldn’t have known that after Week 1, when they combined for five catches for 34 yards. In Week 2 against Youngstown State, you could tell McCord wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice.
On their first drive of the game, McCord found Marv for a 71-yard touchdown and made amends for forgetting he existed. Harrison Jr. finished the game with seven catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns. Emeka also got involved in the action with five catches for 94 yards and one touchdown. For Ohio State to have any success this season, they need Marv and Emeka to play to their ability every week.
It was encouraging to see Ohio State’s star receivers dominating, Of course, this needs to continue against better competition, but now the Ohio State season has officially started.
Nebraska, you have a problem
Nebraska has a problem, and its name is Jeff Sims. This was always going to be a tough year for Nebraska under new head coach Matt Rhule, but after two games there hasn’t been much to be proud of.
One of the biggest reasons for Nebraska’s struggles has been transfer quarterback Jeff Sims. In two games, Sims has thrown four interceptions and lost two fumbles. Sims, already a limited passer, is costing the Cornhuskers with poorly timed turnovers that in many cases have stopped promising drives. If Nebraska wants to right the ship, it starts with Sims, who must do a better job taking care of the ball.
Blown tire on the road to 325
It took two weeks for everyone to realize that Iowa was always going to Iowa while Brian Ferentz is in charge. You may have believed things would be different this year, but you were wrong and that’s okay. Welcome to the right side of history… we have snacks.
I understood the optimism. They got former Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara and tight end Erick All. They also got a former four-star receiver from Ohio State and they had all the motivation in the world to be good on offense. The problem? McNamara was an average quarterback at Michigan while playing behind a Joe Moore-winning offensive line and handing the ball off to three NFL-caliber running backs.
Iowa does not have a Joe Moore-winning offensive line. They do not have one — moreover three — NFL-caliber running backs. They also do not have a functional adult calling the plays. Two games in and Iowa has yet to score 25 points. Their offense looked anemic… again. At least their defense can still score points, because without it they won’t even crack 300 points this season.
Minnesota, where are you raising these runningbacks?
Somewhere deep in Minnesota country, there is a farm. This farm doesn’t provide any sort anything of substance for the human body. Instead, they’re raising bell cow running backs for the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
It’s been one week, so I don’t want to overreact, but Minnesota found themselves a running back who could handle 25-plus carries in a game. After struggling to run the ball in Week 1, Minnesota decided to give the ball to freshman running back Darius Taylor. Taylor ran the ball for 193 yards and one touchdown on 33 carries at 5.8 yards per carry.
He’ll need to do it against better competition, but Minnesota may have found their new bell cow. Taylor has a long way to go before attempting to fill the shoes of Gophers legend Mo Ibrahim, but in a season that may be lost before it starts, finding the running back of the future is a big win for this program.
Oh no baby, what is you doing…
All the concerns Wisconsin fans had about hiring Phil Longo as their offensive coordinator returned this week. Longo put some salve on those concerns last week, running for almost 200 yards, but as soon as the Badgers got in trouble he gave up on the running game and asked Tanner Mordecai to lead them to victory.
That was not successful, as they lost to future Mountain West member Washington State for the second year in a row. Wisconsin’s star running back Braelon Allen was held to 20 rushing yards on seven carries. Chez Mellusi had 49 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries. 19 carries a week after running for a combined 198 yards last week is concerning.
Wisconsin may be further away from success than we thought when they hired Luke Fickell. I still believe Fickell will turn it around, but they have some clear issues they need to fix if they hope to contend in the West as expected.
A win is a win is a win
Want to know the best thing about being 2-0? Ask the Oregon Ducks, who survived a scare from Texas Tech on Saturday. Oregon scored 20 points in the fourth quarter, including a game-winning field goal with less than two minutes left in the game. The Ducks sealed the deal with a sack fumble that was returned for a touchdown with under a minute left in the game.
Oregon has some things to figure out in the running department, as Bo Nix finished the game as their leading rusher with 46 total yards. Still, it’s much easier to fix those issues after winning. Oregon will have to be much better if it hopes to contend for the Pac-12 in its final season before joining the Big Ten in 2024.
There’s no I in team
Penn State destroyed FCS opponent Deleware 63-7. They did it with the ultimate team performance, rushing the ball for 315 yards and six touchdowns on 60 carries. Seven players recorded three or more rushing attempts for the Nittany Lions, and four of them reached the end zone.
Kaytron Allen led the charge with 103 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries. Nick Singleton was not as efficient, running for 47 yards on 12 carries, but got in the end zone three times. Penn State played two quarterbacks on Saturday, and they both finished with a passing and rushing touchdown.
It was Deleware, a team that Penn State should have beat soundly, but after the running game looked out of sync in Week 1 it was nice for them to get to have success in Week 2.
Michigan wide receiver Roman Wilson is having an amazing start to the 2023 season. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy has thrown five touchdowns thus far, and Wilson has been on the receiving end of all five. So far in 2023, Wilson has 10 catches for 167 yards and five touchdowns. Eventually, J.J. will throw a touchdown to someone else, but they’re building a rapport early in the season and Wilson is making himself McCarthy’s go-to option.
Michigan will always be a run-first team, but if this connection can last, Michigan will be dangerous as they attempt to three-peat as Big Ten champions and look to get another go at a national championship
Mel Tucker, what the f***
Michigan State’s head coach Mel Tucker has been suspended without pay once news broke that he was being investigated for sexual harassment. Michigan State tried its best to hide these allegations and acquiesced to Tucker, allowing him to continue coaching and even scheduled his trial for their bye week. Once it became public knowledge that Tucker had been accused, the Spartan administration suspended him, and this will most likely end in him being fired for cause.
This is a bad look for Tucker and Michigan State, who are still dealing with the Larry Nassar scandal. Tucker has denied some of the claims, but has admitted to a “consensual” relationship of sorts with a business partner, which is also a fireable offense at most universities. Tucker has gone on the offensive, trying to make himself the victim of an “unfair investigation”. Ultimately, this probably ends up with Tucker being fired, but he’s going down swinging…
Michigan State had a chance to get this right, and now must watch this play out in public. It’s another scandal for a university that has dealt with a lot of negative press in the past few years.
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