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Illinois Fighting Illini: Week Four’s Most Disappointing B1G Team
Zach Clark (8:56 am)  @Zach_TSB

Saturday:

UAB 15 - #16 Ohio State 29

Most Shocking Statistic: Total Yards: UAB 403, OSU 347

My Ohio State MVP: QB Braxton Miller (12/20-143 yards, 11 carries-64 yards-2 touchdowns)

It was another week of unexpected mediocrity for Ohio State fans, as the Bucks struggled mightily against the Blazers early on.  The Buckeye defense was picked apart by a very bad team, and yet again Braxton Miller was forced to take over the game.  Ohio State coaches seem to indicate that the current OSU defense is more geared toward pro-style offenses (think Michigan State…) rather than spread offenses, and hopefully they aren’t just scrambling for excuses.  Aside from the 4-0 start and the security of having a proven winner like Coach Meyer at the helm, the only thing the Buckeyes have going for them is an extremely weak B1G conference slate.

UTEP 26 - Wisconsin 37

Most Shocking Statistic: Wisconsin 2/8 on 3rd Down Conversions

My Wisconsin MVP: RB Melvin Gordon (8 carries-112 yards-1 touchdown)

Like I predicted, Wisconsin didn’t cover the 18-point spread, but came out victorious.  Although it wasn’t a huge victory for the Badgers, I’ve learned to temper my expectations when it comes to B1G matchups.  Freshman QB Joel Stave put up solid numbers (12/17-210 yards-1 touchdown) and provided better leadership and stability than Danny O’Brien in the first 3 weeks.  Hopefully Wisconsin has somewhat found their groove and can compete in a very weak B1G Leader’s Division.

Central Michigan 32 - Iowa 31

Most Shocking Statistic: Iowa: 9 penalties for 106 yards

My Iowa MVP: RB Mark Weisman (27 carries-217 yards-3 touchdowns)

Not only did Central Michigan cover the 14.5-point spread favoring Iowa, but they defeated the Hawkeyes in Iowa City.  Of Iowa’s 9 penalties for 106 yards, the most crucial came within a minute of the game ending in a Hawkeye victory.  After getting in a scuffle, DL Joe Gaglione was called for a 15-yard personal foul.  This colossally detrimental penalty fueled a short 6-play, 28-yard drive that ended in a 47-yard game-winning field goal for CMU.  Just when the Hawkeyes finally decided to score some points, their defense flopped and allowed 32 points to a poor MAC opponent.  With every disappointing week for the Hawkeyes, I have to wonder what die-hard Iowa fans and Ferentz-supporters think of Kirk’s status in Iowa City.

South Dakota 7 - Northwestern 38

Most Shocking Statistic: Northwestern: 12/15 passing for 131 yards (3 different quarterbacks)

My Northwestern MVP: RB Venric Mark (16 carries-117 yards-3 touchdowns, 1 catch-3 yards)

As expected, the Wildcats steamrolled the FCS South Dakota Coyotes by a score of 38-7.  The uber-athletic RB Venric Mark again impressed and lit up the scoreboard.  Although I’d like to see Coach Fitzgerald’s impressive Wildcats take on a respectable B1G opponent this week, they essentially face another FCS opponent in the Indiana Hoosiers…

Eastern Michigan 7 - #21 Michigan State 23

Most Shocking Statistic: Eastern Michigan: 1.6 rushing yards/attempt

My Michigan State MVP: RB Le’Veon Bell (36 carries-253 yards-1 touchdown)

In deciding whether or not to rest Le’Veon Bell or let him make his case for the Heisman, Coach Dantonio decided on the latter.  That being said, this was only a 9-7 game (MSU leading) with 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter.  If the Spartans’ performance against the horrific Eastern Michigan Eagles is any indicator of their play this week vs. the Buckeyes, the Buckeye faithful should feel pretty safe.  Week 5 will be very telling to Buckeye and Spartan fans, as both teams have underachieved so far this season.

Idaho State 7 - #25 Nebraska 73

Most Shocking Statistic: Nebraska: 3 turnovers (2 fumbles/1 interception)

My Nebraska MVP: RB Rex Burkhead (8 carries-119 yards-2 touchdowns, 1 catch-25 yards)

Again, as expected, Nebraska destroyed Idaho State by 67 points.  After sitting out the past two weeks, RB Rex Burkhead found his groove, running for 119 yards and 2 touchdowns.  This was a perfect tune-up game for Burkhead, as he’ll be needed against Wisconsin this week, a prominent member of the “B1G’s underachieving club.”  Turning the ball over 3 times against Idaho State is alarming, and Nebraska will need to limit turnovers if it wants to have its way with Wisky.

Temple 13 - Penn State 24

Most Shocking Statistic: Penn State: 491 total yards

My Penn State MVP: QB Matt McGloin (24/36-318 yards-1 touchdown-1 interception, 6 carries-13 yards-2 touchdowns)

The Nittany Lions didn’t just defeat Temple, they won by 11 points and covered the 7-point spread.  This week Matt McGloin finally received some help from the ground game, as PSU rushed for 173 yards in addition to McGloin’s 318 passing yards.  PSU led this game 24-6 with 2 minutes remaining in the game; the scoreboard makes this game appear closer than it was.  After some off-season turmoil between PSU and Illinois, I’m looking forward to see how the fiery Coach O’Brien handles himself in his first B1G game this week.

#18 Michigan 6 - #11 Notre Dame 13

Most Shocking Statistic: Denard Robinson: 5 turnovers (4 interceptions/1 fumble)

My Michigan MVP: Like the Alabama Game, I decline to elect a Michigan MVP

Although I was incorrect in my 28-24 prediction favoring the Irish, I was correct on the winner.  Like most of you reading this, I was overjoyed watching Denard Robinson turn the ball over 5 times against Notre Dame.  Yes, 5 times.  It makes me happy every time I say it.  Robinson was downright awful and shattered any chance Michigan had at a victory.  If there was any shred of Heisman hype or campaign left for Robinson, it is 100% gone now.  Aside from Denard, I learned that ND’s defense is legitI absolutely love Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o’s story, and thought it was unbelievable how he played after the horrible tragedies. 

Syracuse 10 - Minnesota 17

Most Shocking Statistic: Minnesota: 0 turnovers

My Minnesota MVP: QB Max Shortell (16/30-231 yards)

The Gophers were without MarQueis Gray, and QB Max Shortell came through in the clutch against ‘Cuse.  Although Shortell’s stat line wasn’t too impressive, he made few mistakes and was a part of Minnesota’s huge zero turnover performance.  The most telling statistic in this game lies in the turnover count: 4 turnovers for Syracuse and 0 for Minnesota.  In a 10-17 game, that is 100% the deciding factor.  Shortell and the Gophers’ big performance against a respectable opponent like Syracuse allows for their first 4-0 start since 2008.

Louisiana Tech 52 - Illinois 24

Most Shocking Statistic: Illinois: 6 turnovers

My Illinois MVP: QB Reilly O’Toole (19/25-120 yards)

It got ugly in Champaign on Saturday night, as the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs from the WAC annihilated Coach Beckman’s Fighting Illini.  In addition to the Bulldogs’ 403 total yards, the Fighting Illini’s 6 turnovers allowed them to roll.  This game marks just another embarrassing performance and loss for the B1G conference.  On the bright side, QB Reilly O’Toole’s impressive statistics and play has earned him a spot as a co-starter on this week’s depth chart.  O’Toole has unique size and speed and will need to stay disciplined in his B1G play.    
 


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