clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Big Ten in Review, Week 12: Strengths, Weaknesses and Ohhhhhh Baby, Nebraska

The Huskers best play on Saturday came extremely early in the morning when the state's most athletic resident tried to jump over a moving cab and failed. It was all downhill from there for Nebraska.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

You guys, basketball season started over the weekend and boy howdy does Nigel Hayes look impressive so far. If it weren't for how ridiculous Melvin Gordon was on Saturday, I might spend much of this, ostensibly, football post talking about our basketball team. However, Gordon is undeniably the star of the weekend and 408 yards will not be ignored.

Jon Bois over at the mothership had a "chart party" for Gordon's big day where it is noted that Gordon's rushing total, if stacked vertically, would be the second tallest building in the United States. The guy sitting next to me at the game turns to his buddy before the last play of the third quarter and said, "wouldn't it be cool if Gordon busts one here to score a TD and break the record right before Jump Around?" And everyone in my little area was like, "yeah, and it probably will happen." AND THEN IT DID.

Gordon's game was almost like having a running game genie, any wish you had was granted by him. I've seen a lot of amazing athletic performances and electric athletes in my life (sup Allen Iverson), but nothing compared to the display Melvin Gordon put on for us on Saturday. He was transcendent and only needed three quarters of the game to do so. I mean, WHAT!?!? That is bonkers.

I'll leave you with this statistic. Melvin Gordon, in three quarters on Saturday, had 67 more rushing yards than Wake Forest does in 40 quarters. Gordon's season looks like one you'd have on NCAA (RIP) with your Road to Glory character. While it is becoming more and more difficult for a runningback to win the Heisman, Gordon is clanging two pots together and making voters pay attention to him. I can't wait to see what he has in store for us this week. He is a treat to watch and every game should be appointment viewing, as if they weren't already.

Big Ten East


S&P+ rank: 83rd overall, 68th offense, 96th defense

Biggest strength: Meanwhile, in our weekly Save Tevin Coleman portion of the post, Coleman quietly ran for 307 yards against Rutgers. You know Melvin Gordon had a good game when Coleman runs for over 300 yards and no one is talking about it outside of Bloomington. Starting games with onside kicks. Shane Wynn had 11 catches for 120 yards and a TD, but getting stomped by Rutgers doesn't leave much room for strengths.

Biggest weakness: Turning the ball over three times. Going 1-for-15 on third down. Having nine penalties for 82 yards. Pretty much every stat category that you want to be good in to win, the Hoosiers were bad in.

Remaining schedule: At Ohio State in a "why even bother?" game. Last game of the season is at home against Purdue in IU's only remaining chance for a conference win.


S&P+ rank: 56th overall, 69th offense, 44th defense

Biggest strength: Will Likely averaged 32.6 yards per kickoff return. Kicker Brad Craddock was one for one on extra points and if you watched the Packers/Eagles game yesterday you'll know extra points are no cakewalk (grasping at straws after Eagles lost by one million).

Biggest weakness: Plenty. I'm going to let you guys guess how many rushing yards the Terps had on Saturday. Go ahead, guess. Nope, lower. Lower. Ok, I'm just going to tell you. They had six rushing yards. As a team. in a regulation game. Turned it over four times. They only had two more rushing yards than turnovers. Yeesh.

Remaining schedule: A manageable end of the season (at Michigan, vs Rutgers) means the Terps could win as many as eight games in their first B1G season. That's...that's not too bad. PETER KING WEIRD FACTOID ALERT: Maryland has both won AND lost a game by the score of 37-15. As you were.


S&P+ rank: 49th overall, 76th offense, 33rd defense

Biggest strength: Ability to sign Will Muschamp as new head coach now that he's been fired at Florida. Had bye week, which is always a fun time for introspection and silent reflection on how your season is going. Or, uh, this.

Please don't hit other people, y'all.

Biggest weakness: Movie reviews.

Remaining schedule: Maryland and at Ohio State are all that remain between Michigan and the sweet release of this season being over. On the other hand, I would like this season to go on forever just to see how many games Brady Hoke could lose before he gets fired.

Michigan State

S&P+ rank: 13th overall, 13th offense, 15th defense

Biggest strength: Steamrolled Rutgers. Jeremy Langford had over 100 yards for the 14th consecutive conference game. That dude is reliable. Picked off C.J. Brown three times, returning one for a touchdown. Have a guy on the team named Macgarrett Kings Jr. I like that there are two people on this planet named that. Run defense (see Maryland Biggest Weakness section).

Biggest weakness: Penalized 10 times. Connor Cook was exceedingly average in completing under 50% of his passes and no touchdowns. Beating Ohio State is still a weakness.

Remaining schedule: Home against Rutgers and then at Penn State to battle for the coveted and historic and not at all forced Land Grant Trophy which hasn't been contested since 2010.

Ohio State

S&P+ rank: 2nd overall, 1st offense, 11th defense (those are pretty good rankings)

Biggest strength: J.T. Barrett had 200 passing yards and three TDs along with 189 rushing yards and one TD. According to ESPN, he would have been the first OSU player to ever have a 200/200 game if he'd gained the 11 more rushing yards he needed. He's never had less than two touchdowns in a game. He has 38 touchdowns on the season. He's amazing.

Joey Bosa had another sack and a half and now sits at fifth in the country in that category.

Biggest weakness: Allowed Minnesota to hang around and stage a late comeback to make the game closer than it needed to be. Turned the ball over three times. BEING HATED ON BY THE HATERZ AT ESPN!

I would like to dismiss all Ohio State fans from Twitter. #TalkinBoutTheBucks

Remaining schedule: Home against Indiana and Michigan in the easiest two game stretch any team has had in conference play maybe ever.

Penn State

S&P+ rank: 34th overall, 85th offense, 13th defense

Biggest strength: Beating Temple and thus becoming the best team in Pennsylvania. In a state that also includes Pitt, you have to be proud of this accomplishment if you're Penn State (LOLOLOL). Became bowl eligible for the first time since their sanctions, so that's nice for the older players. Akeel Lynch and Bill Belton are pretty solid runningbacks. Forced five turnovers.

Biggest weakness: What the hell happened to Christian Hackenberg? He all of a sudden can't complete a pass. Two picks and 4.3 yards per attempt? *puke*

Remaining schedule: At Illinois and then home against MSU. PSU's defense is fourth in the country in points allowed. I could see Illinois scoring negative points on Saturday.


S&P+ rank: 58th overall, 42nd offense, 66th defense

Biggest strength: Gary Nova had a shockingly competent game. Leonte Carroo had 125 yards and two touchdowns receiving. Freshman Robert Martin had three rushing TDs. BOWL ELIGIBLE!

Biggest weakness: Kicks bouncing the wrong way off the crossbar at the end of the first half. Stopping Tevin Coleman, but no one can do that, so don't feel too bad Rutgers.

Remaining schedule: Finish their brutal first year B1G schedule at MSU and at Maryland. I'm glad they were able to get bowl eligible this week because if not...

Big Ten West


S&P+ rank: 86th overall, 77th offense, 91st defense

Biggest strength: *racks brain* Ummmmmmm, Mike Dudek had two receiving touchdowns! There we go. Phew.

Biggest weakness: Wes Lunt came back for his first game since October 4th and, uh, was not good. He did throw a TD and no picks though, so maybe I should just shut up. 3.5 yards per carry on 25 totes. Illinois football saddens me.

Remaining schedule: Penn State and at Northwestern in the Neither Team Is Chicago's B1G Team Bowl. Tickets are available for both games for $10 or under!


S&P+ rank: 66th overall, 83rd offense, 53rd defense

Biggest strength: Leading Illinois 2-0 for a few minutes in the first quarter for the most B1G score of the season. 10-of-15 on third down and had 304 rushing yards. It's funny listing that as a strength when one guy on Wisconsin had 104 more yards than that in 15 fewer minutes. Ray Hamilton had two receiving TDs.

Biggest weakness: Iowa looked pretty good this week, which means they will get blown out by Wisconsin and make multiple bone-headed decisions/plays. Tradition is tradition for America's ultimate "what the hell?" team.

Remaining schedule:


S&P+ rank: 38th overall, 47th offense, 40th defense

Biggest strength: Ability to get Dairy Queen in the stadium.

David Cobb rushed for 145 yards and three TDs. Not giving up after being dominated for much of the game.

Biggest weakness: Stopping J.T. Barrett. Throwing the ball at all. Holy crap Mitch Leidner could play for Wisconsin with how inaccurate he is.

You could have just said "note to Minnesota fans." No need to confuse them by calling them mouth breathers.

Remaining schedule: At Nebraska and at Wisconsin. If you don't have a guy run for over 400 yards against Nebraska it doesn't really count as a win, Gophers. Remember that.


S&P+ rank: 26th overall, 26th offense, 37th defense

Biggest strength: Let's see...they didn't give up a single yard to Melvin Gordon in the fourth quarter. In a game where he set the all-time single game rushing record that seems amaz...oh.

Biggest weakness: Rushing defense, passing offense, Tommy Armstrong Jr., Ameer Abdullah looked human, really nothing went right for Nebraska and it WAS AWESOME!

Remaining schedule: Two losses, that's for sure. Doesn't even matter who they're playing. #4Losses4Pelini


S&P+ rank: 68th overall, 87th offense, 51st defense

Biggest strength: I waited until Monday morning to write this section because I wanted to make sure the internet wasn't play a prank on me by saying Northwestern beat Notre Dame AT NOTRE DAME. It appears this actually happened, and finally Northwestern ruined some other team's season besides Wisconsin. Justin Jackson and Kyle Prater (finally) had good games. Kicking game was on point. Jack Mitchell made four field goals (three over 40 yards) with a long of 46 including the game-tier and game winner. Chick-fil-A.

Biggest weakness: Covering William Fuller who had three TDs for the Irish. Had four turnovers, but also forced four turnovers, so I guess this is kind of a wash. I'm feeling kind of benevolent this week, so let's leave the weaknesses at that for Northwestern and let them enjoy this win. You're welcome, the one person that reads this that went to Northwestern.

Remaining schedule: At Purdue and home against Illinois. Win both and get bowl eligible. Lose both and, well, that was kind of expected.


S&P+ rank: 70th overall, 72nd offense, 63rd defense

Biggest strength: #TalkinBoutTheNoles

Biggest weakness: Thinking A.J. Hammons is going to have a big season.

Remaining schedule: Northwestern and at Indiana.


S&P+ rank: 10th overall (!!!!!!), 15th offense, 9th defense

Biggest strength: I'll just leave this here.

Biggest weakness: Passing game, BUT WHO CARES!?!?!? MELVING GOD DANG GORDON!

Remaining schedule: At Iowa and home against Minnesota. Two weird, tough and scary games for sure but when Melvin Gordon is on your team, no need to fear Iowa or Minnesota.