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Big Ten: Week 4 Status report

How is the Big Ten West looking ahead of Week 4 of the 2023 season?

Welcome to another week of the Big Ten status report. This week, we’ll take a break from the Wisconsin Badgers and head to the east to give a brief overview of each team and how they have fared in their first three games.

Ohio State Buckeyes(3-0)

Ohio State is 3-0 and ranked No. 6 in the AP with wins against Indiana, Youngstown State, and Western Kentucky University.

The first game for the Buckeyes was cagey against Indiana and you could tell it was their first game with junior Kyle McCord operating the offense. Their offense has improved in each game (must be nice) and now they seem primed for a run at the B1G.

WR Marvin Harrison Jr. has 304 yards on 12 receptions and 3 Touchdowns through three games and is on track to be a projected top-five pick in the 2024 draft.

Ohio State’s defense has only given up 20 total points so far and appears to be as good as they have been in the last few years. Junior Cornerback Denzel Burke is a potential All-American candidate early on this year with one forced fumble and one interception.

Wisconsin plays Ohio State on October 28th at Camp Randall.

Penn State Nittany Lions(3-0)

Penn State is 3-0 and ranked No. 7 to start the year and they appear to be in position to compete with the likes of Michigan and Ohio State for the East. They’ve beaten West Virginia, Delaware, and Illinois.

Sophomore Drew Allar is replacing Sean Clifford at quarterback and is off to a hot start for the year. He has already thrown for 737 yards and 4 touchdowns through four games.

Running back Nicholas Singleton is the lead bell cow early on this year and has 154 yards and 5 touchdowns. It seems like there are still questions on the offensive line which will need to improve heading into more conference games.

Penn State’s defense is their strength this year and may be one of the best defenses in the country. Last week against Illinois, they had one fumble recovery and four interceptions.

Michigan Wolverines(3-0)

Jim Harbaugh hasn’t coached a game yet this year but #2 Michigan has started the year off by beating their cupcake opponents.

They’ve beaten Eastern Carolina, UNLV, and Bowling Green. None of the games were knockouts by Michigan standards but quarterback J.J. McCarthy still threw for 7 touchdowns and 700 yards.

On the other hand, he has thrown three interceptions so far, so I could see why Michigan fans may be frustrated.

Anyway, Michigan is eyeing their third straight B1G title and it shouldn’t be surprising.

Michigan’s defense is again its strength. They are currently the best scoring defense in the country allowing only 5.33 points per game. They have depth at all levels but, again, they’ve been playing cupcakes and as they start playing conference games we should learn more.

Michigan State Spartans(2-1)

Yikes. The news out of East Lansing hasn’t been about the team as much as it’s been about their soon-to-be-fired head coach Mel Tucker. We’ll focus on football here though.

MSU is 2-1. They’ve beaten Central Michigan and Richmond and got blown out by No. 8 Washington at home.

Noah Kim is the quarterback for the Spartans this year and has thrown for 707 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 1 interception.

He was really shaky on Saturday against Washington though, and with stronger competition coming, I would say this is an area of concern moving forward. Especially with a poor offensive line in front of him.

Former Badgers running back Jalen Berger is currently out with an injury so Nathan Carter has been the primary back.

The Spartans defense has not lived up to their preseason billing this year and has a lot of problems at every level. It seems like tackling and lack of pressure on the QB has been their biggest issue to this point.

It wouldn’t surprise me if this team only won a couple of conference games this year, especially with everything going on off the field.

Indiana Hoosiers(1-2)

Indiana is 1-2 through three games, but I don’t think we know how good they are yet.

Obviously, one of their losses was to Ohio State so we know they aren’t THAT good but they beat Indiana State handedly and lost to Louisville after making a late comeback and missing the game-tying touchdown by only a few inches.

Tayven Jackson, younger brother of basketball star Trayce Jackson-Davis, was named starting quarterback two weeks ago after the opener against Ohio State. He hasn’t been otherworldly, but he is only a freshman.

The entire team seems to have improved on both sides of the ball but I am not sure that we’ll know how much better they are until they start B1G play back up.

Maryland Terrapins(3-0)

Maryland is 3-0 so far this year, beating Towson, Charlotte, and Virginia. N

None of those teams is necessarily “good” or “ok” teams, but Maryland has taken care of business to this point.

Taulia Tagovailoa is back at quarterback for Maryland and is off to a very good start. He has thrown for 889 yards, five touchdowns, and two interceptions. A lot of people have considered Taulia to be one of the best players in the conference heading into the year.

Defensively, Maryland’s defense is young so it may take a while for them to click this year, but their offense can offset that with how well they can move the ball.

Will this team compete in the East with the likes of Penn State, Michigan, or Ohio State?

Probably not, but if they catch one of those teams sleeping, I wouldn’t be surprised if they kept it close or even beat one at some point this year.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights(3-0)

Undefeated Rutgers? Undefeated Rutgers. Rutgers is 3-0 after beating Northwestern, Temple, and Virginia Tech.

It’s not necessarily surprising that they are 3-0 but they have beaten each team soundly and their defense has only given up 10 points per game which is impressive. It doesn't mean that will continue, but you have to think that maybe Rutgers will be able to turn a corner and get bowl-eligible this year.

Their offense is led by QB Gavin Wimsatt and running back Kyle Monangai, who are both off to nice starts. Monangai is leading the B1G in rushing yards with 357 yards on the ground so far.

I think Rutgers could be a tough out for a lot of teams this year and I think it may start this weekend at Michigan.