Blog Entry

Big Ten Winners and Losers: Week 6

Posted on: October 9, 2011 5:00 am

Posted by Adam Jacobi

A handy recap of who really won and who really lost that you won't find in the box score.

WINNER: Nebraska's season

Ignore the fact that 4-2, all things considered, isn't a terrible record; for No. 14 Nebraska, dropping the Ohio State game would have been a backbreaker for a season that started with realistic Rose Bowl aspirations -- especially with OSU looking like an unusually easy victory coming into Saturday. Instead, the Buckeyes opened up a 27-6 lead and seemed to be putting the final nail in the coffin of Nebraska's reputation as a Big Ten contender before the Huskers pulled off their largest comeback in program history on the back of Rex Burkhead (pictured above, finding plenty of comfort in the middle of OSU's rush defense). Now the Huskers are 5-1, and more importantly, only have one loss on their Big Ten slate instead of starting out 0-2. This season still might not end up in the Rose Bowl -- in fact it probably won't -- but sheerly by dodging the bullet on Saturday, Nebraska was a big, big winner.

LOSER: Joe Bauserman, yet again

It's not entirely fair to pin Ohio State's collapse on Joe Bauserman; the backup QB came into the game in the second half cold, and Nebraska had already begun its fight back at that point. And yet, the score was 27-13 OSU when Bauserman came in for an injured Braxton Miller on a 3rd and 8, and the score was 34-27 Nebraska by the time Bauserman put the finishing touches on his 1-10, 17-yard, 1 INT magnum opus. In the last four weeks -- the only games in which OSU has faced BCS conference competition this season -- Bauserman's stats are a terrifying 12-40, 144 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. That's a 63.49 passer rating, which is reprehensible. Oh, and not only is Bauserman going to play for as long as Braxton Miller's hurt, he's also the quarterback Luke Fickell tabbed to start the season for the Buckeyes. Enjoy, OSU!

WINNER: Do-everything QBs in the Big Ten

Nathan Scheelhaase, Taylor Martinez, and Denard Robinson may all be vying for the Second Team All-Big Ten role behind Wisconsin dreamboat Russell Wilson, but all three QBs put on an absolute show on Saturday. Scheelhaase had 210 yards passing, 88 yards rushing, and 4 combined TDs for Illinois in a win at Indiana. Martinez had his best passing performance of the year against a tough Ohio State defense, going 16-22 for 192 yards passing and rushing for 102 more yards; he accounted for three of Nebraska's four TDs. Robinson's numbers were the gaudiest: 325 yards passing, 117 yards on 25 rushes, and four total TDs in Michigan's 42-24 win over Northwestern. Even Braxton Miller had 95 yards passing and 91 yards rushing before he was forced to leave the game. Conference play will sort out this hierarchy, but it's fantastic to see such a breadth of dynamic talent at QB.

LOSER: Timid 4th down playcallers

Indiana kicked a field goal on 4th and goal from the 3 with a 4-point deficit. Iowa punted from Penn State's 33-yard line down 6-3. Ohio State punted from Nebraska's 32-yard line with a late 27-20 lead. What do all these decisions have in common? They were all unnecessarily conservative, and they all backfired. Indiana immediately gave up a touchdown drive, Iowa's punt led to a 90-yard Penn State drive that mercifully ended in an end zone interception (but still wore down the Iowa defense), and Ohio State would never see its lead again after Nebraska responded with a touchdown drive. Yes, the field position is important, but the points battle is the real one that matters, and all three of these teams did themselves a disservice by not even attempting to maximize their opportunities.

WINNER: Penn State's defense

In a stat that will undoubtedly become a trivial relic by the end of the season, Iowa came into this week's game against Penn State with the Big Ten's most prolific passing attack, averaging 281 yards a game under QB James Vandenberg. Penn State bottled that attack up beautifully, limiting Vandenberg to 169 yards on 17/34 passing with two interceptions and a lost fumble on a sack. More importantly, the Nittany Lions allowed only a field goal in a 13-3 victory. delighting a partisan PSU crowd that was hungry for a Penn State win over the nemesis Hawkeyes.

LOSER: Rob Bolden Fan Club president Joe Paterno

There is truly no reason for Rob Bolden to be starting anymore, yet start he does, week in and week out. Bolden's passer efficiency is out of the NCAA's top 100; Matt McGloin's was 42nd nationwide coming into the game. McGloin was far better against Iowa, hitting pass after pass in tight windows while Bolden's best gains came on tipped balls -- his biggest completion ricocheted off of an unsuspecting referee's leg, for crying out loud. Nobody at Penn State outside of the coaching staff knows why Bolden plays so much, yet he does, and he's probably going to ride his 3/7, 31 yard performance to another starting week unless Joe Paterno puts an end to this farce of a quarterback battle and just gives the job to McGloin already.

WINNER: Ron Zook's mojo

Imagine, if you will: Team X is ranked and undefeated, and playing at outmatched-but-feisty Team Y. Team Y takes the opening kick to the house, then makes a stop and turns it into a field goal for a 10-0 lead. At this point, one would assume that if Team X had a good coach, he would have his charges weather this storm and not panic, and if Team X's coach was a raving lunatic, then this was an upset in the making. Well, Team X is obviously Illinois, Team Y is obviously Indiana, the Team X head coach is obviously Ron Zook, and his team responded admirably to the adversity by turning the game into a 41-20 rout. Illinois is now 6-0. It could be 9-0 heading into the Michigan game. Ron Zook is doing all this. This is the reality you must accept.

LOSER: Whoever had to watch Minnesota-Purdue

One Husker blogger tabbed this matchup "the game that fun forgot" on Saturday morning, and while that's not a fair assessment of a game that ends up featuing 62 points scored, it's not quite that far off from this game either. Now. Purdue is not good at football. Not even in a young and sneaky and what if they put it all together sense. Just not good. Purdue also opened up a 45-3 lead on Minnesota en route to a 45-17 win, and we're left to wonder just what level of football the Gophers actually belong in (hint: not FBS!). And yet, there were still only 589 total yards combined in this game; even the PSU-Iowa eye-clawer, by comparison, had 648 total yards from scrimmage. Purdue and Minnesota can't even put on a blowout correctly! Just a mess all the way through here, and there are probably plenty more such messes that await fans of both these teams this season.
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 17, 2011 12:23 am
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Since: Mar 9, 2011
Posted on: October 10, 2011 6:57 pm

Big Ten Winners and Losers: Week 6

Most of the time when a QB goes down in comes a scrub with little to no game experience. It's not fair to blame the scrub for playing like a scrub. But Bauserman has had the benefit of years of coaching at OSU prior to this one; he started the season; and played most of the team's first several games. In terms of experience he has more than Braxton Miller. And in a game in which OSU had been able to move the ball - unlike MSU, for instance -  Bauserman went one for ten, and really was not close on his misses. If his arm was cold it was his own fault for not throwing on the side - all players know they need to be ready at a moment's notice, and a fifth year senior knows it as well as anyone. No matter how you look at it Joe Bauserman is wholly inadequate. This is no knock on him as a person as other writers have said, it is a critique of his football ability.

Since: Oct 10, 2011
Posted on: October 10, 2011 3:49 pm

Big Ten Winners and Losers: Week 6

the people who attack Bauserman are not really attacking him as a person, but his playing ability.  In reality its poor coaching.  You cannot sit there and tell me one of those guys Kenny or Taylor can be any worse than Joe.  Not to mention, getting one of those guys valuable playing time behind Miller is important for the development of the team next year.

Since: Jul 29, 2009
Posted on: October 10, 2011 3:05 pm

Big Ten Winners and Losers: Week 6

WINNER! Ohio State for actually scoring a few touchdowns. LOSER! Nebraska for allowing an anemic Buckeye team to roll up and down the field on them. WINNER! Any team in the country that plays any Big 10 squad in a bowl game this year. (except Wisconsin) LOSER! Any fool that wears a Joe Pa mask in the stands on Saturday. WINNER! Anyone who can stay awake watching a Penn State game. LOSER! Any fan of the Golden Gophers.

Since: Feb 7, 2009
Posted on: October 10, 2011 1:06 pm

Big Ten Winners and Losers: Week 6

Since: Sep 26, 2010
Posted on: October 10, 2011 11:25 am

Big Ten Winners and Losers: Week 6

I'm a Buckeyes fan, and I have no problem with Bauserman as a person.  THe people that attack him represent a small minority of our fans. 

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: October 10, 2011 2:30 am

Big Ten Losers: OSU fans

While we're at it, how about the poster on Bucknuts who started a thread with something like "B-man should quit or die," and the idiots who actually agreed with him in the thread? 
OSU fans' shoddy treatement of their QB is not going to help recruiting down the road.  Why would any decent recruit want to play for such a fickle and classless fanbase?  Your players are trying as hard as they can; they are giving their all for fans like you.  What a shame.  They would be better off trying to run an automobile on Buckeye tears.

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: October 10, 2011 2:27 am

So who's to blame?

Hey, let's blame Jim Tressel for OSU's loss.  Aw, bleep: let's just blame him for the entire sorry Columbus Cesspool.  That's what Gordon Gee and Gene Smith are doing when they talk to the NCAA.
Sorry, Ohio fans, but what goes around comes around.  Your team cheated for at least ten years, offering perks that gave them a decided recruiting advantage.  Now, they are paying at least 20 percent of the price they should be paying for cheating.  Hopefully, the NCAA hammers THE Ohio State University with the biggest penalty since SMU.  
THE Ohio State University: still cheating after all these years. 

Since: Oct 15, 2006
Posted on: October 9, 2011 11:42 pm

Big Ten Winners and Losers: Week 6

Granted, the Buckeyes lost their QB. How can you say that it wasn't their fault? Whose fault is it then, Woody Hayes?

Since: Dec 2, 2007
Posted on: October 9, 2011 10:01 pm

Big Ten Winners and Losers: Week 6

Ohio Stae is by far, the biggest loser in the big 10.  Blowing a 21 point lead like that is the death knell for the Buckeyes.  Now they must travel to upstart illinois.  After a week off, they then get to host Wisconsin.  This team could well have 5 losses going into their last two games, at home against Penn State and at Michigan.  A 7 loss season for Ohio State would guarantee Fickell's firing.
I agree that OSU was the big loser this week, but you can't entirely blame them for the loss as I think Miller's injury was a major factor in the 2nd half collapse.  Injuries happen and it's part of the game, but it's not their fault either--it just happens.  I do think OSU will lose some more games this year, but the Illinois game ought to be close with 2 good defenses playing each other.  I just hope Miller is okay and can play otherwise......


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