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Topic: ELA October 26 Breakdown

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ELA

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ELA October 26 Breakdown
« on: October 24, 2019, 12:56:08 PM »
#20 Iowa Hawkeyes (2-2, 5-2) at Northwestern Wildcats (0-4, 1-5)
NOON - Evanston, IL - espn2
The Hawkeyes have become quite accustomed to playing in close games, four of their last five being decided by 7 points or less, with Iowa picking up 1 and 6 point wins against Iowa State and Purdue; and 7 and 5 point losses to Michigan and Penn State.  The first three of those were just about expected, but only beating a depleted Purdue team by 6 at home had to be concerning.  Because while 5-2, with a pair of very forgivable losses is fine, and a trip to Evanston this year is not very daunting, if for some reason Iowa messes around and loses, things get real.  After a bye week, Iowa then goes to Madison, then hosts West Division leader Minnesota, hosts a quickly improving Illinois team, then closes in Lincoln.  Lose this game, and you can go from thinking New Years Day Bowl to shooting for 7-5.  Nate Stanley is taking too much of the blame, partially because too much is being asked of him.  He was bad against Michigan, and not great against Purdue, but he was actually pretty good against Penn State.  Over the past three weeks he has thrown 118 passes (39.3 attempts per game).  For comparison, Stanley had only TWICE thrown in regulation in a single game as many passes as he has averaged over the past three games.  And he's attempting to do this behind an offensive line that is not up to the standard that Kirk Ferentz has established.  They are #65 in the nation in sack rate at 6.11%, after being #10 last year.  But the Iowa running game continues to be ineffective, so he is forced to shoulder more of the load than anyone associated with Iowa football would find ideal.  But, while Iowa's offense may be inefficient, Northwestern's is outright trash.  The fact that Northwestern was able to win a division title while averaging just 4.6 ypp, 10th worst in the country, was surprising enough last year, but it also gave faith to people who thought Northwestern could overcome a bad offense.  But I'm not sure anyone thought it would actually get substantially worse.  The Wildcats now sit at just 3.7 ypp, 2nd worst in the nation.  Last year Clayton Thorson was good enough to carry the offense until they discovered a running game in the second half of the season, but the passing game is averaging a horrifically inept 4.1 ypa, which is the worst in the FBS since Army averaged 3.9 in 2008.  While the rushing game has better averages than last year, going from 3.1 ypa to 3.6 ypa, when you factor that 2018 consisted of averaging 2.2 ypc over the first six games, and 3.8 ypc for the final seven.  So it's actually worse than the run game they had during the games that gave them the division crown.
IOWA 27, NORTHWESTERN 9

Illinois Fighting Illini (1-3, 3-4) at Purdue Boilermakers (1-3, 2-5)
NOON - West Lafayette, IN - BTN
Do we suddenly have a little bowl eligibly bowl?  Thanks to Illinois pulling off the biggest upset in college football since 2017, we do.  The Illini now need just 3 wins, and with home games with Rutgers and Northwestern left, if they can win this week, I'd say it actually becomes probable.  Man do they wish they had that Eastern Michigan game back now.  I questioned last week whether Illinois was actually better with Matt Robinson at quarterback, after he seemed to really come on during that run they made against Michigan.  After he led the upset of Bucky, I have a hard time saying Peters is going to be benched anytime soon, even though he completed just 9 of 21 passes.  He took advantage of the passes he did complete, with only one of those completions going for less than 10 yards.  So averaging 5.6 ypp against a Wisconsin defense which had been only allowing 3.1 ypp on the season is certainly impressive, but Illinois was almost solely reliant on the explosive play.  They also got a 43 yard touchdown run.  The Illini did not run a single play from inside the Wisconsin red zone, and aside from a shanked punt in the first quarter that allowed Illinois to start at the Wisconsin 39, Illinois ran their first play inside the Wisconsin 40 with 6:45 left in the game.  Purdue's experience last weekend was the exact opposite, seemingly allowing Iowa to drive at will between the 20s, but four times forced them to settle for field goals.  So if Purdue can defend the big plays again this week, can Illinois sustain enough drives?  Purdue themselves, even at 2-5, is still looking at getting to a bowl.  They still have home games against Nebraska and Indiana, plus a trip to Evanston left, so 6 wins isn't crazy.  But the other game is in Camp Randall, so they can't afford a loss in any of those other 4, starting this weekend.  The Boilermakers couldn't run a lick last week, but Jake Plummer and David Bell balled out.  Bell was the crown jewel of Purdue's 2019 class, but only had 6 receptions through 3 games.  Then against Minnesota, Rondale Moore went down, and Bell has become possibly the most dominant receiver in the conference.  He has 33 receptions for 505 yards and 3 touchdowns over the past 4 weeks.  Both teams have been horrible against the pass, which plays right into what Purdue wants to do, and unless Brandon Peters plays his best game of the season, I don't think Illinois can keep up with what could be as many passes as any Big Ten team attempts in a win all year.
PURDUE 33, ILLINOIS 27

Liberty Flames (5-2) at Rutgers Scarlet Knights (0-4, 1-6)
NOON - Piscataway, NJ - BTN
Why am I forced to do this in late October?  Screw it, I'm not.  A win doesn't make Liberty bowl eligible, as they have two wins over FCS schools.  But they play NM State a second time, at home, after already beating them on the road, and get UMass at home.  So a win here, they just need to win one of those.  Sadly, I think they get it, and I'm not even sure it's close
LIBERTY 32, RUTGERS 20

#6 Penn State Nittany Lions (4-0, 7-0) at Michigan State Spartans (2-2, 4-3)
3:30 - East Lansing, MI - ABC
On paper, this looks like one Penn State shouldn't struggle with.  Sounds a lot like 2017 and 2018, when Michigan State pulled off a pair of last minute upsets.  The difference is that the early gains the Spartan offense seemed to have made, have leveled off, and the defense, which looked beyond reproach, does not look up to its 2018 standard recently.  Yes, they shut down Northwestern.  Everybody does.  In their other three Big Ten games, they have given up 34.3 ppg (#11 in Big Ten) on 7.2 ypp (#14 in Big Ten).  Is it arguable that Ohio State, Indiana and Wisconsin are the three best offenses in the Big Ten?  It is.  But is Penn State also in that conversation?  Maybe  So while those numbers might be opponent inflated, it seems unlikely to drop substantially this week.  What Michigan State can do, to help slow down that Nittany Lions offense, is get to Sean Clifford with just four.  Clifford looked lights out early last week, but the more Michigan pressured him, the more he seemed to resort to first look, then run.  Over the first five drives, as Penn State accumulated the 21-0 lead, Clifford was 8-12 for 107 yards and 2 touchdowns.  For the rest of the game, he had one play where he threw a bomb to K.J. Hamler on a coverage mismatch, and was otherwise 5-12 for 22 yards.  Hamler had a big day, but aside from him there was only one reception by a Nittany Lion receiver (Jahan Dotson).  Obviously the recipe is to stop Hamler, and force someone else beat you, but as last week showed, that is not easy to do.  But that's sort of how Michigan State has been able to beat Hamler.  Two years ago they focused on shutting Saquon Barkley down, and held him to 63 rushing yards and 96 total yards.  Last year, they wanted to force Trace McSorley to be one dimensional, and held him to 2.8 ypc.  But I'm not sure Michigan State has the personnel to do that this year.  Josiah Scott, the Spartans #1 cornerback in 2017, who missed most of last year with injury, has not looked good the last month.  The safety play from Xavier Henderson has fallen off as the competition has stepped up.  And last week, Penn State got plenty of pressure on Shea Patterson, and he did a good job avoiding it, and making plays downfield.  Brian Lewerke has escapability, but the ability to make the play downfield is questionable.  His completion percentage remains right at 50%, and that has led to a third down conversion rate of just 30.9% in Big Ten games, third worst in the conference.  And now they have to do it against a defense that is leading the Big Ten in conference play at 4.3 sacks per game, and is third in 3rd down defense.
PENN STATE 31, MICHIGAN STATE 17

Maryland Terrapins (1-3, 3-4) at #17 Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-0, 7-0)
3:30 - Minneapolis, MN - ESPN
While the injury to Josh Jackson is not the sole reason for Maryland's offensive stumbles, it certainly hasn't helped.  Which is what makes Mike Locksley's comments that even though Jackson has reportedly fully participated in practice this week, he isn't naming a starter.  Gamesmanship?  Maybe.  And they do have a different enough of a skill set, that there is some value in making the Gophers prepare for both.  The overall numbers are sort of similar too, Pigrome actually slightly ahead, at #12 in the Big Ten in Total QBR (out of 16 qualified passers), with Jackson at #13.  But Pigrome has the lowest expected points added on pass attempts of any conference quarterback that doesn't play for Northwestern, and simply makes up the difference with his legs.  The Gophers are playing elite defense right now against the pass, allowing just 4.7 ypa in conference play, 2nd best in the conference, with a conference best TD:INT ratio of 2:6.  Adds up to the second best defensive pass efficiency in the conference, behind only Ohio State.  Has Minnesota had the toughest schedule in the world?  No.  And so while early they scraped by to get to 4-0, the skepticism was warranted.  But over the past three games, the Gophers have slaughtered the opposition, beating Illinois, Nebraska and Rutgers by a combined 116-31.  You can't control your schedule, and their strength of record is still #12.  As good as Minnesota's secondary has been, Maryland's has been that bad, ranking worst in the Big Ten in completion percentage and passing yards allowed per game (by a full 50 yards), and second worst in yards per attempt.  Teams are passing the ball against Maryland 51.4% of the time, which is a ton for a team that is 3-4.  For comparison, the only Big Ten teams being passed on more, are all ranked (Penn State, Iowa and Wisconsin).  Tanner Morgan is playing exceptionally well right now, leading the conference in passing efficiency and yards per attempt.
MINNESOTA 40, MARYLAND 17

Indiana Hoosiers (2-2, 5-2) at Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-2, 4-3)
3:30 - Lincoln, NE - BTN
Picking this one seems nearly impossible considering the unknown injury status of both starting quarterbacks.  Michael Penix went down in the second quarter of the Hoosiers win in College Park last Saturday, while Adrian Martinez has not played since getting hurt late in the third quarter against Northwestern three weeks ago.  Granted, the Huskers were off last week, so he has only missed one game.  The problem is that Nebraska's absences extend beyond Nebraska, as sophomore running back Maurice Washington's legal troubles appear to be going to keep him out.  He's the Husker's most dynamic running back, leading all qualified backs with 6.0 ypc, and with 12 receptions for 162 yards and 2 touchdowns, he is their best pass catching back, 4th on the team overall in receiving, and tied for the lead in receiving touchdowns.  That said, he has not looked like the same player over the past three games, with just 30 yards on 15 carries, and 4 catches for 13 yards; after totaling 269 yards on 35 carries and 8 catches for 149 yards over the first four.  That problem is not confined to Washington, as Dedrick Mills has seen more of the carries, despite a combined 54 yards on 2.8 ypc over the past two.  An inept running game, mixed with a backup quarterback is why Scott Frost's offense, which was supposed to take off in Year 2 has actually plummeted in conference play from #2 in the Big Ten at 6.3 ypp in 2018, to #8 at 5.2 ypp in 2019.  The Hoosiers have seen their offense go the opposite direction, now with 6.0 ypp, #3 in the Big Ten.  And after a Week 3 game, with a backup quarterback, against Ohio State, it's been over 6.6.  And while Nebraska's run game is struggling, Indiana's seems to have finally found its legs, with Stevie Scott going for 97, 66, 164, and 108 over the previous four games, after a slow start.  If only one team has their starting quarterback, that's my pick.  If both teams have them, then maybe slight edge to Nebraska with home field?  But only by a nose.  Since we don't know, I'm looking at this as though we don't have either Martinez or Penix.  As noted, the Hoosiers actually have a running game to lean on, but they also have a real live backup quarterback.  Peyton Ramsey had been a multi-year starter, and has already started multiple games this year due to Penix's previous injury.  Noah Vedral has not shown me enough to have any confidence in him.  Ugh, although I can't believe I'm actually picking Indiana in Lincoln.
INDIANA 28, NEBRASKA 27

#8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-1) at #19 Michigan Wolverines (3-2, 5-2)
7:30 - Ann Arbor, MI - ABC
Michigan and Notre Dame have met several times, but almost always in September, and frequently in the season opener.  This late October matchup is certainly different.  The weather looks like it's going to be nasty, but I'm not necessarily sure who that benefits.  The Irish jumped on Michigan's defense early last year, and then had just enough to hang on.  In a lot of ways it looked like Michigan's effort against Penn State last week.  The other thing both of those games had in common were that they were on the road.  While the maize and blue's struggles against his rivals are well documented, but aside from the Buckeyes and Spartans, against whom he's 0-4, Harbaugh has been unbeatable in Ann Arbor, going 28-0 against everyone else.  So which trend does Notre Dame fall into?  The rivals or the everyone else?  The key matchup is Notre Dame's top 30 offensive line against a Michigan front which struggled some in September, but has really been playing well late, thanks to the development of Aiden Hutchinson and improved linebacker play, as freshman Cam McGrone has been phenomenal.  The Irish have the offensive philosophy to put the Wolverine linebackers in the mismatches that Penn State and Ohio State have exploited, but Notre Dame wasn't largely successful doing that last year.  The scores they got were one on one victories in the secondary, and that is generally not a recipe for success against Michigan.  Granted, the Irish also were still playing Brandon Wimbush, who was benched within weeks.  Ian Book gets a boost from the supposed return of Jafar Armstrong, Notre Dame's best running back, who has only had three carries on the season due to injuries.  The Irish are throwing the ball over 47% of the time, higher than Brian Kelly would want to, so his return should help shift that a little bit.  But I think the key is the Shea Patterson we saw in the second half last week.  The Michigan offensive line continues to be a problem, and against Penn State's nasty front, he was cool under pressure in leading Michigan back.  In pure sack rate, Penn State and Notre Dame are nearly equal, but Football Outsiders ranks Penn State's defensive line top 10 in almost every metric, while Notre Dame's is bottom 30 in several.  They rely a lot more on their linebackers to generate the pressure, and I like Patterson under pressure throwing against 5 or 6 defenders.
MICHIGAN 21, NOTRE DAME 20

***BIG TEN GAME OF THE WEEK***
#13 Wisconsin Badgers (3-1, 6-1) at #3 Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0, 7-0)
NOON - Columbus, OH - FOX
Wisconsin's stunning defeat last weekend took a little bit of shine off this one.  It's still the Big Ten Game of the Week, but it appears we still have to wait for Ohio State-Penn State for the Big Ten Game of the Year.  Barry's program didn't truly arrive until 1993, but the seeds were planted in 1992 when he sent his first warning shot, by upsetting #12 Ohio State 20-16 in the Big Ten opener.  That kicked off a 12 year run where Wisconsin went 5-5-1 against the Buckeyes, including winning 4 of the final 6.  Since 2005?  Wisconsin has won just 1 of 10, and even against the spread, the Badgers are only 2-8.  So can Wisconsin counter that?  Ohio State's defense has done a 180 from their dismal performance last year.  But they are doing it, flying it all over the field.  The only team that tried to line up and punch them in the mouth was Michigan State, and they lacked the personnel to do it.  Wisconsin doesn't lack the personnel.  Wisconsin would prefer to play this game in a phone booth, because nobody in the conference can out-athlete Ohio State, but Wisconsin is one of the few that might equal them in muscle.  As I addressed above, in the Illinois preview, is that you wonder if the Illini found the cheat code to the Wisconsin defense, or if that was just a fluke.  Wisconsin didn't let Illinois sustain any offensive rhythm.  Illinois was able to beat them with a few big plays.  Big plays you want?  Ohio State is 5th nationally in yards per play, and leads the nation in run plays of 40+ yards, 50+ yards and 60+ yards.  That's why in four Big Ten games, they've only averaged 13 third downs faced per game.  But hey, if by chance you get them there...they are leading the nation in third down conversion rate.  For Wisconsin they need to sustain drives, wear down the defense.  Get it into 3rd and manageable, then crush your spirit by picking it up on the ground, and resetting the downs.  Against Michigan State two weeks ago, the Badgers faced 13 3rd downs, and extended the drive 8 times, but last week, from the point Wisconsin scored their final touchdown to go up 20-7, the Badgers threw the ball on 5 of 6 3rd downs, including the interception.  If Ohio State gets up early, that when things start to snowball, because you have to open up, and you play right into Ohio State's strength.  The Buckeyes have outscored opponents 231-31 in first halves, and then just rolled from there.  Only against Michigan State has a team even been within one score of the Buckeyes beyond early in the second quarter, within 17-10, unto a J.K. Dobbins run extended the lead to 24-10 with 2:24 left in the half.
OHIO STATE 34, WISCONSIN 14
« Last Edit: October 26, 2019, 04:06:33 PM by ELA »

ELA

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Re: ELA October 26 Breakdown
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2019, 03:47:29 PM »
All non GOTW noon games in

Brutus Buckeye

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Re: ELA October 26 Breakdown
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2019, 03:54:22 PM »
Rutgers-Liberty tickets are going for a dollar on the secondary market.
1919, 20, 21, 28, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 42, 44
WWH: 1952, 54, 55, 57, 58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 65, 67, 68, 70, 72, 74, 75
1979, 81, 82, 84, 87, 94, 98
2001, 02, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

FearlessF

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Re: ELA October 26 Breakdown
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2019, 04:05:24 PM »
GENE PITNEY-"THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE"(LYRICS) - YouTube
GENE PITNEY-"THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE"(LYRICS) - YouTube
"Courage; Generosity; Fairness; Honor; In these are the true awards of manly sport."

HawkFrenzy

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Re: ELA October 26 Breakdown
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2019, 04:09:27 PM »
Quote
IOWA 27, NORTHWESTERN 9

Are you counting on a defensive TD? It's been a long time since IA has scored more TDs than kicked FGs. I think you are spot on with the analysis even with Brandon Smith out and Tristin Wirfs unlikely to play but I would guess IA gets one maybe two TDs (barring ST or Def TD) and the final being more like 22-6. 

fezzador

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Re: ELA October 26 Breakdown
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2019, 04:34:00 PM »
Are you counting on a defensive TD? It's been a long time since IA has scored more TDs than kicked FGs. I think you are spot on with the analysis even with Brandon Smith out and Tristin Wirfs unlikely to play but I would guess IA gets one maybe two TDs (barring ST or Def TD) and the final being more like 22-6.

No, Iowa gets 9 FGs.

FearlessF

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Re: ELA October 26 Breakdown
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2019, 04:43:50 PM »
when the Hawkeyes score 28 or more points, I get a boost at Buffalo Wild Wings
"Courage; Generosity; Fairness; Honor; In these are the true awards of manly sport."

HawkFrenzy

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Re: ELA October 26 Breakdown
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2019, 11:21:03 AM »
No, Iowa gets 9 FGs.
Oh OK, that makes sense now.

iahawk15

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Re: ELA October 26 Breakdown
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2019, 12:54:13 PM »
Are you counting on a defensive TD? It's been a long time since IA has scored more TDs than kicked FGs. I think you are spot on with the analysis even with Brandon Smith out and Tristin Wirfs unlikely to play but I would guess IA gets one maybe two TDs (barring ST or Def TD) and the final being more like 22-6.

First I've heard of this?

847badgerfan

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Re: ELA October 26 Breakdown
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2019, 01:21:27 PM »
___________-Liberty tickets are going for a dollar on the secondary market.
I was thinking of calling Liberty, so I can get full replacement, in case I have an accident.
U RAH RAH! WIS CON SIN!

Big Beef Tacosupreme

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Re: ELA October 26 Breakdown
« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2019, 01:28:41 PM »
I was thinking of calling Liberty, so I can get full replacement, in case I have an accident.

I know this was an insurance joke, but Liberty is an interesting case.

Liberty has an absolutely insane amount of money.  If we are heading in the direction of paying players, they could very well become a powerhouse.

Maybe they eventually replace Rutgers in the B1G. 

They'd probably have to stop teaching young earth creationism in science class, first, right?

ELA

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Re: ELA October 26 Breakdown
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2019, 01:39:29 PM »
I was thinking of calling Liberty, so I can get full replacement, in case I have an accident.

I know this was an insurance joke, but Liberty is an interesting case.

Liberty has an absolutely insane amount of money.  If we are heading in the direction of paying players, they could very well become a powerhouse.

Maybe they eventually replace Rutgers in the B1G. 

They'd probably have to stop teaching young earth creationism in science class, first, right?
Yeah, not a good fit at all philosophically.

ELA

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Re: ELA October 26 Breakdown
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2019, 01:39:42 PM »
Afternoon games in

MarqHusker

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Re: ELA October 26 Breakdown
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2019, 03:28:42 PM »
Heck I hope W'andale Robinson is going to play.  He's been the MVP of the offense this season.

 

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