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Topic: ELA October 28 Breakdown

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ELA

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ELA October 28 Breakdown
« on: October 25, 2017, 10:28:22 AM »
#5 Wisconsin Badgers (4-0, 7-0) at Illinois Fighting Illini (0-4, 2-5)
NOON - Champaign, IL - ESPN
With a win, and losses from Northwestern and Nebraska, Wisconsin will have all but sealed another trip to Indianapolis, with the only out being the Minnesota-Iowa winner running the table, and Wisconsin losing out.  Such is the state of affairs in the Big Ten West, where Wisconsin is clearly the class, and the rest of the division is an absolute mess.  But there are absolute messes, and there is Illinois.  I will give them that maybe things aren't quite as bad off as they appeared a week ago.  After Rutgers won their second straight, by beating Purdue, it appears they aren't the complete doormat they were in 2016, and Illinois showed some fight in giving Minnesota all they could handle.  The Illini have the conference's worst run defense, giving up over 230 yards on the ground per game, at 5.2 ypc, better only than Rutgers.  That spells trouble against just about anyone, but against the Badgers?  Ouch.  Illinois kept it tight against Minnesota by forcing three turnovers, and completely shutting down the Minnesota passing game, holding them to 5 completed passes on the game, only 2 for longer than 10 yards, and only 3 more than Demry Croft threw to Illinois.  But the Gophers were able to run at will.  Rodney Smith ran for 103 yards on 5.4 ypc, and with Shannon Brooks out with an ankle injury, Kobe McCrary, who had never ran for more than 14 yards in a Big Ten game, had 153 yards on 6.4 ypc.  If you want to nitpick anything about Jonathan Taylor's season, he's had a couple bad fumbles.  But Wisconsin has yet to play anyone that would matter against.  Illinois has to take advantage there.  They've forced 9 turnovers in Big Ten play, tied for the conference lead.  They won't be able to stop Wisconsin, possibly ever, on 3rd down, so they have to win the turnover battle decisively, and convert them into points.  Problem is while they've forced 9 turnovers, they've also turned the ball over a conference leading 10 times.  Taylor could lose 5 fumbles, and it probably won't matter.
WISCONSIN 41, ILLINOIS 7

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (2-2, 3-4) at Michigan Wolverines (2-2, 5-2)
NOON - Ann Arbor, MI - BTN
You'd never know from fan base vibe that these teams are tied for 4th place in the division, and it's Michigan who at least has a bowl bid basically locked up, while Rutgers remains a longshot.  But obviously expectations matter.  The difference is Michigan is behind schedule in Harbaugh Year 3, and Rutgers, may somehow be ahead of schedule in Ash Year 2, if we believe that Ash Year 1 was the starting point, and not Ash Year 0.  Last year Rutgers was 49-0 worse than the 2nd worst team in the conference.  They weren't even close.  A couple weeks ago, after a 56-0 loss to Ohio State, following a home loss to Eastern Michigan, it appeared nothing had changed.  Then Rutgers went and did something they hadn't been doing in over two years, they won a Big Ten game.  That was written off as beating an Illinois team that might be nearly as bad, and had seemingly given up.  But they followed that by beating a Purdue team with all kinds of positive vibes, and feeling like their bowl drought was ending.  Can they up the ante again?  No.  I'd be shocked to see anything close to what we saw last year, but while Michigan still struggles schmatically when they play equivalent or better teams, they still have way more power in the trenches than any lower tier team they are going to face.  The one thing Rutgers will do to help neutralize Michigan's defensive line, is get the ball out quickly.  The Scarlet Knights have only been sacked 3 times in 4 Big Ten games.  Chris Ash saw Don Brown's unwillingness to come out of his base defense last week against Penn State, and will probably try and do the same.  The one weapon on Rutgers' offense that is of Michigan's caliber is Janarion Grant.  Ash is going to see if Michigan tries to cover him in the slot with a linebacker or a safety.  He has been a shell of his pre injury self, but he's still shown a couple flashes.  The difference is, while Trace McSorley was able to pick apart the matchup mismatches, I'm not sure the other Rutgers skill position players present any sort of mismatch, even against Mike McCray, and when they do, I'm not sure I trust Giovanni Rescigno to recognize it.  Even in their win last week, Rutgers was outgained by 260 yards by Purdue, and had 17 fewer first downs.  I'm not sure the Michigan offense has enough to blow anyone out of the water, but I don't expect Rutgers to pose any sort of threat.
MICHIGAN 34, RUTGERS 12

#16 Michigan State Spartans (4-0, 6-1) at Northwestern Wildcats (2-2, 4-3)
3:30 - Evanston, IL - ESPN
Seemingly every year, partially due to their style of play, Michigan State seems to get a disproportionate number of one score games (2013 historical consistent domination year aside), and while you'd expect the results to even out over time, which they do, anecdotally they seem to all go one way or the other in a given year.  This is appearing to be an "every bounce goes green" kind of year.  Northwestern is probably the best team Michigan State has faced since upsetting Michigan, but as far as matchups go, they appear to be a better matchup than Indiana, who had playmakers on the outside who could expose Michigan State's young cornerbacks in single coverage.  Northwestern, per usual, wants to establish the run, and that plays right into Michigan State's strength, where they are 2nd in the Big Ten in run defense in both yards per play and yards per game.  Where this Spartan defense seems to be excelling where even the fairly talented 2014 and 2015 versions were not, is that they are limiting the big plays, which had always been their Achilles heel (again 2013 aside).  Michigan State has only allowed three runs of 20 yards or more, fewer than all but two FBS teams; and only 17 runs of 10 yards or more, fewer than all but 3 FBS teams.  Point being, if you want to score, you have to sustain drives.  Teams have done that, most notable Michigan's opening drive, but eventually offenses get impatient.  The Spartans' 29.5% opposing third down conversion rate is second to only Michigan in conference play.  So if you don't allow big plays, and you get off the field on 3rd down, that adds up to success.  Northwestern has probably the best QB-RB backfield Michigan State has seen since Notre Dame, but what the Irish have, that Northwestern doesn't, is an offensive line.  Thorson and Jackson don't look like the same players as 2016, but they simply don't have the blocking they had a year ago.  They've surrendered a Big Ten leading 16 sacks through 4 games and their running game is averaging 3.1 ypc, better only than Indiana.  I'm not sure this is the game Michigan State's offense puts it together, but they've done a good job in Big Ten play of reversing the turnover trend from September, and in a big field position game, holding onto ball wil lbe important, and in terms of trench play, I think Michigan State's front seven has a bigger edge over Northwestern's offensive line, than the Wildcats' front has over Michigan State's line.
MICHIGAN STATE 24, NORTHWESTERN 17

Indiana Hoosiers (0-4, 3-4) at Maryland Terrapins (1-3, 3-4)
3:30 - College Park, MD - BTN
Finally Indiana can breathe.  After a gauntlet opening conference schedule against 4 of the 5 best teams, the Hoosiers draw a struggling, but still somewhat up and down Maryland team.  The Terps, as I've raved about before, have plenty of weapons, both in the backfield and on the outside.  The problem is that when they fall behind early, as they've done the last two games against Ohio State and Wisconsin, and you make them one dimensional, forget about it.  If Maryland can stay committed to the run, they are a big play waiting to happen.  It also prevent teams from pinning their ears back up front, double teaming D.J. Moore on the back, and daring a third string quarterback to find another option before they get there.  If the run game is working, and Moore has space to play in, he might be the most exciting receiver in the conference.  Indiana is winning with defense, for once, but maybe a little too much.  Ignored has been just how bad Indiana's offense has been over the past month.  Richard Lagow drew rave reviews early against Ohio State, but was regressing and was replaced.  GOing with the young Peyton Ramsey was bound to lead to some unevenness, and the lack of a run game plus the Nick Westbrook injury isn't helping, but they are wasting Simmie Cobbs right now.  If Cobbs decides to go pro, he'll probably be the top Big Ten receiver drafted in the 2018 NFL Draft, and yet since the monster game against the Buckeyes, his high against an FBS team is 5 catches for 62 yards against Virginia.  Ramsey, against Penn State and Michigan looked like a young quarterback growing, but by the end of the Michigan game he looked beat up, and simply didn't look nearly the same to me last week.  In fact, his QBR has gone from 80.6 against Virginia, to 69.3 against Penn State, to 57 against Charleston Southern, to 42.9 and 44.8 against Michigan and Michigan State.  He doesn't have quite the OL or nearly the running game the last couple Kevin Wilson teams had, and the beating he's taking appears to be catching up to him.  Indiana make take a breath, but then they'll find out you can't do that in conference games.
MARYLAND 28, INDIANA 27

Minnesota Golden Gophers (1-3, 4-3) at Iowa Hawkeyes (1-3, 4-3)
6:30 - Iowa City, IA - FS1
Both Minnesota and Iowa went into last week ready to show they had good reason for their poor conference starts; Minnesota due to playing the wrong quarterback for too long, and Iowa for being on the narrow defeat end of a couple of top 20 teams.  Instead, Iowa limped its way to their second 17-10 conference loss of the season at Northwestern.  The Hawkeyes managed only 14 first downs, as the "Wadley or Bust" offensive strategy failed with Nathan Stanley playing his worst game of the season.  Wadley had 95 total yards on 29 touches, almost half of Iowa's 66 offensive snaps.  Minnesota got a win over Illinois, but it was a very sloppy win over the conference's worst team.  After coming in in relief of Conor Rhoda the week before and leading Minnesota to three straight fourth quarter touchdowns in a near comeback against Michigan State, Demry Croft showed maybe why P.J. Fleck was a little hesitant in making the switch, going a dismal 5-15 for 47 yards, with 2 picks.  His Total QBR of 6.7 was the third worst single game by a Big Ten quarterback this year, and the two worse were by backup quarterbacks playing against Ohio State, not the supposed starter, playing against the Big Ten's worst team.  The Gophers have to be able to run the ball.  That much is obvious.  The Michigan State game was the lone example of them successfully passing it when the defense was prepared.  Scoring first, for both teams, is absolutely vital.  Among bowl contenders, no two starting quarterbacks may be on shakier ground than Stanley and Croft, and without the use of the running game, it could get ugly.  Iowa is going to force feed Wadley, no matter how he's doing.  They proved that last week.  Minnesota needs to prevent the big plays because it does not appear like Iowa has a Plan B.  This is the type of game that feels like it could be pretty even, Wadley is well enough held in check, save one or two big plays, enough to tip the balance, and make his final stat line look pretty good.
IOWA 27, MINNESOTA 16

Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-2, 3-4) at Purdue Boilermakers (1-3, 3-4)
7:30 - West Lafayette, IN - BTN
I cautioned last week against thinking Purdue was naturally better than Rutgers.  We aren't that removed from Purdue being the conference's doormat.  And somehow, in a game they should have won, and had every right to win, they found a way to lose the inches against a team that should have no reason to know how to find a way to win.  Purdue is better, that much is certain.  But it's also clear from last week that there is a mentality that needs to be shaken from the roster.  They dominated the boxscore, and still only had 6 points until the final minute of the game.  But that is what I mean, and that is Purdue's season.  The Boilermakers are 6th in the conference in Total Offense, yet LAST in scoring.  How is that even possible?  They have to find the inches.  That's how you pick yourself up off the mat.  And it's in those little things where Purdue struggles.  They are worst in the conference in 3rd down conversion rate, they've drawn the 2nd most penalties, last in Time of Possession, last in Red Zone TD rate, one of four teams with multiple red zone turnovers in Big Ten play.  Those are the things they need to clean up.  Nebraska feels almost forgotten over the past month.  After losses to Oregon and Northern Illinois, it was clear they weren't going to be a Big Ten title contender, and then an opening schedule against two of the three best teams, as well as the two worst teams, left very littler intrigue in their games.  But if they want to build towards 2018 by at least ending 2017 with a bowl, they have to win two of their next three.  It starts with figuring out their running game.  While Tanner Lee looked like the guy who struggled at Tulane rather than...the guy who supposedly stopped struggling at practice? Tre Bryant proved to be the offensive excitement, hitting 300 yards midway through the second game of the season.  But then he got hurt, his status was in doubt for a couple weeks, and then confirmed he's done for the season.  Devine Ozigbo has been fine, but he's been in the mix for three years now, and there's a reason he hadn't won the job.  A Nebraska offense that ranks 9th in the Big Ten in rushing, but 3rd in passing, is not the Nebraska football I grew up on.  Tanner Lee has stopped being the turnover machine he was early in the year, but as long as the offense is predicated on him throwing the ball as much as he has been, the option is always there.  Purdue showed Lamar Jackson their propensity for interceptions, and I think Tanner Lee is due for a 3 pick type of game.  I wasn't riding high on Purdue last week, but I like Brohm's response to the loss last week, and now I think his team responds in kind.
PURDUE 23, NEBRASKA 17

***BIG TEN GAME OF THE WEEK***
#2 Penn State Nittany Lions (4-0, 7-0) at #6 Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0, 6-1)
3:30 - Columbus, OH - FOX
By the time the whistle blew to end the game last week in Happy Valley, it became clear that the Big Ten's marquee regular season event would not wait until the final week of the season, but take place just a week later.  It's refreshing to hear Urban Meyer say of course revenge is a factor this week.  There's a difference between letting that help you, and letting it drive you, and so long as Meyer can make sure his players keep the Lion in the cage til kickoff, I think it will pay off.  The game last year changed the trajectory of James Franklins' program at Penn State.  It was in fairness the third game of what is now Penn State's 16 game regular season winning streak, but spiraling towards another middle of the pack finish and December bowl game, that was the game that turned the tides.  Ohio State had a 21-7 4th quarter lead, and was shutting Penn State's offense down.  By win probability, Ohio State entered the 4th quarter with a 97.2% chance to win.  Then the Nittany Lions got back to back 35 yard plays to cut it to 7.  Then a blocked punt set up a field goal.  And finally a blocked punt won the game.  Even still, Trace McSorley completed only 33% of his passes, for 154 yards, and they were entirely dependent on big plays, with 5 plays of over 20 yards, including 3 over 35, and still were outgained 413-276.  McSorley has become more comfortable in the offense since, and last week may have been his finest performance yet, and he picked apart the previously vaunted Michigan defense for 42 points.  Now Ohio State needs their "show me" game.  They had one chance, and Baker Mayfield ripped them apart, and put himself atop the Heisman list.  Since then they've been rolling everybody, but this is the first chance to prove it against real competition.  Penn State's offense has been great, but it's been the defense that's been the real surprise.  Is it for a real, or a product of the opposition?  The Nittany Lions rank 2nd in the Big Ten in scoring defense, and 4th in total defense, but their four opponents have been Iowa, Indiana, Northwestern and Michigan.  When Northwestern is the most statistically potent offense you've faced, questions are fair.  The Buckeye offense is a whole other monster, leading the conference in every major statistical category, by a wide margin.  55.8 ppg is 21 ppg better than #2 Penn State.  610.3 ypg is 150 ypg more than #2 Penn State.  281.8 rushing ypg is 40 ypg more than #2 Wisconsin.  328.5 passing ypg is 35 ypg more than #2 Penn State.  When a segment of the Ohio State fan base is still criticizing J.T. Barrett, as he leads the conference's top passing attack, while leading the conference in passing efficiency, and is 4th in the nation in Total QBR, it tells me things on offense must be going pretty well to get that nitpicky.
OHIO STATE 31, PENN STATE 30
« Last Edit: October 25, 2017, 04:17:10 PM by ELA »

Geolion91

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Re: ELA October 28 Breakdown
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2017, 08:16:21 AM »
" And finally a blocked punt won the game"

Nice write-up on the PSU-OSU game, but it was a blocked FG attempt, not a blocked punt.

Brutus Buckeye

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Re: ELA October 28 Breakdown
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2017, 02:11:34 PM »
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 28 Breakdown
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2017, 03:00:33 PM »
nice work
"Courage; Generosity; Fairness; Honor; In these are the true awards of manly sport."

medinabuckeye1

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Re: ELA October 28 Breakdown
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2017, 03:14:50 PM »
I think Purdue/Nebraska is a bit underappreciated and somewhat lost in the intense focus on tOSU/PSU.  

The B1G-W is already effectively decided so PU/NU has nothing to do with the B1G Championship and potential CFP berths but it seems pretty huge in terms of bowl eligibility.  Both teams are 3-4 overall.  The winner will improve to 4-4 and need only to win two of their last three to guarantee bowl eligibility and likely will only need one more win to sneak in at 5-7.  The loser's bowl hopes will be on life support.  

FearlessF

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Re: ELA October 28 Breakdown
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2017, 03:32:46 PM »
agreed, big game for Riley's future and a big game for Jeff Brohm's momentum
"Courage; Generosity; Fairness; Honor; In these are the true awards of manly sport."

MarqHusker

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Re: ELA October 28 Breakdown
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2017, 04:21:07 PM »
Most critical Purdue v Neb game in this new B1G era, I'm under an hour from campus and I can't make it to the game tomorrow night.   :03:.

Blaming it on 'night game' scheduling.   Actually, prior family related plans slightly out of town.   I feel less ticked off about it, since it will likely be a miserable night.

I know JHetfield will be there, and rumor has it, he'll be smoking some meat at his tailgate.   :03:

FearlessF

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Re: ELA October 28 Breakdown
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2017, 05:05:05 PM »
Clouds Early/Clearing Late. Low 31F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.

_________________________________________________ ________

I guess I wouldn't call that miserable - I'd call it football weather

I glad it's not supposed to be raining and windy - mess with Tanner Lee's passing attack

I liked it better when Husker fans would hope for a miserable weather event to slow down the opponent's passing game

that would also drive down the scalper's prices

Bring Back Scott Frost!!!!
"Courage; Generosity; Fairness; Honor; In these are the true awards of manly sport."

MarqHusker

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Re: ELA October 28 Breakdown
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2017, 07:45:32 PM »
I see they have removed rain from forecast 

FearlessF

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Re: ELA October 28 Breakdown
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2017, 07:53:03 PM »
:s_good:
"Courage; Generosity; Fairness; Honor; In these are the true awards of manly sport."

 

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