Sept. 6 at Nebraska 31, McNeese State 24
And You Care Because … Nebraska was in a fight all game long, but Ameer Abdullah saved the day taking a Tommy Armstrong pass 58 yards for a score with 20 seconds to play. The Huskers appeared to be cruising with a 24-14 lead in the fourth, but McNeese State went on two long scoring drives to tie it at 24 before Abdullah’s heroics.
What Else? The Nebraska lines didn’t dominate. McNeese State only came up with a sack, but it was great at getting behind line. Call this an unfocused effort all the way around – there’s no reason to worry unless next week’s game at Fresno State is rocky.
– Tommy Armstrong had a rocky day, completing 16-of-31 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns with a 98-yard pick six from McNeese State’s Aaron Sam. However, he ran 11 times for 131 yards and a touchdown.
– Everyone will remember Abdullah’s big play, but he was bottled up all game long, running for just 54 yards and a score on 17 carries.
– There were too many plays made at the second and third level, but safety Nate Garry did a little to get behind the line, too, finishing with 13 tackles with two tackles for loss and a broken up pass.
Game Rating: A-
Sept. 6 at Oregon 46, Michigan State 27
And You Care Because … Down 27-18 late in the third, Oregon scored 28 unanswered points as Marcus Mariota threw two third quarter touchdown passes and Royce Freeman scored on runs from 38 and 14 yards out, with the last one closing out the Spartans for good. The Ducks took an 11-0 lead, but Michigan State roared back with Connor Cook throwing seven-yard touchdown passes to Tony Lippett and Josiah Price, and Jeremy Langford running for a 16-yard score, but Oregon stayed alive with a 70-yard Devon Allen scoring play.
What Else? Oregon QB Marcus Mariota was sharp under pressure, completing 17-of-28 passes for 318 yards and three scores, and running nine plays for 42 yards.
– Michigan State QB Connor Cook has now thrown for 300 yards or more in his last three big games (Ohio State, Stanford, Oregon) completing 29-of-47 passes for 343 yards and two scores with two picks.
– Michigan State LB Marcus Rush was fantastic, leading all players with 11 stops with a sack and 2.5 tackles for loss. Shilique Calhoun only made four tackles and no plays behind the line.
– Oregon’s Devon Allen caught three passes for 110 yards and two scores, while Michigan State’s Tony Lippett caught 11 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown.
Game Rating: B
Sept. 6 Virginia Tech 35, at Ohio State 21
And You Care Because … Virginia Tech came out with a suffocating defense and effective offense getting touchdown runs from two yards out by Michael Brewer and 14 yards away from Marshawn Williams in the first quarter, and a ten-yard Sam Rogers scoring grab in the second for a stunning 21-7 lead. Ohio State came back with Michael Thomas taking a J.T. Barrett pass 53 yards for a touchdown, and with a 15-yard Ezekiel Elliott scoring run to tie it up in the fourth. The Hokies answered. Bucky Hodges caught a ten-yard touchdown pass midway through the fourth, and then it was up to the defense, attacking Barrett and forcing a late interception to Donovan Riley, who put the game away with a pick six.
What Else? Virginia Tech came up with seven sacks with two from Dadi Nicholas and Derek Di Nardo. Kyoshen Jarrett came up with two picks along with four tackles, and Chuck Clark led all defenders with ten tackles and a tackle for loss.
– Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett completed just 9-of-23 passes for 219 yards and a score, but he threw three picks. He led the team with 70 yards and a score on 24 carries.
– The kicking game was a huge problem for the Buckeyes. Sean Nuernberger missed from 40 and 27 yards out.
– Each team turned it over three times. Virginia Tech was flagged ten times for 107 yards and Ohio State seven times for 62.
Game Rating: B
Sept. 6 at Illinois 42, WKU 34
And You Care Because … Illinois scored 21 straight points in the fourth quarter helped by a 62-yard touchdown pass to Justin Hardee followed up by a 77-yard pick six from Taylor Barton, and closed out with a one-yard Donovonn Young scoring play. WKU held 17-7 lead and took a 27-21 lead into the fourth quarter highlighted by a 95-yard fumble return for a score from Wonderful Terry in the third quarter, but the offense couldn’t mount a late rally to answer.
What Else? In a battle of quarterbacks, Illinois’ Wes Lunt completed 35-of-50 passes for 456 yards and three touchdowns with a pick, while WKU’s Brandon Doughty completed 28-of-48 passes for 297 yards and two scores with a pick.
– WKU LB Nick Holt led all tacklers with 12 stops and two tackles for loss.
– The Illinois running game was stuffed. The offense fell on the passing of Lunt, but there wasn’t much to help him out with just 64 yards on 35 carries.
– Illinois controlled the game in the second half, holding on to the ball for 21:50
Game Rating: B
Sept. 6 Northern Illinois 23, at Northwestern 15
And You Care Because … Northwestern took a 7-3 lead in the third quarter on a 19-yard catch from Kyle Prater, and then Drew Hare and the NIU offense took over with 20 straight points. Hare, who didn’t play in the first half, ran for a four-yard score and found Da’Ron Brown on scoring plays from 18 and 59 yards out. With Trevor Siemien out late, Zack Oliver connected with Pierre Youngblood-Ary for a 54-yard touchdown with 2:34 to play, but the Wildcats didn’t get any closer.
What Else? Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. Northwestern just isn’t playing well – duh, that might be obvious, but the team is simply not executing. Nine penalties, a big turnover, and no running game have been disastrous.
– Northern Illinois used three quarterbacks, combining to hit 13-of-23 passes for 180 yards, but it was Drew Hare who ran for two scores and ran for 31 yards and a score. It was a share-the-wealth game for the Huskie runners.
– The wheels could completely come off. No Venric Mark, no Christian Jones, no Tony Jones, and now Northwestern might be without its quarterback Trevor Siemien, who missed the last few minutes with a leg injury.
– The Wildcat offensive line has been miserable. NIU teed off for five sacks with OLB Rasheen Lemon leading the team with nine tackles with two sacks. Jason Meehan added two sacks.
Game Rating: C+
Sept. 6 Central Michigan 38, Purdue 17
And You Care Because … Central Michigan got out to a 14-0 first quarter lead and was up 21-7 at halftime, and was never truly threatened the rest of the way. Brandon Greer returned an interception 57 yards for a touchdown, and Anthony Rice caught a 65-yard touchdown pass to get things started for CMU, and Thomas Rawls put it away with his second touchdown run of the game, scoring from 16 yard out. Purdue tried to rally with Austin Appleby hitting Danny Anthrop for a 23-yard score, but 31-17 was as close as it got late.
What Else? Thomas Rawls was brilliant, running 31 times for 155 yards and two scores and catching three passes for 50 yards for CMU.
– Purdue has a quarterback issue now. Danny Etling completed 17-of-32 passes for 126 yards and two scores including the pick six, but he tied for the team lead with 53 rushing yards and a score on ten carries.
– The CMU defensive front did a nice job of controlling the Purdue backs. Joe Ostman made two sacks, but the linebackers got the job done to keep the big plays to a minimum.
– Purdue didn’t abandon the running game, but it didn’t work. Raheem Mostert ran for 53 yards, but couldn’t get free averaging 2.8 yards per carry, and Akeem Hunt ran just three times for nine yards.
Game Rating: C+
Sept. 6 at Penn State 21, Akron 3
And You Care Because … Christian Hackenberg threw three touchdown passes including a 44-yarder to Jesse James in the fourth quarter to put away a pesky Akron team. The Zips moved the ball a bit, but couldn’t score when they had their chances. Bill Belton took a pass 22 yard for a score in the first quarter, and tight end James took care of the second two with a 13-yard scoring play in the third before his 44-yarder.
What Else? Christian Hackenberg has to be more consistent, but he’s putting up huge yards. He threw for 319 yards, but he only completed 22-of-36 passes with two picks.
– The Penn State running game continues to sputter a bit, averaging 3.4 yards per carry, but Akeel Lynch averaged 6.4 yards per pop with a team-leading 45 yards on seven carries.
– Penn State LB Mike Hull came up with a game-leading 11 tackles with a sack and a broken up pass, but Akron’s defense came up with a few key stops and nice plays, getting behind the line here and there and pressuring Hackenberg enough to be a problem.
– Akron QB Kyle Pohl completed 24-of-46 passes for 208 yards, but he was under constant pressure. Even so, he spread the ball around well.
Game Rating: C+
Sept. 6 at Minnesota 35, Middle Tennessee 24
And You Care Because … Minnesota jumped out to a 28-0 first half lead on short touchdown runs from Donnell Kirkwood and David Cobb, a 27-yard Maxx Williams scoring grab, and a pick six from Jalen Myrick, but Middle Tennessee made it interesting with a 17-pount third quarter helped by Reggie Whatley touchdown runs from 44 and 12 yards out, but a 48-yard Cobb scoring dash put the game away.
What Else? Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner completed 5-of-11 passes for 67 yards and a score with a pick, and he ran five times for 32 yards, but he suffered a slight knee injury late in the game.
– David Cobb ran 29 times for 220 yards and two scores, but the Gophers had a hard time getting the ground game going in the second half to grind out the game – they didn’t put it away easily enough.
– Middle Tennessee’s offense perked up. Austin Grammer only completed 22-of-38 passes, but he threw for 255 yards with a score and three picks.
– Minnesota was outgained 445 yards to 351.
Game Rating: C
Sept. 6 at Notre Dame 31, Michigan 0
And You Care Because … Everett Golson threw three touchdown passes with two to Amir Carlisle, and the Irish D was swarming, in a dominant performance in the final game – for now – in the rivalry. Cam McDaniel added a one-yard scoring run and Kyle Brindza came up with a 43-yard field goal in the blowout.
What Else? Michigan outgained Notre Dame 289 yards to 280, but four turnovers and mistake after mistake turned deadly. The Wolverine offensive front that was so great against Appalachian State didn’t generate any sort of a push.
– Everett Golson’s Heisman push is in full swing, completing 23-of-34 passes for 226 yards and three touchdowns, but he was held to -14 rushing yards.
– The Michigan defensive front was terrific. Notre Dame’s ground game was held to 54 yards with Jake Ryan registering 11 tackles and the team coming up with eight tackles for loss. The O was another story with Devin Gardner completing 19-of-32 passes for 189 yards with three picks, but Devin Funchess caught nine passes for 107 yards.
– Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith was fantastic making ten tackles with a tackle for loss, while safety Elijah Shumate made ten stops with a pick.
Game Rating: D+
Sept. 6 at Wisconsin 37, Western Illinois 3
And You Care Because … It wasn’t an even performance by the Badgers, but they never trailed after coming up with a safety on the opening kickoff. Tanner McEvoy ran for a touchdown and threw for three scores with running backs Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement each catching scoring passes, and Alex Erickson caught a ten-yard scoring pass as part of a run of 28 unanswered points.
What Else? The Badger passing game after the LSU debacle? Tanner McEvoy completed 23-of-28 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns with a pick, and Alex Erickson caught ten passes for 122 yards and a score.
– If it’s possible to come up with an effective passing day and not look great doing it, that was Wisconsin’s day.
– The running game couldn’t seem to grind away and break off anything big. The Badgers averaged just 4.3 yards per carry with Melvin Gordon bottled up for 38 yards on 17 carries.
– The defense did its job with a key pick on a first half drive while allowing just 162 yards of total WIU offense.
Game Rating: D+
Sept. 6 at Rutgers 38, Howard 25
And You Care Because … Rutgers rolled up a 31-7 first half lead and finished with four Gary Nova touchdown passes on the way to a rout. Paul James scored three times on pass plays from 69 and 31 yards away and a seven-yard scoring run. Howard scored 12 fourth quarter points, but the game was well out of reach.
What Else? Gary Nova took target practice, completing 15-of-19 passes for 282 yards and four touchdowns.
– There was a chance late of the game being called because of lightning, but it finished.
– Paul James ran 13 times for 43 yards and a score, and caught two passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
– Rutgers allowed 6.4 yards per carry. Howard ran 42 times for 269 yards and four touchdowns.
Game Rating: D
Sept. 6 at Nebraska 31, McNeese State 24