Big Ten football is known for its grind-it-out, defensive battles. But that wasn’t the case this past week, and we celebrate offense and other big-scoring moments in this edition of Livin’ B1G.
I take a lot of heat around the Campus Insiders office for being a fan of Big Ten football. Apparently it’s a bad thing to support a conference featuring four of the top nine teams in this week’s AP Top 25. Who knew?
There’s no bigger critic than Auburn alumnus and SEC fanboy Brian Stultz, who writes the SEC Football Vibes column every Thursday. He took a shot at me and the Big Ten in last week’s edition by essentially saying Big Ten football is boring.
Why? Because Brian is the office bully and acts tough despite the fact that he recently broke his heel attempting to walk down a friend’s front porch steps. Like, he literally broke his heel while walking down a tiny flight of stairs that trick-or-treaters could bound up with ease. It’s true. And, for at least a week, the tides have turned.
Big Ten teams put up 62, 49, 48, 45 (twice) and 31 points this past week. I’m not sure if Brian saw any of that scoring barrage because he was watching his Auburn Tigers lose 13-7 to Georgia in a slog of a game resembling those of which he likes to make fun. It must have been extremely exciting to watch Auburn finish with 164 total yards, a number that even Maryland surpassed in its 62-3 loss to Ohio State.
Take that, Brian! I can’t wait to see Alabama hold Auburn to nine yards in the Iron Bowl in two weeks.
… Michigan State was one of the high-scoring Big Ten teams this week, as it dominated Rutgers, 49-0, in a battle of the last remaining teams without a conference win. It’s nothing new for the Scarlet Knights to be on the wrong end of a lopsided score, but it was still gratifying to see the Spartans pick up a win and end a seven-game losing streak. That was the first taste of victory I’ve had since the win over Notre Dame on Sept. 17 that seemed big at the time.
For the past two months, when conversations have turned to discussing Michigan State football, I’ve been like …
… Ohio State has won back-to-back games by a 62-3 score, netting at least 60 points in consecutive games for the first time since 1996. It’s also the first time in school history the Buckeyes have done it in Big Ten play. (For those scoring at home, Auburn hasn’t scored 60 points against an FBS opponent in six years.)
J.T. Barrett did his part, totaling four touchdowns against both Nebraska and Maryland. That gives him 98 touchdowns accounted for in his career, setting a new Big Ten record. Drew Brees previously held the mark with 95 TDs for Purdue from 1997-2000.
… Penn State beat Indiana, 45-31, on Saturday and has scored 148 points over its last three games. The Nittany Lions, who have shot up to No. 9 in the AP Top 25, have won six straight since Michigan crushed them, 49-10, on Sept. 24. That, along with the Wolverines’ 14-13 loss to Iowa, has helped put the Nittany Lions in line to play in the Big Ten title game should Ohio State beat Michigan on Nov. 26.
… Let’s be honest, Big Ten basketball gets the same treatment from outsiders for having a slow-moving, grind-it-out style. Purdue’s 109-65 win over McNeese State on Friday and Iowa’s 116-84 win over Savannah State on Sunday proved that there are some hardwood scorers in the conference, too. And let’s not forget Indiana trading buckets with Kansas and winning 103-99 in overtime.
… No performance during college basketball’s opening weekend was bigger than Caleb “Biggie” Swanigan’s effort against McNeese State. He finished with 23 points and 20 rebounds, registering Purdue’s first 20-20 game since William Franklin in 1972.
Swanigan also added six assists and joined Blake Griffin and Ben Simmons as the only Power Five players with a 20-20-5 in the last 10 years. Talk about a B1G opener.