Tuesday, September 15, 2015

First Week of 2015 Big Ten Football Highlights

Big Ten Football Recap
Week one of the college football season is already in the books, and for the Big Ten, is was an opening week of mixed results. Let’s take a look at how the Big Ten came out of week one.

The Jim Harbaugh era at Michigan got off to a rough start. Quarterback Jake Rudoch struggled all day throwing the football, finishing with three interceptions. Michigan also struggled to run the ball as De'Veon Smith was the leading rusher, finishing the game with 17 carries for just 47 yards. The TCU-Minnesota game turned out to be a lot closer than most people thought. The Gophers actually had the ball with a chance to win the game late, but got nowhere on their final drive. Michigan State's start to the 2015 season was actually a lot better. Sparty took care of business against a tough Western Michigan team 37-24. Quarterback Connor Cook, who is in the mix to be the first selection overall in the 2016 NFL draft, had a decent day, finishing 15-31 for 256 yards and two touchdowns.

On Saturday, Northwestern pulled the biggest upset of the week for the Big Ten when they defeated Stanford 16-6. Stanford's offense struggled all day and quarterback Kevin Hogan finished with just 155 yards passing. 2015 could not have started worse for Christian Hackenberg, who at the moment, is the leader in the clubhouse to be drafted first overall, Penn State was stunned by the Temple Owls 27-10, and Hackenberg finished with the game 11-25 for 103 yards and one interception. Hackenberg's QBR on the day, I'm not kidding you, was 3.2. Of course it can't all be blamed on Hackenberg. The man was sacked 11 times.

Nebraska felt by far the most heartbreaking loss of the day. With mere seconds to go, they led BYU 28-27 and appeared to be headed for a tough, well fought week one win. Then backup quarterback Tanner Magnum, replacing Tayson Hill, rolled out to his right, threw up a hail Mary, and Mitch Matthews came down with the game winner in the front of the end zone as time expired. Indiana and Southern Illinois played the game of the day. Indiana won 48-47, and it was a wild one. After take the lead 48-41, Indiana allowed Southern Illinois to go down the field and scored a touchdown with just moments left. However Southern Illinois elected to go for two, and failed to convert. In the night cap, Alabama faced off against Wisconsin in Dallas. The game was close most of the way, and then the Crimson Tide pulled away late to win the game 35-17.

Rutgers, Illinois, Maryland, and Iowa all took care of business. 

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