Big Ten Football: Week 1 Recap

Big Ten Football: Week 1 Recap

The Big Ten kicked off this weekend, leaving the Pac-12 as the only Power 5 conference not to start play. With the Big Ten playing a conference-only schedule, we will be running down every game on a weekly basis. Let’s dive into the first week.

Illinois vs. 14 Wisconsin

Graham Mertz shined for Wisconsin as he completed his first 17 pass attempts. He finished 20-21 with five touchdown passes and 248 yards. Jake Ferguson caught three of those touchdowns and had seven total catches for 72 yards. Illinois got to within one score at 14-7 after a Tarique Barnes fumble return touchdown in the second quarter. That was all they would muster as the Badgers scored 31 unanswered points to win 45-7 on Friday night.

Nebraska vs. 5 Ohio State

Justin Fields completed 20-21 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 54 yards and another. Nebraska actually stayed in the game in the first half, as they trailed just 24-14 at halftime. Adrian Martinez and Luke McCaffrey showed out on the first drive of the game, combining for 75 rushing yards. McCaffrey had a 47-yard scamper which set up Martinez to run it in for the touchdown from 10 yards out. The Cornhuskers only scored three points after halftime as Ohio State put 28 on the board to win 52-17. Garrett Wilson caught seven passes for 129 yards and a touchdown, while Jaxon Smith-Njigba caught the other touchdown pass. Chris Olave had six catches for 104 yards. Master Teague III had two rushing touchdowns and Jack Miller III rushed for the other.

Rutgers vs. Michigan State

Rutgers was able to pick up their first Big Ten victory in three years, winning 38-27. Noah Vedral was 18-29 for 169 yards with one touchdown to one interception. He also rushed for 24 yards and another score. The Scarlet Knights had the lead the whole way, their biggest lead being 28-10 in the second quarter. Isaih Pacheco rushed for 61 yards and two end zone trips, Johnny Langan rushed for one touchdown, and Shameen Jones caught a touchdown pass. Tre Avery and Brendon White each picked off Spartans quarterback Rocky Lombardi.

#Rutgers Football RB Isaih Pacheco finds a hole and makes it a 12-yard touchdown run to mark the Scarlet Knights first score of the 2020 season.

8 Penn State vs. Indiana

In the upset of the week, the Indiana Hoosiers pulled off the 36-35 shocker over No. 8 Penn State. The Nittany Lions started off red hot as they scored a touchdown on the opening drive. Sean Clifford found Pat Freiermuth for the two-yard score on fourth down. Following that, Penn State looked shaky, as Clifford was picked off twice and Will Levis fumbled all in the first quarter. After the touchdown, their next seven drives were punt, interception, punt, interception, fumble, missed field goal, and missed field goal.

Trailing 17-7 after the first half, Penn State wound up taking the 20-21 lead with 2:30 left in the game. Clifford ran for a 35-yard touchdown and completed a 60-yard scoring pass to Jahan Dotson to get them there. They forced a turnover on downs and it looked all but certain they would close it out with just under two minutes remaining. However, instead of taking their time to score and falling down, Devyn Ford ran in for the 14-yard score as Indiana just let them into the end zone. The Hoosiers then went 75 yards in seven plays as Michael Penix Jr. scrambled for a one-yard touchdown and the two-point conversion to tie the score at 28. Penn State still got the ball with 19 seconds left and a chance to win. They gained nine yards to set up a 57-yard field goal attempt, but it was missed by Jordan Stout.

Overtime found Penn State with the ball first and they scored a touchdown as Clifford passed to Parker Washington. Penix Jr. then found Whop Philyor for the touchdown. Indiana decided to be aggressive and go for two and the win. The Hoosiers’ quarterback ran for it and barely broke the plane, a debatable conversion for the win. Penix Jr. finished 19-36 for 170 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Clifford finished 24-45 for 238 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions.

Iowa vs. Purdue

In a tightly contested game, Purdue got the final punch as they won 24-20. It took half of the first quarter for either team to score. In Purdue’s second drive of the game, they went 66 yards in nine plays and Aidan O’Connell found David Bell for a 9-yard touchdown pass as the Boilermakers went up 7-0. Iowa didn’t score until their fifth drive, with quarterback Spencer Petras running for the one-yard touchdown on the fifth play. Petras also passed to Sam Laporta for a 20-yard pass on the drive.

Purdue was down 20-17 halfway through the fourth quarter and Iowa had the ball. Mekhi Sargent then fumbled with 8:20 remaining, setting Purdue up at their own 41. In 12 plays, capped by an O’Connell pass to Bell for a touchdown, the Boilermakers took the lead with 2:15 remaining. Iowa got one first down but then turned the ball over on downs to end the game. O’Connell finished 31-50 passing with 282 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. David Bell had all three touchdown catches.

18 Michigan vs. 21 Minnesota

In a game that was kept close early, Michigan eventually pulled away for the 49-24 victory on Saturday Night. They got their first lead when Donovan Jeter returned a fumble 15 yards for the score after Michael Barrett knocked it loose. The Wolverines would never look back and never gave up the lead the rest of the way. Zach Charbonnet ran for a 70-yard touchdown in the second Michigan drive which tied it at seven. Joe Milton finished 15-22 with 225 yards and a touchdown. Hassan Haskins rushed six times for 82 yards and two touchdowns while Chris Evans also ran for a touchdown. Ben Mason also had a touchdown catch as his only reception.

Maryland vs. Northwestern

Taulia Tagovailoa, brother of former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, struggled in his first game as a Maryland Terrapin. He threw three interceptions and had just 94 passing yards as Northwestern walked to a 43-3 victory. Tagovailoa was replaced by Lance Legendre for the Terrapins’ last drive. Peyton Ramsey finished 23-30 passing with 212 yards and a touchdown pass to Isaiah Bowser. Drake Anderson, Bowser, Ramsey, and Evan Hull each had a rushing touchdown. Anderson carried the ball ten times for 103 yards, averaging 10.3 yards a carry.

What’s Next?

Friday 7:30 p.m. EST: Minnesota (0-1) vs. Maryland (0-1)
Saturday 12:00 p.m. EST: Michigan State (0-1) vs. 13 Michigan (1-0), Purdue (1-0) vs. Illinois (0-1)
Saturday 3:30 p.m. EST: 9 Wisconsin (1-0) vs. Nebraska (0-1), 17 Indiana (1-0) vs. Rutgers (1-0), Northwestern (1-0) vs. Iowa (0-1)
Saturday 7:30 p.m. EST: 3 Ohio State (1-0) vs. 18 Penn State (0-1)

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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