Welcome to the Big Five! This is my weekly column discussing and take-ing on the top five headlines, news items, storylines, etc. of the week. Feel free to comment on my thoughts either below, on Twitter, on Facebook, or…shoot us an email – firstname.lastname@example.org – We’ll make sure to bring your comments up on the next podcast
1. You read the title
I was covering Purdue’s game this weekend at Missouri and boy, did they look good. David Blough looked great, the Boilermakers defense impressed and coach Jeff Brohm has really spiced up that program.
Not only did Purdue beat Missouri on the road, they annihilated them. The score was 35-3 and should have been worse. Granted, the Tigers looked pathetic, but any Purdue team in the last four or five years would have looked different. The stats are double-take worthy, so I’ll just leave them here. The Boilermakers won possession 43:43 to 16:17…
So where does Purdue go now? Well, Michigan at home. Perfect timing for this surging team. Ross-Ade Stadium will be packed, and not with half Michigan fans. In talking with players after the game, I got the notion that everyone on Purdue has bought in, and they should.
2. Husker down
If you want a story completely contradicting Purdue’s performance, Nebraska’s your place to go. The Huskers moved to 1-2 after a brutal 21-17 loss to Northern Illinois at home. Nebraska coach Mike Riley got a contract extension early last week, which made this game all the more concerning for Huskers fans.
To start, Northern Illinois didn’t even play well. The Huskies fed off of two quick scores and just held a weak Nebraska offense the rest of the way. NIU’s quarterback posted a sub-30 QBR and didn’t throw a touchdown. Its running backs didn’t break the yardage century mark.
Nebraska just happened to play worse. Tanner Lee had three interceptions, including two pick-6’s. The Huskers were rightfully booed off the field.
Nebraska has a solid chance to hit rock bottom next week when it hosts Rutgers.
Photo: UW Athletics
3. Alex Hornibrook is efficient?
Wisconsin’s sophomore quarterback, Alex Hornibrook, looked remarkably inefficient last season. He threw for nine touchdowns, seven interceptions and posted a completion rate of 58.6.
On Saturday, Hornibrook couldn’t have looked more different, tossing for 256 yards and four touchdowns on 18-for-19 passing. Yes, 18-for-19 passing. He looked like a stud, and Wisconsin demolished BYU 40-6 on the road.
If I’m a fan of any other Big Ten team, Wisconsin scares me a lot. Its offense is now multi-dimensional and its defense still functions as a typical Wisconsin defense. The fact that the Badgers have a good quarterback, for now, is what can set Wisconsin over the top.
4. Michigan Statement
Michigan State had a week three bye week, something that doesn’t seem necessary, but that’s a topic for a different day. The Spartans proceeded that with two solid wins over teams they should have beaten.
This week is the real test: Notre Dame under the lights at home. I’m looking forward to seeing what sophomore quarterback Brian Lewerke can do against the Irish defense, as this has potential to be a coming out party for him.
Michigan State has given its fans some hope for a turnaround thus far, but they’ll have hope with reason if the Spartans can pull off a victory Saturday.
5. Penn State hits the road
Penn State opens its Big Ten slate with a pretty tough matchup: on the road against Iowa. This is a night game, so the atmosphere will be incredible at Kinnick Stadium. The Nittany Lions have beaten a pair of cupcake opponents and Pittsburgh at home. A road test against Iowa will definitely be their toughest to this point, because James Franklin isn’t going to call Iowa Akron.
I’m looking to see if Trace McSorely can step up against the Hawkeyes. McSorely didn’t look great against Pittsburgh, so this matchup gives the sophomore another chance to prove himself.