Big Ten Football 2012
Conference Week In Review: Big Ten Conference
Northwestern 42, Syracuse 41
Ohio State 56, Miami University 10
Ohio 24, Penn State 14
Illinois 24, Western Michigan 7
Nebraska 49, Southern Mississippi 20
Wisconsin 26, Northern Iowa 21
Iowa 18, Northern Illinois 17
Purdue 48, Eastern Kentucky 6
Indiana 24, Indiana State 17
Alabama 41, Michigan 14
Minnesota 30, UNLV 27 (3 OT)
Michigan State 17, Boise State 13
It was a week of mixed results in the Big Ten Conference, as the heart of the Midwest kicked off the new college football season.
In one marquee game, the Michigan Wolverines – felt by many to be the class of the league this year – were thrashed by the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide. The Wolverines were never in the thick of the hunt against Alabama; they were blown out of Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Tex., suffering a 21-0 bloodbath in the first quarter and falling behind 31-0 at the 4:31 mark of the second quarter. Michigan rushed for only 69 yards, committed three turnovers, and was simply overwhelmed by Alabama's combination of power and speed throughout the evening in suburban Dallas.
The result couldn't have made Michigan fans very happy, but one needs to realize that Alabama is an elite team, one that will dish out beatdowns to many other foes in 2012. Michigan needs to learn from this experience and not lose twice as a result.
In marked contrast to Michigan, the Michigan State Spartans won their big non-conference game. It's true that the Boise State Broncos are not as loaded as they once were. Boise State entered 2012 without quarterback Kellen Moore and workhorse running back Doug Martin, now in the NFL. The Broncos are younger and less formidable, but because they're coached by Chris Petersen, one of the best sideline sultans in the United States, they always have a chance against any opponent. Michigan State wobbled for extended portions of last Friday's game. The Spartans committed four turnovers and left a lot of points on the field. However, they remained mentally tough and did not slump their shoulders. They kept pounding at Boise State's defensive front with running back Le'Veon Bell, who rushed for 210 yards on a whopping 44 carries in an epically bold performance. Eventually, Bell was able to power his way into the end zone on a five-yard run with just over eight minutes left in regulation. Michigan State's secondary almost got burned on a deep ball by Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick inside the six-minute mark, but the pass was just out of the reach of the Bronco receiver's hands, and the Spartans survived.
This is a big-time win for coach Mark Dantonio's program. New quarterback Andrew Maxwell will be able to study film of his many mistakes, yet bask in the glow of victory, one that should build his confidence. This is the springboard the Spartans wanted; winning a tough game, not an easy one, should help them going forward.
Elsewhere in the league, Northwestern blew a 22-point lead but rallied late to top Syracuse on the road. Iowa, down by eight in the fourth quarter, rallied to beat MAC champion Northern Illinois. Minnesota needed three overtime stanzas to beat UNLV on the road. Ohio State flourished under new head coach Urban Meyer, throttling Miami University by 46 points, the largest margin of victory in any FBS-versus-FBS game from week one. Penn State, thinned by defections in the wake of an offseason filled with scandals and NCAA penalties, lost at home to the deserving Ohio Bobcats, who played a perfect second half to rally from an 11-point halftime deficit.
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