Thursday, September 5, 2013

Big Ten Football Week in Review

The Season Has Landed

When you're jettisoned from your usual tailgating lot and forced to wander the desert to find @FrothyGopher's secret internet nerd friends in order to find a place to stand and drink before Gopher football, your season is off to a pretty bad start.

The great Minnesota grease together forced a number of us who park in the spacious St. Paul tailgating lots to find alternative means to imbibe liquor before the game.  Initially, we had decided that maybe we'd actually go to the Fair and then head over to our useless Washington Avenue ramp parking spot before heading into the game.  Then we looked at the forecast and decided we'd succumb to the heat.  We nearly died anyway though; mainly because we're dumb.  After having several lunch beers at Cowboy Jack's in Woodbury, we bought beer and a couple of those styrofoam coolers to load up with ice/beer goodness.

On paper this plan was solid.  Frothy tells me the ramp is just a couple of blocks from the lot where his friends are.  We park, then simply carry the styrocoolers to the lot.  We're big strapping guys, and 12 pounders each plus a 8.8lb bag of ice isn't that much to carry.  With Frothy as my sherpa, we headed out into the heat.  After going down six flights of stairs with a cooler we both look like we had just finished a marathon.  So, you know, off to a bad start.  Then this happened:

The dashed line was pretty much a straight path through to the tailgate lot.  Instead of doing that we wandered the earth like a very sweaty Caine from Kung Fu.  As new freshmen were entering the Students' Cooperative they were able to witness two full grown men making a terrible, terrible mistake that involved alcohol, but not in the way one might think.  One girl gave us a funny look before she jumped in her car and sped away.  Sorry, Ashleigh. 

So, that happened and in the future I would just go to Stub and Herbs like a normal person and drink delicious Surly beers. 

As for the game, my fears on the passing front were realized as Nelson only went 10-22 for 99 yards.  Not all of the onus is on Nelson for the poor percentage, but I feel like most of it is.  He missed some throws pretty badly.  He also had a couple of balls that could have been caught and the o-line wasn't doing him any favors at times.  What he can do though is run like the dickens.  On his 48 yard run, I timed him from the 50 yard line to the goal line and I came up with 6.2 seconds.  Now granted, he had a step or two start from behind the 50, but he also slowed up in the last 10 yards or so and wasn't running in a straight line.  That comes out to a 4.96 40 time with quick goat math.  He ended up with 12 carries for 82 yards and 2 TDs on the ground.

On defense, there were a number of great plays, but there was also a scheme that allowed shitty UNLV to move the ball quite easily at times.  UNLV's first drive was well executed as they softened up the linebackers and secondary with quick passes before handing off to Cornett for a long run right up the gut.  You have to credit the UNLV offense and Nick Sherry for executing as well as they did early too.

Momentum may have started to turn just before the half when the Gophers put a quick 39 yard drive together ending with a Maxx Williams TD reception after getting a good 3 and out stop.  The second half of course is when the dorrs got blown off this mutha starting with a Marcus Jones 98 yard kickoff return for a TD (unofficial TRE time 11.5 seconds) and then a Martezz Shabazz TD return off an awesome field goal block by Ra'Shede Hageman. 

Going into the 4th quarter, Boddy-Calhoun's 89 yard interception for a score pretty much sealed it for the Gophers.  Later on, Kill was really rotating in players and we saw some 3rd teamers even get time.  Some solid experience was gained.  This was a solid win to build on and hopefully a road win at New Mexico State is coming on Saturday.  People will say "but, but, but they only did well because of big plays."  Consider those 3 extra touchdowns means 3 more kickoffs (more time on D) and maybe, just maybe, this is a team that can create some of these types of plays.  Hageman being a force on the field goal block and Boddy-Calhoun's great jump on that pass weren't necessarily flukes. 

Cop considers storming the field.

Around the Big Ten

I titled this the week in review, and then I went on and on about the Gophers, so here are some quick hitters from the rest of the conference:

Indiana 73, Indiana St 35 --  Larry Bird weeps as the Hoosiers wipe the floor with his alma mater.  35 points allowed though?  The defense did stop the Sycamores 9 straight times and two of the TDs were special teams/defensive.  (recap) They get Navy this week. Navy's triple option offense can cause issues for teams.

Michigan State 26, W. Michigan 13 -- The Spartans had to fight against almighty God (no, not Notre Dame) as the weather pounded them into a delay.  Needless to say they expected a bigger margin against Western Michigan and the natives are getting restless in Lansing according to Joe Rexrode.  They face USF in week 2.

Illinois 42, Southern Illinois 34 -- Scheelhaase threw for 416 yards, but the Illini still nearly shit the bed against an FCS team.  The Salukis had a shot to tie it up with less than a minute to play but turned it over on downs on the 3 yard line.  So, if you had any lingering bad feelings about the Gophers performance against UNLV, you can rest easy knowing we're not Illinois.  Dave Wischnowsky says even the wins don't feel good at Illinois.  We've been there.

Ohio State 40, Buffalo 20 -- The #2 Buckeyes didn't blow the doors off of Buffalo, but easily cruised to victory nonetheless thanks to 23-0 first quarter.  Urban Meyer wasn't pleased with the mistakes that were being made, indicating, "in a tight game, you're going to lose."  Bradley Roby returns for week 2 against San Diego St.

Wisconsin 45, UMass 0 --  This game pissed me off more than any other as I had the Badgers -45 and in the waning seconds they were on the goal line.  Now I was in a bar, so I couldn't tell for sure, but I thought they might have got in on the very last play.  The sportsbook disagrees though.  Tennessee Tech comes in to town this week.  And apparently they have this brand new defensive strategy called forcing turnovers.

Purdue 7, Cincinnati 42 -- *sadtuba*  Two fumbles lost and two interceptions does not a good game make.  Worst of all the opposing quarterback was named Munchie.  Purdue gets Indiana State next week.

Michigan 59, Central Michigan 9 -- Michigan's tune-up before facing Notre Dame this week went extremely well.  Drake Johnson's ACL tear will press 240lb freshman Derrick Green into action behind Fitz Two Saints.  Green was apparently one of, if not the top high school tailback in the nation. 

Penn State 23, Syracuse 17 -- Penn State held on for the victory in a tight contest.  Penn State freshman QB Christian Hackenburg threw for 278 yards and two 50+ yard TDs.  Time for some MACtion this week agaisnt Eastern Michigan.

Nebraska 37, Wyoming 34 -- Disaster for Nebraska was barely averted as Wyoming was in the fight all game long.  Nebraska had two 100 yard rushers in the game and Wyoming QB Brett Smith threw for 383 yards and 4 TDs.  The Cowboys had a chance for an onside kick to go for the tie or a win, but couldn't recover the ball.  They did get one last shot from their 6 with one minute left, but alas could not perform the necessary magic.  Nebraska's defense has a lot of 'splaining to do this week as they can't let Southern Miss hang another 600 yards on them.

Northwestern 44, Cal 30 -- Cal was also able to do some serious moving of the football with freshman QB Jared Goff going for 445 yards, second in school history, but also throwing three interceptions.  Two of those resulted in Wildcats touchdowns.  With Venric Mark hurt, Treyvon Green was relied upon for 129 yards and 2 TDs.  Northwestern gets Syracuse next week.

Iowa 27, Northern Iowa 30 --  HA HA!

For the complainers from last week:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice to see you respond to feedback!