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Big Ten HubBub Week 4: Michigan Survives Again

Matt Parker Profile PicWe are now four weeks into the 2013 season and this week treated us a few blowouts and a head scratching close game yet again. Before the first big B1G game jump-starts conference play this Saturday night in Columbus when Ohio and Wisconsin take the field,  let’s take a look at some of the games from Saturday past and talk a bit about whats ahead for a few other Big Ten teams.

Michigan State @ No. 22 Notre Dame
Notre Dame prevailed in this low scoring game and pulled out a 17-13 victory at home. Though the game itself was pretty entertaining with the back-and-forth action, for the most part.

Notre Dame threw a lot of deep balls which led to some pass interferences calls on the Spartans that MSU coach Mark Dantonio was upset about at the end of the game. Though in my opinion, probably only one call was questionable and the play in question took place the 4th quarter.

Dantonio himself made a very questionable decision by putting in Andrew Maxwell at quarterback with the game on the line. Many Spartan fans are probably still scratching their heads because of that decision.  MSU put up only 254 total yards against the Irish defense. Notre Dame had only 220 themselves.

One of the biggest plays in the game was the interception thrown by MSU running back R. J. Shelton. MSU has a bye week this Saturday before they hit the road for a game at Iowa.

Minnesota vs. San Jose state
Minnesota won this game 43-24. Quarterback Mitch Leidner started for the injured Phillip Nelson and he responded by running for 151 yards and 4 touchdowns. Minnesota running back David Cobb rushed for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Minnesota opens up BIG Ten play with Iowa this week.

Should the Gophers get by Iowa they will bring a 5-0 undefeated record to Ann Arbor the following week. On paper, this looks to be a much better Minnesota team then in years past. The battle for the Little Brown Jug might just be an actual battle this year.

No. 17 Northwestern vs. Maine
Northwestern struggled on offense for most of the game. The defense though was in fine form and scored two touchdowns to help lift the wildcats to a 35-21 win. Maine actually out-gained  Northwestern in total yards 379 to 373. Regardless, a win is a win…right?

Now, Northwestern has a HUGE opportunity to show everyone just how good a team that they are. Or at least they will in their next game after the upcoming week off. When the Wildcats resume play they might be playing an undefeated Ohio State team, or possibly, an Ohio State team coming off a loss at home to the Badgers. We shall see.

No. 23 Wisconsin vs. Purdue
This one was all Wisconsin. Wisconsin jumped out to a 14-0 lead and never looked backed. They won 41-10.  They ran for 388 yards against Purdue. As a team Wisconsin ended up with 546 total yards while Purdue had 180 yards.

Wisconsin plays Ohio state in prime time Saturday in what absolutely will be the biggest game in the Big Ten this season and the Badgers should prove as a good test as to how good Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes are.

No. 18 MICHIGAN @ UConn
In what was expected to be a blowout game MICHIGAN once again had to overcome mistakes all game to win 24-21. Desmond Morgan OUTSTANDING one handed interception in the 4th quarter helped Michigan come back for the win.

Devin Gardner was shaky again with the ball with two interceptions and a fumble. Gardner looked nervous for most of the game. Gardner really needs to get back to playing how he did vs. Notre Dame. Wolverine running back Fitzgerald Toussiant ran for 120 yards and was the difference on offense in the second have with his two scores down the stretch.

It was good to finally Fitz get over 100 yards in a game again. The offensive line still needs a lot of work for the Wolverines.

Hopefully in the bye week, MICHIGAN will work the kinks out and Brady Hoke’s team will be able to play to the level Maize and Blue fans expect.

The game of the week in the Big Ten is the Wisconsin and Ohio State. Purdue and Illinois also will see action this week.

Matt Parker

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