Big Ten Football Roundup: Week 4 Scores, Rankings, Reactions

    Week 4 Big Ten football scores, rankings and reactions for each game, including Michigan's big game against BYU and Ohio State's improvement.

    September 26, 2016

    Week 4 Big Ten Football Roundup

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    Scroll down for thoughts on each Big Ten team, recaps and picks.

    Does the Big Ten have any clothes?

    It might seem like this is the big moment for the Big Ten with Ohio State still the No. 1 team in the country, and with Michigan State knocking right on the doorstep as No. 2 or No. 3 in any and every poll. But there’s one big concern at the moment.

    Are any of these decent Big Ten teams really that good?

    The assumption is that the uber-talented Buckeyes will get it all together and be ready to really rock and roll when they have to, and Michigan State is Michigan State – you’re always going to get a terrific effort. But it’s not like the Big Ten stars are dominating.

    Michigan State has hardly looked like a world-beater so far, and while it hung its hat on the Oregon win, Utah blowing away the Ducks in Autzen sort of dampened the one big signature win.

    Ohio State has looked unfocused at best, like hot garbage at times at worst, and now the Virginia Tech road win doesn’t really matter – now that the Hokies lost to East Carolina – and there’s nothing else of note to go on. Michigan has been better, and deserves credit for stomping all over Oregon State and BYU, and Wisconsin has been dominant over the last three games, but it could enter its post-Alabama non-conference slate in Cupcake Wars.

    Northwestern’s wins over Duke on the road and Stanford at home are terrific, but struggles against Ball State made both of those seem a bit like a mirage, while Iowa needs to step up and be great against Wisconsin to show that its hot start is for real.

    It’s really all about Michigan State and Ohio State, though.

    If the Big Ten champ is unbeaten, or finishes with one loss, it’ll be in the playoff. But it would be nice if the stars come in shining their brightest, and so far, they aren’t.

    Big Ten Player of the Week

    Michigan RB De’Veon Smith ran 16 times for 125 yards and a scintillating 60-yard score – before going out with a foot injury – in the blowout win over BYU.

    Big Ten East


    W, at Wake Forest 31-24

    It might not have been as impressive as Northwestern winning at Duke or Ohio State winning at Virginia Tech, but the Hoosiers went on the road for the first time and came away with a win over an improving ACC team. The offense is balanced, the defense isn’t totally abysmal, at least against the run, and the program is 4-0 for the first time since 1990. With Ohio State up next, take the start and run with it. To do more this year, the turnover margin has to remain the team’s biggest positive.


    L, at West Virginia 45-6

    Before getting too into a twist over the poor performance, there’s a chance that West Virginia is just that good. However, the quarterback play was a disaster. Daxx Garman did next to nothing, and Caleb Rowe was a total disaster with four picks and just 67 yards passing. The ground game was fine with Brandon Ross, but the offense couldn’t stop screwing up – there were six turnovers – and the defense did nothing. It was a sloppy, mistake-filled game before having to deal with Michgian.


    W, BYU 31-0

    The beautiful part about the win was how Michigan stepped on the Cougars and didn’t let them up. BYU might have been tired, and they might have dealt with a tough schedule, but whatever – Michigan showed what it’s capable of by beating up the Cougars with a bruising running game and a suffocating defense. With both of those elements working, there wasn’t any need for Jake Rudock to press. No need to press, no turnovers. If Amara Darboh can grow more and more into a reliable downfield receiver, it’ll be a massive boost to an offense that still needs receiving weapons.

    Michigan State

    W, Central Michigan 30-10

    It really doesn’t matter as long as the Spartans keep winning – 13-0 with the rest of the wins by one point each will still get it done – but it would be nice if the team could step up and dominate someone for a full sixty minutes. It might not be quite right to say Sparty is going through the motions, but it looks like it’s going through the motions. The secondary is still allowing too many big plays down the field – CMU cranked up 285 passing yards – but the pass rush continues to be stellar. Offensively, Connor Cook has been okay, but hardly anything special. He’ll get his chances.

    Ohio State

    W, Western Michigan 38-12

    Cardale Jones is fine. He only completed 19-of-33 passes, but it’s a building process. Remember, it’s about late December/early January, not late September. He hit on a few downfield throws and showed off what he could potentially become, but he needs to keep growing into the gig. It helps his cause – and the coaches’ fight – that J.T. Barrett has stunk when given the show, completing just 1-of-3 passes with a pick. Just keep letting 12-Gauge go do his thing, and the payoff will come.

    Penn State

    W, San Diego State 37-21

    It doesn’t matter that San Diego State isn’t playing well, Christian Hackenberg threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns with no picks. A few of his big plays might have come on dump off plays that went large, but who cares? For one week, the Penn State passing game didn’t suck. However, now the running game didn’t work, getting stuffed for 2.1 yards per carry. SDSU’s defense really is supposed to be good, but for now, Penn State won and it’s 3-1. After the nightmare of a Temple loss to start the season, the Nittany Lions have quietly kept on improving.


    W, Kansas 27-14

    Just survive and move on. It doesn’t matter that Kansas is the worst of the Power 5 programs, and it shouldn’t make a difference that it was a fight just to get the W against such a bad team. With all that’s doing on, take a win any way possible and enjoy being 2-2. Chris Laviano completing 18-of-25 passes with two scores might be a nice step forward, but getting 100-yard running days out of Josh Hicks and Robert Martin was bigger. However, with Rutgers being Rutgers right now, nothing can go quite right. Losing Darius Hamilton for the yard off the defensive front is devastating.

    Big Ten West


    W, Middle Tennessee 27-25

    Beating Middle Tennessee – at least for the still-rebooting Illini – was better than it might appear. Wes Lunt couldn’t make anything happen down the field, and the offense sputtered too much, and the secondary couldn’t slow down the Blue Raider passing game, but the Illini got the win to go to 3-1, and it established a few playmakers. Geronimo Allison continues to be the main man for the passing game, and Ke’Shawn Vaughn stepped up in the backfield to help out Josh Ferguson. With the way the run D stepped up, the Illini bounced back from the North Carolina loss.


    W, 62-16

    Playtime is over, but it’s nice to come up with an impressive stomping the week before having to deal with Wisconsin. C.J. Beathard couldn’t be hotter, hitting 18-of-21 passes taking target practice against the North Texas defense. It helps when the running game works as Jordan Canzeri has stepped up to become the main man to help carry the attack. The D might not have been its normal dominant self against the run, but it more than got the job done with three takeaways and big stops against the passing game – UNT went nowhere.


    W, Ohio 27-24

    This balloon is going to pop soon. Yeah, take the win no matter what, and the Gophers are 3-1, just as expected, but there are way too many problems against too many mediocre teams. Ohio is solid, but it’s still a MAC team and it still took a big fourth quarter at home to come away with the win. Fortunately, Mitch Leidner came up with a big day to quiet the critics, completing 22-of-32 passes and with no big mistakes, but it was still too much of a struggle for the offense to come up with points. Now comes the Northwestern defense – good luck.


    W, Southern Miss 36-28

    With Wes Lunt and Illinois coming up next week, the Nebraska pass defense had better figure out a new wrinkle in a real hurry. The run defense has been fantastic at times – allowing 11 yards on 23 carries – but the corners got ripped apart for 447 yards by Nick Mullens and the USM passing game. Tommy Armstrong and the Nebraska offense did its part – with Armstrong throwing for 368 yards and running for 63 more – but the defense couldn’t seem to do anything right in the fourth quarter. At least the team is four-quarter tested after the way the season started.


    W, Ball State 24-19

    This is when Northwestern started to look a bit like the Northwestern everyone was expecting at times defensively, but in what suddenly became a dangerous game, the team still won. Clayton Thorson showed glimpses of potentially becoming a terrific passer, throwing a few beautiful darts with 256 yards, but once again, the offense relied way too much on Justin Jackson. It’s turning October, and he already has 118 carries on the year after running 33 times. It worked, and Northwestern came up with the win, but the offense finally worked, and it was a close call. Against a punchless Minnesota up next, get up early, and everything will be fine.


    L, Bowling Green 35-28

    Bowling Green and Matt Johnson are bombing on everyone, but it still stunk to get bombed on for 402 yards in a winnable game against a MAC team. David Blough did his part, throwing for 340 yards and two scores and running for another, and he spread the ball around well with ten different Boilermakers catching passes, but there was no stopping the Falcons. Giving up too many third down plays, 39 first downs, and 429 yards, Purdue just couldn’t keep up the pace.


    W, Hawaii 28-0

    With Iowa coming up next, this was the game to get the running game working and to start to get physical – and it worked. Taiwan Deal ran hard and ran effectively, and Dare Ogunbowale did a nice job in the rotation. This still isn’t close to being the Wisconsin running game like it’s supposed to be, but with Corey Clement out for at least a month, everyone had to start to get into a lather. The big key over the last three weeks has been a suffocating run defense that’s not allowing a thing – Hawaii was held to 15 yards on 18 carries. Jordan Canzeri and the Hawkeyes will be a slightly bigger test.

    Big Ten Football Rankings After Week 4

    Big Ten East

    1. Ohio State (4-0)
    2. Michigan State (4-0)
    3. Michigan (3-1)
    4. Penn State (3-1)
    5. Indiana (4-0)
    6. Maryland (2-2)
    7. Rutgers (1-3)

    Big Ten West

    1. Wisconsin (3-1)
    2. Northwestern (4-0)
    3. Iowa (4-0)
    4. Nebraska (2-2)
    5. Minnesota (3-1)
    6. Illinois (3-1)
    7. Purdue (1-3)

    Scores & Picks: How’d We Do?

    2015 Big Ten Football Picks Through Week 5: Straight Up: 46-9,  ATS: 26-21-1

    Bowling Green 35, at Purdue 28

    Line: Bowling Green -5.5, o/u: 75.5, Prediction: Bowling Green 47, Purdue 40
    Three Thing Recap & Analysis

    at Nebraska 36, Southern Miss 28

    Line: Nebraska -22, o/u: 68, Prediction: Nebraska 42, Southern Miss 23

    Three Thing Recap & Analysis

    at Michigan State 30, Central Michigan 10

    Line: Michigan State -27, o/u: 54, Prediction: Michigan State 34, Central Michigan 13
    Three Thing Recap & Analysis

    at Michigan 31, BYU 0 ABC

    Line: Michigan -5, o/u: 45, Prediction: Michigan 27, BYU 20
    Three Thing Recap & Analysis

    at Rutgers 27, Kansas 14

    Line: Rutgers -14, o/u: 65.5, Prediction: Rutgers 34, Kansas 24
    Three Thing Recap & Analysis

    Indiana 31, at Wake Forest 24

    Line: Indiana -3.5, o/u: 56, Prediction: Indiana 31, Wake Forest 21
    Three Thing Recap & Analysis

    at West Virginia 45, Maryland 6

    Line: West Virginia -16.5, o/u: 57, Prediction: West Virginia 37, Maryland 27
    Three Thing Recap & Analysis

    at Ohio State 38, Western Michigan 12

    Line: Ohio State -32, o/u: 61.5, Prediction: Ohio State 48, Western Michigan 17
    Three Thing Recap & Analysis

    at Minnesota 27, Ohio 24

    Line: Minnesota -10.5, o/u: 47.5 , Prediction: Minnesota 20, Ohio 17
    Three Thing Recap & Analysis

    at Iowa 62, North Texas 16

    Line: Iowa -25, o/u: 51, Prediction: Iowa 40, North Texas 13
    Three Thing Recap & Analysis

    at Penn State 37, San Diego State 21

    Line: Penn State -15, o/u: 40, Prediction: Penn State 27, San Diego State 13
    Three Thing Recap & Analysis

    at Illinois 27, Middle Tennessee 25

    Line: Illinois -6.5, o/u: 61.5, Prediction: Illinois 38, Middle Tennessee 30
    Three Thing Recap & Analysis

    at Northwestern 24, Ball State 19

    Line: Northwestern -20, o/u: 50, Prediction: Northwestern 34, Ball State 10
    Three Thing Recap & Analysis

    at Wisconsin 28, Hawaii 0

    Line: Wisconsin -24.5, o/u: 51.5, Prediction: Wisconsin 37, Hawaii 10
    Three Thing Recap & Analysis

    MORE: Week 4 College Football Rankings, No. 1-128


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