Big Ten Football 2012
Big Ten Football Week In Review - Week 2
Big Ten Football Results
Minnesota 44, New Hampshire 7
Ohio State 31, Central Florida 16
Virginia 17, Penn State 16
Arizona State 45, Illinois 14
UCLA 36, Nebraska 30
Oregon State 10, Wisconsin 7
Iowa State 9, Iowa 6
Notre Dame 20, Purdue 17
Indiana 45, Massachusetts 6
Michigan 31, Air Force 25
Michigan State 41, Central Michigan 7
Northwestern 23, Vanderbilt 13
It was a week of disappointment in the Big Ten Conference. The league's foremost standard bearer over the past two seasons absorbed an upset loss that does not reflect well on Commissioner Jim Delany's gang of twelve schools.
The Wisconsin Badgers made the 2011 and 2012 Rose Bowls, capturing the Big Ten crown with a mixture of signature power and newly-added playmaking ability on the edges. Wisconsin has been a consistent Big Ten force over the past two decades, but the program got a little faster and better at the skill positions, pushing ahead of rivals such as Ohio State and Michigan State to earn its twin tickets to Pasadena, Calif. As Wisconsin traveled to the Pacific Northwest to take on an Oregon State team it thrashed a year ago in Madison, the Badgers had every reason to feel confident. They might not have been operating at all of their powers – not after a shaky opener against Northern Iowa – but they knew that they had survived their opener. They had to feel that they would improve in week two against an Oregon State squad that did not get to play its regularly-scheduled opener against Nicholls State (in week one) due to Hurricane Isaac.
Instead, Wisconsin's hopes turned into a nightmare.
The Badgers, it seems, do not have the heft at the line of scrimmage they once enjoyed. Wisconsin's offensive line was pushed around all afternoon long by Oregon State's defensive front. The Badgers claimed just 207 total yards, only 35 of them on the ground. Quarterback Danny O'Brien, a transfer from Maryland who tried to trace the path created by former North Carolina State transfer (and current NFL starter) Russell Wilson a year ago, was sacked three times on a day when he never felt comfortable in the pocket. Wisconsin averted a shutout with only 91 seconds left in the game. The Badgers, trailing by three points, recovered the ensuing onside kick, but the replay review booth ruled that a UW player illegally touched the ball before it traveled the necessary 10 yards. Without enough timeouts to stop the clock, the Badgers watched helplessly as Oregon State assembled in victory formation on the last two snaps of regulation time.
This is a devastating blow for Wisconsin. The only good things for the Badgers are that: 1) This game came early in the season; and 2) this was not a conference game. Wisconsin might still be the slight favorite in the Big Ten Leaders Division, but it will have to do a lot of work to overcome a Purdue team that almost knocked off Notre Dame this past Saturday.
Elsewhere in the Big Ten, the league absorbed four other painfully unexpected defeats. Iowa was ambushed at home by Iowa State. Nebraska stubbed its toe at UCLA. Penn State lost a late lead at Virginia. Illinois got obliterated at Arizona State. Only wins by Northwestern (over Vanderbilt) and Michigan (over Air Force) gave the Big Ten a lift in week two.
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