Quantcast 2012 Big Ten Football: Big Ten Football Week 3 Recap

Big Ten Football 2012

 
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Big Ten Football Recap - Week 3

 

Big Ten Week 3 Football Scores

Minnesota 28, Western Michigan 23

Ohio State 35, California 28

Penn State 34, Navy 7

Illinois 44, Charleston Southern 0

Nebraska 42, Arkansas State 13

Wisconsin 16, Utah State 14

Iowa 27, Northern Iowa 16

Purdue 54, Eastern Michigan 16

Ball State 41, Indiana 39

Michigan 63, Massachusetts 13

Notre Dame 20, Michigan State 3

Northwestern 22, Boston College 13

 

It was a week of modest gains for the Big Ten Conference… in its middle and lower tiers. At the top, however, the Big Ten got bloodied once again in a prime-time matchup, ensuring that the league will not be part of the national championship chase for 2012.

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The Michigan State Spartans were asked to carry the banner for the Big Ten in their game with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Saturday night in East Lansing, Mich. The Spartans had beaten Boise State at home on Aug. 31, giving their fans the belief that they could handle the Irish as well. However, the player who needed to step forward for the Spartans, quarterback Andrew Maxwell, did not answer the bell. Maxwell did not trust his own abilities, dumping the ball short throughout the game and failing to test the Notre Dame secondary on vertical routes. Michigan State's passing game never injected any fear into the Irish, and that's why Notre Dame was able to put nine bodies in the tackle box to stop Michigan State's only elite offensive player, running back Le'Veon Bell. Running games are only as successful as the amount of hats an offensive line can accumulate against a front seven. With Notre Dame's nine people outmanning Michigan State at the point of attack, Bell was smothered. When Bell is shut down, the Spartans are shut down, and that’s why MSU mustered just a lonely field goal on a night when it was comprehensively dominated for 60 minutes. Notre Dame's defense did not experience a single flaw of considerable dimensions. The Irish were airtight, and that's why they won this game handily despite posting only 300 total yards. Michigan State needed a 50-yard boot from placekicker Dan Conroy to dent the scoreboard at all. The home team simply got snuffed out, and so with Ohio State ineligible for postseason play, the Big Ten's national championship hopes are done… on September 17.

Speaking of Ohio State, the Buckeyes were outplayed for large stretches of their home game against California, but three missed field goals by the Golden Bears enabled coach Urban Meyer's team to stay in the hunt. The Buckeyes cashed in their good fortune by breaking a tie with a 72-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Braxton Miller to receiver Devin Smith with 3:26 left in regulation. Ohio State can't win the Big Ten Leaders Division championship, but every single Buckeye player can grow from this experience in week three against an athletic opponent that wasted a Golden (Bear) opportunity.

Elsewhere in the league, Indiana lost to Ball State, but the rest of the league did well. Northwestern and Minnesota moved to 3-0 with wins, and Nebraska bounced back from a loss in week two by beating Arkansas State. Wisconsin erased an 11-point deficit and sweated out a missed field goal by Utah State on the final play of regulation to win by two. Penn State gained the first win of the Bill O'Brien era by dispatching Navy with ease.

 

By Matt Zemek
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer

 

 

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