Big Ten Football 2012
Big Ten Football Recap - Week 4
Big Ten Week 4Football Results
Minnesota 17, Syracuse 10
Ohio State 29, UAB 15
Penn State 24, Temple 13
Louisiana Tech 52, Illinois 24
Nebraska 73, Idaho State 7
Wisconsin 37, UTEP 26
Central Michigan 32, Iowa 31
Notre Dame 13, Michigan 6
Michigan State 23, Eastern Michigan 7
Northwestern 38, South Dakota 7
The spotlight enfolding the Big Ten Conference in week four shone strictly on the Michigan Wolverines. The team that was expected to win the league this season had a chance to repair its reputation before beginning the conference season. Michigan had been eviscerated by Alabama in week one, so this week-four tussle in South Bend, Ind., against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish offered the Wolverines a chance to regain the swagger and confidence that marked their Sugar Bowl-winning journey in 2011.
Michigan, as a whole, didn't play all that poorly. The Wolverines' defense limited Notre Dame's offense to 239 yards and forced two turnovers from a sputtering Fighting Irish attack. If you had told Michigan coach Brady Hoke that Notre Dame would have scored only 13 points in this game, he would have been convinced that his team would have won, and probably with a two-score cushion to boot. However, because Hoke's quarterback played one of the worst games of his Michigan career, the Maize and Blue did not come through against the Irish, a team they had beaten in thrilling fourth-quarter finishes in each of the past three seasons.
Denard Robinson, in his senior season and – instructively – his second season under offensive coordinator Al Borges (who came with Hoke to Ann Arbor as part of the new Michigan coaching staff), was supposed to become a better pocket passer. He found some early rhythm against Notre Dame, but just when he was settling into a groove, Borges dialed up a halfback-option pass from Vincent Smith, a poorly-chosen aerial that was intercepted by Notre Dame in the end zone for a touchback. After that point in time, Denard's confidence was understandably shaken, since his offensive coordinator did not trust him to finish a drive in which he had been throwing the ball accurately. Denard threw four interceptions, shaken by his early brush with frustration. The Wolverines squandered multiple red-zone trips, and in a seven-point game, it's fair to say that such a reality proved to be decisive. Notre Dame's offense has scored 53 points combined in its last three games. The Fighting Irish and head coach Brian Kelly had to pull starting quarterback Everett Golson after a manifestly ineffective outing in which Notre Dame's starting signal caller threw two interceptions. However, because Denard was so inept, the Irish were able to win with their paltry 13-point showing.
Elsewhere in the league, there was little to rejoice about. Minnesota and Northwestern remained unbeaten this season, but neither the Gophers nor the Wildcats have played imposing opponents. Iowa got stunned at home by Central Michigan. Illinois got crushed at home by Louisiana Tech. Ohio State and Michigan State, perhaps looking ahead to their week-five tilt, looked awful in wins over FBS foes from lesser conferences.
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