Other than the Ohio State Buckeyes, many teams in the Leaders Division in the Big Ten did not experience much success in Week 3. The Division went 2-4, with the Buckeyes and Indiana Hoosiers the sole teams in the winning column. Illinois, Purdue, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania State all lost in thrilling games. Let’s start with the Indiana Hoosiers.
Indiana Hoosiers Demolish MAC Contender Bowling Green In Bloomington:
The Hoosiers proved their offensive attack can win against elite defenses, as the Bowling Green Falcons have what many call one of the best defenses in the country among non-BCS schools. IU running backs Stephen Houston and Tevin Coleman combined for 284 yards, and quarterback Nate Sudfeld threw for 335 yards and 2 touchdowns. The coaching staff in Bloomington, including coach Kevin Wilson, has now been completely convinced that picking Sudfeld as the starter in the offseason was the right decision. Sudfeld was in the middle of a long, 3-way quarterback competition, and he won the job right near the end of preseason camp. Indiana is now 2-1, after an embarrassing loss last week to the Navy Midshipmen. The Hoosiers are looking to make their first bowl appearance since 2007, when they lost to the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Insight Bowl.
Illinois Fighting Illini Fail To Keep Up With Washington’s Star-Studded Offense:
After upsetting the Cincinnati Bearcats, Illinois played the Washington Huskies at Chicago’s Soldier Field, hoping to pull another upset with a win over a ranked Huskies squad. That wish did not come to fruition, however, as Washington quarterback Keith Price went off, throwing for 342 yards. Huskies running back Bishop Sankey was equally impressive, rushing for an impressive 208 yards and catching 3 passes for 63 yards. Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, who torched Cincinnati last week, took a major step back in Week 3. Scheelhaase was 9 for 25, throwing 1 touchdown and 1 interception. He also rushed for a touchdown. The Illini’s running back corp was exceptionally unimpressive, rushing collectively for 136 yards. Illinois continues their home stand next week vs. the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks.
Pennsylvania State Upset By Central Florida Night In A Home Thriller
Penn State’s defense ruined the team’s chance of starting 3-0, as the Nittany Lions fell to the Central Florida Knights 34-31. Penn State and UCF traded leads back and forth throughout the game, but at half-time, UCF led 21-10, shocking the State College crowd. The Lions three-headed monster of an offense in quarterback Christian Hackenburg, running back Zach Zwinak, and NFL-prospect wide receiver Allen Robinson led a valiant comeback, the Penn State defense continued to give up points, and UCF held on for the upset. Penn State is once again at home for their next matchup, against star running back Dri Archer and the Kent State Golden Flashes.
Purdue Loses Lead Late In West Lafayette, Falls To Notre Dame 31-24
The Boilermakers defense was making Notre Dame’s offense look embarrassingly weak early, especially in stopping the Fighting Irish’s running attack. Purdue quarterback Rob Henry had a mediocre first half, making some marginally impressive plays here and there, and the Boilers led the ranked Fighting Irish 10-3 by halftime. After both teams scored a touchdown in the 3rd, things went completely sour for Purdue. Notre Dame scored 3 unanswered touchdowns in a row in the 4th, and didn’t look back. Purdue was the vast underdog, and many media analysts were surprised by the obvious power of Purdue’s defense. They’ll need that defense to be just as strong, if not stronger, next week, as they head to Madison to take on the Wisconsin Badgers.