Indiana 34 - Florida International 13
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Hoosiers trailed the Golden Panthers by a point. That didn’t last long as they exploded for 22 unanswered points to put away the home team. Indiana won this game via their defense, which might be the first time in history that’s happened. The Hoosiers D snagged three interceptions, returned two for touchdowns, forced a safety, and held FIU to a paltry 63 yards on 21 carries. That probably won’t happen again this season, but with their offense breaking in a new QB, it’s a sign that the Hoosiers might not need an offensive eruption every game to win this season.
Up Next: Ball State
Minnesota 30 - Oregon State 23
Not the best start for a Golden Gophers team that came into 2016 with solid expectations. Mitch Leidner turned in a mediocre performance, tossing for 130 yards on 13 of 26 passing and rushing for 76 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. One, two, three Minnesota defenders were ejected for targeting, and the Beavers carried a 23-17 lead into the fourth quarter. The lone positive for the Gophers was running back Rodney Smith, who totaled 125 yards and two touchdowns on 25 rushes. Tracey Claeys also decided to go for two late in the game instead of kicking the extra point to put Minnesota up eight. They failed. Whether or not you think that was the right decision, there’s no debate that the Claeys-era stumbled out of the gate in Minneapolis.
Up Next: Indiana State
#12 Michigan State 28 - Furman 13
One touchdown per quarter proved enough for Sparty to squeak by the Paladins last Friday night. The win was fine; nothing more, perhaps less. I watched a little over a quarter of this one, and the Spartans looked uninterested to me. The upset seemed possible for about five seconds after Tyler O’Connor threw an interception with the score at 21-13 MSU. However, Furman QB P.J. Blazejowski returned the favor on the next play, and Michigan State responded with a 12 play, 60-yard touchdown drive that used up 6:49 of clock to put the game out of reach. The Spartans have a week off to regroup and wake up before taking on Notre Dame.
Up Next: Bye
Wisconsin 16 - #5 LSU 14
The Badgers stymied a Tigers offensive attack led by Heisman hopeful Leonard Fournette and outdefensed their former DC Dave Aranda, jumping them from unranked to #10 in the latest AP poll. There is a significant chance that Wisconsin just finalized this being the last season for Les Miles in Baton Rouge, and they made their visit to Ann Arbor in October that much more interesting. It wasn’t the prettiest win in the world, especially offensively: Bart Houston threw two interceptions with no touchdowns, and no Wiscy running backs cracked 100 yards on the ground. However, the Badgers defense kept Fournette out of the endzone and handled Brandon Harris with ease, holding him to 131 yards passing with a pair of interceptions, one of which sealed the victory for Wisconsin.
Up Next: Akron
#6 Ohio State 77 - Bowling Green 10
Not much to say about this one. For anyone who thought the Buckeyes would struggle a little bit early on due to attrition, well, they did not this week. Following an opening drive pick-six, J.T. Barrett led the way, passing for 349 yards and six touchdowns with 30 more yards rushing and another touchdown. OSU’s offensive outburst set a school record with 776 yards of total offense. While Bowling Green isn’t to Alabama, this kind of production is still impressive.
Up Next: Tulsa
#14 Washington 48 - Rutgers 13
The Huskies jumped out to a 24-0 lead in the first quarter behind three touchdown passes of 38 yards or more and a field goal. It was 34-3 at halftime. Nobody expected the Scarlet Knights to win this one, and they backed that up by losing in glorious fashion. Next week might be their best chance at winning this season.
Up Next: Howard
#17 Iowa 45 - Miami (OH) 21
The Hawkeyes looked to be using cruise control for this one as they got the job done in unspectacular fashion. Iowa’s defense struggled against an inferior Miami of Ohio team that stumbled to three victories last season. The RedHawks actually outgained the Hawkeyes on offense, 424 yards to 404, but three fumbles that Iowa turned into touchdowns provided much of the difference. The Hawkeyes sprinted out to a 21-0 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish behind the Wadley-Daniels backfield tandem that finished the game with 204 yards and four touchdowns combined. They’ll be looking to keep the Cy-Hawk trophy in Iowa City next week, as well as celebrating Kirk Ferentz’s extension through 2026.
Up Next: Iowa State
Purdue 45 - Eastern Kentucky 24
The Boilermakers jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter before struggling through the middle half of the game. By the end of the third, the Colonels had battled back, making the score 28-18 Purdue heading into the final frame. But the Boilermakers woke up to put the contest away. Purdue’s offense looked capable in bursts, tallying 512 total yards on the day with the help of Markell Jones (24 rushes for 145 yards, one touchdown) and David Blough (25/43 for 245 yards, one touchdown, one interception). However, the Boilermakers defense floundered most of the day, giving up almost 400 yards to an FCS squad. This game doesn’t say much about the state of Purdue football, but at least they didn’t suffer an embarrassing loss.
Up Next: Cincinnati
Maryland 52 - Howard 13
D.J. Durkin kicked off his tenure as Maryland’s head coach with a stomping of a Bison team that won a single game in 2015. The Terps went up 35-0 and held Howard to three first downs to put this one away by halftime. They didn’t surrender a point until the fourth quarter, and six different Maryland rushers found the endzone. All in all, a stellar start for Durkin in College Park.
Up Next: Florida International
Western Michigan 22 - Northwestern 21
The above gif is all you need to know about this game. The Broncos thought they were playing basketball and still ended up winning.
Up Next: Illinois State
Penn State 33 - Kent State 13
The Nittany Lions did what they do best in their win over the Golden Flashes, which is to say, they did nothing special. Penn State led by just three points at halftime before turning on the afterburners to outscore Kent State 17-0 in the final two quarters. Trace McSorley did okay in his first start replacing the almighty Christian Hackenberg, throwing for 209 yards and two touchdowns on 16 of 31 passing. However, Kent State recovered a McSorley fumble for a touchdown, tying the game at 13 at the time. Overall, a flat start to 2016 for the Nittany Lions that they’ll need to clean up by next week unless they want to lose to rival Pitt.
Up Next: Pitt
Illinois 52 - Murray State 3
The Illini ushered in the Lovie Smith era with total domination over the hapless FCS Racers. Four Illinois running backs combined for 285 yards and four touchdowns, while quarterback Wes Lunt threw for 226 yards and three touchdowns on 15 of 21 passing. A stout Illini defense suffocated Murray State on the ground, holding them to -10 yards rushing on 26 attempts. Next week will determine if this Illinois squad means business in 2016 or can just handle bad teams better than before.
Up Next: North Carolina
Nebraska 43 - Fresno State 10
The Cornhuskers started slow before finishing strong against a Bulldogs program that has been declining fast since winning the Mountain West in 2013. However, above all the stats and the final score, the game taking place on the field ceased to exist for a moment as Nebraska lined up with 10 players for a punt and allowed the play clock to expire in honor of Sam Foltz.
Up Next: Wyoming