Big Ten Morning Briefing: Buckeyes lack fire in loss
September, 15, 2008
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
The Big Ten is at the quarter pole, and the favorite has fallen back in the pack. After the first truly revealing weekend of the season, let's see what's happening around the league.
- Wisconsin and Penn State are carrying the Big Ten banner after Ohio State's face-plant, Teddy Greenstein writes in the Chicago Tribune. I disagree with Cory Giger's assessment that Wisconsin was mediocre in beating Fresno State, but it's hard to argue that the Big Ten took a hit this weekend.
- Ron Zook is calling out Illinois' star players after a shaky start, Terry Bannon writes in the Chicago Tribune. Zook's coaches were acting like someone died after the Louisiana-Lafayette game, Bob Asmussen writes in The (Champaign) News-Gazette.
- The pendulum has swung back to Jake Christensen in Iowa's never-ending quarterback competition, Marc Morehouse writes in The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. The Hawkeyes' defenders aren't thinking too much of their strong start, Eric Page writes in the Quad City Times.
- Michigan continues to be a mystery after three inconsistent performances, Mark Snyder writes in the Detroit Free Press. At least the Wolverines have found their running back in Sam McGuffie, Angelique Chengelis writes in The Detroit News.
- Despite beating Notre Dame last year, Michigan State's 2006 collapse in the rain at Spartan Stadium still gnaws at players, Shannon Shelton writes in the Detroit Free Press. Wideout B.J. Cunningham (bruised knee) should play against the Irish, Eric Lacy writes in The Detroit News.
- Despite a 3-0 start, Minnesota must make a multitude of improvements this week against Florida Atlantic, Kent Youngblood writes in the Star Tribune. Running back no longer is a major concern after DeLeon Eskridge stepped up.
- Northwestern leads the league in red-zone offense but wants more touchdowns, Shannon Ryan writes in the Chicago Tribune. The Wildcats landed their top offensive line recruit in years with Patrick Ward, Taylor Bell writes in the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was noncommittal about his quarterback situation after rotating Todd Boeckman and Terrelle Pryor against USC, Doug Lesmerises writes in The Cleveland Plain Dealer. More troubling for the Buckeyes is an apparent lack of fire, Ken Gordon writes in The Columbus Dispatch.
"When we walked in at halftime, nobody was saying anything," tackle Alex Boone said. "I mean, what the [heck], we're Ohio State -- we should be screaming and swearing and saying everything evil you can think of. And guys are hanging their heads, and you don't know what to say to them. You try screaming, and they just put their head down even more. We can't play like that, and if we play like that the rest of the season, we won't be anything."
- Tougher competition awaits, but Penn State's confidence is building, Sam Ross Jr. writes in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Despite not winning the starting job, Lions quarterback Pat Devlin is maximizing his on-field time, Ron Musselman writes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Though Purdue's offense wasted several opportunities to beat Oregon, running back Kory Sheets showed he can carry the load, Tom Kubat writes in The (Lafayette, Ind.) Journal and Courier. Boilermakers kicker Chris Summers made no excuses after missing the potential game-winner.
- Wisconsin answered several questions in the win against Fresno State, Jeff Potrykus writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Linebacker DeAndre Levy did it all in the win, Jim Polzin writes in The Capital Times.