Saturday, September 24, 2011
Halftime updates from early B1G games
By Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett
It's blowout city around the Big Ten in the first four games.
Let's check out what's happening:
Michigan 21, San Diego State 0: Denard Robinson will get the attention, and rightfully so as he continues to dazzles with his feet. "Shoelace" already has tied a single-game career-high with three rushing touchdowns and has 139 rush yards. Some team will force Robinson to pass the ball, but San Diego State isn't it. But the bigger story in my opinion is Michigan's defense has kept San Diego State off of the scoreboard despite allowing 163 yards and being on the field for 16:33. The Wolverines forced a Ronnie Hillman fumble and seem to be flustering Aztecs quarterback Ryan Lindley, who completed just 7 of 14 passes in the half. Brady Hoke and Greg Mattison have to be encouraged with the defense so far.
Michigan State 31, Central Michigan 0: The statistic that stood out for me after Michigan State's loss to Notre Dame last week was yards allowed. Yes, the Spartans got thumped 31-13, but they only allowed 275 yards to the Irish. It showed me the MSU defense could still be very good, and we've seen the unit sparkle today against Central Michigan. The Spartans recorded three first-half takeaways, including a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown by safety Isaiah Lewis. The defense is stifling Central Michigan, holding the Chippewas to 47 first-half yards. Spartans sophomore Le'Veon Bell, meanwhile, is making a strong case to be the team's top running back with three first-half rushing touchdowns. Bell and the offensive line look very good so far.
Penn State 17, Eastern Michigan 0: The Nittany Lions have a big lead, but more importantly they might -- just might -- have gained some quarterback clarity. Rob Bolden didn't play poorly, but the offense took off once Matt McGloin came in during the second quarter. McGloin was 9-for-10 for 143 yards, including the first two Penn State touchdown passes of the season -- to Joe Suhey and Derek Moye. McGloin would have had another one, but Michael Zordich fumbled at the goal line for a touchback. The defense has been stout, and Penn State came up with three turnovers -- a fumble recovery, interception and a blocked punt. The two things to watch in the second half are whether McGloin continues to play this well, and this much, and what we can find out about linebacker Michael Mauti's injury.
Iowa 28, Louisiana Monroe 3: Are we witnessing the blossoming of the Iowa offense? OK, it's only Louisiana Monroe, but this is three straight quarters now that the Hawkeyes have been humming, especially in the passing game. James Vandenberg has thrown for 200 yards and two touchdowns, both of them to Marvin McNutt. Vandenberg is one yard shy of 600 passing yards his past four quarters and is playing with a ton of confidence. Meanwhile, Marcus Coker looks like he's on his way to a 100-yard day. The defense has looked strong as well since the Warhawks drove for a field goal on their first possession. There should be no need for late-game drama in Iowa City today.