Posted on November 5, 2017, by Travis Pulver
Big Ten fans thought they had two potential playoff teams this season in Penn State and Ohio State. After losing to Oklahoma, it appeared as of the Buckeyes were out. But then they beat the Nittany Lions and rejoined the conversation. Penn State had been among the top four teams in the nation but then were knocked out by the Buckeyes. They were both on the outside looking in, but not entirely out of the playoff conversation.
All they had to do was win out and they’d be back in the mix.
But then both went and did the one thing they couldn’t do– they lost.
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Penn State-Michigan State Recap: Darn Weather Delay
It hurt to lose to Ohio State last week. But a win over Michigan State would keep the Nittany Lions in the playoff conversation. Another win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship could be enough to move them back into the top four (if one of the current teams lose, that is).
First things first—beating the Spartans.
A weather delay dragged the second quarter out an extra three hours and 23-minutes. But when the first half ended, it was a tie game, 14-14.
Penn State’s offense struggled to get back on track following the weather delay, but they got the ball moving in the second half. On the last play of the third quarter, Trace McSorley connected with DeAndre Thompkins on a 70-yard touchdown to put the Nittany Lions on top 24-21.
The game should have been right where Penn State wanted it. They were ahead and could now lean on their defense and run game to bring it home, but there was a problem. Barkley still wasn’t having much luck, and the defense couldn’t stop a pee wee team from scoring.
Michigan State tied the game up on the next drive, they traded interceptions, and then Penn State turned the ball over on downs leaving Michigan State with plenty of time to get into field goal range.
Which they did—and he made it as time expired to give the Spartans the win, 27-24.
Ohio State-Iowa Recap: What the heck, Buckeyes?
The Buckeyes climbed back into the CFB Playoff conversation with a tremendous win over Penn State last week. But to remain in the conversation they had to beat Iowa. As they looked at the schedule and saw the Hawkeyes were next, most fans were probably not too concerned.
Iowa was entering the game with three losses. Their defense was ranked No. 44 in total yards allowed. Their offense came in at No. 103. It should have been an easy one for Ohio State. But there was one stat that should have told fans it wouldn’t be, points allowed (No. 11).
The Hawkeyes have only allowed an average of 17.4 points a game. So, when the team needs to play tough, it can—and it did.
A week after falling behind to Penn State by 28-points at the half, the Buckeyes found themselves down 31-17 at the intermission this week. But this time, there would be no comeback. This time, the defense did not rise to the occasion. On the first play of the fourth quarter, a two-yard pass from Nathan Stanley to Drake Kulick put Iowa up 45-17.
Iowa would close out the scoring late in the fourth quarter when Toren Young ran the ball in from six yards out to make the final score 55-24, Hawkeyes.
After dissecting a very good Penn State defense with great precision, J.T. Barrett struggled from the start. His first pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. He ended up throwing three more picks before the day was done to go with three touchdown passes (18-34 for 208 yards).
Nathan Stanley, on the other hand, had a stellar day for the Hawkeyes. Of his 20 completions, five of them went for touchdowns (20-31 for 226 yards). He got a lot of help from his running game with 243 total yards (Akrum Wadley—20 carries for 118 yards; James Butler—10 carries for 74 yards).
Ohio State entered the game ranked No. 6. Penn State was ranked No. 7. Both are going to fall outside of the top ten after losing this week. Neither team has a challenging schedule ahead which means the best they can hope for is to crack the top ten in the final poll.