7th ranked Penn State came into this afternoon's home game at Beaver Stadium ranked 7th in the country as they took on lowly Illinois in a cross division matchup in the B1G Ten. Almost no one gave Bret Bielema's team a chance in this game. This is the Fighting Illini, after all. This was the "trap game" that everyone was looking at. Next week was the game of games, Ohio State v. Penn State. A so-called elimination game. Illinois was down 10-7 at the half. Okay, in the second half, Penn State will wake up. Illinois tied it up late in the second half on a 37 yard FG James McCourt but yet we all felt, Penn State will find a way to win. Someone forgot to tell Illinois.
The fighting Illini out-gained Penn State by 290 yards on the ground. Shawn Clifford was limited, I get it, from an injury he suffered against Iowa on October 9. But their play calling and offensive effort were anemic. So after 60 minutes, both teams limped into the overtime tied at 10. Ok both teams managed a field goal after the first OT, and then the same after the 2nd OT. But the best was yet to come!
How many of you remembered the new rule change for overtime in college. I thought they meant you had to try a two pointer after the second OT, not just two pointers. So it stayed 16-16 as neither team could find their way into the end zone. Then to make matters worse, Illinoi had to go back to their back up quarterback, Brandon Peters, the Michigan transfer, in the 7th overtime. Finally in the 9th overtime, Penn State couldn't convert their two point conversion, falling just short, while Brandon Peters was able to fire a pass into the back of the end zone to Casey Washington to clinch it 20-18. What a strange, but appropo finish to this game. 2 point tries only on the third OT and thereafter. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I know a lot of people are dissing it. But I think more Nittany Lion fans are upset with James Franklin and questionable play calling. It is different, this type of overtime. I think I like it. I like it better than the NFL style. That definitely needs to change.
Iowa State came in today an 8 point favorite against 8th ranked Oklahoma State. I couldn't figure that one out at the outset. It proved to be a great game in at Iowa State. It came right down to the end with defensive produced turnovers and defensive stands when they had to have them. What do you know, Iowa State hung on for a 3 point win, 24-21. Brock Purdy did throw for 307 yards and two touchdowns. But i give credit to the Cyclones defense that came up big when it had to.
So where does that leave the Big 12 when it comes to the playoff picture this year. Their hopes now rest on Oklahoma. They are currently ranked third, and are undefeated. IF the Big 12 wants representation in the CFB Playoff, they need the Sooners to run the table. Not sure with their quarterback situation, and how they barely snuck by Kansas today, they will be able to run the table.
With Michigan waking up in the 2nd half and dismantling Northwestern, we are now setting up for what on paper looks like a classic rivalry game next Saturday in East Lansing, MI between Michigan and Michigan St. It looks like it will be a matchup of #6 vs. #7. This is a matchup of two undefeated teams at 7-0 for the first time in over 50 years. It is definitely going to be one for the ages, at least the hype is. It's already begun. There is no middle ground in this game. The folks in East Lansing always feel slighted, ever since the "Little Brother" comment by Mike Hart 14 years ago. Mark Dantonio has helped turn this into a more one sided rivalry, but he is gone. Mel Tucker pulled off an upset in Ann Arbor last year, but now its in his backyard, or as he put it, his "woodshed". That is what he wants Spartan Stadium to be recognized as. It is going to be a fun week. "Maalox Week". Check back to our website, as I will have more on this storied rivalry later this week. If you live in Michigan, BUCKLE UP!!
"The Captain Lou Extravaganza
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