Snap Reactions: Lots of work left to be done

BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart is watching all the games today. Here are his Snap Reactions from the first three early games. Dienhart says the Buckeyes have some work to do, the Hawkeyes have to straighten up, and the Badgers may have found some answers.

Ohio State 29, UAB 15
1. The Buckeyes needs some work on the special teams. UAB blocked an Ohio State punt and scored a touchdown. And the Blazers opened the second half by executing a successful onside kick.

2. As if we didn’t already know it, Braxton Miller continues to show us that he is the top player in the Big Ten. It seems each week, the sophomore has some sensational runs that cause your jaw to drop. Miller’s 12-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was a thing of beauty—again. He finished the day 12-of-20 passing for 143 yards and ran 11 times for 64 yards and two scores.

3. We hear each week about how Braxton Miller needs more help and about how he can’t carry such a heavy burden each Saturday. Well, Miller again was close to being a one-man-gang. Yes, running back Jordan Hall ran 17 times for 105 yards. But that was largely the only major assist that Miler got.

Central Michigan 32, Iowa 31
1. The Hawkeyes needs better discipline. They committed nine penalties for 106 yards. The last was a 15-yard personal foul that moved Central Michigan deeper into Iowa territory for the game-winning field goal in the final seconds after recovering an onside kick.

2. Mark Weisman may be legit. The sophomore running back emerged last week, running for 113 yards and three touchdowns last week vs. Northern Iowa. And his encore this Saturday was impressive, running 27 times for 217 yards and three touchdowns.

3. The Hawkeyes need to tighten the defense, which had looked good the first three weeks. Iowa entered the weekend with the No. 4 Big Ten defense (294.0 ypg). The pass defense was fifth (180.0 ypg), while the rush defense was seventh (114.0 ypg). But the Hawkeye pass defense was shredded by CMU, which hit 26-of-35 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns.

Wisconsin 37, UTEP 26
1. It just isn’t Montee Ball’s season. The senior began August getting assaulted and suffering a concussion. He and the Badgers then got off to a sluggish 2-1 start that has seen the offense flounder, entering the weekend No. 12 in the Big Ten (276.0 ypg). And the rushing attack was 11th (119.7 ypg). Ball then sustained a head injury today that sidelined him in the second quarter after running nine times for 40 yards.

2. Joel Stave may be the answer at quarterback. He had his ups and downs in his first start, but the redshirt freshman showed promise in hitting 12-of-17 passes for 210 yards with a touchdown and pick.

3. The offense showed more signs of life, finishing with 423 yards with 213 coming on the ground and 210 through the air. It was nice balance this Badger offense needs to maintain as it moves forward.

BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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