Every Saturday during the football season, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart offers his Snap Reactions to every Big Ten game. See his thoughts from the Big Ten’s three early Week 5 games in this post. Among his thoughts: Is it time to put Matt McGloin in the conversation for Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year?
Mark Weisman ran for 177 yards, 155 in the first half, to lead Iowa to a 31-13 win over Minnesota on Saturday and give the Hawkeyes possession of the Floyd of Rosedale bronze pig trophy. Christian Kirksey‘s 68-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter sealed the win for Iowa (3-2), which bounced back from last week’s disappointing 32-31 loss to Central Michigan to win the Big Ten opener for both schools.
In the third quarter, Isaac Fruechte fought back for Minnesota. He caught two passes for 26 yards and one touchdown, as the Golden Gophers now trail, 24-7. Minnesota finally got on the scoreboard when Max Shortell and Fruechte hooked up for a nine-yard touchdown to polish off a 79-yard drive.
Iowa’s offense scored 21 points thanks to four long plays and the Hawkeyes now lead 24-0. Iowa made its lead 10-0 when Mark Weisman turned a handoff into an eight-yard touchdown on the last play of a six-play, 84-yard drive. The key play on the Hawkeyes’ drive was Weisman’s 44-yard run. Iowa threw just one time on that drive.
The two teams combined for more punts than points in a slow first quarter and Iowa leads 3-0 at the end of the first quarter. There were four punts in the quarter as neither team could find a way to move the ball. The Hawkeyes struck first when Mike Meyer drilled a 43-yard field goal, the final play of a six-play, 49-yard drive. Iowa’s drive was keyed by James Vandenberg’s 45-yard pass.
Earlier this week I helped take a look at who might land in the 2012 Big Ten Football Championship game. Well, the road to that big game starts Saturday as Big Ten teams put a rocky non-conference run behind them and focus on pounding on each other. In this post, I take a close look at all six games, and then I’m headed to East Lansing to cover Ohio State and Michigan State on Saturday.
Conference play is here – and not a moment too soon. I don’t say that for the reasons you might think (though I’m certainly not complaining about not having to discuss which game this weekend is most important for the Big Ten’s national reputation).
Every week, BTN.com’s Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina) and Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) offer their predictions for each Big Ten football game. We also provide a poll for all of the games so fans can vote for their winners.
Another Saturday looms. And, I have questions. Here are my most pressing queries for the 11 teams in action entering Week 5, the first week of conference play.