Any Given Saturday Recap, Week 2: Duck, Duck, Michigan State Drops Big Ten Deuce

 Jim Delaney may have been freezing on Sunday morning as the Big Ten subjected itself to a league-wide Ice Bucket Challenge and cooled down their slim odds of reaching the College Football’s Final Four.

A familiar reality washed over the Big Ten’s Commish after his land’s crops were set aflame in Week 2. The Big Ten’s College Football Playoff hopes drowned beneath a crushing wave of losses on Saturday evening. After battling the public’s perception of their conference, this weekend reinforced the confirmation bias which stated the Big Ten's top teams wouldn't deserve spot above the SEC's second-place team.

Let’s start with Oregon where Marcus Mariota’s Ducks endured a brutal first half before raining points and flooding the scoreboard as Michigan State's defense paddled frantically. 

For Oregon, this was confirmation that they could combat finesse and power. Oregon is a nerd’s favorite college football program.

The practice facility is technologically state-of-the-art and their training techniques, including the monitoring of individual sleep patterns is on the vanguard.

Their players take sign language courses and their coaches accelerate play-calling by using poster boards that resemble the ones we used on science projects in grade school.

Michigan State is a meat-and-potatoes, Whey protein team though.

Unlike the Stanford game in 2012 and 2013 or the LSU season opener in 2011, Michigan State’s brute force was matched by Oregon.

In the second half, Oregon hulked out and pushed back. The Big Ten’s only playoff hope is that Michigan State coast through the remainder of their schedule while the committee keeps in mind that their loss occurred in a difficult road environment.  

Michigan State wasn’t alone. However, they were the only hope for the Big Ten to reach the college football playoff. Ohio State’s loss was so ugly that they’re eliminated from consideration. Michigan is unranked, out of sight and out of mind.

Central Michigan cooling down Purdue isn’t that much of an upset, given the current state of the Boilermakers program. Nebraska narrowly averted a disastrous defeat against McNeese State, but the embarrassment still lingers.

It wasn’t just the Big Ten that had a tough weekend. The state of Michigan as a whole took it on the head last season.

Eastern Michigan, Michigan State and Michigan all lost in notable fashion.

Michigan made us wonder whether athletic director Dave Brandon’s (holding a gun to Brady Hoke’s head) decision to fire offensive coordinator Al Borges earlier this year by getting blanked 31-0 one year after putting up 41 in a victory over the Fighting Irish.

Michigan’s offensive impotency and Michigan State’s second half flat tire on offense doesn’t compare to Eastern Michigan’s 65-0 thrashing at the hands of Florida’s remodeled offense. Michigan’s reconstructed offensive game plan and new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier were on the opposite end of the satisfaction spectrum.

Jeff Driskel threw a career-high 45 passes, completing 31 for 248 yards and the Gators scored their most points since their 2008 over Citadel. However, true freshman backup Treon Harris had the most immaculate stat line you may ever see: 2-for-2, 148 yards and two touchdowns. The Gators true test will come when they finally take on some real competition against Alabama in two weeks.


It was confusing to watch Leonard Fournette take a short-gainer into the end zone against Sam Houston State for his first collegiate score and do the Heisman on Sunday. After his eight carry, 18 yard mortal debut, Fournette is clearly just a body on LSU’s three-deep depth chart. Not only is he still second in the pecking order behind Kenny Hilliard, but he’s not even the best freshman runner on his own roster.

That title should belong to future starting quarterback Brandon Harris, who shattered Sam Houston’s spirits with this run.

Both can take a lesson from Ameer Abdullah. This is the right time to strike a Heisman pose.

Ameer Abdullah’s resplendent run to beat McNeese State may not conjure up heroic images like RGIII’s  strike to defeat Oklahoma, or any other Heisman moments in modern history, but this was the equivalent of Boyz In The Hood's Ricky escaping the alley or Jackie Chan downing a dozen Rush Hour 2 henchmen in a hallway.

Abdullah’s run also saved embattled coach Bo Pelini from getting burned by the hot seat he’s currently sizzling on and resuscitated flatlining Big Ten fans.


Vernon Adams

The Eastern Washington junior may have lost to Washington, but it did nothing to hurt his chances of being named the FCS’ Walter Payton Award winner.

Against a Washington defense that has the talent to be elite, Adams threw seven touchdowns without turning the ball over for 475 yards. Adams will be an intriguing draft prospect in 2016 or 2015, if he comes out early.

The adversity that Adams recovered from tells you everything there is to about his poise. By the time he’s jaunted onto the field for his second possession, the Eagles trailed 21-0 and Adams was taking snaps from his backup center. Not only that, but Adams cameoed on Jay Z and Beyonce’s “On The Run.” Relentless pressure from Shelton and Co. forced the quarterback to spend his afternoon his afternoon in peril. Through it all, Adams completed 67 percent of his attempts. However…

Danny Shelton

The Washington Huskie’s 339-pound defensive tackle sacked Adams four times on Saturday, has recorded 24 tackles in two games and was the focal point of a unit that sacked Vernon Adams (see above) six times. Shelton isn’t coming out of nowhere, but nobody expected him to come blazing off the starting line this quickly. On the first offensive play of the game, Shelton burst up the middle and barreled into Adams. Thus far this season Shelton has already recorded six sacks, which is tops in the nation.

Seth Russell

In one half, Bryce Petty’s backup threw for 438 yards five touchdowns and didn’t throw a single interception. His beneficiary was true freshman receiver KD Cannon, who averaged 37 yards per catch during a day in which it took just six catches for him to earn 223 yards and three touchdowns.

JT Barrett

Barrett was so awful against Virginia Tech, he compelled the Buckeyes guest LeBron James to leave before Virginia Tech had the game in hand.

That was after his second interception occurred in the final five minutes of regulation.

Barrett connected on 31 percent of his throws for one touchdown and three interceptions.

Stephen Rivers

If you thought things couldn’t get worse for the Commodores after last week’s 37-7 loss to Temple, you had another thing coming. I can’t remember the last time I saw a non-triple option FBS quarterback throw more than eight passes and post a 24 percent completion percentage. Somehow Stephen Rivers accomplished that feat on Saturday by completing 6 of 25 passes for 60 yards. A seventh completion was credited to the Ole Miss defense. UCLA fans are aware that offensive coordinator Karl Dorrell had a knack for mediocre offenses, but Vanderbilt may be raising err…. lowering the bar.