B1G Thoughts: Running backs still rule, Ohio State tough?

Every Monday after the Big Ten games list, I’ll bring you some B1G thoughts on everything that happened! This will include analysis, stats, key players, moments, and maybe a joke or two. Be sure to check out the I-70 Football Show in the Land-Grant Holy Land podcast stream for further analysis and to preview next week’s B1G games.

Mike Hall Jr. meets college football. College football meets Mike Hall Jr.

Last year, Ohio State’s defense was the laughingstock of most fans and the media. Much of the focus was on the coaching staff, which was well deserved, but something that went a bit under the radar was the lack of defensive line presence. Living legend and future CFB Hall of Famer Larry Johnson was the only coach retained on staff. Many of us think it’s blasphemy to speak ill of Johnson because he’s one of the best coaches in the game, but it was fair to question his unit last year because there was no not A GUY, after a run from Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa, and Chase Young. Well, there might be a guy in this room now, and unlike the previous trio, he’s an inside defensive lineman.

A few weeks ago, Larry Johnson reportedly said, “In every group you have to have an alpha dog, right? Johnson continues to say, “We have to have this guy who is committed to doing this. I think it’s important (and) I think we have this guy. Most of us assumed that guy was JT Tuimoloau or Jack Sawyer, the No. 4 and No. 5 players in the 2021 recruiting class respectively. Instead, it may be Mike Hall, the oft-forgotten member of the 2021 class despite being the 53rd player in the class.

Throughout the offseason, if you listened closely, you could hear the excitement building around Hall, and with a spectacular performance against Notre Dame, he confirmed the hype. Hall finished with four tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack, but his impact lagged far behind the count stats. What may have been a secret is no longer a secret, as Mike Hall presented himself to the world in a dominating fashion.

Watch Mike Hall dominate Notre Dame’s offensive line:

Jim Knowles is as advertised

Jim Knowles earned a reputation as a top defensive coordinator who bucked conventional trends. Knowles does not believe in reacting to what the offense does, but rather in making the offense react to what the defense does. One of his best qualities according to many experts is his ability to make adjustments mid-game, specifically at half-time.

Knowles showed his ability to make adjustments against Notre Dame. After starting 8 of 9 for 128 yards with eight consecutive passes in the first half, Notre Dame’s Tyler Buchner was 2 of 7 for 49 yards in the second half. Knowles’ defense forced Notre Dame on six straight punts, and they finished the game 3 of 13 on third down. Knowles has shown multiple personnel packages, full cover and a willingness to blitz in crucial situations. It’s hard to say this defense is repaired after one game, but the signs are encouraging.

X-rays confirm that Miyan Williams has that dog in him!

After three hard-fought quarters, Ohio State got the ball on their five-yard line with a 14-10 lead. Enter Miyan Williams, who converted a critical third pick with a slippery 12-yard catch from CJ Stroud after getting out of the pocket due to pressure from Notre Dame’s defensive front. After the catch, Williams threw a tour de force of physical running play with 11, 15 and 12 yard runs en route to a two-yard touchdown run.

Ohio State ran for 95 yards in a drive that lasted over seven minutes, and Williams was responsible for 61 yards after refusing to go down and carrying multiple defenders on his back. TreVeyon Henderson may be the name of Ohio State’s backroom, but Miyan Williams is his lightning bolt. When the Buckeyes needed a touchdown, Miyan put the team and the Buckeye Nation on his back.

Welcome Mo Ibrahim

Mohamed Ibrahim is one of the best running backs in the Big Ten, and after suffering a season-ending injury in Week 1 of the 2021 season against Ohio State, he decided to forfeit the NFL Draft. and return for a sixth season. In his first action in nearly a year, he showed his ability by running for 132 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Minnesota is a popular choice to win the Big Ten West, thanks in large part to the return of Mo Ibrahim. It was nice to see him again after missing last season.

New running backs, even Big Ten

The Big Ten is a running back-run conference — no pun intended. Don’t get me wrong, there are talented players in every position. Some of the best wide receivers in the NFL belong to the Big Ten, and the trend continues as several Big Ten receivers were drafted last year. At its core, it’s a ball-running conference first and foremost.

In Week 1, we saw some great performances from running backs who have already acclimated to the Big Ten, like Chase Brown running for 199 yards against Indiana, but we also got some great performances from new faces. Roman Hemby, a freshman running back for the Maryland Terrapins, showed up in major fashion rushing for 114 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries. Anthony Grant, a transfer from Juco, had 189 yards and two touchdowns on 23 rushing attempts in Nebraska’s 38-17 win over North Dakota.

It’s hard to make a name for yourself in the Big Ten as a running back because of all the history and the level of competition, but these newcomers are hoping to break into the top ranks by building on those performances throughout. throughout the season.

Watch this play by Roman Hemby:

Penn State and Purdue left their running game in the locker room

Speaking of running the ball, not everyone got the memo. Penn State and Purdue played a game where running success was hard to come by, and it wasn’t because of the opposing defense. Penn State won the game 35-31, but finished the game with just 98 yards on 3.1 yards per carry. Purdue, somehow, was significantly worse, finishing the game with 70 yards rushing on 3.0 yards per carry.

These two teams are going to have to look in the mirror and find a rushed game if they hope to be successful, otherwise they will fall in the middle of their respective divisions. Running may not be a priority for many teams, but in the Big Ten, where the majority of teams still reside in the Midwest and face inclement weather. A racing game goes a long way in the Big Ten, somehow James Franklin and Jeff Brohm didn’t get the memo.

Bad training decisions ruin week 1

A common thought during Week 1 is that anything can happen as players are prone to error. We expect missed tackles, poor communication and a general lack of cohesion. One thing that is rarely talked about is that the coaches are not ready for week 1. Training, like players, takes a few weeks to get into shape and in some cases bad coaches have led to losses in the week 1. Week zero, if we’re talking about Nebraska, but those weren’t early season mistakes. Scott Frost is just bad at his job.

Even still, his decision to go-ahead an onside kick when he was 11 on Northwestern was the epitome of bad coaching. Nebraska scored no more in the game and lost another one-scoring contest after going into double digits. Jeff Brohm set his team up to lose by not going for a 4th and running into enemy territory instead of going for a punt. A conversion and a touchdown would have sealed the game, but instead Purdue suffered a loss due to their decision not to be aggressive.

Winning Drives by Unlikely Subjects

I am aware that the Big Ten is a conference full of mediocre quarterbacks, and I fully support that statement. Still, even mediocre quarterbacks can perform in clutch moments, and it was featured a few times during the Week 1 roster.

After a tough game and Jeff Brohm’s decision not to go on fourth down, Sean Clifford led Penn State on an eight-play, 80-yard drive where he went 7-for-7, including a 10-yard pass to the ball carrier. Keyvone Lee for the game-winning touchdown. Indiana’s Connor Bazelak found magic in his first game as a Hoosier, leading his team past Fighting Illini with a 75-yard touchdown. This drive was even more important due to the fact that the Illinois defense had held the Hoosiers to 70 total yards on offense in the second half prior to this game-winning drive.

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