Big Ten teams experienced one of the worst weekends in Big Ten history overall, so sifting through the box scores to find 10 interesting stats was a bit of a chore. As you might suspect, most of the stats are alarming in detail and take a deeper look at
just how this weekend went so poorly, but not everything is bad. But most of it is. Proceed with caution, Big Ten fans.
10 Amazing College Football Stats from Week 2 in the Big Ten
7: Third and longs converted by Virginia Tech against Ohio State
The average distance Virginia Tech had to go to pick up a first down against the Buckeyes on Saturday night was 10.2 yards per third down, and the Hokies picked up 10 first downs on 18 third-down situations. Ohio State’s defense failed to get off the field the first five times they put Virginia Tech in a third down situation, all but one coming from five yards or more. On the flip side, Ohio State was just 4-of-16 on third down against the Hokies.
Listen to the Week 2 recap podcast:
0: Times Michigan reached the red zone against Notre Dame
To say it was a rough evening for the Wolverines in South Bend would be an understatement. Michigan managed to cross the 50-yard line on just four possessions, and the deepest Michigan would get on the field was to the Notre Dame 22-yard line. A sack on fourth down ended that late scoring threat in the fourth quarter, when it was already 31-0. Four of Michigan’s final five possessions ended with some form of turnover, with two Devin Gardner passes being intercepted, a Gardner fumble being recovered by the Irish and a turnover on downs.
0: Seconds Ohio State held a lead against Virginia Tech
It has been a little while since Ohio State last went through a full game without holding the lead. The last time Ohio State played a game without holding a lead at any point came in the 2012 Gator Bowl against Florida. Urban Meyer watched from the sidelines as his former program held off his future team that day. The last time Ohio State played a regular season game without holding a lead at any point was earlier that same season, at home against Michigan State.
1: Seconds it took for Wisconsin to score against Western Illinois
It was the fastest score in Big Ten history, and it happened in bizarre fashion. The opening kickoff to Western Illinois was mishandled by Kyle Hammonds. Hammonds let the ball leave the end zone before he got his hands on it and took a knee in the end zone for what he thought would be a touchback. That was how the game officials initially ruled it, but following a timeout and video review the play was overturned for a safety one second into the game.
20: Shutouts Michigan had pitched since last being shut out
By now you may be well aware Michigan was shut out for the first time by Notre Dame and for the first time by anyone since 1984. What you may not have realized is that Michigan had shut out opponents 20 times in between shutouts by Iowa in 1984 and this weekend’s game at Notre Dame. Included in that bath of shutouts is a pair of shutouts of the Irish, in 2007 and 2003. Notre Dame snapped a streak of 365 games for Michigan without being shut out. Florida now owns the longest active streak without being shut out, with 323 games and counting. Yes, even with that offense the Gators had last year.
10th: Christian Hackenberg’s all-time passing rank at Penn State
It took just 14 games for Penn State sophomore Christian Hackenberg to crack the school’s all-time list for career passing yards. A week after becoming the first quarterback in Penn State history to pass for 400 yards in a game, Hackenberg moved into the top 10 on the school’s passing list while also setting a new school record for most yards in back-to-back games (773 yards, edging the previous mark of 686 yards by Zack Mills in 2002 against Iowa and Wisconsin). On top of that, Hackenberg tied the school record for most career 300-yard passing games with his sixth such performance. One more and he will break the tie with Matt McGloin.
1.8: Average rushing yards per play for Illinois
Illinois managed to pull away from Western Kentucky at home thanks to a big day through the air by quarterback Wes Lunt (456 yards and three touchdowns), but the running game never got on track against the Hilltoppers. Illinois tried to run the football 35 times against Western Kentucky, and mustered just 64 yards in the game (Lunt took a loss of 17 yards). The Illini were not alone in their running ineptitude in the Big Ten this weekend, though. Northwestern managed to rush for just 1.9 yards per rushing attempt.
1: Big Ten running back who rushed for more than 87 yards
It was a bit of a strange week for the Big Ten. Just one running back managed to rush for more than 87 yards in a game this weekend. Minnesota’s David Cobb was responsible for raising the bar as best he could with a 220-yard performance against Middle Tennessee, but after Jeremy Langford’s 86 yards against Oregon, it was not a standout day for the Big Ten running backs. Cobb and Langford aside, the average rushing total for the leading running backs this weekend was 47.5 rushing yards. Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armsrong rushed for 131 yards, more than doubling the output of Huskers running back Ameer Abdullah (54 yards). Quarterbacks were the leading rushers for three Big Ten teams (Nebraska, Purdue and Ohio State).
-14: Big Ten’s collective turnover margin in Week 2
It really was an ugly week for the Big Ten. Across the conference, the Big Ten combined for a turnover margin of -18 with 31 combined turnovers to their opponents. Maryland was the most atrocious with six turnovers on the road at USF for a -5, and Michigan had a -4 at Notre Dame. Ohio State broke even with Virginia Tech but had three turnovers in the process. Penn State was a -3 at home against Akron. The only teams to record a plus turnover margin were Minnesota (+2), Wisconsin (+1), and Rutgers (+1).
-45: Scoring differential for the Big Ten vs FBS teams in Week 2
Perhaps no other stat is more telling to just how bad this weekend was for the Big Ten. Throw out the FCS opponents (which actually nets a +9 scoring differential for the Big Ten) and the Big Ten was hammered. Four Big Ten teams took double digit losses in week two (Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue). Penn State and Minnesota scored double-digit victories but the damage done elsewhere was too much to overcome for the Big Ten against FBS opponents this weekend. The Big Ten was 5-5 against FBS competition in week two.