College Football Corner: Bad day for the Big Ten

Week three was a weak one for the Big Ten as Maryland, Nebraska, Northwestern and No. 6 Wisconsin all fell at home, despite being double-digit favorites. (AP/Morry Gash)

WASHINGTON — Saturdays in September are often opportunities for conferences to crow about how great they are, while blasting FCS schools into submission or facing lower-tier FBS schools in the friendly confines of their home stadium.

Week three was a weak one for the Big Ten as Maryland, Nebraska, Northwestern and No. 6 Wisconsin all fell at home, despite being double-digit favorites. The Badgers’ loss to BYU especially hurts as they were the West Division’s lone-ranked team — a West Division led by a Wildcat team that owns a 1-2 overall record.

The Cornhuskers under first-year coach Scott Frost dropped their second-straight, one-possession game and have the feel of a nonfactor — something that has to be torturing the faithful in Lincoln. With everything surrounding Maryland this summer, one could surmise that the Terps were due for a letdown. Thank goodness Ohio State and Penn State continue to steamroll all foes.

Maryland (2-1) saw what was once a highflying September crash-and-burn in a 35-14 loss to Temple at home. The offense that averaged almost 40 points over the first two weeks failed to reach the end zone. Not the way you want to enter Big Ten play.

  • Terrapin Triumphs: Freshman Anthony McFarland ran for a career-high 107 yards. Linebacker Tre Watson tallied 15 tackles. Darnell Savage returned an interception for a touchdown, while Jesse Aniebonam blocked a punt and ran it back for a score.
  • Terrapin Troubles: Six three-and-outs in 11 possessions … and just two offensive plays run on the Temple side of the field in the first half. They went 1-for-12 on third down — almost expected when the average yardage needed on the Terps’ third downs was just under 12 yards.

Next: Saturday at noon against 3-0 Minnesota.

Navy (2-1) took a break from facing its football conference foes by battling one of their fellow Patriot League members (the Mids call the Patriot League home for every sport except football).  The 51-21 rout of Lehigh saw just enough good

  • Midshipman Medals: Malcolm Perry didn’t lead the team in passing or receiving yards this week, but still gained 223 yards on the ground while scoring three times. The defense tallied two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Brandon Moehring connected on all three field goal attempts.
  • Midshipman Miscues: Despite putting 51 points on the board, the offense wasn’t perfect, converting just six of 13 third downs. The D allowed an early 75-yard run for a touchdown.

Next: Saturday at noon on the road against 0-3 SMU.

Virginia (2-1) had its game moved from Charlottesville, Virginia, to Nashville, Tennessee, in anticipation of Hurricane Florence. Lightning struck on the field in the 45-31 win over Ohio: Three of UVa’s touchdowns came on one-play drives.

  • Cavalier Congrats: Bryce Perkins completed 25-of-30 passes for 379 yards and three touchdowns, while Olamide Zaccheaus caught nine of those throws for 247 yards and two scores. Jordan Ellis averaged 11 yards per carry and the offense converted seven of 11 third downs. Zane Zandler led the defense with 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
  • Cavalier Concerns: The defense allowed a season-high 31 points … and a second quarter fumble led to a quick Bobcats score. Alex Meija missed a 30-yard field goal.

Next: Saturday at 12:30 p.m. against 2-1 Louisville.

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