B1G Thoughts: Running Still Rules, Ohio State Is Tough?

Every Monday after my top 10 games list, I’m going to give you some B1G’s 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 feed for more in-depth analysis and a preview of the upcoming week of B1G games.

Mike Hall Jr. meets College Football. College Football Meet Mike Hall Jr.

last year Ohio State The defense was a joke among most fans and the media. Much of the focus was on the technical staff, which was well deserved, but one thing that stayed off the radar was the lack of a defensive line. Larry Johnson, living legend and future CFB Hall of Fame, was the only coach retained among the staff. Many of us think it’s blasphemous to speak badly of Johnson, he is one of the head coaches in the game, but it was fair to question his unit last year as there was no man, after running Joey Bossa Nick Bossa. and Chase Young. Well, there might be a guy in that room now, and unlike the previous trio, he’s an inner defensive line guy.

A few weeks ago, Larry Johnson was quoted as saying, “In every group, you have to have an alpha dog, right?” Johnson goes on to say, “We have to have that guy who is committed to doing that. I think it’s important (and) I think we have that guy.” Most of us assumed the man was JT Tuimoloau or Jack Sawyer, players #4 and #5 in the 2021 recruiting class respectively. Alternatively, it could be Mike Hall, the often forgotten member of the 2021 class despite being the 53rd player in the class.

If you listen closely, you can hear the excitement building around the hall, and with a stunning performance against Notre Dame the noise confirmed. Hall finished with four tackles, two tackles for a loss, and a sack, but his influence went way beyond counting stats. What might be a secret isn’t a secret anymore, as Mike Hall has introduced himself to the world in a dominant way.

Watch Mike Hall dominate Notre Dame’s offensive line:


Jim Knowles as advertised

Jim Knowles has built a reputation for himself as a high-profile defensive coordinator who has deviated from traditional trends. Knowles doesn’t believe in responding to what the offense does, and instead believes 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 in the middle of the game, more specifically in the first half.

Knowles demonstrated his ability to make adjustments against Notre Dame. After starting 8 of 9 for 128 yards with eight consecutive completions in the first half, Tyler Buchner of Notre Dame was 2 of 7 for 49 yards in the second half. Knowles’ defense forced Notre Dame to six consecutive balls, and they finished match 3 of 13 in third place. Knowles demonstrated multiple sets of personnel, compelling coverage, and a willingness to fight in critical situations. It’s hard to say this defense was fixed after one game, but the indications are encouraging.


X-rays confirm that Meanne Williams has this dog in him!

After a hard-fought three-quarter fight, Ohio State took the ball over the five-yard line with a 14-10 lead. Enter Meanne Williams, who converted the crucial third pickup point by picking up 12 yards from CJ Stroud after finding himself out of a pocket due to pressure from the defensive front of Notre Dame. After the catch, Williams had a solid round of physical play with a run of 11, 15 and 12 yards en route to a two-yard landing track.

Ohio State hit 95 yards in a run of more than seven minutes, and Williams was responsible for 61 yards after refusing to go down and carrying several defenders on his back. TreVeyon Henderson may be the name in the backroom running in Ohio, but Meanne Williams was resounding to his lightning. When the Buckeyes needed a touchdown, Miyan put the team and Buckeye Nation on his back.


Welcome again, Mo Ibrahim

Mohamed Ibrahim is one of the best running players in the Big Ten, and after suffering a season-ending injury in the first week of the 2021 season against Ohio State, he decided to drop the NFL draft and return for the sixth season. In his first act in nearly a year, he demonstrated his ability by sprinting 132 yards and two landings on 21 buggies. Minnesota is a popular pick to win the Big Ten West Tour, in large part due to the return of Mo Ibrahim. It was nice to see him after he missed last season.


Their new appearance, the same Big Ten

The Big Ten is a conference run by their backs – no pun intended. Now don’t play around with it, there are talented players in all positions. Some of the best wide receivers in the NFL are from the Big Ten, and this trend continues as several Big Ten receivers were drafted last year. In essence, this is a conference that runs the ball first and foremost.

In the first week, we saw great performances from contestants who had already acclimated to the Big Ten, like Chase Brown who ran for 199 yards against Indiana, but we also got some big performances by the new faces. Roman Hempey, a freshman returning to the Maryland Terrapins, introduced himself in a major way by running 114 yards and landing two on just seven buggies. Anthony Grant, Jocko’s transfer, put up 189 yards and two touchdowns in 23 quick 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 step back because of all the history and level of competition, but these newcomers are hoping to break into the higher echelons by building on these all-season performances.

Look at this play from Roman Hempy:


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

Speaking of running the ball, not everyone got the memo. Penn State and Purdue played a game in which it was difficult to succeed, and it was not because of the opponent’s defense. Penn State won the game 35-31, but finished the game with only 98 yards at 3.1 yards per carry. Purdue was, in a way, much worse, finishing the game with 70 rushing yards on 3.0 yards per carry.

Both teams will have to look in the mirror and spot a rushing game if they hope for any success, or else they will fall in the middle of their respective divisions. Running may not be the focus of many teams, but in the Big Ten, the majority of teams are still based in the Midwest and dealing with inclement weather. A running game goes a long way in the Big Ten, somehow James Franklin and Jeff Prohm didn’t get the memo.


Bad training decisions ruin the first week

A common thought during the first week is that anything can happen because players are prone to mistakes. Expect missed attempts, misunderstandings, and a general lack of cohesion. One thing that is rarely discussed is the coaches’ unpreparedness for the first week. Training, like players, takes a few weeks to get into shape, and in some cases, bad coaches have led to first week losses. Week zero, if we’re talking about Nebraska, but that wasn’t the first season’s faults. Scott Frost is bad at his job.

Even so, his decision to agree to a side kick while leading 11 at Northwestern was an example of poor training. Nebraska did not score again in the game, and lost another one-class game after exceeding both records. Jeff Broome set his team to lose by not going fourth and short in the sprint area instead of choosing to throw. A diversion and relegation could have shut down the game, but instead, Bordeaux suffered a loss due to his decision not to take an aggressive stance.


Game-winning driving through unexpected goals

I am on the record that the Big Ten is a conference full of humble brokers, and I fully endorse this statement. However, even average midfield players can perform in clutch moments, and this was shown several times during the first week’s roster.

After a tough game, and Jeff Brohm’s decision not to go to fourth, Sean Clifford led Penn State in an eight-yard, 80-yard run as he went 7 for 7 including a 10-yard pass to run back Keyvone Lee for a game-winning touchdown. Connor Basilak of Indiana found some magic in his first game as a Hoosier, leading his team past Fighting Illini with a 75-yard drive. This drive was even more significant given the fact that the Illinois defense had held the Hoziers to 70 total yards of attack in the second half prior to this game-winning campaign.