Big Ten Week 1 rundown: Ohio State not happy with offense, Drew Allar era is here, and Illini avoid upset

Big Ten Week 1 rundown: Ohio State not happy with offense, Drew Allar era is here, and Illini avoid upset

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Big Ten football returned to the field in Week 1 of the college football season. With games starting Thursday and running through the weekend, the Big Ten gave fans plenty of opportunities to catch the conference in action for the final season with 14 members. And it was a fine start to the year for Michigan and Penn State as well as Maryland and Wisconsin.

There is still one more Big Ten game to be played in Week 1 that is not included in this roundup. Northwestern and Rutgers will meet on Sunday afternoon in their respective season openers. That game had not been played at the time of this original posting.

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Here is a look at everything that has happened in the Big Ten in Week 1 so far. The rankings referenced reflect the US LBM Coaches Poll preseason rankings.

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With its head coach serving the first of his three-game suspension, Michigan had little problem picking up a win in the season opener. Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy passed for 280 yards and three touchdowns against visiting East Carolina. The Pirates avoided a shutout with a field goal in the fourth quarter, and Michigan didn’t worry about trying to run up the score. It didn’t need to with a 30-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Blake Corum rushed for 73 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown and a 37-yard run to get his season started after a phenomenal 2022 campaign was cut short by injury.

Next up for Michigan: vs. UNLV

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Ohio State opened its season on a winning note on the road in Big Ten play, but the offense left plenty of room for improvement. The Buckeyes know it. Kyle McCord’s debut as Ohio State’s starting quarterback was far from impressive: 239 passing yards and an interception. Marvin Harrison Jr. was limited to two catches for 18 yards, and Emeka Egbuka caught three passes for 16 yards against the Hoosiers.

Fortunately for Ohio State, Indiana didn’t have the firepower to take advantage of a subpar performance by the Buckeye offense. Indiana had 153 yards of total offense.

Both teams will be home next week to host Football Championship Subdivision opponents.

Next up for Ohio State: vs. Youngstown State

Next up for Indiana: vs. Indiana State

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The start of the Drew Allar eventually lived up to the hype. After a big early touchdown, Allar found a groove and helped Penn State put away West Virginia under the lights in Beaver Stadium in the first meeting between the two old regional rivals since 1992. Allar had 325 passing yards and three touchdowns in his first career start for the Nittany Lions.

Next up for Penn State: vs. Delaware

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There may be a new head coach in charge in Madison, but the classic Wisconsin formula was all that was needed to go 1-0. Wisconsin had big days on the ground from Chez Mellusi and Braelon Allen with 157 yards and 141 yards, respectively, and two touchdowns each as Wisconsin handled Buffalo at home. It was the first win under new head coach Luke Fickell.

Wisconsin lost two turnovers with a pair of interceptions thrown by Tanner Mordecai, but the Badgers outgained Buffalo, 503-316, for the win.

Next up for Wisconsin: at Washington State

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Iowa‘s offense was absolutely on fire in the first quarter with not one, but TWO offensive touchdowns to start the game! The Hawkeyes scored 10 more points the rest of the game but it was enough to keep visiting Utah State at arm’s length and start the season with a win.

Cade McNamara passed for 191 yards and two touchdowns and Kalen Johnson rushed 19 times for 63 yards and a touchdown. Utah State did out-gain Iowa, 329-284, but just could not get enough scoring to challenge Iowa in Kinnick Stadium.

Next up for Iowa: at Iowa State

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Taulia Tagovailoa and Maryland hosted in-state FCS opponent Towson for its season opener, and the Terrapins were not too kind to their visitors collecting a paycheck. Tagovailoa had three touchdown passes in the first quarter, and he added a rushing touchdown to go with his 260 passing yards.

Maryland racked up 30 first downs on the Towson defense and pounded 166 rushing yards in the win.

Next up for Maryland: vs. Charlotte

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The Illini were in a real battle in their season opener at home. Toledo blew a 19-7 lead in the third quarter but rallied to take a 28-27 lead with just under three minutes to play. Illinois took the lead with five seconds remaining on a 29-yard field goal by Caleb Griffin. It avoided a total letdown to start the season after a promising 2022 season that featured steps forward for the program.

Illinois quarterback Luke Altmyer passed for 211 yards and two touchdowns and led the Illini with 69 rushing yards. Illinois has some cleaning up to do though after committing 10 penalties for 100 yards and going just 3-for-9 on third down.

Next up for Illinois: at Kansas

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The defending Big Ten West champions started the 2023 season by dropping a game in the final minute to Fresno State. The visiting Bulldogs took the lead for good on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Mikey Keene to Erik Brooks with 59 seconds to play. Purdue’s final offensive chance fell short with a turnover on downs near midfield 31 seconds remaining and no timeouts to spare.

Next up for Purdue: at Virginia Tech

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After a tough 2022 season, Michigan State started its 2023 season with a win on Friday night. The Spartans earned a 113-yard effort from running back Nathan Carr with a touchdown. Jalen Berger was limited to just 24 yards on eight carries, one of which went for a touchdown. But Berger added 30 yards on four receptions as well.

Next up for Michigan State: vs. Richmond

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The start of the Matt Rhule era of Nebraska football nearly started with a good hard-fought road victory. Then Nebraska did what it has done so often over the last few years: Give away a great opportunity for a win. Minnesota sent Nebraska home with a loss on a last-second field goal from Dragan Kesich, moments after the Gophers tied the game with a touchdown pass from Athan Kaliakmanis to Daniel Jackson.

Nebraska had four turnovers, giving Rhule

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