Big Ten Takeaways: 4 Things We Learned In Week 7

Photo: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Help us, Urban-Wan're our only hope? The Big Ten continued to cannibalize itself in Week 7 of the College Football, with the West Division favorite Badgers dropping another contest and Penn State falling short of Sparty for the second straight season. That's one of the primary Big Ten Takeaways this weekend.

With the College Football Playoff rankings looming around the corner, the Big Ten is going to hold one of the four coveted spots, thanks to the undefeated Buckeyes. But will the lackluster Big Ten hold enough clout at the end to spare them should Ohio State lose a game along the way?

I say yes. And that's because of a November date with the Maize and Blue.

Michigan Is The Big Ten's *OTHER* CFB Playoff Hope

Ohio State is in the driver's seat. But Michigan has officially put the country on notice. The Wolverines are playing defense the way we were all expecting them to play before the season started...they are suffocating. Since the Week 1 loss to Notre Dame, Michigan is allowing 14 points per game.

As for Michigan's resume? Embarrassing Wisconsin is a good start. Their next two games are home against Michigan State and then into Happy Valley to take on the Lions. They win both of those games convincingly? Then it's going to be winner take all between the Buckeyes and Wolverines after Thanksgiving.

Out of the prominent one loss teams (Georgia, LSU, Texas, Oregon, Oklahoma and Michigan), you could argue Michigan's loss is the best. Going on the road and losing by 7 to a current CFB Playoff projected team in Notre Dame is a tough task, after all.

Iowa's Other Great TE Prospect

Please excuse my ignorance on TE T.J. Hockenson (#38). To this point, my film study of Iowa tight ends has generally involved trying to prevent getting starry-eyed about Noah Fant and bemoaning any reps that go to anyone besides Fant.

But Hockenson is pretty dang good. And as a redshirt sophomore, he's eligible for the 2019 NFL Draft. Hockenson and Fant currently sit 1-2 as the Hawkeyes' receiving leaders this season, and combined have averaged over 100 yards per game. And 9 touchdowns through 6 contests.

And then there's the plays that don't show up in the stat sheet, like this soul-snatching block from Hockenson yesterday:

This dude has "the dog" in him. Through the air and on the ground, Hockenson had a coming out party against Indiana. And as Iowa continues to scrap through tough football games and climb up the polls (they're underrated, by the way), his profile will continue to grow.

Penn State Needs To Feed Miles Sanders

The Ohio State contest not withstanding, RB Miles Sanders has been the best thing about this offense all season. And in the second half of Penn State's season-crushing loss to Michigan State, Sanders was given the ball for just 9 carries in the second half. Those carries went for:

1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 1, 3, 0, -1

Not great. So then why am I advocating more carries for Sanders? Because QB Trace McSorley is the alternative. And McSorley rushed 13 times for 37 yards (and a fumble on the team's opening possession). Sanders is much more of a play-maker on the ground (as evidenced by his 78-yard scamper in this contest) and can offer some consistency for this team offensively. Penn State's last two games in the second half:

15 possessions, 67 plays, 383 yards, 16 points.

The average possession? 4.5 plays, 25.5 yards and 1.07 points. 1:45 average time of possession. 

The Lions slept through large portions of games against Appalachian State, Pittsburgh, and Illinois to open the're not in Kansas anymore, Nittany Nation. It's time to wake up and find your groove. Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan loom on the horizon. The Lions will need to adjust their offense and find some consistency.

It won't come from a struggling McSorley, who is averaging just over 200 passing yards per game and struggling without offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, RB Saquon Barkley, TE Mike Gesicki and WR Daesean Hamilton to lean on this season.

Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook Is Undraftable

"Well Kyle, you see...Hornibrook was good for a silly mistake per game last season but he's improved by leaps and bounds in 2017."

"If bowl game Hornibrook shows up in 2018, look out!"

You want to know why Hornibrook isn't an NFL quarterback? Go check out the Michigan game and get back to me. If you'd prefer not to waste your Sunday morning, I've got you covered with this SparkNotes style recap:

  • Immobile
  • Inaccurate
  • Slow decision maker
  • Poor ball security
  • Overwhelmed by the speed of the game

This isn't necessarily a surprise to Draft enthusiasts but Badger nation needs to see the light as well.

I don't know who that was that played in Hornibrook's #12 last winter in the Orange Bowl, but it wasn't Alex. This is who he is. This is who he has been.

Written By:

Kyle Crabbs

Chief Brand Officer

CBO & Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Co-host of the Draft Dudes podcast. Former NDT Scouting Overlord.