Opponent Watch: Week 4

A Cougar fan made this. I think they truly captured the essence of what it was like that one time when BYU got a first down.

Maryland (2-2, 0-0)
Last week: Lost to West Virginia 45-6
This week: vs Michigan, 8:00 BTN

Maryland had a rough week. Six turnovers (5 INTs and a fumble), over 600 yards and 37 first downs given up in what most people don't realize is a legit rivalry game against West Virginia. Head coach Randy Edsall was unaware of a players-only meeting that occurred Sunday morning. He also compared whiffed when he compared the Terps 2015 season to Forrest Gump when he said "Life is hard. Everything is not going to be a box of chocolates". No, no it's not Randy.

Fear Factor: Down

#16/17 Northwestern (4-0, 0-0)
Last week: Beat Ball State 24-19
This week: vs Minnesota, 12:00 BTN

Turnovers kept this game closer than it needed to be. NW gave the ball over 3 times and also surrendered 359 yards, including 181 on the ground to a middle-of-the-pack MAC team. Northwestern's defense can play, but the offense isn't good enough to win games making mistakes. Northwestern is 4-0 for the 2nd time in 3 years, and the last time this happened, in 2013 when they were ranked 16th, they went on to lose 7 in a row and miss a bowl game. So we'll see.

Fear Factor: Unchanged

#2/2 Michigan State (4-0, 0-0)
Last week: Beat Central Michigan 30-10
This week: vs Purdue, 12:00 ESPN2

The associated press and the coaches must be seeing something I'm not. Utah was up 55-13 going into the 4th quarter in Eugene, OR last weekend while Michigan State was up 17-10 at home vs Central Michigan. And somehow MSU is ranked #2 and Utah is barely ranked in the top 12. Michigan State has some issues to take care of on both sides of the ball (55 yards rushing on 27 attempts???), and with all of their injuries, it could be tough sledding through the B1G east division.

Fear Factor: Down

Minnesota (3-1, 0-0)
Last week: Beat Ohio 27-24
This week: @ Northwestern, 12:00 BTN

I could pretty much just copy/paste my recap from last week. Another 3-point win against a bad-to-OK MAC school. A mess on both sides of the ball, it's clear that whatever positive momentum Minnesota had in the preseason is long gone now. And for a team that 3-1, that's really bad. QB Mitch Leidner had a better game...but it's Ohio University. Going to be much tougher to put up those numbers in Evanston this weekend.

Fear Factor: Down

Rutgers (2-2, 0-1)
Last week: Beat Kansas 27-14
This week: Bye

Chris Laviano threw 2 INTs and Rutgers also lost a fumble en-route to a comfortable win against maybe the worst team in all of FBS football. But hey, a win is a win and Rutgers enters it's bye week with a smile as their head coach is still suspended and 6 players missing from their roster. They're gonna need the bye week because their October schedule is simply brutal.

Fear Factor: Unchanged

Indiana (4-0, 0-0)
Last week: Beat Wake Forest 31-24
This week: vs Ohio State, 3:30 ABC

Hey, Indiana is 4-0. And that's a pretty very rare thing. What isn't rare is IU is a 3-score underdog against Ohio State. After a big road win against Wake Forest, Indiana is still Indiana, but they're playing with confidence and their explosive offense is definitely cause for concern for any opponent. QB Nate Sudfeld looked good throwing for over 200 yards and 2 touchdowns, and RB Jordan Howard adding 168 yards on the ground.

Fear Factor: Unchanged

Penn State (3-1, 1-0)
Last week: Beat San Diego State 37-21
This week: vs Army, 12:00 ESPNU

While Christian Hackenberg had his best performance of the season (21/35, 296 yards, 3 TDs), Penn State's running game managed just 72 yards on 34 carries. I don't know how good San Diego State is, but we do know Penn State's defense is at least moderately good. If the Nittany Lions have that going for them, they also have the fact that the ugly Temple loss is starting to look like an apparition, which is definitely a good thing. But like MSU, injuries could become a factor as the season progresses.

Fear Factor: Unchanged.

#1/1 Ohio State (4-0, 0-0)
Last week: Beat Western Michigan 38-12
This week: @ Indiana, 3:30 ABC

Aside from closer than expected wins this year and the offense not exactly living up to lofty expectations (turnovers are becoming an issue), Ohio State has quietly one of the better defenses in the country. Michigan is getting a lot of attention, as is NW, but good things are happening in Columbus. Once the offense figures things out and comes around, which they will, Ohio State could be back to late-2014 form. OR...maybe not. They need to take care of business in Bloomington first.

Fear Factor: Unchanged

Handy chart...

Michigan's Opponent Records

UTAH W W W W - - - - - - - - - 4-0
ORST W L W L - - - - - - - - - 2-2
UNLV L L L W - - - - - - - - - 1-3
BYU W W L L - - - - - - - - - 2-2
UMD W L W L - - - - - - - - - 2-2
NW W W W W - - - - - - - - - 4-0
MSU W W W W - - - - - - - - - 4-0
MINN L W W W - - - - - - - - - 3-1
RUT W L L W - - - - - - - - - 2-2
IND W W W W - - - - - - - - - 4-0
PSU L W W W - - - - - - - - - 3-1
OSU W W W W - - - - - - - - - 4-0
TOT 9-3 8-4 9-3 9-3 - - - - - - - - - 35-13

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