Last Week Two Weeks Ago
In the middle of the 4th Century BC, a couple of generations after the Gauls sacked Rome, the Kingdom of Macedonia was on the rise in modern-day Greece. King Philip II had forged the Macedonian Army into one of the most feared fighting forces in the ancient world; it was essentially the army that his son, Alexander the Great, would eventually use to conquer the mighty Achaemenid Persian Empire. Having conquered or subjugated much of the Classical World, Philip turned his attention to the city-state of Sparta.
The Spartans were known to be both ferocious and petulant, and their reputation likely forestalled many would-be invasions. After an escalating war of words, Philip sent a threatening note to the Spartans which said, “you are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city.” The Spartans replied simply: “If.” It is unknown whether they were intimidated by this Spartan brashness and bravado, but neither Philip nor his son Alexander ever attempted an invasion of Sparta.
Already some pushing, shoving and yelling. Michigan players didn't get out of the way for MSU walk. Devin Bush screaming in Spartans' faces as they run back to locker room after this. Bush in yellow. pic.twitter.com/Us9GWyVQch
— Chris Solari (@chrissolari) October 20, 2018
Fortunately for Ancient Sparta, Don Brown wasn’t born for another 24 centuries.
The Road Ahead
Penn State (6-2, 3-2 B1G)
Last week: Beat Iowa, 30-24
This was performance art, and no matter how I try, I won’t be able to convey the majesty with words. Like the Grand Canyon, if one could somehow fumble the Grand Canyon. It was #M00N, directed by Michael Bay. It was Alice in Wonderland, but less logical. It was the Total Eclipse of the Heart music video with a scoreboard.
It was awesome.
Here is a (non-inclusive) list of things that happened:
- Iowa tallied a safety after Penn State yakety snapped a punt and had it blocked through the end zone.
- Iowa scored a touchdown on a field goal trick play in which the punted threw a pass over a defensive lineman’s shoulder.
- Penn State snapped the ball through the end zone for another safety.
- More yakety snap.
- James Franklin saved a timeout to ice his own kicker.
- Iowa scored on a pick-six to cut Penn State’s lead to three.
- Iowa reached the goal line with three minutes left, but Stanley threw a pick on first and goal from the three yard line when Noah Fant didn’t realize they were going to do football stuff just then.
Penn State's faint Big Ten East hopes remain alive for another week. But at what cost to the game of football? It's too soon to tell.
This team is as frightening as: Unexpected football to the groin.
— Gamecock Recruits (@CocksRecruits) October 27, 2018
You think you’re ready for it, and you think you can probably defend against it. But. Fear Level = 7.5
Michigan should worry about: KJ Hamler. He had another big return this week, running one back 67 yards to the Iowa 31 immediately after a pick six. He’s second in the Big Ten in kickoff return average, and that is in addition to his 18.4 yards per catch as a receiver.
Michigan can sleep soundly about: Over the last three weeks, Trace McSorely is averaging 6.2 yards per pass attempt and 4.7 yards per carry. Plus, he tweaked his knee last week and briefly left the game, so he might be playing… sorely.
When they play Michigan: This game sets the stakes for The Game. Lose, and The Game still probably decides the winner of the Big Ten East. But win, and… well, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Next week: at Michigan, 3:45 p.m., ESPN (PSU +10.5)
[AFTER THE JUMP: A detailed discussion of Rutger's struggles.]