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B1G Dawg & Pussycat of the Week

Each week I will bring you the B1G Dawg/Pussycat of the week from the Big 10. This could be a player, coach, or school with an outstanding performance, a great recruiting week, or an amazing week in general. Opposite of that will be the pussycat of the week. This will be the player, coach, or school who failed to get the job done from the prior week. The only rule is it must be an event that has happened inside the B1G (including the teams joining in 2024) from the previous week.

Awards for the week of November 6th to November 12th, 2023

Both Award winners come from the biggest game of the past weekend in the Big 10. The two teams faced off with the winner knowing they still had a chance at a Big 10 championship game. In the game one coach made the necessary adjustments to keep his team's dream alive, the other one did what he always seems to do lose another top-ten matchup.

The B1G Dawg of the week Is the Michigan Wolverines for heading on the road and taking the 'happy' out of Happy Valley

Michigan headed to Happy Valley for a road matchup with Penn State, both teams entered the game ranked in the top 10. This was a game both teams knew they had to have; the winner would keep their hopes alive to play for a Big 10 Championship the loser would have to face the fact their season was over.

Michigan wasn’t even off the plane yet and their road trip was already off to a rough start. Michigan head coach, Jim Harbaugh boarded the plane waiting on Big 10 commissioner Tony Petitti to inform the school if he was going to hand out a punishment for the sign stealing scandal. Michigan was in the air when news came out that their head coach was suspended for the remainder of the regular season but could still coach during the week.

On less than 22 hours' notice, Sherrone Moore would have to take over from Harbaugh and lead the Wolverines into Beaver Stadium and a 'stripe out'. Michigan still had hope that Harbaugh would be on the sideline after they filed for a TRO, but unfortunately for Michigan fans, it never came in.

Most people believe this game was going to be won in the air considering the two teams came in ranked in the top 3 at stopping the run. It didn’t take long for Michigan to find out that their passing game was not going to work. The inability of Michigan’s offensive line to pass protect let PSU edge rushers get to JJ almost unabated. Sherrone would have to decide, stick with Jim’s game plan, or adjust and live with the decision right or wrong.

Sherrone would adjust, take the ball out of JJ's hands, and would do nothing but run the ball. Michigan would hand the ball off 32 times in a row, and JJ would throw 1 pass but because of a pass interference call it didn’t count as an actual attempt. That pass would be the only one Michigan attempted in the 2nd half. Sherrone would essentially go back in time and play like it was 1918, and it turned out to be the right move. Michigan would steal the happy right out of Happy Valley beating the Nittany Lions 24-15 in a game that was not easy to watch. In a move that most coaches would not be willing to make, interim head coach Moore did, and because he did Michigan’s goals are still right in front of them.

The Pussycat of the week is Penn State for losing another top-10 Matchup.

James Franklin led Penn State teams 'know' what was at stake in this top-ten matchup with Michigan after losing to OSU earlier this year. The good news for the Nittany Lions was unlike the OSU game this one was in Happy Valley in front of their home crowd. Drew Allar was looking to make up for the poor performance he had in Columbus and keep the season alive. Unfortunately for the over 100000 PSU fans, it was just the same old with Franklin losing another game to a top-ten team.

James Franklin is one of the best recruiters, not only in the Big 10 but in the country. He has filled the roster with talent and should be playing for things like Big 10 and national championships. Instead, he keeps proving that when the lights get the brightest his teams are nowhere to be found. Franklin even received an early Christmas gift when the Big 10 suspended Michigan’s head coach with less than 22 hours to go before the game, putting added pressure on an already battered team.

Michigan would roll into Beaver Stadium, run the ball right down the throat of the Penn State defense, and walk away with a 24-15 win. In the game, Franklin would make a few questionable calls but no call bigger than going for two instead of kicking the extra point and making it a one-score game. Penn State would score a touchdown with 1:59 left in the game to make it 24-15. Franklin elected for a two-point conversion and failed, keeping the Wolverines up 9 and forcing his Nittany Lions to execute 2 successful onside kicks. The Wolverines would end up running the ball and the game out on Franklin with nothing he could do to stop it.

Franklin now moves to an outstanding 3-17 against top 10 teams, he is 3-7 against Michigan and 1-9 against OSU. The head man of the Nittany Lions is lucky he’s in Happy Valley and not College Station because if he were, he would already be looking for a new job.


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