Never known as a bastion of offense, the Big Ten is putting up points at a rate unmatched by any conference through the first two weeks of the season.
The Big Ten team average is 40.5 points per game, largely because Penn State and Maryland each scored a national season-high 79 in Week 1. Maryland followed with 63 against Syracuse, and Wisconsin hung 61 on Central Michigan. Indiana and Michigan State each has gone over 50 points as well.
Behind the Big Ten in points per game are the Big 12 (39.2), Pac-12 (34.8), SEC (33.7) and ACC (29.8). The national average is 31.1.
Since the Big Ten expanded in 2011, the league’s scoring average after two weeks had never been over 40 until this season.
Every team except Northwestern is averaging at least 32 points.
Granted, level of competition has a large bearing on early season numbers, and it’s true that Maryland and Penn State each scored their 79 against opponents from the lower-tier Football Championship Subdivision. But the Big Ten’s total of four games against FCS schools is tied with the SEC for fewest among Power Five conferences.
With Virginia Tech graduate transfer Josh Jackson quarterbacking Maryland for first-year coach Mike Locksley, the Terrapins average a nation-best 71 points heading into their road opener at Temple. The Owls held Maryland to 14 points and 195 yards last season.
“The style of play is hard to match,” Jackson said. “Our tempo and the way we execute, that’s how we go out and expect it. None of us thought this was a surprise for us to be able to put up points.”
THE 200 CLUB
Appalachian State’s Darrynton Evans, the 2018 Sun Belt Conference rushing champion, had the only 200-yard performance of the weekend. He ran for a career-high 234 in a win over Charlotte, breaking an 87-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage and a 68-yarder in the fourth.
Evans also fielded an onside kick and ran 45 yards untouched for his school-record third kick return for a TD. His 298 all-purpose yards were a national season high.
THE LONG BALL
Colorado’s 96-yard TD against Nebraska on a flea-flicker from Steven Montez to K.D. Nixon was the longest pass completion in the Football Bowl Subdivision since Florida’s Austin Appleby threw a 98-yard TD pass to Tyrie Cleveland against LSU on Nov. 19, 2016.
THE LONG RUN
Freshman Kenneth Walker, Wake Forest’s No. 3 running back, went 96 yards for a TD on the last of his nine carries against Rice. It was the longest run of the season in the FBS.
GETTING HIS KICKS
Virginia’s Joe Reed became the second player this season to return a kickoff 100 yards, doing it Friday against William & Mary. Southern California’s Velus Jones did it against Fresno State on Aug. 31. There were seven 100-yard kick returns last season.
MOORE, MOORE, MOORE
Purdue’s Rondale Moore returned to the top of the national receptions chart after setting career highs with 13 catches for 220 yards against Vanderbilt. Moore has 24 catches through two games, three more than Cedric Byrd II of Hawaii and Devin Duvernay of Texas.
Moore is the first Purdue player since at least 1997 with double-digit catches in four straight games. He leads active players with nine games with 10 or more receptions.
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