Final B1G Thoughts...
1. With that win, OSU now leads Michigan in the series since it became a Big Ten matchup in 1918.
2. Yesterday's 42-13 victory was the worst trouncing of a ranked Michigan team in The Game since 1968.
3. Indiana is going bowling for the first time in eight years.
4. Purdue is gearing up for basketball.
5. Maryland closes the door on the Randy Edsall era with a win, which is an odd tribute to Randy Edsall when you think about it.
6. Rutgers is a team that exists.
7. Chicago's B1G Team seems like it should be more than a punchline at this point, especially with how well NU has done.
8. Did someone tell Justin Jackson that the endzone turf is lava? What gives?
9. Jordan Canzeri is a master of the stretch-zone run. Patience and a burst of speed breaks Nebraska's back.
10. Mike Riley's face never moves.
11. Mitch Leidner is a Badger's best friend.
12. Joel Stave closed out his college career with a win, and all he'll ever get credit for is the losses and screw-ups.
13. Sparty is back to being Sparty, finally. It only took 13 weeks.
14. Next week is going to be great.
Iowa at Nebraska // Iowa keeps perfection alive, 28-20.
Jordan Canzeri. That's all you really need to remember from this game. Without him, Iowa's out of the hunt for the playoffs. With him, they remained perfect. The undersized/high motor running back ripped off runs of 29 yards and 68 yards on back to back series to put the Hawkeyes over the top. CJ Beathard had a bit of a pedestrian evening, connecting on 9 of 16 for only 97 yards, but he did find the endzone and took care of the football. The same cannot be said for Tommy Armstrong Jr. The polarizing Nebraska QB threw for 296 yards, but completed four passes to Iowa players. It's quite possible that Nebraska could've knocked Iowa off had he not killed drive after drive with picks, but you run what you brung at every position. Nebraska brung a turnover machine. Iowa heads off to Indianapolis to take on MSU in what amounts to a play-in for the CFP.
Creighton's HOTTAKE: It wasn't until after Iowa beat Wisconsin that people looked at the schedule and thought "huh...Iowa could probably go undefeated if they don't screw this thing up." I still can't believe 12-0 actually happened, and I have no idea what words to use to express how I feel right now. Go Kirk Ferentz. Go Hawks.
Stewmonkey's HOTTAKE: Iowa won. Again. Fuck the haters.
OSU at Michigan // OSU wins 42-13.
Drive, drive on down the field, men of the scarlet and gray! The inaugural Meyer v. Harbaugh face-off started out as an old-school grinder, but finished with the Buckeyes invoking what the good folks at MGoBlog dubbed "the Woody Hayes death march." Ezekiel Elliott was one yard shy of 100 at the half on only ten carries, and he didn't slow down. Leading 14-10 after the intermission, Barrett and Elliot struck on the initial second half possession, and on the subsequent series as well. The Michigan defense had no answer for OSU's two-headed monster. When they sold out to stop the read option, Barrett turned to a play action passing attack that hit downfield receivers for devastating strikes. That kept the defense honest enough for the talented QB and RB duo to make hay all second half. Elliott finishes his regular season OSU career as the second-leading rusher in OSU history, surpassing Eddie George and trailing only Archie Griffin. This game marks the first time since 1967 that OSU had two 100+ yard rushers. Zeke finished with 214 yards and two TDs. Barrett tallied 139 yards rushing and 9/15 passing to account for four touchdowns on his own.
Michigan's offense sputtered after driving deep in the second quarter and stalling, eventually settling for a field goal. Jake Rudock was 19/32 for 263 yards and a TD before being knocked out of the game by former high school teammate Joey Bosa. Jabrill Peppers continued to underwhelm for the Wolverines on offense, netting 29 yards on seven carries. Urban Meyer remains undefeated against Michigan, and starts the Harbaugh era off right for his team.
GoForThree's HOTTAKE: Welcome back, Harbaugh. It seems the talk of "meltdown" at OSU was a tad premature.
Northwestern at Illinois (Soldier Field) // Northwestern wins the LOLHAT, 24-14.
Chicago's Big Ten teams! The Wildcats capped an unexpectedly good season with a convincing win over an Illinois team that just signed Bill Cubit to a two-year deal...on account of the five-win campaign he assembled in Beckman's absence. Pat Fitzgerald's offense wasn't perfect, but hit on enough cylinders to score points when they needed to. Justin Jackson ran for 172 yards and a touchdown, which is an odd disparity in and of itself. The figure is in keeping with the rest of the season, as Jackson is well over 1000 yards rushing and has but three touchdowns to his name. Think about that. 1172 yards, and he's crossed the goalline thrice. The story of this game was defense for the Wildcats. The talented Illino duo of Vaughn and Ferguson was held to only 102 combined yards, and Wes Lunt's passes never found the endzone (one did find an NU defender, though). Illinois' other score came on a Clayton Thorson pick-six. The 'Cats are headed to a quality bowl game, and now have a chance to solidify themselves as a rising power in the West. The Illini are headed back to the drawing board. Again.
LPW's HOTTAKE: This was a sloppy game today. Mick McCalls playcalling was depressingly predictable. Our bowl opponent will exploit that. We were not a demonstrably better team today. However, Clayton Thorson had a great first half and Justin Jackson went wild with 171 yards against the Illini.
Thump's HOTTAKE: Illinois interim athletic director Paul Kowalczyzczlyzclzyzczyk was fired from Colorado State in 2011 for just not winning. But he's good enough to make one of the most important coaching hires I can remember. So we offered a two-year contract to Bill Cubit, who was fired from Western Michigan in 2012 for not winning enough. Not good enough for WMU, but good enough for Illinois. Bill Cubit celebrated his new contract the same way any of us would: by getting hammered.
All season I've been in this coaching search thing and I've been so nervously excited for us to hire the next guy. I've spent the whole season in anticipation, fearing the worst but hoping at the very least that a new era would begin.
Instead, Illinois took a shit under my fucking Christmas tree.
Fuck me, Illinois? Well, same to you.
And they're gonna ask me to get hyped for next year. ILLINOIS FOOTBALL 2016: IT'S NOT IDEAL
Indiana at Purdue: The Old Oaken Bucket Game // Indiana wins 54-36.
Offense, party of two...offense, party of two. Just as we all expected, the defenses didn't even get off the bus in West Lafayette. Nate Sudfeld went balls out, completing 18 of 29 for 350 yards and 4 TDs. With Jordan Howard out, Devine Redding picked up the slack and added 144 yards of his own and an additional TD. Purdue's Austin Appleby threw his arm off, attempting 57 passes and completing 36 for 337 yards, but only two TDs and two ugly INTs. After a 4-0 start that then saw the Hoosiers drop six in a row, Kevin Wilson's crimson machine nabbed two wins in their final two contests to finish 6-6. Indiana is going bowling for the first time since Lehman Brothers existed. Purdue, well, there's always next year.
Candy's HOTTAKE: Bowl game? Check. Bucket? Check x3. Didn't even have to use my AK? Check. Gotta say it was a good day.
Maryland at Rutgers // Maryland wins 46-41.
What a sad end to two sad seasons. For as often as we give our new entrants to the B1G a hard time for not "fitting in," this season has been one tragedy after another. Rutgers obviously fared worse on a number of fronts, but has somehow decided to retain Kyle Flood. This game was a fitting tribute to two teams who kept on plugging even as their seasons devolved into farce. On an afternoon when Caleb Rowe and Perry Hills combined to throw for 255 yards, each of Maryland's 6 TDs came on the ground. Rutgers largely stuck to the air, and Laviano delivered four scoring strikes. Neither team played much defense, though Laviano and Hills did offer nice interceptions to make a show of it. Maryland finishes 3-9 and Rutgers falls to 4-8. Both boast only one conference win. Those eyeballs, though...
Ray's HOTTAKE: I'm sad that we lost, because these seniors have given their heart and soul for the program. However, if this embarassment brings us closer to having a functional AD and a new football staff in place, then it's for the better. It feels horrible to feel that way, but that's what happens when you have 7 arrests in one season. Bring back the Rutgers Athletics that we've loved for the past 20 years.
Wisconsin at Minnesota: The Axe // Wisconsin wins, 31-21
Oh, Gophers. This was your best chance and you Leidner'd all over yourselves. With Corey Clement out thanks to a few thrown punches, the Gophers should've had easy sledding against the Wisconsin offense. Instead, Dare Ogunbowale racked up 155 yards and a touchdown. Taiwan Deal added two more, and Alec Ingold added to the scoring with a touchdown of his own. Leidner did his best to help the Badgers out, hucking three interceptions and only one touchdown. The Gophers' normally potent running attack was stuffed by Dave Aranda's defense, totaling only 53 yards all day. With this loss, the Gophers likely miss a bowl, just as they will miss Jerry Kill going forward.
TSpeth's HOTTAKE: AXE AXE AXE AXE AXE AXE AXE AXE AXE AXE AXE AXE
That's 12 axes. Wisconsin has 1 win in a row for every 6.1 yards Stave threw for today. He is... Not good. But we all knew that AXE AXE AXE AXE AXE
WSR's HOTTAKE: People should be fired for Wisconsin running outside the guards and attempting to pass today.
Penn State at Michigan State // MSU wins 55-16.
There isn't a whole lot to say about this other than it was a good, old fashioned ass kicking. Sparty simply imposed its will on the hapless Nits from the word go, jumping out to a 20-3 lead that only briefly narrowed. Connor Cook's return was everything Sparty fans hoped for, marked by 248 yards passing and three touchdowns. Hackenberg did his best to keep up, but his two touchdowns came as a package deal with two interceptions. No Sparty back crested the century mark, but together they amassed 188 yards and three more touchdowns. A Sparty scoop-and-score in the first quarter rounded out the 55-point day. MSU now heads to Indy to take on an Iowa team that's looking to keep their playoff hopes alive.
AK's HOTTAKE: In front of a raucous senior day crowd, MSU's senior class balled out. Connor Cook had a strong return to the lineup after a injured stint on the sideline, Aaron Burbridge continued his NFL audition season, Arjen Colquhoun played probably the best game of his much-criticized career, and Jack Allen got in on the fun with a 9-yard rumble for a score after Penn State crumbled late (if you don't like it, don't let a center give you the stiff arm). The defense continues to be movable, but has also found a touch for the big play in the last few weeks, and with this offense, bending a little more than they historically do should be just fine as long as the turnovers and goal-line stands keep coming. The CCG looks like a matchup between 2 strong, balanced teams, and I can't wait for it.
87Townie's HOTTAKE: Our Offensive coordinator is offensive. I'm going to miss our defensive line and Christian Hackenberg. They came out to play today...but MSU was just better. Fuck.
Aaron Yorke's HOTTAKE: Michigan State gained 18 more yards from scrimmage than Penn State but won the game by 39 points. That's what happens when a team turns the ball over four times and two of them go for touchdowns. The Nittany Lion offense was surprisingly decent with Saquon Barkley running for 103 yards on just 17 carries. Still, Christian Hackenberg was asked to throw 39 passes, which is too many when Penn State should have been trying to keep its defense off the field. With Carl Nassib injured on the sideline, the Spartan offensive line dominated PSU's front seven. Connor Cook was clean and comfortable for most of the game while Gerald Holmes led a ground attack that rushed for 4.9 yards per carry. This game would have been closer had the Lions protected the ball, but they nevertheless appeared overpowered in the trenches. Keep on recruiting those hog mollies, Coach Hype.