There were not that many surprises this week in the Big Ten but there were a couple of deflating performances by key teams in the conference championship game race in the east. Did Michigan State get it together just too late this year or did they put it together just in time to create havoc?
Wisconsin Badgers - A rough first quarter had many people wondering if Purdue Harbor was coming...and then Wisconsin ran the ball. A lot. Seems simple for them but at times its been lacking this year. This sets up nicely for them to both keep the Axe at home next week and decide the fate of the Big Ten West. Next up: Minnesota.
Penn State Nittany Lions - The first half wasn’t pretty for Penn State but the result was never in doubt as PSU cruised to a 39-0 blanking of Rutgers. This game could have been blown even more wide open if Penn State would have converted TDs on their three first half FGs but the stifling PSU defense made sure that it didn’t matter. Next up: Michigan State.
Nebraska Cornhuskers - Similar to Penn State, this game was never in doubt and despite only scoring 28 Nebraska was cruising to victory. A late 92 yard TD by Maryland ruined the goose egg on the board but Terrell Newby delivered in the ground game for three scores. There were some missed INTs on defense that could be cleaned up. Next up: Iowa.
Iowa Hawkeyes - I guess. LeShun Daniels ran for 159 yards and two TDs in the game while Iowa also ran back a punt return for a TD in an otherwise pretty boring game. Iowa was only up 7-0 at halftime on Illinois and looked as they had returned to pre-Michigan form. Next up: Nebraska.
Minnesota Golden Gophers - Everyone kept asking if Minnesota was for real and if they were ever going to beat anyone of consequence. That has now been answered with the 29-12 victory over a surging Northwestern team. Can Minnesota take that momentum and finally bring home the Axe? Next up: Wisconsin.
Michigan Wolverines - I guess your stock is up by virtue of losing last week because even though you won it wasn’t pretty. Michigan trailed 7-3 at the half and needed a strong performance from De’Veon Smith to come back and win. Next up: Ohio State.
Ohio State Buckeyes - The performance on Saturday was a bit underwhelming considering you are fighting for your playoff lives and going into The Game. Michigan State has been a pushover for most of the season and lost to opponents that you’ve absolutely obliterated. What gives? Are you regressing back to the mid-season performances? Next up: Michigan.
Michigan State Spartans - That was great effort to stay in the game until the very end with Ohio State. Everyone is going to question the two point conversion call all week and why you wouldn’t play for OT but they’re dumb and I get the call. What do you have to lose? MSU certainly isn’t playing for a bowl this year so there is a lot less to lose by going for two. Do us all a favor and make sure you don’t get down on yourselves going into the PSU game. Next up: Penn State.
Indiana Hoosiers - I feel like this is write up is starting to get tired but that was a great effort and you came up just short, again. This was probably your best chance at an upset facing a depleted Michigan team but in the end the Michigan OL was too much. Is Indiana ever going to put it together on both sides of the ball in the same year? Next up: Purdue.
Northwestern Wildcats - What happened? Seriously, giving up Mitch Leidner’s first touchdown pass in seven weeks? At least you end the season with Illinois playing for the Hat and bowl eligibility. I think almost everyone had written this Minnesota game down as a W for you guys. Next up: Illinois.
Purdue Boilermakers - The dream of another harbor was alive for one quarter at least. In other news, I hear you guys have narrowed things down to Les Miles and P.J. Fleck?! If that’s true, you’ve also changed your spending habits as well! I think most all fans have been more interested in the coaching search than the actual football being played this year so lets hope the search committee doesn’t mirror the teams performance. Next up: Indiana.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights - I’m not sure what was worse, the football teams performance or the fact that all fans abandoned the stadium except for a few hundred Penn State fans. The weather wasn’t ideal but those empty stadium shots were hard to watch considering the gamecast was hyping this up as an expected sellout and Top 5 record crowd on hand. Next up: Maryland.
Maryland Terrapins - I’ve finally hit the point in the season where I turned the game off at half. It’s not like I expected this one to be a W but after seeing true freshman Max Bortenschlager (yep I definitely butchered that) trot out onto the field it felt as if the coaching staff threw in the towel too. We all knew this three week stretch would be tough but that hurt. In fun facts, if Maryland holds Rutgers to 6 points or less, Rutgers sets the new record for lowest PPG in Power 5 Conference play. Next up: Rutgers.
Illinois Fighting Illini - I’m not sure there was to much fight for the Illini going on as they threw out a goose egg against Iowa. Wes Lunt managed to pass it 41 times and not eclipse 150 yards passing, so that’s something. What’s more impressive is half of his yards were gained by one receiver. Next up: Northwestern.