In case you were too busy to see any Big Ten football this weekend, here are your scores and notable stats. This week’s action gave us blowouts, a historic rivalry and a double overtime thriller. Indiana, Iowa, Northwestern and Purdue were on bye weeks.
#8 Michigan State (7-1,4-0) 35, Michigan (3-5,1-3) 11
You cannot win football games when you turn the ball over as much as Michigan and that’s why they are at the bottom of the rankings for turnover margin. Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner fumbled after faking a handoff in the first quarter when only down 0-7. Then in the third quarter Gardner threw a pick-six to the Spartans’ R.J. Williamson and also threw a second interception in the fourth quarter. The Spartans have now won six of the last seven in this historic rivalry. Running back Jeremy Langford was a big reason for this win, rushing for 177 yards and three touchdowns. Michigan’s defense held up fairly well in the first half but the offense was nowhere to be found. Michigan finally did break its no-touchdown streak against the Spartans late in the fourth when running back De’Veon Smith ran for a one-yard touchdown. Then a pass to tight end Jake Butt was good for the two-point conversion.
#13 Ohio State (6-1,3-0) 31, Penn State (4-3,1-3) 24
This game was a tale of two halves, equal halves that would send it into double overtime. The first half belonged to the Buckeyes, taking a 17-0 lead into the break. The rushing attack was on for the Buckeyes and they looked as though they would not be stopped. Someone in the Penn State locker room must have fired up their team because it looked like a different defense. Ohio State only had one drive over 25 yards in the second half. It was Penn State defensive tackle Anthony Zettel who picked off J.T. Barrett and returned it 40 yards for the score to make it 17-7. Then quarterback Christian Hackenburg threw a 24-yard touchdown to Saeed Blacknall to pull to 17-10. With nine seconds in the game Sam Ficken kicked a 31-yard field goal to send it to the first overtime. This defense was impressive shutting down a recently high scoring Ohio State offense. Barrett had seen enough and took control in both overtime periods. Suddenly the Nittany Lions could not stop him, with Barrett scoring both of the Buckeyes’ touchdowns in overtime. It was a great game to watch.
# 16 Nebraska (7-1,3-1) 42, Rutgers (5-3,1-3) 24
Rutgers, let me introduce you to Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah. Abdullah had a school record 341 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns. He broke the 200-yard mark for the fourth time this season (225 yards). He also ran a kickoff back 76 yards to set up an easy score. Heisman voters, I hope you were watching this game. The win ties them up with Minnesota for the lead in the Big Ten West. For Rutgers it was the second straight blowout they suffered, and they have been out scored 98-41 in those two games.
Wisconsin (5-2,2-1) 52, Maryland (5-3,2-2) 7
It was complete dominance on both sides of the ball for the Wisconsin Badgers. The defense held Maryland to 10 first downs and less than 200 yards of total offense. The offense racked up over 500 yards and seven touchdowns. They were led by running back Melvin Gordon with 122 yards and three touchdowns, and quarterback Joel Stave threw two touchdowns.
Illinois (4-4,1-3) 28, Minnesota (6-2,3-1) 24
Illinois surprised most of the nation and got its first Big Ten victory. The heroes were linebacker T.J. Neal and cornerback V’Angelo Bentley. Neal stripped the ball from Minnesota running back David Cobb in the fourth quarter and Bentley picked up the ball and ran it in for the go-ahead touchdown with 6:33 to play. They held on to win and gave coach Tim Beckman only his second conference win in two-plus seasons. Minnesota did put up 21 points in the third quarter to get its first lead of the game at 24-21. Cobb ran for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
Chad Finley is a weekly contributor for thebighousereport.com. Follow him on Twitter @finfive1.