If you missed some of the action from this past weekend, here is your Week 6 recap in the Big Ten Conference. Keep reading to find out who my picks are for the most shocking win and most disappointing loss.
#10 Michigan State (4-1, 1-0) 27, #19 Nebraska (5-1, 1-1) 22
This would be the most anticipated matchup of the week in the Big Ten. Hopefully you did not turn off the television before the fourth quarter began. Through three quarters it appeared to be all Michigan State, taking a 27-3 lead into the final quarter. Spartans wide receiver Tony Lippett scored on a 55-yard reception and a 32-yard reverse in the first half. The Nebraska offense would finally wake up in the fourth. The Cornhuskers would go 43 yards in six plays and running back Ameer Abdullah would find the end zone for his first touchdown. Then later a five-play, 68-yard drive for another Abdullah touchdown would make it 27-16. The Spartans would go three-and-out on its next possession. Nebraska’s De’Mornay Pierson-El would then return a 62-yard punt for a score to pull within a touchdown. Next the Spartans would miss a field goal and give the ball back to Nebraska with two minutes left. It seemed as if they were going to complete an outstanding comeback. Nebraska would move 43 yards and get to the Michigan State 37-yard-line with 37 seconds left, then quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr threw a game-ending interception. Wow, what a great fourth quarter. The most surprising stat of the game was Nebraska’s Abdullah was held to only 45 yards rushing on 24 attempts. Great defense by the Spartans.
Northwestern (3-2, 2-0) 20, #17 Wisconsin (3-2, 0-1) 14
This is my pick for biggest surprise win of the week. I expected Badgers running back Melvin Gordon to have another huge day and they would run away with this game. Well Gordon did have a big day, 259 yards and a touchdown, but there were too many Wisconsin mistakes. The Wildcats’ red shirt freshman Godwin Igwebuike had three interceptions, including one in the end zone with less than six minutes in the game. He was the first Northwestern player to have three interceptions since Neil little in 1973. Despite out-gaining the Wildcats in yards, it was the four turnovers that killed the Badgers.
#20 Ohio State (4-1, 1-0) 52, Maryland (4-2, 1-1) 24
The Buckeyes’ offense would make it a long day for Maryland’s Big Ten home debut. They would have over 500 yards on the Maryland defense and it seemed liked they scored at will. Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett threw for 267 yards and four touchdowns and also ran one in for a score. Even though Maryland scored 24, it was Ohio State rolling all day.
Purdue (3-3, 1-1) 38, Illinois (3-3, 0-2) 27
Purdue ran the ball with authority, accumulating 349 yards on the ground. Led by running back Akeem Hunt, who had 177 yards rushing, the Boilermakers’ offense was on fire. Its first-time starting quarterback Austin Appleby was 15 of 20 for 202 yards and a touchdown and rushed for two scores of his own. The Boilermakers only average 312 yards per game but had almost 300 by halftime. All of Purdue’s big plays were just too much for the Illini defense.
Indiana (3-2,0-1) 49 North Texas(2-3, 0-1) 24
In the only non-conference game this week, the Hoosiers’ offense was back on track. After a horrific day last week the Hoosiers put up almost 600 yards of offense and scored seven touchdowns on fourteen possessions. Two of its running backs had over 100 yards each and quarterback Nate Sudfeld was 23 of 29 for 230 yards with three touchdowns. All of this against a defense that was ranked in the top 20 in five different categories.
Rutgers (5-1, 1-1) 26 Michigan (2-4, 0-2) 24
With so much adversity and negativity surrounding the football program at Michigan, I expected a hungry team to come out and execute properly in all areas. So this loss is my disappointing loss this week in the conference. Although the Wolverines’ offense looked better than the last couple games, it was the defense that was struggling. Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova torched the defense for 404 yards and three touchdowns. The run defense was present holding Rutgers to 74 yards on the ground but they failed to force any turnovers. Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner had a decent game, throwing for 178 yards and rushing for two touchdowns. His only interception came in the third quarter at the Rutgers 41. On Michigan’s final possession, there was a controversial call when Amara Darboh seemed to catch a first-down ball and kept his feet in bounds, but the call was confirmed to be an incompletion, which made it fourth down. Michigan’s Matt Wile attempted to kick a 56-yard field goal but it was blocked by Rutgers. Rutgers then ran out the clock and its fans stormed the field celebrating its first Big a Ten victory.
Chad Finley is a weekly contributor for The Big House Report, follow him on Twitter @finfive1. Check out thebighousereport.com, @TBHR Twitter page and our Facebook page for more Michigan news.