It was an exciting weekend for Big Ten football, which included a prime time game with possible College Football Playoff implications. In case you were too busy to catch some games, here are your scores and notable stats.
#14 Ohio State (8-1, 5-0) 49, #8 Michigan State (7-2, 4-1) 37
This game would decide who would be the top team in the Big Ten East and the Buckeyes prevailed. It was a very exciting, hard fought game by both teams. The Ohio State offense was just not going to be stopped, or even slowed down for that matter. Their fast paced tempo was too much for the physical Spartans’ defense, scoring seven touchdowns. Led by quarterback J.T. Barrett, the Buckeyes’ offense racked up over 500 yards with Barrett throwing for three touchdowns and running for two more. Running back Ezekiel Elliott ran for 154 yards and two touchdowns. The game was still close until the end of the third quarter when Ohio State scored and went up 35-24. They then added two more scores in the first half of the final quarter. Although the offense played great, the defense still has some holes. They did give up over 500 yards to the Spartans’ offense on 79 plays. Spartans quarterback Connor Cook was 25 of 45 for 358 yards and threw for two touchdowns. He played well without making any crucial mistakes, but his defense failed to help out. Running back Jeremy Langford rushed for 137 yards and three touchdowns for the Spartans. It was a great clash-of-the-titans game, and now the outcome has lifted Ohio State into the top ten in the rankings.
#25 Wisconsin (7-2, 4-1) 34, Purdue (3-7, 1-5) 16
The only surprise of this game was that Wisconsin did not score over 40 points, which was pretty much expected. Again it was Badgers running back Melvin Gordon running wild over the defense, rushing for 205 yards and a touchdown. With the win Wisconsin is in a three way tie atop of the Big Ten West. The Badgers’ defense continued to be dominant as well, holding Purdue to 230 total yards. That includes only 26 yards rushing. I can’t wait for next week’s battle with No. 13 Nebraska.
Minnesota (7-2, 4-1) 51, Iowa (6-3, 3-2) 14
In a matchup of two 6-2 teams, I expected a much better game. Minnesota just took it to Iowa on both sides of the ball. On offense they had 429 total yards and kept the ball for almost 37 minutes. After Iowa scored first, Minnesota then reeled off seven unanswered touchdowns. Quarterback Mitch Leidner threw for only 138 yards but had four touchdowns, and he was the team’s leading rusher with 77 of its 291 rushing yards. Wide receiver Maxx Williams caught five passes, three of which went touchdowns. On defense the Gophers held Iowa to only 84 yards rushing and 205 total yards. On Iowa’s first quarter scoring drive, they went 76 yards down the field. Then they only had 129 yards the rest of the game, along with three turnovers. The Gophers better play this well next week as they host the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Penn State (5-4, 2-4) 13, Indiana (3-6, 0-5) 7
Both teams came into this game with big losing streaks, so one of those streaks would be broken. It was Penn State who snapped its four game losing streak on two second half Sam Ficken field goals. I caught a few minutes of this game and could not turn the channel quickly enough. Neither offense could get anything going. Even one of the nation’s best running backs, Indiana’s Tevin Coleman, only had 71 yards. This was the first time in 10 games he was held under the century mark. So congratulations Penn State on the win, I think.
Michigan (5-5, 3-3) 10, Northwestern (3-6, 2-4) 9
Here was another less-than-spectacular game by both offenses, but as the saying goes, a win is a win. Michigan gets its fifth win, leaving only one more to become bowl eligible. Give all the credit for this one to the Michigan defense. They played great, shutting down the Wildcats’ rushing attack to -9 yards! Despite being on the field longer than the offense, Michigan’s entire defense did not tire out, but instead on the final play of the game blitzed the quarterback so strongly he fell down. Down 9-10 Northwestern decided to go for the win, a two point attempt. So the quarterback dropped back to pass as Michigan defenders led by Frank Clark closed in on him and he fell to the ground. Let me now address the Michigan offense. The only offensive player that showed up was running back De’Veon Smith, who rushed for a career high 121 yards and the team’s only touchdown. Again we saw quarterback Devin Gardner throw bad passes and make poor decisions. He now has 13 interceptions on the season and only eight touchdowns. Michigan receivers did not help out too much with several dropped balls. Come on guys, get it together this week on your bye week. The next win is for a bowl, I believe you can do it!
Chad Finley is a weekly contributor for Thebighousereport.com. Follow him on Twitter @finfive1.