B1G Week Nine Review: Contenders and Pretenders

There was an interesting mix of games in the B1G this past weekend. Two games were blowouts, while the other two were fairly close affairs. All four games were telling to me when sizing up each teams’ seasons. While some were impressive, others disappointed me. Ohio State put on the most impressive performance in the B1G by destroying Penn State on national television and handing them their worst loss in over a century. You’ll see plenty of articles on that though all over this site, so let’s talk about the rest of the conference.

Iowa 17 Northwestern 10 (OT)

This was your classic B1G game, with both teams playing good enough defense to keep the opposing offenses from doing anything. And Northwestern of course came up short again. The Wildcats just can’t catch a break, as they lost yet another heartbreaking game. I’m starting to feeling pretty bad for this team because they had such high hopes coming into the season and injuries and bad luck have derailed their success. The Wildcats actually had more total yards than Iowa in this game (329-305), but Iowa executed their plays best when it mattered. Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock was able to lead the Hawkeye offense to the end zone in overtime, throwing an eight yard touchdown pass to C.J. Fiedorowicz. Northwestern’s offense stalled in the overtime, struggling against the excellent red zone defense of the Hawkeyes. Wildcats quarterback Kain Colter made his return, completing 11 of 14 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for 60 yards. The road doesn’t get any easier for the struggling Wildcats as they now have to travel to Lincoln to take on Nebraska. Northwestern, who had hopes of competing for the B1G Championship, is now in serious jeopardy of finishing below .500 and missing out on a bowl game. Iowa is still alive for the Legend’s division title, but face a tough test against Wisconsin this weekend.

Minnesota 34 #24 Nebraska 23

Remember how we all thought Nebraska’s defense was starting to come around and their problems were getting fixed? Yeah I don’t remember that after watching this game. Minnesota ran all over the Nebraska defense and the Huskers had absolutely no answer. The Gophers ran for 271 yards and three touchdowns. The bulk of those yards came from junior running back David Cobb, who rushed 31 times for 138 yards. Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson had his best game all season and was the clear leader of the offense. Nelson threw for 152 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 55 yards and two touchdowns (no turnovers too). Minnesota’s defense played well too, forcing the high-power Nebraska offense to turn the ball over twice. The Cornhuskers’ offense was pretty below average, except for running back Ameer Abdullah of course, who rushed for 165 yards. Quarterback Taylor Martinez was pretty lackluster in his return, completing 16 of 30 passes for only 139 yards and a touchdown and only rushed for 16 yards. I can say with complete confidence that Nebraska was a pretender and that they can pretty much be beaten if you have a relatively good defense and a competent offense. Head coach Bo Pelini is starting to feel the heat again and I think Husker fans are ready for a change in the football program. These tweets from Nebraska great Tommie Frazier pretty much sum up the feelings of the fan base:

Michigan State 42 Illinois 3

While everyone was focusing on Ohio State’s blowout, people around the B1G forgot about another impressive display put on by Michigan State. The Spartans dominated every aspect of this game. Their defense didn’t let Illinois play makers Nathan Scheelhaase or Josh Ferguson do anything in this game and held the Illini to only three points and forced two turnovers. But the Michigan State offense was the most impressive part of the Spartans’ game. Spartans quarterback Connor Cook had a near perfect day, completing 15 of 16 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns. Michigan State’s rushing attack racked up 269 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Running back Jeremy Langford has emerged as the star of the offense as he rushed 104 yards and two touchdowns against the Fighting Illini. While you won’t confuse him with former Spartans’ star running back LeVeon Bell, Langford consistently puts up solid numbers every game. The good news for Illinois is that four of their last five games should be winnable, giving them a good shot at reaching six wins and achieving bowl eligibility. As for Michigan State, they have bigger goals. The knock against the Spartans all season has been their offense not scoring enough. But they’ve actually scored more than 40 points in two of their last three games. So it appears the Michigan State offense can score enough points to win games against great opponents because their defense has proved to be championship-caliber all season long. Michigan State is the clear favorite to win the Legend’s division and dare I say a worthy challenger to take on Ohio State for the B1G Championship.


  1. This week coming up is going to be huge for Michigan State. It’s their division for the taking.

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