B1G Week Ten Review: Staying in Contention

There was something on the line for pretty much every team in the B1G. Ohio State wanted to keep its undefeated season going and stay in contention for a possible BCS National Championship game appearance. Wisconsin needed to win to remain in contention for a possible at-large BCS bowl game shot. And several teams were looking to stay in contention for the Legend’s division title and a chance to play Ohio State for the B1G Championship in Indianapolis. Who stayed in contention and who fell out of contention? Let’s take a look.

Penn State 24 Illinois 17 (OT)

This was a tight game throughout and it basically came down to who made one less mistake. And that team was Penn State. Penn State drove into the end zone with ease in overtime, capping off the drive with a 15 yard touchdown pass from Christian Hackenberg to Kyle Carter. Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase then threw an interception on Illinois’ first play of overtime and sealed the loss for the Fighting Illini. Illinois has now lost 18 straight conference games and the heat is certainly on head coach Tim Beckman and his coaching staff to whip the program into shape. It was a nice bounce back win for Penn State after their huge loss to Ohio State and will be something to build on as they head into their upcoming game against Minnesota.

Minnesota 42 Indiana 39

Speaking of Minnesota, they continue to surprise everyone. Many expected Indiana (not me) to roll over Minnesota with their offense, but that wasn’t the case. The Gopher defense held Indiana in check until the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarters when the Hoosiers went on a 28-0 run. Trailing by four late in the game, Gophers quarterback Philip Nelson threw a 50 yard touchdown pass to receiver Maxx Williams and it proved to be the game winner for Minnesota. Nelson played the best game of his collegiate career, completing 16 of 23 passes for 298 yards and four touchdowns with zero turnovers. Running back David Cobb had another great game too, rushing for 188 yards and a touchdown. It was a tough loss for Indiana and their bowl chances. With three wins, they will need to win three of their remaining four games to be bowl eligible. While they should be able to defeat Illinois and Purdue, they will have to pull off a big upset against Wisconsin or Ohio State to hit six wins. Minnesota now has seven wins and a fighting chance at winning the Legend’s division. Even if they don’t win the division, this is a pretty great season for the Minnesota football program.

#24 Wisconsin 28 Iowa 9

This game was close through three and a half quarters and featured what both teams do best: a power running game and smash mouth defense. In the end though, Iowa’s defense just couldn’t stop the Wisconsin running game. Badgers running back James White, not Melvin Gordon, led the way for Wisconsin. White carried the ball 19 times for 132 yards and two touchdowns, which won the game for Wisconsin. Give a lot of credit to the Wisconsin defense too, which held Iowa to only 110 yards rushing and zero total touchdowns. Star running back Mark Weisman only rushed nine times for 15 yards. This forced the Hawkeyes to rely heavily on their passing game, something that really isn’t a strong suit for them. Quarterback Jake Rudock completed 12 of 24 passes for only 109 yards and an interception. Backup C.J. Beathard was even worse (4/16 passing, 70 yards, one interception). There is good news for you Iowa fans out there. Your next opponent is Purdue, which everyone in the B1G has taken turns at beating down. Wisconsin will have a rare November non-conference game against BYU, which should be an interesting match-up.

Nebraska 27 Northwestern 24

One play not only changed the outcome of this game, but really the season’s for each of these teams. Facing a three-point deficit with a few seconds left on the clock and the ball at midfield, Nebraska needed a miracle Hail Mary touchdown pass to win. And they got it. With Taylor Martinez injured, backup Tommy Armstrong Jr. started the game, but was pulled after throwing three interceptions. This forced the Huskers to turn to third-string quarterback and fifth year senior Ron Kellogg III. Back to the final play, Kellogg scrambled around the pocket and heaved a long pass towards the end zone. After bouncing off a few Northwestern defenders, the ball landed in the unlikely hands of true freshman wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp. I watched this happen live and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Nebraska turned the ball over four times and they still found a way to win. It was a huge win for Nebraska and keeps them alive in the Legend’s division race. This gives them a much-needed momentum boost heading into a pivotal two weeks that features games against Michigan and Michigan State. On the flip side, the misery continues for Northwestern. This was a must-win game for the Wildcats to reach bowl eligibility. It appears their game against Michigan will determine if they go to a bowl, as I see them losing to Michigan State and beating Illinois.

#22 Michigan State 29 #21 Michigan 6

23 points. That was the margin of victory for Michigan State. But if you watched this game like I did, you know it felt more like 50. The Michigan State defense seemed to play at even higher level in this game. They basically bludgeoned the Michigan offense to pieces. Let me list some stats regarding the destruction the Spartans’ defense did to the Wolverines on Saturday. Turn away if you’re a Michigan fan. The most impressive stat: Michigan State held Michigan to -48 yards rushing. Seriously. Michigan only had 168 total yards of offense. The Spartans’ defense racked up seven sacks and treated Devin Gardner like their own personal rag doll. I could go on and on about the defensive performance of Michigan State. Their offense wasn’t too shabby either. Spartans quarterback Connor Cook threw for 252 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for a touchdown. Running back Jeremy Langford ran for 120 yards and a touchdown. As for Michigan, they were an absolute mess all around. Wolverine fans are livid, confused and disappointed about the whole season. Just go to any Michigan blog and fans are freaking out. Many are questioning the coaching staff’s game planning and the passion of head coach Brady Hoke. All I know is they have problems. Michigan State is the clear favorite to win the Legend’s division and many are pondering a match-up between them and Ohio State in December. I certainly am. We’ll see if the Spartans can keep it up.

Comments

  1. How about those Golden Gophers…. 🙂

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