B1G Weekly Recap: Sparty Survives Cook Injury Scare, Iowa Squeaks By Minnesota

It was another drama-filled weekend of Big Ten football. This was supposed to be a tune-up weekend for the contenders as they prepared for the stretch run but a few got more than they bargained for. Minnesota nearly took the Floyd of Rosedale from Iowa before the Hawkeyes hung on to victory and the Wolverines needed double overtime to brush off Indiana.

Ohio State 28, Illinois 3

The Buckeyes welcomed back J.T. Barrett and cruised to victory in Champaign with Barrett and Ezekiel Elliott leading the way. Elliott ran for 181 yards and two touchdowns, with the majority of the yards and both scores coming after the break. It was Elliott’s 15th straight game of 100-plus rushing yards and Zeke has put himself in a position to make a run for the Heisman Trophy.

The Silver Bullets stepped up once again against the Illini, allowing just a Taylor Zalewski field goal in the 2nd quarter. Illinois could only manage 20 rushing yards on 25 carries for a measly 0.8 YPC. Ohio State heads home for Senior Day against Michigan State and Illinois goes to Minnesota to try to get to bowl eligibility.

Michigan State 24, Maryland 7

Aided by five Maryland turnovers, the Spartans were able to get by in the absence of starting QB Connor Cook. Cook injured his shoulder early in the game and did not play in the 2nd half for precautionary measures but he is expected to return in Columbus. Tyler O’Connor was 6-11 for 44 yards with a touchdown and an interception in backup duty.

The Terrapins outgained Michigan State in this one (289-262), but the Spartans’ ability to get timely turnovers put them over the top. Riley Bullough made a huge play just before the end of the 1st half when he picked off a Perry Hills pass and took it back 44 yards for a score. Maryland will try to break a 7-game losing streak when they host Indiana this weekend and Michigan State looks to repay Ohio State for what they did in East Lansing last November.

Northwestern 21, Purdue 14

Northwestern is quietly having a very good season in 2015. The Wildcats have climbed back in to the top 20 of the polls and won their 8th game of the season when they took down Purdue. Warren Long had two rushing touchdowns in the 1st half for Northwestern and Justin Jackson scored the game-winning touchdown late in the 4th quarter to go with his 116 yards on the ground.

David Blough had another solid outing for the Boilermakers in defeat. Blough connected with Domonique Young on a 68-yard score on Purdue’s first play from scrimmage but was never able to find the end zone again to go with his 287 yards passing. Things don’t get any easier for the Boilermakers as they go to Iowa and Northwestern also hits the road for a Top 25 battle against Wisconsin.

Nebraska 31, Rutgers 14

Nebraska kept its bowl hopes alive for another week by going to New Jersey and pulling out a win over Rutgers. Tommy Armstrong Jr. threw three interceptions for the Cornhuskers but also threw three touchdowns to make up for the picks. Rutgers fell behind 21-0 not even 20 minutes into the game and never fully recovered.

A pair of Scarlet Knight touchdowns split the halftime interval to pull Rutgers within 7 but they would get no closer as Armstrong found Cethan Carter for his second score of the game on Nebraska’s next possession. The Huskers take a week off to get ready for a visit from Iowa while Rutgers takes a trip to West Point to take on Army.

Michigan 48, Indiana 41 (2OT)

It took a Jake Rudock touchdown pass to Jehu Chesson as time expired in the 4th quarter to force overtime but the Wolverines managed to pull out a victory in Bloomington. Rudock found the end zone twice more in the overtime periods to finish with 440 yards passing and six touchdowns. Chesson had himself a career day as well, catching 10 passes for 207 yards and four scores.

Jordan Howard was his usual beastly self against the Wolverines, rushing for 238 yards and two TDs while also catching a touchdown pass from Nate Sudfeld. The Wolverines head to Happy Valley for their final road game of the season this week and the Hoosiers will try to break a 6-game skid at Maryland.

Iowa 40, Minnesota 35

It was the LeShun Daniels Show in Iowa City on Saturday night under the lights. Daniels ran for a career high 196 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Hawkeyes to victory and the first 10-0 start in school history. C.J. Beathard also found the end zone twice on the ground to put Iowa within one win of the B1G Championship Game.

Mitch Leidner had a solid game for the Gophers, throwing for 259 yards and a touchdown. K.J. Maye was Leidner’s favorite target, hauling in 7 passes for 106 yards. Minnesota needs a pair of wins to end the season to get to a bowl game and they’ll start that journey against Illinois on Saturday. Iowa will be at home against Purdue as they look to wrap up a berth to the B1G Championship.

Is there any way Purdue knocks off Iowa to open the door for Wisconsin to return to the B1G Championship? Who do you have winning the marquee matchup of the week in Columbus?

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