It was a light week on the gridiron for the Big 10, with just 6 teams in action. We did get our first big match up of the conference season however, with Ohio State and Wisconsin meeting under the lights in Columbus. Here’s your recap of all of this weekend’s action.
Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 24
Despite starting off 4-0, many questions lingered for Ohio State given the quality of their opposition. Those may remain, but they certainly rose to the challenge on Saturday night in The Horseshoe against Wisconsin. Braxton Miller returned from his knee injury, and accounted for 281 yards of Buckeye offense (198 passing, 83 rushing), and threw all 4 touchdown passes. Corey “Philly” Brown caught 2 of those touchdowns, including a long 40 yard strike as time expired in the 1st half, which put Ohio State up 24-14 at the break. His 2nd touchdown reception late in the 3rd quarter proved to be the difference, putting the Buckeyes up 31-14, before the Badgers rallied for the final 10.
Jared Abbrederis, in his 16th year at Wisconsin, lead the offensive attack in a losing effort, catching 10 Joel Stave passes for 207 yards and a touchdown, getting the best of All American Bradley Roby on numerous occasions. Stave was largely effective, 20/34, 295 yards and 2 scores, but the Buckeye defense was able to get just enough pressure on him to force some errant throws, including a key interception by Roby. Freshman Melvin Gordon lead the rushing attack with 15 carries and 74 yards, but with the big lead, OSU forced Wisconsin to abandon the rushing attack.
It was not all good news for OSU, however, as senior safety, and team captain Christian Bryant was lost for the season after suffering an ankle injury that will require surgery.
Up Next: Ohio State – @ Northwestern, Wisconsin – Bye (10/12 vs. Northwestern)
Iowa 23, Minnesota 7
Don’t look now, but after dropping their season opener to (undefeated) Northern Illinois, the Hawkeyes have reeled off 4 straight wins, including a dominant road triumph at Minnesota. The score may not indicate it, but Iowa controlled this game from start to finish, out gaining the Gophers 464-165, including an astonishing 246-30 on the ground. Bruising back Mark Weisman set the pace with 24 carries for 147 yards. Jake Rudock was again efficient under center going 15/25 for 218 yards and a score.
The story was really the Hawkeye defense though, with those 30 yards over 200 fewer than the Gophers average entering the game. Phillip Nelson returned from injury and was sacked 4 times, and finished with -18 yards on 9 official carries. Things were not much better through the air for Nelson, going 12/14 for 125 yards, 1 touchdown, but 2 interceptions.
Up Next: Iowa – vs Michigan State, Minnesota – @ Michigan
Illinois 50, Miami (OH) 14
Illinois eclipsed the 600 yard mark on offense, and senior QB Nathan Scheelhaase continued his impressive start to the season with a 278 yard, 5 touchdown performance against the struggling Red Hawks. The real story seemed to be an early 2-point conversion by the Illini, followed by a surprise onside kick. I’m all for aggressiveness, but running it up on 0-4 Miami? Not a good look, Beckman.
The Illini defense held the Red Hawks to 255 yards of offense, only 95 of which came through the air.
Up Next: @ Nebraska
Northern Illinois 55, Purdue 24
The Huskies notched their second victory in a Big 10 stadium (the first coming at Iowa in Week 1), rolling the Boilermakers in West Lafayette. NIU put up over 400 yards, but it was special teams and defense that lead the way for the defending MAC champs. They forced 5 Purdue turnovers (4 interceptions, 1 fumble), one of which went the other way for 6 points in the 3rd quarter. That came after Tommylee Lewis returned the opening kick of the 2nd half for a touchdown.
The Boilers put up over 500 yards of offense, with freshman QB Danny Etling having his redshirt taken off before going 19/39 for 241 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in relief of Rob Henry.
Up Next: Bye (10/12 – vs. Nebraska)
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