This past weekend marked the first full weekend of conference play throughout the Big 10, with 10 of 12 teams in action. Here’s what you missed around the league.
Ohio State 40, Northwestern 30
For the second straight week, the Buckeyes headlined the conference schedule, this time taking the show on the road for a primetime match up with Northwestern. The Wildcats lead OSU for much of the game, finally succumbing to a powerful OSU offensive attack with just over 5 minutes left, when Carlos Hyde scored the last of his 3 touchdowns. For the game, the senior tailback carried 26 times for 168 yards, steadily wearing down the Northwestern defense.
3 early turnovers for Braxton Miller (2 fumbles, 1 interception) keyed Northwestern to a 23-13 lead in the early third quarter, but on 3 red zone trips, the Cats were forced to settle for short field goals, not touchdowns. Those points left on the board proved costly as Hyde and the OSU offense got on track in the 2nd half. The final margin came after a fumble recover in the end zone on the final play after a failed lateral. The line was OSU -7. Gamblers were sad. Gamblers were also happy.
Up Next: Northwestern – @ Wisconsin, Ohio State – Bye, (10/19 – vs. Iowa)
Nebraska 39, Illinois 19
For the second straight week, the Huskers went without senior quarterback, and for the second straight week, it did not really matter. Ameer Abdullah lead the way with 20 carries and 225 yards, as well as 2 touchdowns, while Tommy Armstrong added 135 yards through the air and 2 more scores. The game was essentially over early in the 2nd half after the 2nd of Abdullah’s TD runs made it 30-5. Yes, 5.
The Huskers defense showed up in a big way, holding Nathan Scheelhaase to just 13/26, 135 yards, and 2 interceptions.
Up Next: Nebraska – @ Purdue, Illinois – Bye, (10/19 vs. Wisconsin)
Michigan 42, Minnesota 13
If there has been one achilles heal for the Michigan offense this year, it has been interceptions. Through just 4 games, Devin Gardner had 8 of them. On Saturday against the visiting Golden Gophers, the Wolverine offense did not even go to the air until the 2nd quarter, and only attempted 17 passes all day. Gardner completed 13 of those passes for 225 yards and a touchdown, and also contributed another touchdown on the ground. Fitz Toussaint carried 17 times for 78 yards and 2 touchdowns, while true freshman Derrick Green chipped in with 23 yards on 10 carries and another TD.
The Michigan defense was the story of the game, however, holding the Minnesota rushing attack to just 136 yards on 41 carries, and just 281 yards of total offense. The only Gopher TD came on a late 1st quarter pass from Matt Leidner to Maxx Williams that tied the score at 7-7 early on.
Up Next: Michigan – @ Penn State, Minnesota – Bye (10/19 @ Northwestern)
Michigan State 26, Iowa 14
Don’t look now, but the Michigan State offense may have finally figured things out. The Spartans put up 464 yards in Iowa City, and scored the games final 16 points to erase a 14-10 halftime deficit for the 12 point win. Sophomore QB threw for 277 yards and both MSU touchdowns, pacing an offense that did not have their typically reliable ground game (135 yards on 37 carries).
MSU did have their dominating defense, holding the Hawkeyes to just 264 yards, and a remarkably, just 23 of those on the ground. Jake Rudock did throw for the other 241 yards and both Iowa touchdowns, but also had two interceptions.
Up Next: Michigan State – vs. Indiana, Iowa – Bye (10/19 @ Ohio State)
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Topics: Football, Illinois Fighting Illini, Iowa Hawkeyes, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Northwestern Wildcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Penn State Nittany Lions