Sep 21, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers cheerleader cheers during the second half against the San Jose State Spartans at TCF Bank Stadium. The Gophers won 43-24. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten Football Week 8 Recap

The Nittany Lions (and Nebraska Cornhuskers) were both off last weekend, but the other 10 conference teams were in action with 5 games across Big 10 country.  Here’s what you may have missed.

Minnesota 20, Northwestern 17

After so much hype going into the Big 10 season, the Wildcats have now dropped 3 straight, and remain winless in the conference.  While on the other side, the Gophers, who were again without head coach Jerry Kill (at least on the sideline, he did watch the game from the pressbox), picked up a huge road win to move to 1-2 in the league, and pull within 1 win of bowl eligiblity.

The Wildcats were without quarterback Kain Colter and tailback Venric Mark, and the offense showed it.  Trevor Siemian threw 46 times, but completed just 25 of those for 234 yards, a touchdown, and 2 picks.  The Northwestern rushing attack was only able to muster 96 yards.  On the other side, the Minnesota offense only totaled 299 yards (176 of those on the ground), but took advantage of the 3 Wildcat turnovers, including 1 interception that went the other way for 6 points.

Up Next: Minnesota – @ Nebraska, Northwestern – @ Iowa

Michigan State 14, Purdue 0

The MSU offense from the early season reappeared in the steady East Lansing rain Saturday.  Fortunately for Sparty, the same dominating defense that has been a staple of Mark Dantonio’s career remained, as Michigan State ground out a 14-0 win.  Only 1 offensive touchdown was scored, and oddly enough, it came on from junior receiver Tony Lippet, who found TE Andrew Gleichert from 5 yards out halfway through the 4th quarter.  The decisive first touchdown came on a 45 fumble return by Denicos Allen, after Purdue QB Danny Etling was sacked and fumbled in the 2nd quarter.

Connor Cook played his worst game since being named the starter, going just 13/25 for 105 yards.  Jeremy Langford paced MSU on the ground with 131 yards on 24 carries.  Purdue was held to just 66 yards on the ground, and only 160 more through the air against the stout Spartan defense.

Up Next: Michigan State – @ Illinois, Purdue – Bye (11/2 – vs. Ohio State)

Michigan 63, Indiana 47

Just down I-96 in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines and Hoosiers had none of the offensive troubles that took root in East Lansing.  This game would feature 1,323 yards of offense (751 of which came from Michigan), 63 first downs, and 15 touchdowns, and somehow, 6 punts.  Devin Gardner and Jeremy Gallon each had record setting days, with the former going 21/29 for 501 yards for 2 TDs through the air, while adding another 81 yards and 3 scores on the ground.  Gallon would catch 14 of those Gardner passes for a mind blowing 369 yards, including both TDs.  For his part, Fitz Toussaint rushed 32 times for 151 yards and 4 scores.

On the other side, Tre Roberson replaced an ineffective Nate Sudfeld at QB, and went 16/23 for 288 yards and 3 touchdowns, but also a costly late interception as the Hoosiers tried to rally.  Sudfeld completed 8 of 19 for another 122 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT.

Up Next: Michigan – Bye (11/2 – @ Michigan State), Indiana – Bye (11/2 vs. Minnesota)

Ohio State 34, Iowa 24

After trailing by 7 at halftime, Urban Meyer and Ohio State went back to the formula that lead a come from behind victory 2 weeks earlier in Evanston: give the ball to Carlos Hyde.  The big senior back scored the tying touchdown early in the 3rd quarter, and put the Buckeyes ahead for good early in the 4th with his second of two rushing touchdowns.  For the day, Hyde carried 24 times for 149 yards and those 2 scores.  Quarterback Braxton Miller was again impressive, rushing for 102 yards on 18 carries, while efficiently passing for 222 yards and 2 touchdowns, on 22 of 27 passing.

The Iowa offense was able to exploit some holes in the OSU defense, especially in the first half, en route to a 17-10 lead at the break.  Damon Bullock, and Mark Weisman used a straight ahead power running game to combine for 108 yards on just 20 carries.  Jake Rudock was mostly effective, especially to the Iowa tight ends, going 19 of 34 for 245 yards and 3 touchdowns, but also 1 pick that ended the late Iowa comeback attempt.

Up Next: Ohio State – vs. Penn State, Iowa – vs. Northwestern

Wisconsin 56, Illinois 32

The Badgers scored 3 first quarter touchdowns to race out to a 21-0 lead, but Illinois would rally to cut that to 28-17 by halftime.  However, two 3rd quarter scores by Wisconsin ended any hope of an Illinois upset.  The story again for the Badgers was the two headed rushing attack, lead again by Melvin Gordon, and 17 carries for 142 yards and 3 touchdowns.  James White added 98 more yards, and 2 touchdowns on 20 carries.

The Illini, who now stand 0-10 in Big 10 play under Tim Beckman, struggled to get anything going with their rushing game, forcing quarterbacks Nathan Scheelhaase, Reily O’Toole, and Aaron Bailey to shoulder the load.  Those 3 did combine for 319 yards and 2 touchdowns, but it was no match for the powerful Wisconsin rushing offense.

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