There were only 3 other Big 10 games Saturday in addition to PSU’s blowout loss in Columbus, but that did not diminish the action. Here’s what you missed:
Minnesota 34, Nebraska 23
Minnesota rolled up 430 yards of offense, 271 of which came on the ground, controlled the time of possession, and forced 2 Nebraska turnovers en route to the Gophers’ first win over the Cornhuskers since 1960. Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez returned form injury, but struggled both throwing (16/30, 139 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), and on the ground (8 carries, 16 yards).
The Huskers raced out to a quick 10-0 lead halfway through the first quarter, but the Gophers rallied for the next 17 of the next 20 points to lead 17-13, and opened that margin up to 27-13 late in the 3rd quarter. The win marks the 6th of the season for Minnesota, and a 2nd straight year of bowl eligibility. Nebraska falls to 5-2, and 2-1 in the Legends division.
Up Next: Minnesota – @ Indiana, Nebraska – vs. Northwestern
Michigan State 42, Illinois 3
Don’t look now, but Sparty is 4-0 in the Legends Division, and in control of their own destiny when it comes to a 2nd trip to the B1G Championship in 3 years. The dominant defense was again on display, holding the Illini offense to just 128 yards of total offense, and just 25 on the ground. Connor Cook continued his maturation with a 15/16, 208 yard, 3 touchdown day. The story of the day, however, was the Spartan rushing attack, which totaled 269 yards. Jeremy Langford again lead the way with 104 yards and 2 TDs on 22 carries, but Delton Williams and Nick Hill added 78 and 70 yards respectively.
The Illini remain winless in Big 10 play over 17 straight conference games, the last 11 of which have come under Tim Beckman. After starting 3-1, Beckman is now forced to find 3 wins in the final 5 games of the year, or the Illini will again miss a bowl game.
Up Next: Michigan State – vs. Michigan, Illinois – @ Penn State
Iowa 17, Northwestern 10
After starting 4-0, and being talked about as a Big 10 title contender, it would seem the Wildcats peaked in the first half against Ohio State, having now dropped 4 straight, and in danger of not even qualifying for a bowl game. The Hawkeyes jumped out to a 10-0 lead early in the 2nd quarter, and held off Northwestern in the 2nd half to force OT. Iowa scored a TD on the first possession, and stopped the Wildcats for the win.
It was not a stellar day for either offense, with the Cats outgaining Iowa 329-306. Northwestern put up 225 yards on the ground, but 2 fumbles proved to be too much to overcome.
Up Next: Iowa – vs. Wisconsin, Northwestern – @ Nebraska
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