Big Ten Recap Week 8

By poguemahone on October 24, 2010 at 1:00p

Ohio State bashing Purdue's brains in was really the only true rout in Big Ten play yesterday. Indiana-Illinois looks the part from the box score, but mostly the two played a sloppy game that became lopsided largely as a result of the Hoosiers' penchant for turnovers. Meanwhile, MSU and NW squared off in another comeback classic, and PSU-Minnesota was far more of a back-and-forth affair than it rightfully should have been. At the end of the day, it was Iowa-Wisconsin that changed the dynamic in the Big Ten title race yet again.

Michigan State 35, Nortwhestern 27

Things looked dicey for the Spartans when they went down 17-0 in the first half in Evanston, but a 35-10 run to close the game kept Mark Dantonio's squad unbeaten. Kirk Cousins was instrumental in passing Sparty out of their deficit, completing 29 of 43 passes for 330 yards and three scores, while Edwin Baker paced the ground attack with 10 carries for 73 yards and the game-sealing score with a little over a minute left to play. Northwestern's desperate last drive ended prematurely when Dan Persa - to that point the hero of the game with three rushing touchdowns - threw a pick on the second play. A rally like this only confirms the seeming anti-Sparty nature of this team, which has eschewed its program's proud tradition of mid-season collapses in favor of actually closing out games like a good team.... so far. The Spartans improve to 8-0, but face their biggest test of the season next week when they travel to Iowa City. Pat Fitzgerald's Wildcats, 0-2 in conference play, get a breather next week against hapless Indiana.

Illinois 43, Indiana 13

Illinois picked off Hoosier QB Ben Chappell four times, two of which were ran back for touchdowns in a 43-13 drubbing in Champaign. Indiana actually outgained the Illini by over 100 yards, but those four interceptions, along with a fumble and a blocked punt, turned what could have been a tighter game than most expected into another ugly blowout. Nathan Scheelhaase completed 13 of his 21 passes for two scores and 125 yards and added another 45 rushing on 6 carries, while Mikel LeShoure added 77 of his own yards on 16 carries. The Illini get Purdue at home next week.

Penn State 33, Minnesota 21

This might look like something approaching domination, but it wasn't. The Nittany Lions gave up over 400 yards of offense to the newly-coachless Gophers, including 299 yards passing and three touchdowns by Adam Weber, but a goal-line pick by PSU late in the second quarter kept this game from being competitive throughout. Robert Bolden was solid in the first half, completing 11 of 13 passes for 130 yards against the porous Minny secondary, but went down with an injury and was replaced by Matt McGloin (who, hilariously, is still ahead of Kevin Newsome on the depth chart). McGloin wasn't terrible, going 6 of 13 for 76 yards and a couple touchdown passes in the 2nd and 3rd quarters to keep the game out of reach. For Minnesota, DeLeon Eskridge racked up 111 yards on 26 carries with a long of just 18. In the end, the Gophers outgained PSU by 100 yards (and thus feel Indiana's pain), and still lost by double digits. Things don't get any easier for the PSU D with a visit from Michigan coming up, and the same holds true for the Gophers, who get the Buckeyes in Minneapolis next Saturday night.

Wisconsin 31, Iowa 30

Another week, another Big Ten unbeaten goes down at the hands of Bret Bielema's Badgers. The Hawkeyes certainly seemed to have things under control with timeouts remaining on their final drive, but after the offense converted a 4th and 1 with twelve seconds left on the clock and got into position to stop the clock with a spike, Kirk Ferentz mystifyingly took the last timeout. Adam Robinson caught a shovel pass on the ensuing play and was tackled in bounds. The final seconds ticked off the clock. Iowa's fans were in shock. Iowa's players were visibly livid. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this one. I suppose the Hawkeyes weren't in ideal position to win it before the timeout, needing to attempt a 50+ yarder by a walk-on kicker to go up 33-31, but the still-dire nature of the potential result doesn't excuse the awful decision by Ferentz, typically one of the smartest, most clock-savvy gameday coaches in the entire country. It isn't often you can say a coach genuinely lost the game for his players, but this could be one of those times. With the win, Wisconsin throws a curveball into the Big Ten title race and makes things all the more complicated for the Buckeyes (the Badgers' toughest remaining game? At Michigan on Nov. 20th). No more "Coach Meathead" jokes for the time being. The Badgers get a well-deserved rest before heading to West Lafayette in early November, while Iowa hosts Michigan State next Saturday afternoon.


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warriordan's picture

I wonder whether Michigan will be able to field a defense against us the week after Wisky's bruising (and dirty!) Offense beats on them for 4 quarters!

luckynewman13's picture

OMG...I'm turning into ...a Michigan Fan (screams in pain)

at least for the next couple of weeks

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

Wow. Now its ever more difficsult for us. Now we need to win out, and hope Sparty loses two and Bucky loses atleast one more.

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama

JakeBuckeye's picture

MSU and Wisky each just have to lose one each. If that happens I 100% guarantee we are ahead of both teams in the polls, BCS rankings, and bowl selection if we are to win out.

All that really needs to happen is the defeating of Sparty by Iowa and a slip up by Wisconsin. Both are VERY likely to happen in my humble opinion. People are freaking out over absolutley nothing.

BigRedBuckeye's picture

What is "more difficult"?

Someone correct me if I am wrong. If Sparty loses once, and both we and Wisky win out, it creates a 3 way split for Big Ten Champion. We put that in our back pocket and move on to determining who plays in the Rose Bowl. 

As best I can tell, if there is a THREE way tie, there are a series of tie breakers, none of which apply to the situation we'd have (Sparty beats Wisky; Wisky beats OSU; OSU doesn't play Sparty), until you get to BCS ranking.  To reach this situation, Sparty has to lose  (and thus lose late in the season, most likely to an eventual 3-loss Iowa team, or perhaps a pretty mediocre PSU team), and presumably the late loss would drop them below both us and Wisky.

The projections between us and Wisky are very tight right now, but we could very well come out on top (and thus represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl) regardless of the head to head result. Both OSU and Wisky have 4 games remaining; Wisky gets Purdue, Indiana, scUM, and the Nerds. We get Minny, PSU, Iowa, and scUM. Comparing the strength of those remaining schedules, you see how we get a bump--the 2 scUM games cancel out, Minny cancels out, more or less, with Indiana, and then PSU and Iowa > than Purdue and the Nerds.

See here:

And we'll drink to old Ohio, 'Til we wobble in our shoes! 

warriordan's picture

Yes. Also, voters are going to ask who's the better team based on rankings. Right now, we look better and I wouldn't expect that to change if both teams win out.


Total Offense 20

Scoring Offense 6

Total Defense 3

Scoring Defense 9


Total Offense 35

Scoring Offense 19

Total Defense 25

Scoring Defense 34

btalbert25's picture

Iowa is going to beat Michigan State.  Wisconsin will lose a game.  If neither happens so be it, then we go to the Capital one bowl as a 1 loss top 5 team.

Kyle Rowland's picture

A one-loss Ohio State is guaranteed an at-large BCS bowl. There is no way they'd be left out. Remember, it is all about money. OSU = $$$. Fans, TV ratings, etc. 

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

And lose to a horrible SEC team. Sweet! 0 & 10!!! 0 & 10!!! I can hear the chant now from the LSU or South Carolina fans....

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama

gravey's picture

...and Ferentz wins the Les Miles Excellence in Clock Management Award ....but will still finish ahead of Tress in B10 coach of the year voting.

KenK's picture

+1 because clock management is not a criteria for competent coaching. KF will get his kudos, because he does more with less. Or something like that.


Good move, I was thinking along the same lines as the "Les Miles award" as well. Well done.

Johnny Hooker: "He's not as tough as he thinks". Henry Gondorff: "Neither are we".

nickma71's picture

I still like Dino. OSU would have won a couple extra games with him on our side. I don't mind if MSU wins out. My gut says Wisconsin goes down. No way they win after playing over their heads and blowing their wad in the win against OSU. Thanks again, Kirk. Rushing 2 and dropping 9 on a punt when Wisconsin can't afford to punt? Yeah, give him coach of the year, again.

ToledoBen's picture

What I don't understand is how Sparty has to come from behind against N'Western and then moves up in the polls? Does that make sense to anyone?!

btalbert25's picture

Well if winning close games and pulling out wins in the last few minutes against inferior teams disqualifies you from moving up in the polls, I guess there wouldn't be a crystal football in Columbus from 2002.