Big Ten Recap Week Six

By poguemahone on October 10, 2010 at 1:00p

The 2nd week of Big Ten play typically doesn't tell you much about how the rest of the season will go, but this week yielded a few surprises (Illinois, Michigan State,) to go along with more expected results (Wisconsin, Ohio State trucking overmatched cellar-dwellers).

Wisconsin 41, Minnesota 23

The Badgers more or less took care of business against the rival Gophers in preparation for next week's game against the Buckeyes. It was dicey for a while though: a scoreless 2nd quarter by the potent Wisconsin offense allowed Minnesota to slowly creep back into the game, and the 14-9 halftime lead for Bret Bielema's team seemed a tad tenuous. It was not. In the second half, they brought out the good knives. John Clay and James White rushed for a pair of touchdowns, pushing the Badger advantage to 35-9. From there on out, the Wisconsin offense coasted, adding another touchdown in the fourth quarter (followed by a failed two-point attempt that riled Tim Brewster). The Gophers scored twice late but a comeback wasn't going to happen. The Gophers travel to West Lafayette next week, while the Badgers will be welcoming the Buckeyes to Madtown next Saturday night.

Illinois 33, Penn State 13

The 24-13 result that sent fully half of Buckeye nation into panic mode last week doesn't look so bad in light of the Illini decking Penn State in Happy Valley yesterday. Redshirt Freshman Nathan Scheelhaase was clearly not intimidated by the Happy Valley environment (and really, who is these days?), completing 15 of 19 passes for 155 yards, a touchdown and a goose egg in the turnover column. Mikel LaShoure and company rumbled for 282 yards on the ground, compared to just 119 the prior week against the Buckeyes. That was part of a 437-yard offensive effort; the Illini's best of the season, topping efforts against teams like Illinois State and Northern Illinois. The end result: the Illini dominated TOP, holding the ball for 38 minutes. Meanwhile, the Illini defense throttled the Penn State offense, which was held to 235 yards, 1/3rd of which came on an 80-yard touchdown against blown coverage. This win might save Ron Zook's job, as impossible as that seemed before the season. The Fighting Zooks will definitely get a tougher challenge from Michigan State next week. Meanwhile, Penn State gets a bye week to lick its wounds before traveling to Minnesota.

Purdue 20, Northwestern 17

Did anyone expect Purdue to win this game? Danny Hope and the Boilers are the consummate turnover-prone, no-defense team, while the Wildcats are the gutty, gritty, blue-collar other adjectives to describe lily-white preppies who happen be good at football team that "just finds a way to win". Instead, it was the Boilers who emerged victorious, on the strength of a 135-yard rushing effort from back-up QB Rob Henry, which included a 67-yard scamper in the 1st quarter that set up a short touchdown run. NW was up 17-13 late in the fourth when Purdue embarked on a 14-play, 68-yard drive, taking the lead on a Dan Dierking touchdown run that gave them a 20-17 advantage. Northwestern put together a late drive to get into field goal range, but Stefan Diemos' field goal was off to the right, and the Boilers had their first conference win of 2010. Purdue comes to the Shoe in two weeks, but they get the Gophers at home on the 16th. The Wildcats get a week off before taking on Michigan State at home.

Michigan State 34, Michigan 17

The Michigan State Spartans notched the biggest win of Mark Dantonio's head coaching career by forcing two red-zone INTs of Denard Robinson that proved to be the difference. The Spartan lead ballooned to 31-10 late in the 3rd quarter on an 8-yard Larry Caper touchdown run that seemed to seal the deal. However, Michigan came back with another score, and was in position to make it a one-possession game down 31-17 before Robinson threw his 3rd pick of the afternoon, setting up a short State field goal and essentially ending all hope of a Michigan comeback. The game was closer than the score would indicate: Robinson overthrew a wide open man in the end zone on UM's field goal drive, and a missed field goal to close the first half meant Michigan left roughly 20 points right on the field, factoring in those two picks. Even so, I can't overstate just how well Sparty needed to play to win this game. In the past, this was the sort of game Michigan State teams always lost. Instead, the Spartans never turtled, never collapsed, and walked out of Ann Arbor with a win. They will likely be favored in every game on their remaining schedule outside of a trip to Iowa on the 30th. The Spartans get another test against upstart Illinois next week, while Michigan gets Iowa at home next week.  Who wants to share a Big Ten title? 


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Buckeye_Mafia's picture

Allow me to be the first to apologize to Tress and the Buckeye players for thinking they were not a great team after their humbling win over Illinois. Obviously PSU is not a powerhouse this season, but the Fighting Zookers laid the farking wood to the Lions in Hapless Valley. Not easy to do even when they are down. And is there a new #1 this week? Who could it be? Hmmmmm. Lets continue to take care of bidnezz Buckeyes. OOOOOOHHHHHHH!!!

"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

M Man's picture

Congrats to the Number 1 rated Buckeyes, in an exclamation-point performance by T. Pryor.

I was at the M-MSU game and Sam described it perfectly.  The big difference in the game were the three picks off Denard, all of which were bad throws and/or bad decisions by Mr. Robinson.  There were also a few dumb drops by our wideouts on some very good throws by Denard.  And, as is our custom, we surrendered 500+ yards to the opposing offense.

Looking down the road at, potentially, OSU and MSU both undefeated (?!?); it appeared to me that the conventional wisdom among Buckeyes was that MSU couldn't possibly play Michigan, Iowa and PSU, all on the road, and remain unbeaten.  Well, they handled Michigan (sigh) and the Nittany Lions are not roaring all that much these days.  (Maybe, in November, there will be some dramatic announcement about Joe Pa's last game being the MSU game that will get them all riled up.)

Illinois goes to East Lansing next week, for Sparty's Homecoming date.  Possible letdown there, I suppose, and that could be a very interesting game.

I warned you all, that you should have been rooting for Michigan to blemish Sparty's record.

Jason Priestas's picture

In the unlikely scenario both teams win out, OSU goes to Glendale and Sparty goes to Pasadena.  That's a win-win for Buckeye fans and their 2nd-favorite team.

Matt's picture

In the event of OSU and MSU winning out and OSU going to Glendale, is MSU to the Rose Bowl for certain?  My understanding is that, should the Rose Bowl lose the Big 10 champion to the title game, it would be forced to select a non-AQ that qualified (it appears that Boise, TCU, and Utah may all fit that bill by season's end).  In that case, you could see OSU in the title game, but the Rose Bowl being forced to not pick MSU.  At the same time, one could argue that the Rose Bowl did not lose the Big 10 champion to the title game -- MSU is also the Big 10 champ in that scenario.  I think the latter argument is a bit strained, however, and that the Rose Bowl would be forced to go the non-AQ route.

It's likely a moot point, as either Sparty or the Buckeyes will drop at least one more game.

Jason Priestas's picture

No, MSU to the Rose wouldn't be certain, but I'm not sure if the Rose is required to pick a non-AQ team, either. If that's the case, an unbeaten Michigan State would be might attractive to the folks in Pasadena.

BuckeyeChief's picture

Just thinking if Sparty goes undefeated, they'll be in the top 10, and get to the Rose Bowl.

"2014 National with it!!!"

Matt's picture

Assuming OSU wins out, they will be in the BCS title game.  I don't see an undefeated MSU team overtaking OSU in the BCS rankings.

Under the current BCS rules:

For the games of January 2011 through 2014, the first year the Rose Bowl loses a team to the NCG and a team from the non-AQ group is an automatic qualifier, that non-AQ team will play in the Rose Bowl.

Barring something unforeseen, at lease one non-AQ team -- either Boise State, TCU, or Utah -- will be ranked highly enough to be an automatic qualifier.  Under the Big 10 rules, the team with the highest BCS ranking goes to the Rose Bowl.  The Buckeyes would be the Rose Bowl team, but for the MNC title game berth.  With the Buckeyes lost to the MNC title game, the Rose Bowl would then need to select at least one non-AQ team to fill the Big 10 champ slot.  That means that either a Big 10 or a Pac 10 team is going to get jobbed.  If Oregon also wins out and goes to BCS title game, the Rose Bowl gets two replacement picks -- one of which must still be a non-AQ team.

This will likely end up pissing off a lot of people in the Pac 10/Big 10.

Jason Priestas's picture

Cool - thanks for the clarification.

Bucksfan's picture

Makes me sick, really.  Boise State and TCU have no business setting foot on Pasadena soil.  Utah I'd at least be able to stomach because they're technically a Pac-10 team.  I hate how the Rose Bowl agreed to this stipulation.  BCS bowls with non-AQ schools are the worst ratings draws.  If there's a Rose Bowl matchup between Boise State and, say, Stanford, who the hell is going to want to watch that?  Michigan State-Stanford would be awesome.  Boise State/TCU vs. either?  No way.  And if the non-AQ school wins, then what do you tell recruits in 2011 who visit Michigan State's locker room and see a giant Rose Bowl mural painted on the wall?  "Oh, right, well we haven't even played in a Rose Bowl in like 40 years, but Boise State just won it last year in our place because they whined about anti-trust suits a while back...."

Ugh.  F*** Boise State.

BuckeyeSaab's picture

Drop one "more" game?  I think you mean drop "a" game.  While technically 1 loss is more than zero saying that a team with no loses will drop one more is awkward as more is generally used as a descriptive when there already is some.

I'm sorry for not being sorry.

RedQueenRace's picture

I had found the rules for Rose Bowl selection and posted them ion response to a question in the comments in apost some time back.   This seems to be a simplified version (someone's interpretation) here:

RedQueenRace's picture

Eh, should have read down.  Someone already answered.

M Man's picture

I get it.  An undefeated OSU just like sorta outranks an undefeated MSU team.  Which is only right, because MSU is, uh, like a little brother...

But you will have something like seven common opponents to crunch in the BCS computers. 

Jason Priestas's picture

The computers are not allowed to take margin of victory into account, so if each team goes 7-0 against the common opponents, it's a wash in their eyes, really.

buckeyedude's picture

I'm not too worried about Sparty. As long as Ohio State wins, MSU is on the outside, looking in. But, the Rose Bowl is not too bad a consolation prize.

We're getting a bit ahead of ourselves here. Too much ball left to play. IO!!!!!!!!!



tampa buckeye's picture

This is like 02 all over again with MSU playing the role of Iowa.  Long way to go, but TP looks sharp and saine gives us a huge lift in the passing game which will get another weapon with stoney back next week.

JakeBuckeye's picture

Donald Washington sighting.

Holy crap, that guy is like a high school acquaintance who you kind of forget about as time passes by. Then it gives you a little bit of a jolt when you see him.

luckynewman13's picture

If the Rose Bowl loses a team to the National Championship game it is required to choose a non-AQ team as a replacement if one is eligible, it was a compromise by the Rose Bowl so they could remain holding the two tie-ins that the they curently have over all other BCS bowls. But if if the Rose Bowl loses both Oregon and Ohio State to the title game, we could see a Boise St./TC/Utah vs. Michigan St. Rose Bowl.

slippy's picture

If MSU finishes undefeated they'll still end up in a BCS bowl.  Just probably won't be the rose if we're undefeated as well.

M Man's picture

I can top that one:

Matt's picture


jamie mac's picture

I'd like to thank Brett Bielema for going for 2 there at the end in order to secure the Over 58. When that didnt work, he allowed his D to let Minny score allowing to Over hit anyway.

Gotta love a coach whose willing to go the extra mile for those of playing the odds!!!!

Jason Priestas's picture

Heh - somehow I can see Bielema with money on the O/U.