Michigan State 28, Penn State 22
Big ups to Michigan State for taking care of business in a game surprisingly few thought they would pull out. It's doubtful they'll make a more attractive option for an at-large bid than the Buckeyes - and thank goodness too - but it's still nice to see Mark Dantonio roll up 11 wins at a place where that seemed almost impossible just a few short years ago. Kirk Cousins was efficient, completing 17 of his 22 passes for 152 yards and 2 scores, while Edwin Baker rolled up 110 yards and chipped in another touchdown on 27 carries. Matt McGloin - whose personal failures are always a pleasure - went 23/43 for two touchdowns and a pick, tossing one of those touchdowns late to close the gap to six points. Michigan State easily recovered the onside to seal the win. The Nittany Lions finish one game above .500 on the season, but hey, the Legendary Joe Paterno is back next season! Good luck with that, Nits, as well as that 2011 recruiting class, which is currently smaller than Thad's last roundball haul.
Purdue 31, Indiana 34
By far the best conference game of the day came between two cellar-dweller rivals playing for nothing more than pride and bragging rights. Down 31-28 late in the fourth, the Hoosiers took the ball all the way to the Boilermaker eight yard line. The potential game-winning touchdown was too high on 3rd down, so Indiana's kicker was brought on to tie the game at 31. In overtime, Boiler QB Rob Henry threw an interception to IU linebacker Jeff Thomas on Purdue's first offensive possession. On IU's possession, Mitch Ewald's kick split the uprights and sent Danny Hope's team to 4-8 on the season, a worse overall record than his first season in West Lafayette. Neither team will make a bowl game, but Bill Lynch has this win as a feather in his cap when he meets with the AD for a post-season evaluation. (Ed. note: Shows how much I know: Indiana is reportedly getting ready to can Bill Lynch)
Wisconsin 70 , Northwestern 23
The Badger offensive machine rolled again on Saturday as Bret Bielema's team scored 70 or more points for the third time this season. Montee Ball got first dibs on the end zone, scoring the Badgers' first two touchdowns of the day in the 1st quarter. Then Scott Tolzien took over, tossing four touchdowns in the second quarter and completing 14 of 19 passes 190 yards in just over one half of serious action. For the second straight week, the Badgers were able to coast through the entire second half, effortlessly putting up 21 points (7 of which came on a late pick six). It was an impressive display for the Badgers, who are hoping to impress voters enough to keep the Buckeyes at bay in the BCS standings so that they can head to their first Rose Bowl since Ron Dayne was on campus. With the head-to-head win over Ohio State, I think it's fair to say the Badgers have already earned their shot at the Rose Bowl (to perhaps play the TCU Horned Frogs?)
Minnesota 27, Iowa 23
As much fun as it was to throttle Michigan for the umpteenth straight time yesterday, watching Iowa and Miami - the closest approximations Ohio State has to quality wins on the season - go down to more or less hapless foes in their final regular season games was really a downer. The 'Canes lost at home, in overtime, to a mediocre USF team whose starting quarterback finished 4/12 passing. For this performance, Miami fired their coach. Iowa managed to outdo them. After letting the 2-9 Gophers build a 17-7 lead, the Hawkeyes stormed back to cut the deficit to three in the fourth quarter. They grabbed their first lead of the game on a Ricky Stanzi touchdown pass to Marvin McNutt to make it 24-20 with 11 minutes left. If you've watched Iowa this year, you know what comes next, even against arguably the worst team on the schedule: a defensive collapse. After forcing a punt on the Gophers' first possession following the go-ahead touchdown, the Hawkeye offense failed to bleed the clock. After the inevitable punt, Adam Weber passes of 40 and 19 yards put the Gophers at the Iowa 18. Four plays and two minutes later, Duane Bennett took the rock straight up the gut of the Iowa defense for a six-yard, go-ahead touchdown. Iowa's Marcus Coker - otherwise promising up to this point in the season - fumbled on the ensuing possession, and the defense couldn't keep the Gophers from running out the clock. Iowa is a 7-5 football team, despite returning the majority of personnel from an 11-2 squad the won the Orange Bowl in convincing fashion. The only good news that may come out of this is that the Minnesota AD could in fact be stupid enough to remove the interim tag from their head coach to save themselves the embarrassment of getting turned down by Brady Hoke, thus rendering them irrelevant for the next five years. It's unlikely, but as West Virginia football fans know, anything can happen.
Every Big Ten conference member is done with their regular season save Illinois, who'll take on Fresno State in Fresno next week.