I'm not going to lie. The twisting of the dagger yesterday, after Michigan drove it in, was Jason using this comedic masterpiece as his choice of photo for the recap of "The Game." I was planning on using it myself, as it was one of the highlights of my day and thought you all would appreciate it.
I've seriously been watching that thing for hours, and it makes me laugh about as hard as I did every time Mike Hart ran his mouth during his time at Michigan. I was bummed that Jason beat me to it (but check out the animated version above!), it almost made the loss a distant memory. Almost.
Speaking of distant memories, let's move on. Everyone in the B1G played this week, with Wisconsin securing their spot as the Leaders Division representative in the B1G Championship Game, with their decisive win over Penn State. The Badgers will play the Legends Division winner, Michigan State, in Indianapolis on Saturday.
In case the thought of another with the B1G title has you down, maybe this will get you pumped for the potential that lies ahead.
nebraska 20, Iowa 7
After a scoreless first quarter, Nebraska kicked things off1 in the second with a field goal less than four minutes in. Iowa eventually punted, after driving down the field to Nebraska's 35 but failing to produce any yardage on a 3rd and 13. Rex Burkhead almost single handedly led the Huskers down the field, setting up a 6 yard touchdown pass from Kyler Reed, and bringing Iowa's deficit to 10-0 before the half.
Both teams opened up the half with a futile possession of their own, followed up by Nebraska driving to the Iowa 3-yard line, and settling for a field goal with 4:42 remaining in the third quarter, bringing the score to 13-0. Iowa followed up by fumbling the ball at the Nebraska 48, recovered by Husker Lavonte David. Rex Burkhead proceeded to get the Huskers the first down to the Iowa 38, when a 16-yard personal foul penalty pushed them back again. Three incomplete passes by Taylor Martinez resulted in a Nebraska punt.
It wasn't until the fourth quarter that Nebraska scored again, opening up the quarter at their own 26-yard line and, on a series of runs by Burkhead and a couple big passes by Martinez, scoring a touchdown with 11:25 to go in the game, 20-0 Nebraska.
With just over five minutes left in the game, Iowa finally put together a nice drive, with James Vandenberg passes getting the Hawkeyes from their 34 yard line to the Nebraska 2. Marcus Coker rushed for the touchdown, bringing the score to 20-7, with 3:26. Iowa's on-side kick was recovered by Nebraska, who proceeded to go three and out, but with way too many incompletele passes by Vandenberg, the final score remained 20-7.
Husker Locker said after the game, "Call Rex Burkhead’s final tote of the rock what you want, but he deserved the record for carries after his day/season. Speaking of Superman, he was responsible for over 72 percent of Nebraska’s rushing yardage and over 41 percent of the Cornhuskers’ entire offensive output. The gameplan was vanilla, but when you have a weapon like Burkhead and an opponent that can’t stop him, why mess with a good thing?"
MICHIGAN state 31, northwestern 17
Michigan State, with their spot in the Big Ten championship game already secured, took on Northwestern in Evanston on a rainy day, and racked up their 10th win this year.
The game was tied up at 3, early in the second quarter, but the Spartans were able to score a touchdown with 1:40 left in the half, on a Le'Veon Bell run, bringing the score to 10-3. Northwestern then went three and out and was forced to punt. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Michigan State's Keshawn Martin returned the punt 57 yard for a touchdown, sending the teams in at halftime with a 17-3 score, Spartans.
Northwestern opened up the second half with a nice drive, including a 69 yard pass from Dan Persa to Drake Dunsmore, putting the Wildcats at the Michigan State 3 yard line for a first down. Dan Persa scored the touchdown, hitting Jeremy Ebert for a 2-yard pass on 2nd and goal, with 13:02 left in the third. 17-10, Spartans.
Michigan State capped their next drive with a 33-yard pass from Kirk Cousins to BJ Cunningham for a touchdown, making it a two score game again, at 24-10.
Northwestern eventually scored again with Dan Persa hitting Demetrius Fields from 12 yards out with 13:57 left to play, 24-17, Spartans. Both teams went three and out after that, and Michigan State scored again with 5:17 left to play, again with a Kirk Cousins 29-yard pass to BJ Cunningham.
Northwestern was able to drive to the Michigan State 27 yard line, but the possession ended in Dan Persa getting sacked by Spartan Marcus Rush on a critical 4th and 18, with 3:00 left to play. Final score was 31-17, Michigan State. Though Northwestern was never really in it, both Cousins and Persa managed over 70% completions, over 200 yards, and two touchdowns.
After the game, Persa talked about their high expectations coming into the season, and how it was tough to not achieve those goals. Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald added, "It drives me crazy when we don't win and it drives me up a wall. I expect to win and I expect to win everything we do. To not do that six times this year is disappointing."
purdue 33, indiana 25
Purdue was able to end their season with a win over Indiana, possession of the Old Oaken Bucket and bowl eligibility in front of a crowd of 42,000. Now, they wait to see what their plans will be in the postseason.
With a 14-7 lead by Indiana to end the first quarter, the Boilermakers got their act together and outscored the Hoosiers 16-3 in the second, sending the game into halftime with a 23-17 lead.
After a completely irrelevant third quarter, the Boilermakers were able to manage another field goal, this one from 22 yards out, with just over 13 minutes left in the game, 26-17, Boilermakers. The Hoosiers then went three and out, and Purdue capitalized on a 50 yard run by Akeem Hunt to the Indiana 5-yard line, by scoring a TD with 11 minutes to play on an Antavian Edison 5-yard touchdown run. The Boilermakers then led 33-17.
Indiana was able to put together a nice drive, including a 41-yard run by Stephen Houston to the Purdue 18. D'Angelo Roberts eventually scored on a 5-yard run on 1st and goal, with just over 8 minutes left, bringing the score to 33-25 Purdue, after Indiana's successful two point conversion.
Neither team was able to put any more points on the board, and the final score remained at 33-25. Both teams had 100 yard rushers, with Purdue's Hunt getting 100 yards on 10 carries and Indiana's Houston with 129 yards on seven carries.
Hammer and Rails said, after the game, "Coach Hope will get another year now, but I am not confident in that year because of the inconsistencies we have seen. We're still a very undisciplined team that makes a ton of mistakes, but we at least have our Bucket back and the players get the reward of a bowl game. Next year needs to be better, but it is not here yet."
minnesota 27, illinois 7
Remember when Ohio State beat an undefeated Illinois team halfway through the season, capitalizing on Boom Herron's return and thinking good things were ahead2? That was kind of funny. The Fighting Zookers completed a six game losing streak Saturday, to Minnesota, of all teams. Maybe all the Illini really wanted this year was bowl eligibility?
After both teams went scoreless in the first quarter, Minnesota managed to shut out Illinois 20-0 in the second quarter. The Gophers took advantage of an Illinois fumble at their own 23 yard line, and Minnesota's Marqueis Gray ran it in 16 yards for a touchdown with just under 13 minutes left in the half. Another drive for Minnesota, including a few nice passes by Gray, resulted in touchdown pass to John Rabe from 8 yards out.
Illinois went three and out, and Minnesota scored a field goal, sending the game into halftime with a 20-0 lead. The game was really over at that point. Both teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter, including a Marqueis Gray 14 yard run with nine minutes left in the quarter, and an 11 yard rush by Illinois' Troy Pollard with just over four minutes left in the quarter.
A completely scoreless 4th quarter resulted in a final score of 27-7, giving the Golden Gophers just their third win of the season.
The Daily Gopher, though pleased with the win, said, "Loved this game and loved the effort. This season was a long one that was sometimes hard to watch, but I think the program is headed in the right direction. While this is a great win for the Gophers, there is another history lesson to be learned here. Playing well and even winning to end the season may not mean anything for next year. Clearly the momentum and positivity from last year's wins over Illinois and Iowa did nothing for 2011
wisconsin 45, penn state 7
Setting up a rematch of the instant-classic "Rocket" game next week, Wisconsin handled Penn State, well, handily. The Nittany Lions drew first blood with a Matt McGloin 44 yard touchdown strike to Curtis Drake, just over six minutes into the game. Once they awoke the sleeping Badger giant, it was all over for Penn State.
Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson responded with his own 21 yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, to Jared Abbrederis.
McGloin then threw a pass... to Wisconsin DB Shelton Johnson. Wisconsin was able to score again on that possession, bringing their lead to 14-7, right at the beginning of the 2nd half.
After taking turns at unsuccessful drives, Wisconsin was back on offense, Russell Wilson and Montee Ball rolled down the field... and found their way back in the endzone, thanks to a 2-yard run by Montee Ball.
Penn State then fumbled the kickoff return, handing the ball right back to the Wisconsin offense. The Badgers then wasted no time, with Russell Wilson connecting with Nick Toon for a 4 yard touchdown pass. After an ineffective 37 seconds by the Penn State offense, the teams went into halftime with a Wisconsin 28-7 lead.
The second half was much more of the same. Penn State started with the ball, and proceeded to go three and out, with Wisconsin promptly scored yet another touchdown on, yet another, Montee Ball rush to the endzone, this one for 9 yards and bringing the Wisconsin lead to 35-7. Penn State, then, was actually able to drive to Wisconsin's 25 yard line, but failed to convert on a 4th down.
The Badgers eventually scored another touchdown in the 3rd, thanks to Montee Ball's 18 yard run with 5:28 left in the third quarter. They also opened up the 4th quarter, with a 44 yard field goal, bringing the score to eventual final score of 45-7.
Bucky's 5th Quarter pointed out after the game, "Ball ran for 156 yards and four touchdowns, setting an NCAA and Big Ten record in the process. He now has at least two touchdowns in 12-straight games, breaking the previous NCAA record of 11 set by Barry Sanders. He also continues to chance down Sanders' record of 39 total touchdowns in one season, set in 1988. Ball now has 34 touchdowns on the season.
- 1 I promise, no pun intended.
- 2 In fairness, the Wisconsin game was pretty sweet.