B1G Recap: Follow the Bouncing Ball

By Nicholas Jervey on November 3, 2013 at 5:00a
That awkward moment when you lose off a deflection. Again.

On a day where every school except Maryland competed, the Big Ten had arguably its most compelling week of the year. Week Ten saw Hail Mary passes, upsets, overtimes, rushing records, and dashed comebacks. Three games were decided in the final 30 seconds, the marquee Michigan-Michigan State matchup was a spectacular car crash, and the best two games of the day were the least expected.

Nebraska (6-2, 3-1) 27, Northwestern (4-5, 0-5) 24

Jordan Westerkamp caught a Hail Mary pass as time expired to crush the souls of Northwestern fans everywhere.

Both teams came into this game needing a win badly, and for a while it appeared Northwestern would get that win. The Wildcats staked out a 21-7 lead, thanks to three Trayvon Green touchdown runs. Tommy Armstrong Jr. kept Nebraska in the game with a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown, though he would disintegrate in the second half and be benched for Ron Kellogg III. Northwestern's starting quarterback fared no better, as Nebraska tied the game on Avery Moss's 25-yard interception return of Trevor Siemian. The score remained steady until the three minute mark of the fourth quarter, when Northwestern's Tyler Scott intercepted Kellogg III and gave the Wildcats a first-and-goal at the Nebraska 7. Jeff Budzien hit a field goal to put Northwestern up 24-21 with 1:20 remaining, putting the Wildcats tantalizingly close to a fifth win.

Ameer Abdullah made a fantastic play to lead Nebraska to the Northwestern 49 with four seconds remaining, and then Kellogg III, a fifth year senior walk-on, did this:

For the second straight year, Northwestern deflected a game-deciding Hail Mary pass to a wide receiver. Only a month ago, Pat Fitzgerald was rumored to be Southern California's next head coach. Now, only a near-decade of goodwill keeps Northwestern fans from flipping out over his contract, which runs through 2020. To make a bowl, Northwestern has to get it turned around during this bye week before facing No. 21 Michigan on Nov. 16. Lose there, and 5-7 is the bitterest, most likely outcome.

After Stephen Buckley's injury during the game, Northwestern is down to one healthy scholarship running back and all appears hopeless. To quote The Big Lebowski: the goddamn plane has crashed into the mountain

After coming a hair's breadth from firing Bo Pelini for losing to Minnesota the week before, Nebraska came through in incredible circumstances. Neither Kellogg III nor Armstrong Jr. will ever be mistaken for the ever-efficient Taylor Martinez, but bowl eligibility is a comforting safety net before facing greater challenges. The Cornhuskers play at No. 21 Michigan next week, wherein the winner probably has dibs on the Outback Bowl.

#22 Michigan State (8-1, 5-0) 29, #21 Michigan (6-2, 2-2) 6

Michigan State and Michigan clashed in a high-scoring shootout that set new Big Ten records for pfffhahahaha, naw, I'm just messing with you. Michigan State's defense embarrassed Michigan's offense to give the Spartans firm control of the Legends Division.

The game started as a stalemate, with Michigan and Michigan State matching field goals to knot the game at 3-3. In the second quarter, the Spartans used their smothering defense to pin Michigan deep and start drives with great field position. Michigan's second lengthy drive made the game 6-6, and though Connor Cook and Michigan State's offense squandered most of their opportunities, the field position eventually paid off with a 14-yard Bennie Fowler touchdown catch to lead 13-6 at halftime.

In the third quarter, Michigan State's defense continued to stifle Gardner and Toussaint but its offense could only add another field goal. Michigan received its best break of the game when Raymon Taylor intercepted Cook and took the ball into Michigan State territory, but the Wolverines lost 21 yards, punted, and never threatened the lead. Cook scored again to the delight of offensive linemen, Darqueze Dennard intercepted Gardner on Michigan's final sustained drive, and Jeremy Langford shredded the Michigan defense with a 40-yard touchdown run to ice the game.

The stats from this game are gruesome. Michigan has now scored fewer points against Michigan State every year since 2004. The Wolverines had sustained drives on its first, sixth, and twelfth possessions; as the grisly drive chart shows, they lost seven yards on their other ten possessions. Michigan's -48 rushing yards are an all-time school low; even removing sacks and a bad snap that lost 20 yards from the rushing totals, Michigan managed 1.3 yards per carry. For goodness' sake, Al Borges made Jim Bollman look like an effective o-line coordinator yesterday.

Even going against the number one defense in the country, that production is inexcusable. Also inexcusable: Taylor Lewan, who was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty, would have been ejected had referees seen him throwing a punch, and carried on like a petulant freshman rather than an All-American team captain. The Wolverines host Nebraska in Week Eleven.

This is just the game Michigan State needed to get back into the national spotlight. With the Big Ten's only flawless in-conference record besides Ohio State, the Spartans control their own fate in the Legends Division. There were problems with the offense – who calls a three yard crossing route from a five wide receiver set on 2nd and 19? – but it was good enough to complement the defense. Pat Narduzzi is the brains behind Michigan State's brawn, and with a better offensive coordinator the Spartans would be fearsome. Michigan State has a week off before traveling to Lincoln on Nov. 16 to clinch the division.

#24 Wisconsin (6-2, 4-1) 28, Iowa (5-4, 2-3) 9

Iowa had this one. Wisconsin was struggling, the field position was fantastic, and the offense was moving the ball. But Kirk Ferentz's maddening conservatism cost the Hawkeyes a golden opportunity to pull off the upset at home before Wisconsin woke up and ground Iowa to paste.

On several early Iowa possessions, Iowa had the ball in Wisconsin territory – including a 4th and 3 from Wisconsin's 35 with the wind – and on all of those possessions Ferentz punted or kicked a field goal. The early momentum lasted through most of the first half until Wisconsin took the lead with a 44-yard pass to Jacob Pedersen. In the third quarter, Jake Rudock’s interception deep in Iowa territory was followed by a Jared Abbrederis touchdown catch. Shortly thereafter Rudock was injured, prompting C.J. Beathard to come in and struggle in his stead. Beathard doinked an interception off his center's helmet, leading to the the first of two James White touchdown runs to seal the game.

For Wisconsin, the close call is concerning. Melvin Gordon didn’t get many carries and wasn’t efficient; he finished with 17 carries for 62 yards. Abbrederis was injured again, this time his chest, but at least he made the clinching score before the injury. Still, any win helps the Badgers in the polls, including a win against Brigham Young next week.

After some encouraging play against Ohio State, Iowa's offense has done nothing but regress. Where are the innovative sets with three tight ends, the vertical passing game, the novel ways to get Mark Weisman the ball? The Hawkeyes are locked into obvious Weisman runs and predictable short passes, which has led them to no touchdowns in the last 108 minutes of play. They consider this a good play action pass:

Four yards away? Ehhhh, close enough

Next week, Iowa tries to grasp the concept of “scoring” against a fellow conscientious objector to offense, Purdue. If you have a choice between watching Iowa/Purdue and Ludovico treatment, choose Ludovico.

Penn State (5-3, 2-2) 24, Illinois (3-5, 0-4) 17, OT

Though Illinois threatened to snap its historic 17-game Big Ten losing streak, Penn State overcame the Illini with a late field goal and defensive stand in overtime.

Penn State started off with a 14-0 lead, thanks to two lengthy scoring drives capped by Bill Belton and Christian Hackenberg touchdown runs. Illinois managed a drive into Penn State's red zone at the end of the second quarter, but poor clock management by Nathan Scheelhaase forced Illinois to settle for a field goal to make it 14-3 at the half.

In the second half, Illinois took charge. A strong 13-play, 89-yard touchdown drive cut it to 14-10 in the third quarter, and Illinois overcame a Penn State goal line stand to take a 17-14 lead on a Josh Ferguson touchdown catch with 5:30 remaining. It appeared the Illini would earn a rare victory after Bill Belton fumbled the ball away at the Illinois 1-yard-line with two minutes to go, but the Nittany Lions got the ball back with enough time to set up a 35-yard field goal to send it to overtime. Hackenberg threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Carter and Ryan Keiser intercepted Scheelhaase in the endzone to preserve the win.

You're no Meryl Streep, punter. [Tom Fornelli]

Neither team will come away from the game feeling much better. On the Illinois sideline, coming this close to breaking the losing streak and failing is heartbreaking. Penn State doesn't want to play teams as bad as Illinois this tight. At least some Penn State players set career marks: Allen Robinson became the seventh player on Penn State history with 2,000 career receiving yards, and Bill Belton's 201 rushing yards was the first 200-yard rushing performance for the Nittany Lions since Larry Johnson in 2002.

In Week 11, Illinois visits Indiana. Penn State will visit Minnesota.

Minnesota (7-2, 3-2) 42, Indiana (3-5, 1-3) 39

Minnesota used a 50-yard touchdown pass and a strange goal line stand to continue its dream season.

White looks better than cream for Indiana.At least Indiana fell short in stylish helmets.

Minnesota and Indiana have some of the Big Ten's best offenses and worst defenses, so the seesaw nature of the contest was expected; the balance of each offense was unexpected. The Golden Gophers dominated the first two-thirds of the game, going up 35-13 partway through the third quarter on David Cobb's touchdown run. Indiana went on a tear of its own, thanks to Stephen Houston and Tevin Coleman's hundred-yard rushing days.

In a little under a quarter, Indiana scored four touchdowns to go up 39-36 with 5:13 remaining, before Philip Nelson retook the lead for the Gophers with a 50-yard touchdown pass to Maxx Williams. Indiana drove against Minnesota with ease, but the Gophers made an unlikely goal line stand. On second-and-goal at the Minnesota 9 with 25 seconds remaining, Nate Sudfeld threw a lateral to Coleman, who bobbled and dropped the ball. Coleman didn't realize the ball was live, and Aaron Hill recovered the fumble to save the game for the Minnesota.

The rap on Indiana has been its defense's inability to get stops, so the offense failing the team is a surprise. The Hoosiers were favored in this game, and with the loss it's hard to imagine them winning three of their last four (Illinois, No. 24 Wisconsin, No. 4 Ohio State, Purdue) to become bowl eligible.

Minnesota might be the worst 7-2 team in Big Ten history, but it deserves grudging respect for offensive production (573 yards, 325 passing and 248 rushing) and being above .500 in Big Ten play for seemingly the first time since Alexander Jerrems tromped the sidelines. Minnesota goes for win number eight against Penn State next week.

Rutgers (5-3, 2-2) 23, Temple 20

Gary Nova’s 33-yard touchdown pass on 4th-and-10 allowed Rutgers to slip past Temple at home.

The touchdown pass, which completed an eight-play, 72-yard drive, came with 35 seconds left in the game. It capped a fantastic game for Nova, who threw for 371 yards and two other touchdowns. Ruhann Peele secured the victory for Rutgers by recovering a fumble on Temple’s final possession.

The back-and-forth victory against a terrible Temple team is unnerving, but the win stops a slide that had threatened to derail a decent season. The Scarlet Knights have a bye next week, then grasp at bowl eligibility against Cincinnati on Nov. 16.

It'll be hard for Week 11 to live up to Week 10's standards, but Minnesota-Penn State and Michigan-Nebraska ought to be worth your time.

Finally, your moment of Zen: Sparty the Lumberjack.

I'm a Spartanjack and I'm okay/ I sleep all night and I work all day


Comments Show All Comments

Him1stftballl8er's picture

If religion is not allowed to be discussed which is perfectly fine, then please at least have the decency to honor the fact that you have a wide range of readers who do have spiritual beliefs who are extremely offended by spiritually profane remarks such as "the gd plane has crashed into the mountain"...Woody and Urban both are God fearing men. And I personally find it extremely ignorant, hypocritical and classless. Other than that I very much appreciate the coverage 11W shares. Just leave the religious profanity out. Thanks. 

The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the promotion of fools. 

vitaminB's picture

*post removed*

Defiance J's picture

I agree. Thank you for your comment.

Urban John Simon Meyer's picture

Woody and Urban both are God fearing men. And I personally find it extremely ignorant, hypocritical and classless.

I'm pretty certain both of those fine gentlemen have used far, far worse.
I'll grant you ignorant and classless (while respectfully disagreeing- I'm fairly confident the usage was meant as humor). But how in the holy name of The Flying Spaghetti Monster do you get hypocritical? This is not a religious website in any way shape or form. 

vitaminB's picture

But how in the holy name of The Flying Spaghetti Monster do you get hypocritical?

As a gluten-fearing Pastafarian I'm going to have to ask you to watch your tone.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

BWAAA HAAA HAAA... I too have been touched by His Noodly Appendages but not sure if it was gluten free!!!  The humor of my fellow Pastafarians is why I became one!!! 

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Him1stftballl8er's picture

It was hypocritical because while the topic of God is not allowed to be discussed, He is allowed to be damned by the writers posting the material. JMHO. 
Edit: However Nicholas did remove the segment which I very much appreciate. This is the first time I have found myself offended by any of the writings here. Consistently great material. Let us move on and enjoy 9-0!

The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the promotion of fools. 

Nicholas Jervey's picture

It's fine to discuss word choice carefully. I struggled for a while over whether to include the word in question and ultimately decided it was appropriate for the article.

The phrase in question comes verbatim from a scene in The Big Lebowski​; that scene is hyperlinked. Within context, the phrase is funny, and the phrase is common enough that I expected people to understand the allusion rather than think I was tossing it around for no reason. Because it was a quote, I didn't think bowdlerizing it to G-D or goshdarn or leaving it out was appropriate.

This is the first time I've used that word here, and I've still not used any of Carlin's Seven Dirty Words. Thanks for the feedback, and I'm sorry to have caused you offense.

Ceci n'est pas une signature.

Him1stftballl8er's picture

I understand what you're saying, and thank you very much for removing that segment. I hope I didn't cause any hardship. I truly enjoy the articles posted on 11W and I'm also very grateful for the work and effort you put into this site. Thanks again Nicholas for being so respectful and diplomatic on the resolution. If I came off harsh, I too apologize. After 8 years in the submarine strategic weapons systems program in the Navy and time working with Lockheed Martin Space Systems, He introduced Himself to me in a very profound manner and I cannot deny it. That is the one topic where I can't help but be so sensitive. Again, if I came off rude I apologize. 

The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the promotion of fools. 

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

Nicholas, you have nothing to apologize for. Don't let yourself be cowed by those trying to dictate to others.

Jonnferrell's picture

It's a BL reference, but I agree it's probably best left in the movie for this forum.

"I miss Brady Hoke."

buckeyepastor's picture

I think it would have been much easier but far less creative and poetic to simply say of NW that the wheels have come off for them, but to be honest the Lebowski reference was more accurate.   As a pasotor I'm sure I'm supposed to be more offended by it, but yeats and years of hearing people get outraged and offended by swear words but not so much abject poverty and other forms of injustice leaves me a bit less worked up over profanity.  

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

Him1stftballl8er's picture

I agree with you as well on poverty and the other injustices in the world. But that requires much further discussion. And all I can do in that regard is help people as much as I possibly can. The swearing is tolerable, with the exception of gd. That's like nails on a chalk board for me. 

The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the promotion of fools. 

IGotAWoody's picture

Thank you, Pastor, you hit the nail squarely on the head! Profanity is just WORDS. We'd all be much better off saving our outrage for the many immoral ACTIONS that take place around us daily.

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” ~Carl Rogers

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Lighten up Francis!  If you don't like the word and believe it is some slight to some invisible entity in the sky - GREAT - don't use it!!!  There is a very diverse group of individuals on this rock and many of us don't care one way or another.  Either embrace the difference/diversity, grow some thick skin, or refrain from chastising others based on your personal beliefs!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

gobucks5413's picture

I think asking for it to be removed is fine, but questioning decency, calling it ignorant and classless? Seems kind of hypocritical on its own. 
glad you got it taken down...watch big lebowski and you'll laugh at that same quote. 
Go Bucks

vitaminB's picture

Nick didn't remove the line from his column.  He's referring to my incendiary, yet extremely hilarious post.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Sadly I missed it!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced


Lebowski quotes blasphemous? Blasphemy!

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

O-H I-O's picture

Michigan State and Ohio State would be a great way to showcase Big Ten for the conference title game. Let's hope MSU can win out the rest of their schedule so they can jump up to possibly Top 10 and gives OSU a good opportunity to make their case. (I'll love to see OSU's highly touted rushing attack against MSU's rushing defense.)
It may be all for the naught if Alabama/Oregon/FSU doesn't lose as well.  Let's hope Oregon will have a bad game against Stanford this Thursday and Alabama losing to LSU.  Looks like a critical week for the Buckeyes.

"I don't motivate the players. I get them to motivate themselves. That's the only kind of motivation that's worth a damn." - Woody Hayes

thatlillefty's picture

Agreed. We definitely need sparty to win out for a chance at a statement win.

ronhack's picture

C'mon man. The PC police are in here as well! This is a mans web site. We have some of the best and brightest men in here. Some of the most witty and brilliant comments I have read on any sites. It's not vulgar or classless in here. We  are encouraging a nation of wimps.everyone gets a trophy, don't tackle to high, don't tackle to low. Don't touch the quarterback, don't celebrate after making a big hit. It might hurt someone's fillings. Don't swear don't speak of god, don't put up revealing picks.  LIGHTEN UP FRANCIS!

Ron hack

skid21's picture

It might hurt someone's fillings.

Not only might it hurt them but if you hit them high and hard enough it just might knock them completely outta their mouth.

Abe Froman's picture

Up vote for you.  I have posted something similar to your post in the past and was surprised to find that some had issues with it (down voting).  I'm with you and that's a fact jack.

Basking in the wake of mediocrity.....

DudeNick4's picture

I love the Lebowski references

BuckeyeChris's picture

After yesterday I am certain of two things: OSU is going undefeated and... to the Rose Bowl. I have decided to just embrace this and be excited about it. Hell, I might even go (don't tell the wife!). 
I can't control what happens to the teams ranked ahead of us. Our conference (save for possibly MSU ...but HOW did they lose to Notre Dame?!) is awful. 
With all the talk of B1G expansion, how about a trade? The B1G gets Kentucky and we join the SEC North. Just a thought. 

vitaminB's picture

Let's grab MeatChicken and head for the Big 12.

Ethos's picture

college football is cyclical. that conferences time is catching up to it and that is the last ggroup of assholes I want my school to be a part of. 

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

vitaminB's picture

They are assholes indeed, but I'd take the HC/Program cred of TTech, Baylor, Ok, Ok St, WV, TCU and Texas over the muddling bunch of mediocrity that is in the B1G right now.  Hell, even K State has been to a couple of BCS games in recent memory.

Ethos's picture

I was talking about the sec but I get your point. 

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

vitaminB's picture

I also get your point.  I would rather beat 'em than join 'em for sure.

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

I'd take the HC/Program cred of TTech, Baylor, Ok, Ok St, WV, TCU and Texas over the muddling bunch of mediocrity that is in the B1G right now.

I wouldn't and recent history shows that the powers that be at (former) Universities are in agreement. The real world is one where programs are fleeing the Big 12 and the B1G is one of only three conferences that isn't in danger of losing members.

Hovenaut's picture

So next week I get Iowa and Purdue?

Guess I'll invite the Droogs over to the milk bar.

What I'll need then, to give it a perfect ending, will be a little bit of the Ludwig Van.

gobucks5413's picture

Either Oregon or Bama HAS to lose this week right? Things have gone too smoothly

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Ah - life is good!!!  OSU completely dominated Purdue and we got some quality reps from the non starters while the starters got to rest!!!  MSU battered TSUN and that was just awesome to watch!!!  The butt hurt on mgoblog is priceless!  It is GREAT to be a Buckeye!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

gobucks5413's picture

My fat fingers hit down vote instead of up. Will someone please cast a couple up votes to make up for this???

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

No worries mate - just up vote me the next time you want to actually down vote me and we'll be even!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

Gah! That post was witty enough to gain a pass for breaking the first rule of vote club. Damn you!

collisionbend's picture

That giant sucking sound you heard last night was Brady Hoke finally realizing that he didn't have enough BBQ ribs for lunch.

"There's a fine line between perception and reality." -- Luke Fickell

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

The Golden Gophers dominated the first two-thirds of the game; on the whole, Minnesota had 573 yards, 325 passing and 248 rushing.

"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

Seattle Linga's picture

It's a crazy world we live in - how many times did TTUN get in their own way yesterday.