The regular season's penultimate weekend didn't have too many surprises across the country, and the same can pretty much be said for the Big Ten. Maryland put up a valiant effort at home, but Ohio State's struggles were hardly a surprise considering it's been the same song and dance nearly every week thus far in 2018.
Dwayne Haskins made his homecoming and showed up in a big way against the Terrapins. He shook off a bad third-quarter pick six and displayed some surprising mobility in leading the Buckeyes to an overtime win. J.K. Dobbins toted the rock 37 times in Mike Weber's absence and Rashod Berry came through with a crucial catch on a gutsy fourth-down call.
What else is there to say about Ohio State's defensive woes? Brendon White's strong play and a solid performance in East Lansing perhaps gave us all some hope, but the Buckeyes were gashed repeatedly by a Maryland offense that ran the ball at will through much of the game.
Ohio State moved to 10-1 and is now looking at its toughest test of the season next week in Columbus. Elsewhere, the Wolverines didn't put together their best performance and there were two close contests in Lincoln and West Lafayette.
No. 4 Michigan 31, Indiana 20
Things got a bit chippy in Ann Arbor as the Wolverines came away with a 31-20 victory. The Hoosiers went into the half with a 17-15 lead thanks in part to some shenanigans when Michigan was getting ready to add some points before the clock hit zero.
FOOTAGE HERE: Indiana football player INTENTIONALLY kicks football out of Referees grasp, ref cant spot ball in time, clock expires. pic.twitter.com/s5wPphSLZK— Michigan Football-Cast (@MichiganFBCast) November 17, 2018
Indiana moved the ball a bit to the tune of 385 yards of total offense but sputtered in the game's second half. Peyton Ramsey threw for 195 with a score and a pick. Tailback Stevie Scott had a big day rushing for 139 yards and a touchdown.
There were some questionable blocks by the Indiana linemen that left Michigan fans clamoring for flags and ejections. Chase Winovich left the game with an injury but honestly this was the kind of play that happens in every game. Obviously if the Hoosiers knew he was in pain then it's totally unacceptable, but it seemed like a pretty typical block and follow through to me.
Wow. Bush league play pic.twitter.com/alLSbms964— David Noe (@DavidRNoe) November 17, 2018
There have been conflicting reports on the severity of Winovich's injury. One report came out stating he would miss the remainder of the season with a broken collarbone, but when questioned about it after the game, Jim Harbaugh stated that the x-rays came back negative on his star defender.
As for the Wolverine offense, Shea Patterson completed 16 of 28 passes for 250 yards with a touchdown and an interception (his first in over a month). Karan Higdon led the ground game with 101 yards and a score while Patterson chipped in with another 68 yards on nine carries. Tight end Zach Gentry was the Wolverines' leading pass-catcher with two grabs for 83 yards. Kicker Quinn Nordin was held out due to an illness. Backup Jake Moody booted a new school record six field goals.
No. 22 Northwestern 24, Minnesota 14
Plenty of folks had this one circled as a trap game after Northwestern clinched the West Division last week with the win over Iowa. The Wildcats came to town as a mere 2.5-point favorite but had control the whole way through en route to a 10-point road win.
Clayton Thorson threw for 230 yards and added a rushing touchdown but it was Isaiah Bowser who did most of the scoring for the Wildcats. The true freshman tailback didn't have the most efficient outing as he rushed for just 85 yards on 29 carries, but he did find the end zone twice on the day.
Tanner Morgan completed 19 of 32 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown. Morgan was picked off twice on the day by Wildcat safety (and Toledo native) Nate Hall. Mohamed Ibrahim was the game's top rusher with 98 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Tyler Johnson hauled in eight passes for 88 yards and a score.
Nebraska 9, Michigan State 6
If you were looking for some excitement this weekend then I pray you steered clear of this one. It was a slow game filled with defense, field goals, and snow flurries as Husker kicker Barrett Pickering connected on all three of his attempts – each of which came in the final quarter – including the 47-yard game-winner.
Adrian Martinez threw for 145 yards and added another 18 with his legs. Tailback Devine Ozigbo led the Husker ground game with 18 caries for 74 yards as he's now surpassed the 1,000-yard mark on the season.
Rocky Lombardi got the nod for the Spartan offense and the signal-caller had a rough go at it. He completed just 15 of 41 attempts for 146 yards and an interception. Connor Heyward was Michigan State's leading rusher and receiver. He rumbled for 80 yards and hauled in five passes for 78.
No. 14 Penn State 20, Rutgers 7
Trace McSorley recorded win No. 30 and is now the winningest quarterback in PSU history. He threw for 183 yards with a pair of scores and one interception. Miles Sanders rushed for 88 yards while K.J. Hamler was McSorley's top target. The electric redshirt freshman caught five for 71 yards. Tight end Pat Freiermuth hauled in both of the touchdown passes.
The Scarlet Knight offense managed just 234 yards with three turnovers and also came through with what was perhaps the most Rutgers thing I've ever seen.
Rutgers runs 'Philly Philly' on 4th-and-2. It was executed to perfection, but Giovanni Rescigno could not make the catch. Rutgers turns it over on downs. pic.twitter.com/XOF1xxKyMa— Brian Fonseca (@briannnnf) November 17, 2018
Raheem Blackshear was the game's leading rusher with 102 yards on 22 carries. He scored Rutgers' lone touchdown which didn't come until midway through the fourth quarter.
Wisconsin 47, Purdue 44 (3OT)
Jonathan Taylor ran for 321 yards in a game that was probably the Big Ten's best of the weekend. Yes, that is three hundred and twenty-one yards which is a lot even by Wisconsin standards. He dashed for an 80-yard score in the third quarter and found the end zone twice in overtime; including the game-winner.
Backup quarterback Jack Coan was again under center for Paul Chryst. Purdue was up by 14 with seven minutes left in the game, but Danny Davis caught two late touchdown passes to tie things up. The first one may have been the catch of the year.
Rondale Moore is still ridiculously talented as the true freshman caught nine passes for 114 yards and two scores against the Badgers. David Blough put together a fine showing in his final home game completing 31 of 46 passes for 386 yards and four touchdowns. Isaac Zico and D.J. Knox also hauled in touchdown passes.
For Jonathan Taylor, the 321-yard performance is far and away a new career high. His previous best came earlier this year when he ran for 253 and three scores against New Mexico. It's the third-best performance by a Badger running back behind Melvin Gordon's 408 yards vs. Nebraska in 2014 and Ron Dayne's 339 against Hawaii in 1996.
Iowa 63, Illinois 0
The Hawkeyes had lost three in a row before they went into Champaign and absolutely demolished the Illini. There's not a whole lot to say about this one except that Illinois failed to even show up in the 63-0 drubbing.
Iowa found the end zone nine times courtesy of three passing scores, four rushing, a fumble recovery by the defense, and a 61-yard punt return. Nate Stanley connected on 13 of 21 passes for 178 yards with the three scores and one pick. Mekhi Sargent and Toren young each accounted for a pair of the team's four rushing touchdowns. Sargent ran for 121 yards while Young added another 62. The Hawkeye defense held Illinois to just 231 yards and forced four turnovers.
Not too many changes in the power rankings this week. The top-three remains the same while the Spartans fall all the way down to the No. 8 slot. Is it perhaps a little unfair to have a 4-7 Nebraska ahead of a 6-5 Michigan State? Maybe it is, but the Huskers took down the Spartans in Lincoln and Scott Frost has them playing some solid football late in the season.
There's just one week left and I still don't really have a feel for Northwestern. Obviously the Wildcats are a hot team but I'm not sure what kind of fight they'll put up against Michigan or Ohio State in Indianapolis.
I had the chance to watch much of the Wisconsin/Purdue game and that was definitely a fun one. You had to feel bad for those poor Boilermaker defenders as they tried to get Jonathan Taylor to the ground. Could that have been Jeff Brohm's final home game in West Lafayette?
Next week Ohio State plays Michigan for all the marbles and College GameDay will be on hand in Columbus. Northwestern hosts Illinois and the Cornhuskers make the trip to Iowa City. The Terps venture to Beaver Stadium and Wisconsin will welcome the Gophers to town.
The opening line for The Game will be released later today. What are you thinking the spread will be? My guess is the Wolverines will open as about a field-goal favorite.
West Virginia went down yesterday, but does Ohio State still need Oklahoma or Washington State to lose another one to have any shot at the playoffs?