Ohio State got some time off this weekend, but it was all well and good because a) the rest was needed and deserved and b) there was an incredible slate of football games across the country. That included a pair of big ones in the Big Ten, but one of them turned out to be a laugher in Madison.
Speaking of laughers, I wonder what it would feel like to be ranked third in the country and then to get beat by Will Muschamp....at home....in double overtime? Just a horrendous showing by Jake Fromm and the Bulldogs against a South Carolina team that was 2-3 before heading to Athens.
But anyway, let's take a look back at the week that was across the Midwest.
No. 10 Penn State 17, No. 17 Iowa 12
Penn State came into the weekend as one of the nation's leaders in both total offense and total defense. But Iowa City can be a strange and dangerous place; like we've all experienced before. In the end, the Nittany Lions pulled out a big road win thanks to its stout defense and a fine performance by true freshman tailback Noah Cain.
Iowa had a chance to get the ball back late in the fourth, but Cain picked up a key first down that allowed Penn State to run out the clock. He finished with 102 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Sean Clifford threw for just 117 yards but did connect with K.J. Hamler for a first-half touchdown.
Iowa actually outgained Penn State on the night (356 to 294), but its two turnovers may have been the difference. Nate Stanley threw for 286 with a touchdown and an interception. The Hawkeye touchdown came via a fourth-quarter strike to Brandon Smith, and it was unquestionably one of the best catches of the season.
No. 8 Wisconsin 38, Michigan State 0
The Badgers were up 17-0 at halftime and Michigan State had managed just 38 yards of total offense. Early in the third quarter, a well-designed fake punt kept a drive alive for the Spartans and I thought it may be the spark Mark Dantonio needed. It proved to all be for not, however, as the second half didn't go much better.
I suppose you at least have to give the Spartan defense credit for containing Jonathan Taylor. While he did score two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving), he managed just 80 yards on 26 carries. That also says something about J.K. Dobbins and the Buckeye offense considering the 323 yards and nearly seven per carry last weekend in Columbus.
The Badger defense was clearly the story of the day as Michigan State ended the game with just 149 yards and a pair of turnovers. Linebacker Zack Baun picked off a Brian Lewerke pass in the fourth quarter and returned it 34 yards for a score. The senior completed just 7 of 16 passes for 53 yards and the pick before being relieved by Rocky Lombardi (who was also terrible).
Wisconsin's defense has now scored four touchdowns on the season. That is the same number of touchdowns they've given up thus far in six games.
Having already played three opponents on the season, Wisconsin has outscored the state of Michigan by a score of 134-14. Please send your thoughts and prayers to the folks up north. Meanwhile, the big ole' meanies in the media made Dantonio mad after the dismantling.
Reporter: Was it a mistake not to bring in a new offensive staff?— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 12, 2019
Mark Dantonio was having none of it. pic.twitter.com/EeLaUNpSIL
Minnesota 34, Nebraska 7
Adrian Martinez didn't suit up for the Huskers, but that shouldn't take away from the performance by the Golden Gophers. P.J. Fleck has Minnesota sitting at 6-0 and their next two games are against Rutgers and Maryland. The Gophs deserve to be ranked this week.
Tanner Morgan was efficient as he completed 8 of 13 passes for 128 yards with a touchdown and no turnovers. The Minnesota ground game pushed Nebraska around to the tune of 322 yards and four touchdowns. Rodney Smith rumbled for 139 and a score while Mohamed Ibrahim added another 84 and found the end zone three times on the night. All-conference wideout Tyler Johnson hauled in five for 109 yards.
Noah Vedral was under center for Nebraska and I suppose things could have gone worse. Vedral hit on 14 of 23 attempts for 135 yards while adding another 49 with his legs. Tailback Dedrick Mills scored the Huskers' lone touchdown. Star freshman Wan'Dale Robinson exited with a foot injury.
No. 16 Michigan 42, Illinois 25
This was a weird one as the Wolverines got up to a 28-0 lead and then proceeded to give up 25 unanswered to the Illini. Michigan's defense came alive in the fourth, however, allowing them to pull away late.
Turnovers continue to be a major issue for Jim Harbaugh's offense as they lost another pair of fumbles on the day. It was a fine showing for the Wolverine ground game with Hassan Haskins (125) and Zach Charbonnet (115) each finding the end zone while surpassing the century mark. Shea Patterson completed just 50 percent of his passes for 194 yards and three scores. He added another touchdown with his legs.
Illinois capitalized on Michigan's miscues but also had a pair of turnovers of their own. Matt Robinson threw for 192 yards and a touchdown. Josh Imatorbhebhe was the game's top receiver with five catches for 102 and a score. Robinson and Dre Brown both ran for touchdowns in the loss.
A 17-point road win certainly isn't the worst thing in the world, but allowing Illinois to get within three points in the fourth quarter isn't exactly encouraging for the Wolverines.
Purdue 40, Maryland 14
The Boilers are still missing its top players in Rondale Moore and Elijah Sindelar, but it didn't matter Saturday against the Terps. Jack Plummer hit on 33 of 41 attempts for 420 yards and three touchdowns. Brycen Hopkins and David Bell both had monster days through the air. Hopkins hauled in 10 passes for 140 yards while Bell – a true freshman from Indianapolis – caught nine for 138 and a pair of touchdowns.
The Terrapin offense has really come back down to earth since the first two games. Tyrrell Pigrome was under center for this one and he threw for 218 yards with two interceptions. He did add 107 yards and a 61-yard rushing score. Javon Leake added seven carries for 79 yards and a touchdown.
Indiana 35, Rutgers 0
Rutgers is a complete and total disaster, folks. Indiana put up 557 yards of total offense while the Scarlet Knights' offensive explosion went for 75. There's really nothing left to say about Rutgers, but quarterback Johnny Langan had an absolutely incredible stat line.
Michael Penix Jr. threw for 282 yards with three scores and one interception. Stevie Scott III had an enormous day rushing for just about 14 yards per carry. He rumbled for 164 yards on 12 carries while former Buckeye commit Sampson James added another 36 yards and a touchdown. Whop Philyor was impressive again with 10 receptions for 182 yards.
Week seven is in the books and Minnesota is movin' on up the power rankings. The schedule hasn't been crazy difficult, but who on earth would have picked the Gophs to be 6-0 midway through October? Barring something unforeseen, they should be 8-0 when they host Penn State on Nov. 9.
The Wolverines got off to a nice road start, but things went south in the second half. The turnover issue is very real for that offense. Three more fumbles with two of them resulting in turnovers? Not a good thing for the fighting Harbaughs.
Night games at Iowa are never fun, so you have to give credit to Penn State for escaping that one with a win. Noah Cain is going to be a special player and the Nittany Lion defense certainly looks to be for real. I think an argument can definitely be made for PSU being the No. 2 team in the conference.
Next week is going to feel a little strange with the Buckeyes kicking off Friday night in Evanston. Iowa hosts Purdue at noon and then we'll get the big one in Happy Valley when the Wolverines come to town for yet another Nittany Lion "White Out."