We can all rejoice now that week 10 is behind us. The Big Ten lineup wasn't great and there were only a handful of national games that were really worth watching. Ryan Day and the Buckeyes are done with their off weeks and now will get a pair of snoozers before two massive matchups to close out the regular season.
Ohio State certainly wasn't the only top team getting some time off. The Badgers and Nittany Lions also got some rest as the Big Ten had just four games on display this weekend. While none of the contests were particularly intriguing, the fine folks down in Lincoln continue to experience some tough times.
No. 14 Michigan 38, Maryland 7
Slow starts have been a problem for Jim Harbaugh this season. That wasn't the case yesterday as true freshman Giles Jackson housed the opening kickoff and Michigan got up 14-0 after just about five minutes of play. Some sluggishness came after the quick start, but a fake punt led to another touchdown, a 21-0 halftime lead, and the rout was officially on.
The camera angle on this kickoff return pic.twitter.com/wvDlgANdnr— ESPN (@espn) November 2, 2019
Zach Charbonnet scored his 10th and 11th rushing touchdowns on the season, which is a new Wolverine freshman record. His 28 yards on eight attempts wasn't the most impressive showing, however. Hassan Haskins again led the way on the ground as he rushed for 60 yards and a score on 13 carries. Shea Patterson didn't have to do a whole lot again. The senior hit on 13 of 22 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown.
The only real bright spot for Maryland came via a 97-yard kickoff return touchdown for Javon Leake. Josh Jackson completed 9 of 20 passes for 97 yards with a pick. Anthony McFarland Jr. was the Terps' leading rusher with 60 yards on 14 carries. Mike Locksley's offense managed just 233 yards against the stingy Michigan defense.
Indiana 34, Northwestern 3
The Wildcats are getting dangerously close to being neck and neck with Rutgers. Pat Fitzgerald's posse came to Bloomington ranked No. 129 in total offense; one spot ahead of Old Dominion for wost in America. It showed absolutely no signs of life last night in what was a thorough beatdown at the hands of the Hoosiers.
Michael Penix Jr. and Peyton Ramsey combined to throw for 270 yards and a touchdown courtesy of the latter. Stevie Scott III led the way on the ground with 116 yards and a pair of scores. Scott added another touchdown on a 20-yard reception. Penix also found the end zone with his legs.
The Hoosier defense held Northwestern under 200 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers. Wildcat quarterbacks combined to go just 12 of 31 for 112 yards as the strange Aidan Smith/Hunter Johnson rotation continues to struggle.
That's four straight conference wins as Indiana is now 7-2 with losses against the Buckeyes and Spartans. Tom Allen's squad may sneak into the Top-25 when it's released later today.
Purdue 31, Nebraska 27
It was a back-and-forth battle as Drew Brees looked on in West Lafayette, but some late trickeration gave the home team the win. With just over a minute left, Purdue drove down the field and capped things off with a nifty end around to true freshman David Bell. The nine-yard score and subsequent defensive stand were too much for Scott Frost and the Huskers.
Jack Plummer threw for 247 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions before leaving with an ankle injury that's expected to keep him out for the rest of the season. King Doerue was the game's leading rusher with 71 yards and a score. Brycen Hopkins hauled in eight receptions for 97 yards as the Boiler offense amassed 449 yards on the afternoon.
Adrian Martinez returned after missing the last two games. The sophomore had a solid showing with just over 300 yards of total offense that included two rushing scores and an interception. J.D. Spielman was the top wideout with six catches for 123 yards. Wan'Dale Robinson got the ball in his hands 21 times but managed just 75 yards.
After a loss to the Boilermaker backups, the preseason Big Ten West favorite is now sitting at 4-5. At least Nebraska delivered what was probably my favorite play of the weekend thanks to Darrion Daniels. The junior defensive tackle moves pretty well for a human that appears to weigh approximately 500 pounds.
So. Close. pic.twitter.com/nieUXQ3HIS— Ramzy Nasrallah (@ramzy) November 2, 2019
Illinois 38, Rutgers 10
It was surprisingly tied 10-10 at the half, but then Illinois scored 21 points in the third and we pretty much got what we expected in Champaign. Neither offense was especially explosive, but three Scarlet Knight turnovers helped to inflate the score for the home team. The Illini defense returned an interception and a fumble recovery for scores.
Is this the most Rutgers play of all time? I think it just might be.
The best Lovie teams force turnovers, and capitalize on them.— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) November 2, 2019
Nate Hobbs (@based_nvte) just scored @IlliniFootball's fourth defensive TD of 2019. #BTNStandout x @AutoOwnersIns pic.twitter.com/YPoy2iTAmY
Dee Brown rushed for two touchdowns and Brandon Peters threw for another to help lead the Illini offense. Knights' quarterback Johnny Langan threw for just 86 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Mohamed Jabbie was on the receiving end of the lone Rutgers' touchdown strike.
Lovie Smith and the Illini have now won three straight in the conference and are just one win away from going bowling.
It was similar to last week in that we didn't get too many surprises. Nebraska traveled to West Lafayette as a favorite, but that wasn't too shocking considering the return of Adrian Martinez and Purdue still being without its best players. The outcome was just further affirmation that the Huskers aren't that good and Scott Frost still has a lot of work to do.
I kind of feel bad for Maryland. The Terps got Michigan this week and then have to turn around and head to Columbus. I watched the majority of the Wolverine/Terrapin contest and still came away wondering what's going on with Josh Gattis' offense. Maryland's defense was barely ranked inside the national top-100 and I had higher expectations for the Maize and Blue.
Indiana and Michigan State have switched spots in our power rankings. The Hoosiers lost by nine points when the two met in East Lansing, but that was over a month ago and Indiana is clearly playing better football than the Spartans right now.
Fortunately, the forecast for next week is a lot brighter. The Buckeyes and Terps kick off at noon in a game that shouldn't be near as close as last year's version. Two big matchups will serve as the Big Ten's headliners. Minnesota finally gets some stiff competition when it hosts Penn State. And the Badgers will look to bounce back with the Hawkeyes coming to town.