By: David Folz
Week six of the Big Ten season brought with it some renewed confidence for three teams (Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin) and two teams that badly needed a win to prove a statement but ended up in losses because they could not stop the opponents offense (Northwestern and Nebraska.) It also saw the best team in the conference in Ohio State destroying an opponent, and Ohio State can’t even play in the postseason. With that here is what the Big Ten went through in week six, with their matchup reviews.
Michigan State/Indiana: The Spartans were down 27-14 at halftime, only to rally in the second half to win 31-27 on Saturday. Andrew Maxwell came back in the second half after a shaky first half, finishing with 290 yards and two touchdowns. In the losing effort for Indiana, Chase Coffman shined, throwing for 282 yards and three touchdowns, but the defense let up over 400 yards to the Spartans as Michigan State rallied. Michigan State is 4-2 after the win and will take on Iowa this Saturday. Indiana meanwhile has lost their last three in a row, stands at 2-3 and will host Ohio State on Saturday.
Northwestern/Penn State: The Nittany Lions also made a comeback for people to acknowledge, having been down 28-17 after the third quarter on Saturday only to score 22 unanswered points in a 39-28 win over the twenty-fourth ranked Wildcats. Matt McGloin shined on the big stage again, throwing for two touchdowns and throwing for 282 yards in the win. Zach Zwinak also added a touchdown and 121 yards on the ground. Northwestern had a chance to go to 6-0 for the first time in 53 years, but Trevor Siemian was erratic throughout the day, having only 135 yards and a touchdown as the defense struggled to stop McGloin and falling in the end. Northwestern falls to 5-1 on the year and will travel to play Minnesota on Saturday while Penn State has won four in a row to get to 4-2 and has a bye week this weekend.
Illinois/Wisconsin: The Badgers used 21 fourth quarter points to beat the Illini on Saturday 31-14. Joel Stave may have been the spark for the Badgers, passing for 254 yards and two touchdowns, and Montee Ball ran for another two scores in the win. In the loss, Nathan Scheelhaase ran for a touchdown as well as passed for one as he took a beating from the Wisconsin defense. With the loss, Illinois is 2-4 and reeling badly, and it does not get easier with Michigan next. Wisconsin now is 4-2 following their win, and will travel to face Purdue on Saturday.
Michigan/Purdue: The Wolverines dominated from the start of this game, beating Purdue 44-10. Denard Robinson did not do much throwing the ball, with just over 100 yards and a touchdown, but added over 230 yards rushing the ball. The offense added three touchdowns on the ground as they stifled Purdue all day. In a silver lining for the Boilermakers, Caleb TerBush added a passing touchdown but it was a bright moment in an otherwise dull day for Purdue. Both teams are now 3-2 on the season with Michigan hosting Illinois on Saturday and Purdue will be home against Wisconsin on Saturday.
Nebraska/Ohio State: The Buckeyes offense was unstoppable against Nebraska Saturday night, totaling nearly 500 yards in a 63-38 rout of the Cornhuskers. Carlos Hyde had his best career day, with 140 yards and four touchdowns in the victory as Braxton Miller threw and ran for a touchdown each. Taylor Martinez struggled all night, throwing three interceptions in the loss. The Cornhuskers defense also struggled, giving up six rushing touchdowns. Ohio State is clearly the Big Ten’s best team so far this year, and at 6-0, would have their destiny set if not for the postseason ban. Ohio State travels to face Indiana on Saturday while Nebraska has a bye week to lick their wounds.
Iowa: Iowa had a bye week this past weekend and will go on the road to face Michigan State on Saturday. Iowa is 3-2 on the season.
Minnesota: The Golden Gophers had a bye week as well last week and will host Northwestern on Saturday. Minnesota this year is 4-1.