Another great weekend of Big Ten Football. There were really some great games (did you hear Rutgers won?) and below we can share a capsulated version of those games.
Michigan 27 Indiana 20
Wow, what a nail-biter this one was! Earlier in the game it was very close, then looked like Michigan was finally pulling away with the win. That changed when Indiana scored and pulled within three with three minutes left. An onside kick that looked like it was recovered by Indiana was ruled in favor of Michigan, who then went three-and-out. Indiana got the ball with just over a minute left, moved the ball close enough for a field goal with two seconds left on the clock. In overtime, Michigan stalled Indiana on their four-yard line, and pulled off the win.
Northwestern 37 Maryland 21
This game had four lead changes, yet while watching the game it seemed throughout that the Wildcats were the stronger team. By the end of the first half, Northwestern took the lead for good, and though Maryland threatened in the 3rd, coming within six points, Northwestern put up 10 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to put this one away.
Maryland’s “next man up” sophomore quarterback Max Bortenschlager was 17-for-38, throwing for three touchdowns with no interceptions. He also happened to be their leading rusher, with only 34 yards.
Also to be noted that Wildcat running back Justin Jackson set the all-time rushing record at Northwestern today. He entered the game needing only 18 yards to set the record, but he did a lot more than that, finishing with 171.
Wisconsin 17 Purdue 9
Wisconsin jumped to an early 14 point lead, and literally ran away with it. Badger freshman running back Jonathan Taylor (who decommitted from Rutgers to sign with Wisconsin) ran for 767 yards prior to this game. His 219 yards in this game left him just 14 yards shy of being the first true freshman to ever score 1000 yards in his first six games.
Up 17-6 at the half, it wasn’t really that close. In the second half, there was a lot of movement but with the exception of a single field goal by Purdue, there was no scoring for the rest of the game, though Wisconsin drove to the six-yard line before taking a knee for the win and remain undefeated in 2017.
Michigan State 30 Minnesota 27
It was a messy, sloppy day in Minneapolis and it made for a messy, sloppy football game. Many miscues occurred due to wet footballs, and for a while, it looked like no one really wanted to play in this game. Michigan slowly began to get some traction, and their running game began to click. The Golden Gophers could do a lot through the first three quarters, and were only able to put a pair of field goals on the board. By the end of the 3rd quarter it was Michigan State over Minnesota 23-6.
In the fourth quarter, Minnesota put on a furious battle, and outscored the Spartans 21-7, but it wasn’t enough, and Michigan State hung on to win this one.
Ohio State 56 Nebraska 14
For the fourth game in a row, Ohio State has hung more than 50 points on their opponent. The halftime as well as final score was identical to their score two weeks ago against Rutgers, who unlike the Huskers, were unable to score any points at all. Nebraska scored twice in the 3rd quarter, the first was when Tanner Lee threw a pass to J.D. Spielman for a pretty 77-yard catch and run that put them on the board, but it wasn’t enough to even stop the torrent of fans who left. Before the first half was even over fans began heading for the exits. By the beginning of the 4th quarter, the vast majority of the 90,000 seats were empty. How powerful was Ohio State? Their punter
Rutgers 35 Illinois 24
Rutgers won their first conference game since October 17, 2015 in convincing, if erratic fashion. Running the ball against the worst defense against the run in the conference, the Scarlet Knights piled up the most yards (280) rushing in a conference game since entering the Big Ten in 2014. No field goals were attempted, and seven rushing touchdowns made the game a much-needed rebound. Read more about this game here.
Rutgers won! And, oh yeah, there were a lot of other good games this weekend, too. Seriously, there were no bad games to be had this weekend, and the conference continues to demonstrate its strength top to bottom. That’s right folks, it was a good week, if you weren’t from Champaign, Bloomington, College Park, Lincoln, Minneapolis, or West Lafayette.
Addendum- Sportsmanship Counts!
Though not something that happened in the Big Ten, there are enough Rutgers fans that know this player and his family that it bears sharing on these pages. Jarrett Guarantano is a former 4-star quarterback commit who chose Tennessee over Rutgers in April, 2015, much to the chagrin of many Rutgers fans. Guarantano, whose father James is a former star wide receiver for Rutgers, had his first start for the Volunteers on Saturday against South Carolina in a big SEC East match-up. With time expiring, Guarantano threw three successive incompletions, dooming the Vols’ hopes. He looked inconsolable after the game, falling to his knees in tears. Gamecocks QB Jake Bentley saw Guarantano and ran over to him to console him, and offered words of encouragement. THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is what sportsmanship is all about, and it deserves to be recognized. To see it, click on the video in the tweet below: