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Big Ten Football: Week Six in Review

Halfway through the season, and things are coming into focus in the Big Ten

Illinois v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Well, we are almost halfway through the college football season, and in some ways things are more confusing than they were in week one. We had some fascinating games in the conference this past weekend, and worth looking over. Here is a capsule of them:

Iowa 45 Illinois 16

The first half of this game was a see saw affair, with Illinois leading a couple of times, the latest just seconds before the half. Going into the locker room, trailing 17-13, they looked pretty good. However, the second half was a different story. In the last 30:08 of the game, Iowa outscored Illinois 35-3 and the game became a blowout. Despite Illinois’ best rushing game to date, with over 200 yards on the ground, the Hawkeye’s defense made adjustments in the second half that made a huge difference.

Penn State 31 Northwestern 7

If I told you Saquon Barkley was held to -1 rushing yards you would think I was crazy. Yet, that is what happened in the first half of yesterday’s game in Evanston at Northwestern’s Ryan Stadium. He ran for 75 yards in the second half, scoring two touchdowns, and his quarterback Trace McSorley threw for 245 yards and an additional touchdown. This game was never in question, and Penn State moves to 6-0.

Ohio State 62 Maryland 14

Ohio State continued to roll, this time over the overmatched Terrapins at home at the Horseshoe in Columbus. It was 20-7 by the end of the first quarter, and the rout was on. Since their loss to Oklahoma in week three, the Buckeyes have outscored their opponents 210-42. It was no different yesterday. It looked like there may be a closer game when Maryland scored in the first quarter, taking a kickoff back for a touchdown to make it 14-7, but that was the last Maryland score until there was only four minutes left in the game.

Purdue 31 Minnesota 17

Purdue made a big comeback, fighting through fumbles and even an 88-minute rain delay to stun the Golden Gophers yesterday. With just over a minute left in the game, Purdue’s Markell Jones scampered 12 yards for the go-ahead score. This score happened with mostly empty stands, as the long rain delay chased off all but the most die-hard fans. With 9:58 left in the fourth quarter, the game was delayed, and fans went everywhere looking for shelter, even criss-crossing the field to avoid the deluge. The final score by Jones ended an almost five-hour marathon, won by the home team Boilermakers.

Indiana 27 Charleston Southern 0

In a game that was hastily scheduled when the game against Florida International was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma, Indiana had no trouble containing an overmatched Charleston Southern team. Despite two lost fumbles and an interception, not to mention a downpour, Indiana scored their first shutout since beating Michigan State in 1993, and held Charleston Southern to zero yards passing (yes, you read that right).

Wisconsin 38 Nebraska 17

The #9 Badgers took this one on the legs of freshman running back Jonathan Taylor, who led a strong ground game yesterday, finishing with 259 yards and two touchdowns with 25 carries. The win gave the undefeated Badgers undisputed possession of the Big Ten West, and ended a 20-game win streak of the Huskers when playing at home at night. Wisconsin now has a 6-1 record over Nebraska since their arrival in the Big Ten in 2011.

Michigan State 14 Michigan 10

The annual “state championship” game for bragging rights took place in the Big House, and it was a sloppy affair, both in the sky as well as on the ground. A downpour in the second half made the ability to move the ball almost impossible, and it thwarted any possible attempt by the Wolverines to claw back into the lead. Michigan State had a 14-3 lead at the half, leaving the fans in Ann Arbor looking stunned. Michigan scored in the third quarter to pull within four points, but was unable to make the final score. In the final minute, with the rain lessened, Michigan had a final shot, but the last-ditch throw to the end zone was incomplete as time expired, and the Spartans escaped with their eighth win in the last ten attempts against Michigan.


Week six of a 13-week season is in the books. A couple of surprises, some thrilling endings, and no-surprise endings highlight the games this week. Penn State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin continue to win their games easily, but a comeback by Purdue and a nail-biter in Ann Arbor made for exciting games as well. Now in the heart of the conference schedules, each week makes for fascinating dramas. Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!