We are facing the final week of conference games next week. With the Big Ten West already decided, eyes moved to the Big Ten East, and particularly how the top two teams, Michigan and Ohio State, fared in their games. Victories by both make “The Game” next week a monster. Despite that, lots of interesting contests took place. Many of the teams are still working toward their bowl eligibility, and we can see how they did.
#10 Ohio State (10-1) 52 Maryland (5-6) 51 OT
Ohio State won, but boy did they do it the hard way! Going into overtime, Ohio State barely got there by tying the score with only 40 seconds left on the clock. And while they won in overtime, they did only because a gutsy call by Terrapin coach Matt Canada fell short. An exciting game with lots of movement up and down the field all day, as would have to be in a game in which over 100 points are scored. Ohio State survives, to make The Game next week the biggest game of the season in the Big Ten.
Nebraska (4-7) 9 Michigan State (6-5) 6
Nebraska continues to amaze after a horrendous start to their season. Starting at 0-6, the ‘Huskers since that point they have gone 4-1. The latest jewel in their 2018 crown is an amazing 4th quarter comeback in a game against the Spartans that featured an amazing lack of scoring. Michigan State took a 6-0 lead in the 4th quarter, only to have Nebraska come back and score three unanswered field goals in the 4th to win the game.
#22 Northwestern (7-4) 24 Minnesota (5-6) 14
Northwestern capitalized on three miscues by Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan and put ten points on the board as a result. That ended up also being the margin of victory as Northwestern continues to demonstrate its dominance over the Big Ten West this season. A win next week against Illinois will give the Wildcats an undefeated season against their divisional foes, the first time they have done so since the current divisions were instituted five seasons ago.
Iowa (7-4) 63 Illinois (4-7) 0
A week of hearing complaints about the anemic offense against Northwestern last week seems to have had an amazing result. The Hawkeyes came out of the gate breathing fire this week, and capitalized on a combination of Illini errors and overall poor play to hand the Illini a tie for their worst defeat in school history. The Illini have not lost this badly since losing to the University of Chicago by the identical score in 1906. The loss also ended Illinois’ hopes for a post-season bowl in 2018.
Wisconsin (7-4) 47 Purdue (5-6) 44 3OT
In a game that featured seven lead changes as well as three points where the score was tied, Wisconsin came back in triple overtime for their 13th straight win over the Boilermakers dating back to 2004. Purdue had a 24-13 lead in the third quarter, but the Badgers, led by backup quarterback Jack Coan, refused to quit. Jonathan Taylor ended the day with 321 rushing yards, including the winning touchdown to end the contest after three overtimes.
#4 Michigan (10-1) 31 Indiana (5-6) 20
Michigan joined the winning ugly club today by coming back in the second half to dispatch the Hoosiers. Indiana took a 17-15 lead into the half, but following the break, the Wolverines outscored Indiana 16-3 to take the game. Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson threw for 250 yards and a touchdown, as well as running for an additional 68 yards.
#14 Penn State (8-3) 20 Rutgers (1-10) 7
Penn State’s defense combined with errors by Rutgers’ offense led the Scarlet Knights to their tenth consecutive defeat in 2018, and are now facing their worst record since 2002 if they lose their season finale against Michigan State in East Lansing next weekend. Rutgers had an errant screen pass by Artur Sitkowski picked off that set up a Penn State touchdown. Following that pass, Sitkowski was benched for the remainder of the game, and redshirt senior Gio Rescigno was put in his place. A third quarter march down the field failed to produce a score for Rutgers when Rescigno dropped a soft pass from Trey Sneed on fourth down and Penn State took over on their own 2 yard line. Rutgers’ lone score was a two yard run by Raheem Blackshear in the fourth quarter.
As we move into the final week of the season, there are still four teams in the hunt for a bowl bid this season. Minnesota, Indiana, Purdue, and Maryland all need one more win to ensure post-season play. However, the most who can secure a bowl is three, as Indiana and Purdue face one another in their final game.
The Big Ten East divisional winner will be decided at the Horseshoe in Columbus next weekend when the Ohio State Buckeyes host the Michigan Wolverines. It may also determine which team has a chance to reach a playoff berth. The Game will be 8:00 PM next Saturday on Fox.