A smaller number of games were available to Big Ten fans this week, as several Big Ten West teams, as well as the Big Ten East’s Maryland had their break. So without Maryland, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois not playing, and even with Michigan State playing their last out-of-conference game there were were only five games. Of course, the big one was the tilt between top-10 rivals Ohio State and Penn State. Let’s get to them.
#21 Michigan State (3-1) 31 Central Michigan (1-4) 20
I don’t know what it is about slow starts from Big Ten teams facing out of conference teams, but it was on display again yesterday as Michigan State got back into action after a week’s hiatus. Central Michigan jumped to a 3-0 score, but the Spartans came roaring back and hung an unanswered 31 points on the in-state rival. The Chippewas had a fourth quarter comeback of sorts, scoring a pair of touchdowns and a field goal, but the Spartans had a insurmountable lead at that point.
Purdue (2-3) 42 Nebraska (0-4) 28
Grumbles are happening out in Lincoln, where a record eighth consecutive loss leaves Scott Frost without a win since his arrival, and Nebraska without a win since last time they played Purdue, on October 28, 2017. Alas, the rematch this season did not turn out as well for the ‘Huskers. The Boilermakers jumped to a 20-7 lead at the half, and though the teams played evenly in the second half, the Frost Era is still winless in Nebraska.
#14 Michigan (4-1) 20 Northwestern (1-3) 17
Michigan fought back from a 17-0 deficit to score the final 20 points in the game to take one away from the Wildcats. Michigan’s defense came to the fore, sacking Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson six times, and Wolverine running back Karan Higdon scampered for 115 yards and two touchdowns.
#4 Ohio State (5-0) 27 #9 Penn State (4-1) 26
The big game of the conference certainly lived up to the billing last night, as the Ohio State Buckeyes rallied to edge the Nittany Lions, despite the Whiteout and the largest crowd in Penn State history at Beaver Stadium. Buckeye quarterback Dwayne Haskins put the team on his back mid-way through the fourth quarter and willed the team to victory, throwing a pair of touchdowns in the final seven minutes of the game to give Ohio State a one-point victory, their second come-from-behind win over Penn State in a row, similar to last season’s one-point 39-38 win in the Horseshoe last October.
Indiana (4-1) 24 Rutgers (1-4) 17
While the Hoosiers hung another loss on the Scarlet Knights yesterday, the team showed both signs of life as well as spirit as an attempted fourth quarter comeback fell a touchdown short. In the losing effort however, true freshman quarterback Artur Sitkiowski looked comfortable and confident behind center, and sophomore kicker Justin Davidovicz kicked a stadium-record 52 yard field goal in the waning minutes. The game was almost two separate games, with Hoosier quarterback Peyton Ramsey running and throwing a pair of touchdowns in the first half, but unable to move the team effectively in the second half.
Though a short list of games in week five, the games nonetheless demonstrate the direction of teams this season. Ohio State continued its dominance of conference foes, Michigan demonstrated its grittiness, Purdue continues to find ways to win, and Rutgers showed signs of life despite falling once again. The conference schedule kicks into high gear next week with three Big Ten East and three Big Ten West conference matchups. It’ll be another good week of games in the Big Ten. Stay tuned!