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Big Ten Football: Week Two Review

Games for bragging rights for state supremacy as well as academic supremacy led the out of conference games this week

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the second week of Big Ten football has come and gone, with some unexpected results. This was in-state rivalry week, with four games pitting Big Ten teams with other schools within the state, and like last week, one conference game. Also, a cross-conference game that pitted the two schools that see themselves as the academic leaders of their respective conferences, with Duke traveling to meet Northwestern. There were also two heartbreaking losses that were hung on Purdue and Michigan State with a field goal kicked as time ran out on the clocks.

As usual, the games were split up between noon, 3:30, and evening starts. However, the evening games were broken up to get more television coverage. Games were at 5:00, 6:00, 7:30, 8:00, and even 10:45 PM. The games are listed here in the order in which they occurred, with the exception of the game in Columbus, which is the last game listed.

This was not a great week for the conference. In the 12 out of conference games, the Big Ten teams were 8-4, which is not what is usually expected from these early-season games. However, with the exception of Purdue, the opponent was a good Power 5 team in the matchup. Let’s look over how everyone did.

Michigan 42 Western Michigan 0

The one cross-state game of the noon-time slot was over early. Michigan totally dominated an out-manned and out-gunned Bronco team and the score was 21-0 at the end of the 1st quarter, and 35-0 by the end of the half. The Michigan reserves had a lot of opportunity to play in this one.

Duke 21 Northwestern 7

Northwestern came out and tagged the Blue Devils early on, but the rest of the first half belonged to Duke, who led 21-7 at the half. The second half did not improve, and neither team scored. The Duke defense did a job on the Wildcats, who fall to 1-1 on the season, though undefeated in conference play.

Eastern Michigan 20 Purdue 19

Purdue had a difficult time early on with Eastern Michigan. After Purdue took a 3-0 lead, former Rutgers commit and Iowa QB Tyler Wiegers threw a pass that resulted in a 75-yard touchdown, giving the lead to the Eagles. Purdue was able to struggle to a 12-10 lead at the half. After a quiet 3rd quarter, a pair of touchdowns kept the score a two-point Boilermaker lead until Eastern Michigan kicked the winning field goal as time expired on the clock. The final Eastern Michigan drive was kept alive by a roughing the passer call with just over two minutes left, followed by Wieger’s pass on 4th and 15 to the Purdue 30 yard line. Another pass interference call put Purdue on its heels. All of this let the Eagles get close enough to score. Purdue errors, which included five fumbles, kept Eastern Michigan in the game throughout. Purdue falls to 0-2 on the season under second-year head coach Jeff Brohm.

Wisconsin 45 New Mexico 14

This game was a game of two halves. Wisconsin also struggled early against the Lobos, and Wisconsin took a slim 10-7 lead into the locker room at the half. However, the second half was a different story. Wisconsin turned on the jets, and ran away with the game. New Mexico did not score again until Wisconsin had tacked on 21 unanswered points. After that first half scoring by New Mexico, the Badgers buckled down and effectively shut down the Lobo offense for the remainder of the game, who only managed one additional touchdown for the remainder of the day.

Colorado 33 Nebraska 28

The Scott Frost era did not begin the way ‘Husker fans would have liked. With their first game cancelled last week due to weather, so this was the first game of the season for Nebraska. Colorado came out strong and scored two quick touchdowns in the first quarter as a result of Nebraska turnovers. However, Nebraska came back and tied it up at 14 early in the second quarter. Coming into the 3rd quarter, Nebraska held a 21-17 lead, and kept the lead by a razor thin 1 point margin. The Buffalos came back in the 4th for another touchdown, and spoiled Head Coach Scott Frost’s first home game in Lincoln to win the battle between the two former Big XII conference foes.

Maryland 45 Bowling Green 14

While it looked like Bowling Green might be able to make a game of this in the first half, the second half belonged to the Terps, and they won this one easily. Bowling Green took a 14-7 lead with 1:13 left on the clock in the second quarter. Following that score, the Falcons were done for the day, but Maryland was not, reeling off 38 unanswered points.

Note: No video was available for this game.

Iowa 13 Iowa State 3

A defensive battle in Iowa City finally turned in the Hawkeye’s favor well into the second half when they broke the 3-3 tie with a second field goal. A touchdown with less than five minutes left was all the scoring that Iowa needed to retain the Cy-Hawk trophy. After last year’s high scoring affair (Iowa won 44-41) this defensive struggle was quite a different game.

Minnesota 21 Fresno State 14

This looked like a game that the Golden Gophers wanted to give away. After taking the lead with a touchdown in the first quarter, Minnesota did not give up that lead until halfway through the 4th quarter, when a touchdown gave the Bulldogs a razor-thin one point lead, 14-13. With just 3:28 left in the game, Minnesota regained the lead with a 3 yard run for a touchdown, and tacked on a two point conversion to take a seven point lead, which was the final margin of their win.

Illinois 34 Western Illinois 14

The Western Illinois Leathernecks (great nickname!) scored first on the Illini, but the rest of the game really belonged to Illinois. The Illini reeled of 24 unanswered points until Western Illinois scored again, which was answered with another 10 points by the Fighting Illini. What stood out in this victory is that this was the first Illinois game in Champaign since they beat Michigan State in November 2016 that they played a game without committing a turnover.

Indiana 20 Virginia 16

Indiana ruined the day of the Cavaliers. A rather large lead by Indiana was slowly recovered by Virginia, and there was actually a “free” play at the end after a penalty on the Hoosiers gave Virginia one last gasp with 0:00 remaining on the clock. A heave into the end zone fell to the ground and Indiana won by a four point margin.

Penn State 51 Pitt 6

What looked like it might be a close game did not turn out that way in Pittsburgh. A 7-6 game at the end of the 1st quarter became a demonstration of Penn State’s dominance over their in-state rival, and Penn State won this one going away by doing the rest of the scoring on the day with 44 unanswered points.

Arizona State 16 Michigan State 13

This one was a late-night heartbreaker! Arizona State never led in this game until they kicked the winning field goal as time expired. The scoring was sparse throughout, with Michigan State taking a 3-0 lead into the locker room at the half, and outscored the Sun Devils in the third quarter to have a 13-3 lead at the end of the third quarter. The fourth quarter was all Arizona State, who scored 13 unanswered points to win in a dramatic fashion.

Ohio State 52 Rutgers 3

As expected, Ohio State took control of this game at the outset and never let it go. It wasn’t pretty any way you look at it. There was not a point where Rutgers looked like they belonged in the game, and the score reflected that. A single field goal by the Scarlet Knights were actually the first points Rutgers has scored against the Buckeyes since 2015.


Besides a game that all will be glad to forget in Columbus, there were interesting in-state rival games today. In the biggest of them, Iowa won the annual grudge match against the Iowa State Cyclones, and kept the Cy-Hawk Trophy in Iowa City. Penn State easily handled cross-state rival Pitt, but not as easily as Michigan handled Western Michigan. Finally, Illinois moved to 2-0 with a win over the FCS-level Western Illinois Leathernecks.

Next week will mark the last big week of out-of-conference games for the season. Michigan State is on a bye next week, but the other 13 teams of the conference all will play non-conference foes, with Rutgers going out to Lawrence, Kansas to take on the Jayhawks of the Big XII Conference.