The Big Ten had an exciting day of football. It took three overtimes, over 1,000 combined yards, and 132 points to settle one in Ann Arbor. Indiana and Iowa took it down to the final minute. And Joe Paterno picked number 400. It all just goes to show that nothing is written in stone for the Big Ten.
For a game flying under the radar this week, Wisconsin had a rough time getting things started at Purdue, trailing 10-6 at the end of the first half. They couldn’t do anything against the Boilermaker defense. But then the second half began. That’s when all hopes of an upset quickly sailed away. Wisconsin was able to break down the defense and get some points on the board, while Purdue’s offense was shut down. Four turnovers pulled them out of the game, and Wisconsin went on to win, 34-13. (Prediction: Wisc-45 Purdue-17).
Let’s head over to East Lansing where the Spartans were looking for a good bounce-back win after last week’s embarrassing loss to Iowa. What better team to play than Minnesota? This game was over when the schedules were released. The only down side for the Spartans was that Cousins did not have a very good game at all. He completed less than 50% of his passes, no touchdowns, one interception. The running game, though, was bullet-proof. Led by Edwin Baker (179 yards, 4 touchdowns), State went for 189 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, the problems for Minnesota continue to pile up. With one lonesome win over Middle Tennessee, the Gophers have yet to pick up even a second win, let alone a win in the Big Ten. Weber and Gray combined for 191 yards through the air with one touchdown and one interception. And the ground attack continues to weaken, only going for 76 yards with no touchdowns. Michigan State won, 31-8. (Prediction: Mich St-42 Minn-7)
Now, if you read back on my post with the predictions for this week, I clearly said to not be surprised if Iowa experienced some upset hangover. But I don’t think anyone expected anything quite like what happened in Bloomington. No, the Hawkeyes weren’t upset, but it went down to the final minute. And even then, they lucked out with an Indiana error in the endzone when the possible game-winning touchdown pass was dropped. Stanzi completed 22 of his 33 passes for 290 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Indiana went out and did what exactly what I knew they would; battle it out. The offense was once again led by Chapel, who went for 222 yards through the air against a nationally respected defense. All in all, Indiana could not pull through in the final minute, and Iowa won, 18-13. (Prediction: Iowa-42 Ind-24)
Earlier today in Happy Valley, Joe Paterno grabbed his 400th win as coach! It was an incredible thing to witness. For a while, though, it looked as though Penn State was not going to fare so well with the Wildcats of Northwestern. At the end of the first half, Northwestern was leading 21-7. Penn State’s seven came on a last-minute drive. Unfortunately, Northwestern forgot football is played in two halves. As soon as it got going, it was all Nittany Lions. Incredible defense shut out the Wildcat offense, let by Dan Persa, the rest of the game. Meanwhile, the Nittany Lion offense started putting up points at will, scoring 21 in the third and 7 in the fourth. For Northwestern, Dan Persa threw for 201 yards and one touchdown. He also led the offense in rushing with 109 yards and two touchdowns. He received very little help from any of the other backs. McGloin had an outstanding day breaking apart that secondary of the Wildcats. He threw for 225 yards and 4 touchdowns. And, unlike Persa, McGloin received a lot of help from his backs who combined for 286 yards on the ground. It was a tremendous second half comeback as the Nittany Lions win, 35-21. (Prediction: PSU-30 N’Western- 24)
Well, if last week was a must-win for the Wolverines, I don’t even know what this week was classified as. So much was on the line for both teams, and they gave the Big Ten perhaps the best game of the day inside the conference. In the early stages, Michigan’s defense actually saved the offense by holding the Illini to only a field goal twice. Going into the second quarter, Michigan led 7-6. But that score had absolutely no reflection on the rest of the game. Both offenses were unstoppable, and the score was tied at 31 at the half. From there, defense proved to be very crucial. There were only a combined 28 points through the rest of regulation. Denard Robinson threw for a career-high 305 yards, plus 62 rushing yards, before leaving the game with cuncussion-like symptoms. But Michigan has this other guy named Tate Forcier. You may have heard of him. It turns out he is pretty good, too. Tate came in and threw 114 passing yards, 33 yards on the ground, and two touchdowns. Illinois’s Scheelhaase tossed the ball for 211 yards and three touchdowns. This game went into not one, not two, but three overtimes! As you know, in the third overtime you have to go for the two-point conversion if you score. Michigan did this successfully, but the Illini were unable to covert after their score. So Michigan went against my votes, winning 67-65. (Prediction: Mich-35 Illini-42)
Let me know what you think!