1. Ohio State 49, Maryland 28. The Buckeyes did what the Buckeyes do: Gain a lot of yards, score a lot of points, commit a few huge inexplicable mistakes that turns a rout into a competitive game. This time the offense was very good, but the defense allowed Maryland's reserve QB Perry Hills to rush for 170 yards and 2 TDs, including a long run of 75 yards, and throw a 52-yard TD pass. This game was actually tied at 21 early in the third quarter before the Buckeyes woke up and ran off 28 straight points. Ohio State is still probably the class of the Big Ten, but they really haven't played like it so far.
2. Michigan 38, Northwestern 0. The Wolverines' offense was hardly impressive (380 total yards), but the defense simply smothered the Wildcats, who managed just 168 yards (2.9 yards/play), 2/13 on third down, 22:55 time of possession, and of course zero points. The shutout was Michigan's third in a row, quite a feat in this day and age of offensive football. There is one big question concerning the Wolverines going forward: Can they continue to win with below average QB play from Jake Ruddock, who is 95th in FBS in passing efficiency? Up next: the undefeated Michigan State Spartans.
3. Michigan State 31, Rutgers 24. A week after receiving a scare from 1-5 Purdue, the Spartans received another scare from 2-3 Rutgers. In fact, Michigan State has been receiving scares all season long, hardly what you'd expect from a top-5 team. Expect the scares to end next Saturday when Sparty travels to the Big House to face a Michigan squad that has outscored its opponents 160-14 over the last five games.
4. Minnesota 41, Purdue 13. A week after nearly upsetting the highly-ranked Michigan State Spartans, the Purdue Boilermakers crashed back down to their rightful place at the bottom of the Big Ten. The Minnesota Golden Gophers, who've had trouble scoring against everybody this season (15.4 ppg entering the game), pounded the snot out Purdue's hapless defense to the tune of 408 total yards, including 326 yards on the ground. Mitch Leidner is still not the answer at quarterback (104th in FBS in passing efficiency), but the Gophers are dangerous when they run the ball and play solid defense. Purdue, on the other hand, is staring down another 9-loss season. Boilermaker head coach Darrell Hazell now has a record of 5-25 (.167 winning percentage), which is awful even by Purdue's standards.
5. Iowa 29, Illinois 20. The Iowa Hawkeyes have quietly put together a 6-0 start to their season. The Hawkeyes don't really have any impressive wins or any big-time playmakers, but every week they do just enough to post another W. Yesterday, Iowa completed less than 50% of their passes, were 4/16 on third down, punted six times, and committed 6 penalties for 80 yards, which aren't generally winning numbers. On the other hand, the Hawkeyes amassed 478 yards of offense, held the ball for 35:51, had a +2 turnover margin, and held Illinois to 46 yards rushing on 24 attempts (1.92 ypc). With the loss, Illinois falls to 4-2 on the season. The Illini need only two more wins to become bowl eligible, but their remaining schedule includes Wisconsin, Penn State, Ohio State, Minnesota, and Northwestern.
6. Wisconsin 23, Nebraska 21. Just how bad is Nebraska's pass defense? The Cornhuskers are dead last in FBS, allowing 348.5 passing yards per game, which is a full 22 yards per game worse than their closest competitor in futility. This week they allowed Wisconsin's Joel Stave to throw for 322 yards. Yes, that Joel Stave (81st in FBS in passing efficiency, 231 ypg). To make matters worse, Nebraska is saddled with one of the worst quarterback in FBS, Tommy Armstrong (88th in FBS in passing efficiency), who completed just 11 of 28 passes for 129 yards and a TD. With a few notable exceptions (Urban Meyer, Jim Harbaugh), the Big Ten is not known for great coaching hires, but Nebraska's decision to turn its program over to has-been/never-was Mike Riley has to be one of the worst in recent memory. The Huskers are now 2-4 and somehow need to find four more wins just to become bowl eligible. Wisconsin improves to 4-2 and appears to be on their way to another ho-hum 10-2 regular season with no signature victories.
7. Penn State 29, Indiana 7. Just a week after taking the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes down to the last play of the game, the Indiana Hoosiers reverted to their normal selves. Zander Diamont, who was so brilliant against the Buckeyes, had only 38 yards rushing and 90 yards passing. Penn State didn't exactly play a great game, but you don't usually have to play a great game to beat Indiana by 20+ points. Next up for Penn State is Ohio State, which will give the 5-1 Nittany Lions a chance to prove that they are for real.
8. There was no Big Ten Suckfest this week.
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