1. In the battle of scarlets, the number-one ranked Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0; 4-0) defeated the never-ranked Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-4; 1-3) by the score of 49 to 7, and the game wasn't really even that close. Ohio State was held scoreless for the first 14:50 and then the Buckeyes coasted for the final 13:42 of the game, scoring no points and giving up a garbage time touchdown to lose the shutout; in between they put up seven touchdowns on nine drives (one drive consisting of kneel downs at the end of the first half). Ohio State dominated in total yards (528 to 293), first downs (27 to 12), time of possession (32:40 to 27:20), and of course on the scoreboard; however, Rutgers did lead in punts (7 to 1) and penalties (7 to 0). Ezekiel Elliott rushed 19 times for 142 yards and 2 TDs, his 13th straight game with 100+ yards on the ground. Michael Thomas had his second career 100-yard game, with 3 receptions for 103 yards and a score. In his first start of the season, quarterback JT Barrett had 324 total yards and 5 total touchdowns. Ohio State finally looked like a legit national title contender, but then again Rutgers has a tendency to make their opponents look better than they really are.
2. At the end of three quarters, the #7 Michigan State Spartans (8-0; 4-0) led the unranked Indiana Hoosiers (4-4; 0-4) by a score of only 28 to 26. Then Sparty woke up, arguably for the first time all season, with 24 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to make the final tally 52 to 26. Michigan State's offense held up its end of the bargain with 540 yards, 33 first downs, and 13/20 on third down conversions, but the Spartans' once-mighty defense surrendered 389 yards to an Indiana squad that will be lucky to become bowl eligible. Michigan State's Connor Cook had a big day with 398 yards passing and 4 touchdowns, but the running game never really got off the ground with 44 carries for 142 yards (3.2 average), and those totals include fourth-quarter TD runs of 22 and 26 yards. Michigan State is still an enigma eight weeks into the season - are they really a national title contender, or are they living off of a favorable schedule and a lot of luck? Indiana is no enigma at all - they are who they always have been, the doormat of the Big Ten.
3. Question for Husker fans: Do you miss Bo Pelini yet? How about Frank Solich? I hear that Bill Callahan might be available.... Mike Riley's Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-5; 1-3) fell to the Northwestern Wildcats (6-2; 2-2) by the score of 30-28. Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong was his usual scattershot self, going 24 of 48 for 291 yards, a TD, and a pick six. And that was the good news for the offense, as the Husker running "attack" amassed a grand total of 82 yards on 38 carries for a 2.2 average. Nebraska's pass defense, the nation's worst entering the contest (341.7 yards per game), allowed only 177 yards to Northwestern's ground-oriented offense. But the Blackshirts (more like the black bra and panties at this point) did manage to melt down on cue, giving up a 37-yard go-ahead touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson had 303 total yards and a pair of touchdowns and Nick VanHoose had a 72-yard pick six to lead the Wildcats on their way to victory.
4. The game between the Wisconsin Badgers (6-2; 3-1) and the Illinois Fighting Illini (4-3; 1-2) wasn't exactly a suckfest for which the Big Ten has become famous, but it was a fairly uneventful contest that ended with Wisconsin earning a hard-fought 24-13 victory. Badger wide receiver Alex Erickson was a one-man wrecking crew with 177 yards from scrimmage (81 rushing, 96 receiving) and a touchdown. Illinois proved once again that it's very difficult to win a football game when you convert 3/14 on third and fourth downs (21.4%) and possess the ball for only 19:51.
5. The Big Ten Suckfest of the Week featured the Penn State Nittany Lions (6-2; 3-1) and the Maryland Terrapins (2-5; 0-3) in another installment of their classic rivalry (PSU leads the series 36-2-1). This was the highest-scoring Suckfest of all time, with the teams combining for an incredible 61 points (Penn State 31, Maryland 30). But forget about the points, here's the good stuff: Penn State's Christian Hackenberg was 13/29 passing (44.8%), the Lions rushed for only 48 yards on 31 carries (1.5 ypc), and the team lost three fumbles, possessed the ball for only 23:27, and went 3/13 on third down conversions (23.1%). Maryland had no problem moving the football against Penn State's vastly overrated defense, accumulating 466 total yards (241 rushing, 225 passing), but the Terps were only 4/15 on third and fourth downs (26.7%) and somehow managed to commit five turnovers including three more interceptions (giving them an astronomical 20 INTs on the season and a turnover margin of -13). The final ten minutes of the game was the coup de merde of college football. After Maryland kicked a field goal with 10:15 remaining on the clock to close the gap to 31-30, here's how the last nine drives went:
PSU: 0 plays, 0 yards, fumbled kick-off
UMD: 1 play, -6 yards, sack, fumble
PSU: 3 plays, all incomplete passes, 0 yards, missed FG
UMD: 4 plays, 8 yards, interception
PSU: 6 plays, 8 yards, sack, fumble
UMD: 4 plays, 7 yards, sack, turnover on downs
PSU: 3 plays, 4 yards, 33-yard punt
UMD: 1 play, 0 yards, interception
PSU: 3 plays, -5 yards, run out clock
To recap, that's 25 plays for a grand total of 16 yards, 5 turnovers, 3 sacks, and a missed field goal.
The last 12 pass plays for both teams combined, and I shit you not, resulted in 2 completions for 13 yards; 3 sacks for -17 yards and 2 fumbles; 5 incompletions; and 2 interceptions. What's the QB rating for that mess?
Yes, you really can squeeze all of that suckitude into only ten minutes of play. Only in the Big Ten....
6. The #12 Iowa Hawkeyes (7-0; 3-0); the Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-3; 1-2); and the Purdue Boilermakers (1-6; 0-3) all had bye weeks. The #15 Michigan Wolverines (5-2; 2-1) remained in the fetal position following the Agony in Ann Arbor.
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