Every Sunday (well, in this case Monday), after a whirlwind autumn Saturday of college football, we'll be taking you around the Big Ten to keep tabs on the rest of the conference. As it fights as one for respectability in the non-conference, or as its power dynamics shift on a week-to-week basis in October and November, we'll follow the narrative to give you a better idea of where Northwestern fits into the 14-team puzzle.
Here are the top three storylines from Week 7:
1. What happened in Ann Arbor?
Unless you've been living under a rock, you know what happened. But if you do in fact live under a rock, here it is again:
Yes, that's Michigan punter Blake O'Neil fumbling the snap, picking it up and trying to punt before losing the ball away. Jalen Watts-Jackson picked it up for the scoop n' score to shock the football world. Dubbed the Michigan State Miracle, it was perhaps the most improbable, wackiest end to a game ever. The Michigan defense had just stopped the Michigan State defense with under two minutes left. The game was basically won. Even the commentators had stated Michigan was going to be 6-1. Instead, the Wolverines are 5-2. The Wolverines, aside from the final play of the game, looked the better team though and are certainly an impressive bunch that may no longer make the College Football Playoff, but can still challenge for a high finish in the Big Ten and a very good bowl game. Michigan State moves to 7-0 somehow.
2. Rutgers rallies from 25 down for wild win
Down 52-27 with 5:25 left in the third quarter, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights could have packed it up. But once again, the players showed incredible resilience, scoring 28 straight, capped by a game-winning 26-yard Kyle Federico field goal, to defeat Indiana. Indiana had three fourth-quarter turnovers, each of which turned into Rutgers touchdowns. Chris Laviano threw for 386 yards and three touchdowns, all to star wideout Leonte Carroo.
Yes, I know it was Rutgers-Indiana, but this game was incredible. The teams combined for 1,223 yards of offense, basically more than Northwestern has all season. (Not really, but it feels that way.)
3. Buckeyes find their groove... and their quarterback
Ohio State dominated Penn State, 38-10 and finally got an impressive performance from one of its quarterbacks. J.T. Barrett threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more, taking over for Cardale Jones late in the first half and playing all of the second half. The Buckeyes ran for 315 yards as a team and held Christian Hackenberg to a 6.1 QBR and sacked him five times.
- Wisconsin looks to be back on track after a 24-7 win over Purdue. Joel Stave threw for 322 yards and the Badgers held the Boilermakers to just 191 yards of total offense, led by a strong effort from linebacker T.J. Edwards (16 tackles, forced fumble).
- Nebraska flew by Minnesota, 48-25, on the back of Tommy Armstrong's three touchdowns. Northwestern heads to Lincoln this upcoming weekend to face a now-potent-looking offense that is finally getting De'Mornay Pierson-El back to full strength.