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Around the Big Ten: Nebraska shocks Sparty; gives Northwestern a shot at a News Years Six Bowl

Big Red played its best game by far, which helps Northwestern immensely

Eric Francis/Getty Images

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 10:


Nebraska lost to Northwestern two weeks ago. Then it lost to Purdue -- yes, Purdue -- last week. And then it beat Michigan State this week, because sports always make sense.

Tommy Armstrong was good Tommy Armstrong, but more importantly from a Northwestern standpoint, it really helps the Wildcats' chances of going to a New Year's Day bowl. Why? It takes some time to explain, but lucky for you Henry Bushnell took that time here.

2. Ohio State remains undefeated

It wasn't easy for the Buckeyes, who went up 21-0 before letting Minnesota sneak back into the game Saturday night, but behind another strong effort from Ezekiel Elliot (123 total yards, 2 TDs), the No.3 team in the nation according to College Football Playoff voters got the win. Cardale Jones struggled with accuracy, going 12-for-22, but he threw a touchdown and no interceptions in place of J.T. Barrett, who was suspended for drunk driving. Barrett will have the chance to win the job back this week during practice according to head coach Urban Meyer.

3. Iowa stays perfect, too

A banged-up C.J. Beathard threw for a touchdown and ran for one more as Iowa won yet again, moving to 9-0 with a 35-27 win over Indiana. Akrum Wadley, destroyer of worlds, ran for 120 yards and a touchdown to help the Hawkeyes overcome a gritty Hoosier squad. Jordan Howard ran for 174 yards and two touchdowns for Indiana, losers of five straight.

Other games

- Michigan beat Rutgers 49-16, led by three total touchdowns by Jake Rudock. Jim Harbaugh raised some eyebrows, however, by going for two up 25 and continuing to throw the ball deep when the game was out of reach. The Scarlet Knights have lost three in a row.

- Illinois steamrolled Northwestern's next opponent, Purdue, by a score of 48-14. Wes Lunt threw for three touchdowns in the first half, as the Illini climbed over .500. After shocking Nebraska last week, Purdue is still Purdue.

- Wisconsin overcame an ugly offensive first half to hold off Maryland, 31-24. The Badgers won their fifth straight despite their leading rusher being inside linebacker Joe Schobert, who rumbled for 57 yards on a fake punt. Maryland is bad.