Every Sunday, after an entire Saturday’s worth of college football, we'll take a look around theBig Ten. As the conference as a whole fights as respectability in the non-conference, or as its power dynamics shift on a week-to-week basis in this fall, we'll follow every team and try to piece together the puzzle that is the 13-week-long season all the way up until Indianapolis.
Here are the top three storylines from Week 5:
No. 4 Michigan defeats No. 8 Wisconsin in low-scoring thriller
The Wolverines’ (5-0, 2-0) first top-10 win in the Jim Harbaugh era came in a 14-7 victory over the Badgers (4-1, 1-1) in Ann Arbor. Michigan’s defense looked dominant, holding Wisconsin to just 149 totals yards and intercepting three passes. And Jourdan Lewis did this. Northwestern isn’t the only Big Ten with kicking issues this season; Michigan kickers missed three field goals Saturday. Michigan QB Wilton Speight’s 49-yard touchdown pass to Amara Darboh was the decisive score in the fourth quarter as the Wolverines passed their first real test of the season. The Wolverines firmly entrenched themselves in the playoff conversation.
Indiana downs 17 Michigan St. 24-21 in overtime
The Hoosiers (3-0, 1-0) won the Old Brass Spittoon for the first time since 2006, while the Spartans (2-2, 0-2) are still looking for their first Big Ten victory of the season. After Michigan St. missed a field goal in overtime, Indiana caught a break when K Griffin Oakes’s missed 49-yard attempt was nullified by a leaping penalty on Michigan St. Two plays later, Oakes made a 20-yarder to complete the upset for the Hoosiers.
Minnesota falls to Penn State 29-26 in overtime
The Gophers’ (3-1, 0-1) Big Ten campaign got off to a shaky start Saturday as they blew a 10-point halftime lead against the Nittany Lions (3-2, 1-1). Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks both rushed for 100 yards for Minnesota, but QB Mitch Leidner was wildly inconsistent. The Gophers held the Nittany Lions’ star running Saquon Barkley in check for most of the game, but Barkley’s 25-yard scamper ended the game in overtime. The Gophers, dubbed by many as a potential sleeper in the Big Ten West, will be upset with themselves after blowing a double-digit lead in Happy Valley.
- No. 2 Ohio St. (4-0, 1-0) beat Rutgers (2-3, 0-2) 58-0. Nothing to see here.
- No. 15 Nebraska (5-0, 2-0) came from behind to defeat Illinois (1-3, 0-1) 31-16. The Cornhuskers trailed 16-10 entering the fourth quarter before order was restored and they dominated the final period.
- Maryland (4-0, 1-0) throttled Purdue (2-2, 0-1) 50-7. The undefeated Terrapins have looked strong this season, but their schedule has been soft. We’ll find out if the Terps are for real in the next few weeks.