Every week, after an entire Saturday’s worth of college football, we'll take a look around the Big 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 8:
Penn State shocks Ohio State in Happy Valley
It required a missed pass interference call as well as both a blocked punt and field goal — the latter of which was returned for a touchdown — but Penn State was able to topple the mighty Buckeyes at Beaver Stadium in a crazy primetime affair.
Ohio State seemed to be cruising toward a 7-0 start with a 21-7 third quarter lead. But, a Trace McSorley rushing touchdown to cap off a 90-yard drive and cut the Buckeyes’ lead to one score. The blocked punt then led to a Nittany Lions’ field goal before the blocked field goal return gave Penn State a lead it wouldn’t relinquish, dealing a major blow to Ohio State’s College Football Playoff hopes.
Nebraska beats down on Purdue after slow first half
The Boilermakers fired head coach Darrell Hazell last week, so interim Gerad Parker — initially a wide receivers coach — knew he had a tough task with his team visiting Lincoln on Saturday. Things didn’t start well, naturally, for Purdue, as running back (not a typo) Markell Jones threw an interception on the first play from scrimmage, immediately leading to a Tommy Armstrong Jr. touchdown run.
Purdue was actually up 14-10 at the half before the Cornhuskers scored the game’s final 17 points to preserve their undefeated season heading into a big game at Wisconsin next Saturday.
Michigan crushes Illinois to remain undefeated
Another week, another big win for the Wolverines as they easily took care of Central and Southern Illinois’ Big Ten Team. Michigan led this one 31-0 at the intermission and it wasn’t even that close. Quarterback Wilton Speight continues to impress as Jim Harbaugh’s team looks like one of the best in the country and, possibly, the best in the Big Ten.
- Michigan State continued its remarkable slide, as the Spartans lost their fifth-straight game, this time to Maryland in College Park. Mark Dantonio’s team, which stuck with redshirt freshman quarterback Brian Lewerke against the Terps, led 17-14 early in the fourth quarter but couldn’t stop Perry Hills or the Maryland rushing attack down the stretch.
- The Wisconsin Badgers held court in predictably ugly fashion in Iowa City, taking down the Hawkeyes, 17-9. Corey Clement ran for 134 yards to pace Wisconsin’s offense, which struggled to move the ball a bit. Iowa’s usual playmakers couldn’t get much going, as the Hawkeyes were limited to three field goals on the day.
- Minnesota held off Rutgers by a score of 34-32 in what surprisingly turned into a very entertaining game. Mitch Leidner didn’t play too well for the Golden Gophers but the ground game — led by Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks — was enough to beat Chris Ash’s Scarlet Knights.