Every Sunday, 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.
Northwestern’s brutal loss to Minnesota shifts them back after a week of some nailbiters and some blowouts. Here are the three biggest storyline from Week 12:
Ohio State hangs on
A week after Michigan fell at Iowa, Ohio State (10-1, 7-1) almost suffered an even more brutal collapse at a struggling Michigan State (3-8, 1-7) team in East Lansing. LJ Scott had a monster day for the hosts (19 carries, 160 yards, 1 touchdown; 2 catches, 76 yards, 1 touchdown) and brought his team to within one on his second touchdown late in the fourth quarter. But the Spartans failed trying to go for two, and after getting the ball back late, Tyler O’Connor was picked off by Gareon Conley. Mike Weber ran for 111 yards and a score for the No. 2 Buckeyes.
Michigan comes back, wins comfortably
Michigan (10-1, 7-1) trailed Indiana (5-6, 3-5) 7-3 at halftime but used a 17-point third quarter to cruise by the upset-minded Hoosiers 20-10. In some brutal conditions, John O’Korn, starting in place of the injured Wilton Speight, completed just seven of his 16 pass attempts. But De’Veon Smith put the Wolverines on his back, scoring twice and collecting 158 yards on 23 carries.
Penn State continues ascent
Watch out, world. If Penn State (9-2, 7-1) takes care of business next week against Michigan State, and Ohio State beats Michigan, the Nittany Lions will be your Big Ten East representatives in the championship game. That’s right, after thrashing Rutgers (2-9, 0-8) by a score of 39-0, the Nittany Lions are in good shape. They hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Ohio State, and the Buckeyes beating the Wolverines would give Jim Harbaugh’s squad two Big Ten losses.
- Starting on Senior Day for an injured Tommy Armstrong Jr., Ryker Fife threw for 220 yards and a score as Nebraska (9-2, 6-2) throttled Maryland (5-6, 2-6) 28-7. Terrell Newby ran for three touchdowns.
- Wisconsin (9-2, 6-2) stayed on track to clinch the Big Ten West after stomping Purdue (3-8, 1-7) 49-20. The Badgers ran for 221 yards and four scores.
- Iowa (7-4, 5-3) didn’t suffer any post-Michigan-win setbacks, beating Illinois (3-8, 2-6) 28-0. The Illini managed just 198 yards offensively.