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Around the Big Ten, Week 4

The opening weekend featured some surprising results, with margins both big and small.

NCAA Football: Penn State at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Here are the top three storylines from Week 4:

Wisconsin blasts Michigan State in East Lansing

The Badgers (4-0, 1-0) put on a majorly impressive display against Mark Dantonio and the Spartans (2-1, 0-1), winning 30-6 on the road. Freshman quarterback Alex Hornibrook threw for 195 yards and one touchdown and one pick in his first start, but it was the defense that was the storyline. The Badgers were relentless, picking off three passes and returning an L.J. Scott fumble for a touchdown. It was so bad that Dantonio actually disappeared into thin air near the end of the game:

Michigan rolls Penn State

Michigan (4-0, 1-0) is an absolute force, and its latest victim was Penn State (2-2, 0-1). The Wolverines rolled up 515 yards while allowing just 191 en route to a 49-10 rout in Ann Arbor. The hosts ran for 326 yards and six scores on the ground alone. Up next? Wisconsin. Fasten your seatbelts.

Iowa survives in Piscataway

Northwestern’s next opponent is going through struggles of its own. The Hawkeyes (3-1, 1-0) were actually outgained by the Scarlet Knights (2-2, 0-1), but a late Akrum Wadley touchdown run gave the Hawkeyes a much-needed but entirely unconvincing win over a Rutgers team that lost its best player by far—Janarion Grant— to injury during the game.

Other games:

  • Minnesota (3-0) continued its hot start with a 31-24 win over Colorado St (2-2). The Golden Gophers, who open Big Ten play next week at Penn State, ran for 243 yards and four touchdowns.
  • Richard Lagow threw for 496 yards (!!!), three touchdowns (!) and FIVE interceptions (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), including the one that gave Wake Forest (4-0) its first lead as Indiana (2-1) lost at home 33-28.
  • Purdue (2-1) turned the ball over four times, but David Blough threw for 300 yards and two scores to lead the Boilermakers to a 24-14 win over Nevada (2-2).

BYES: Ohio State, Maryland, Illinois