Northwestern did not play a game this week, but there was plenty of Big Ten action for everyone to enjoy. Let’s just get into it.
Penn State 21, Iowa 19
Poor Iowa. I usually wouldn’t say that to the Hawkeyes, but they lost in excruciating fashion on Saturday night. Iowa played well against a high-powered Penn State offense, only letting up 15 points despite over 300 all-purpose yards from Saquon Barkley. Iowa’s only big mistake was a comical toss play in its own end zone that resulted in a safety.
However, a long Akrum Wadley touchdown run gave Iowa a four-point lead with little time remaining for Trace McSorley. Penn State’s offense drove down the field but seemed to be out of answers on fourth goal with four seconds remaining. Then, on the very last play of the game, this happened.
You will never see a stadium go from rowdy to silent in a faster amount of time. Also, both of these teams looked like they could beat Northwestern by double digits.
Michigan 28, Purdue 10
Purdue under Jeff Brohm has suddenly become very competent. I’m officially worried about the Boilermakers coming to Ryan Field. The score may not look great, but Purdue was leading 10-7 at the half and hung with Michigan for three quarters. Everybody on Purdue who we thought was bad under Darrell Hazell, especially on the defensive end, is now apparently very good. It makes no sense. Purdue at 2-2 might be the fourth best team in the Big Ten West right now, and there’s a case to be made that semi-close games against Louisville and Michigan and a road drubbing of Missouri are way more impressive than P.J. Fleck’s wins and Northwestern’s awful loss at Duke. Without any preseason projections factored in, Purdue is 27 spots ahead of Northwestern in Bill Connelly’s S&P+ metric.
I would posit that Purdue is far from good, but the Boilers are definitely “spooky,” and look better than NU as of this second.
Central Florida 38, Maryland 10
Reports of Maryland being back have been greatly exaggerated. After stunning Texas on the road, Maryland’s next game against an FBS opponent went about as badly as possible. Kasim Hill, who came in for Tyrrell Pigrome in Week 1 and was very impressive, suffered a serious right leg injury after throwing 2 passes. After that, Maryland completely fell apart. After looking incredibly promising, this might be another lost season for Durkin and Maryland, which is a shame.
Notre Dame 38, Michigan State 18
In a battle between teams that went 4-8 and 3-9 last year, the 4-8 team prevailed. Michigan State may have had dreams of being back to its Big Ten Championship form after wins over Western Michigan and Bowling Green, but Sparty had no chance against Notre Dame. MSU outgained Notre Dame 496-355, but 3 turnovers ruined any chance for Michigan State to remain competitive. The Spartans host Iowa next week at 3 p.m., which should be fun.
Ohio State 54, UNLV 21
Indiana 52, Georgia Southern 17
Nebraska 27, Rutgers 17
You know what, Rutgers deserve its “s” today. Despite falling to 1-3, Rutgers held up well in Lincoln against a Nebraska team that is in total disarray. Rutgers had a lead until late in the third quarter, when the Kyle Bolin-led offense sputtered and Nebraska finally woke up. It was a good try, Rutgers! It was a good try! As for Nebraska...I think this win may have cranked up the temperature on Mike Riley’s seat.
Things are going to get very bad, very quickly for Nebraska. The Huskers get Illinois next week, but on a Friday night in Champaign. Next, they host Wisconsin and Ohio State (haha). Then they go to Purdue, play Northwestern, then go to Minnesota (not great). Then they go to Penn State (oh dear). Then, to make matters worse, they face Iowa at home in the last week of the season. This is, arguably, the toughest conference schedule in the entire country. Is Nebraska going to win more than two conference games? Stay tuned.