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 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 storylines from Week 8:
Purdue wins for Tyler Trent
If you just saw the score of the Purdue-Ohio State game — a 49-20 beatdown in favor of the Boilermakers — you would’ve missed an incredible story. Tyler Trent, a Purdue student who has battled cancer, returned to campus for the game, which doctors had previously thought wouldn’t be possible. You can read more about it here. It’s a remarkable story.
Tyler Trent made it to the Purdue game tonight to root for his beloved Boilermakers as they take on Ohio State! #TylerStrong pic.twitter.com/5SdBx9pl2l— ESPN (@espn) October 21, 2018
On the field, Jeff Brohm earned the biggest win he’s had in his time at Purdue against the second-ranked Buckeyes. D.J. Knox carried 16 times for 128 yards and three touchdowns, and Rondale Moore, who torched Northwestern in Week 1, erupted for 170 yards and two touchdowns receiving. After losing their first three games, the Boilermakers have won four straight games, and David Blough looks to have steadied the team at quarterback.
Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins threw for 470 yards, but it took him 73 attempts to do it. Purdue led 14-3 at half, and 21-6 after the third quarter before scoring 28 points in the final frame. Then the students rushed the field.
Pat Fitzgerald is probably happy Northwestern played Purdue early in the season.
No. 6 Michigan handles No. 24 Michigan State after pregame skirmish
This one had a peculiar start. Michigan linebacker Devin Bush took exception to Michigan State to Michigan State coming onto the field for a pregame ritual while Michigan players were warming up, or something to that effect. Bush decided to take his anger out on the MSU logo at midfield:
Michigan LB Devin Bush seen moments ago tearing up the Michigan St midfield logo pic.twitter.com/4TKq5KPexH— CFB Home (@CFBHome) October 20, 2018
Harbaugh called Michigan State’s pregame actions “bush league,” while Dantonio said Harbaugh’s accusations are “b.s.” Take those how you will, but Michigan was the better team on the field, earning a comfortable 21-7 win after a rain delay in the first half to improve to 7-1 and 5-0 in the Big Ten.
Brian Lewerke was 5-of-25 — yes, he completed five out of 25 throws — for just 66 yards. Rashan Gary didn’t even play in this one. Karan Higdon ground out 144 yards on 33 carries and Shea Patterson had an efficient day, tossing 212 yards and two touchdowns, one of which was a 79-yard bomb to Donovan Peoples-Jones. Michigan is looking more and more like a potential playoff contender.
Iowa 23, Maryland 0
The No. 19 Hawkeyes cruised to a win over the Terps. Nate Stanley only threw for 86 yards for Iowa, but the Hawkeyes rushed for 224 yards and scored a defensive touchdown in a shutout win. Kasim Hill threw for just 47 yards for Maryland (a lot of weird passing lines in the conference this weekend). Iowa might be the most consistent team in the West.
Wisconsin 49, Illinois 20
No. 23 Wisconsin got back on track after a loss to Michigan, easily dispatching the Illini in a game that had some snow. Alex Hornibrook threw two interceptions, but Illinois turned the ball over five times. Wisconsin, which will travel to Evanston this week, rushed for 357 yards on the day.
Nebraska 53, Minnesota 38
Freshman Tanner Morgan got his first extensive game action for the Gophers, and he looked decent, but Adrian Martinez put on a show to help Scott Frost earn his first win as the Cornhuskers’ head coach. Martinez went 25-of-29 for 276 yards and three scores, and he added 125 yards and a touchdown on the ground. This was a full-on drubbing, and it was about time for Frost & Co.
Penn State 33, Indiana 28
This game was close for a while, but No. 18 Penn State led by double-digits for most of the fourth quarter, before Indiana added a late touchdown. Trace McSorley didn’t have a great day throwing the ball, but Penn State was the better team overall.
-Ohio State: 4-1
-Michigan State: 2-2
-Penn State: 2-2