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 14-week-long season all the way up until Indianapolis.
Here are the top storylines from Week 7:
No. 8 Wisconsin owns the state of Michigan (again)
The Badgers have shown no signs of slowing down. Paul Chryst’s team moved to 6-0 after another dominant home victory against a Big Ten East foe. Wisconsin has now outscored Michigan/Michigan State by a combined scoreline of 73-14 and the state of Michigan 139-14 when you add in Central Michigan. Believe it or not, Northwestern is the only team to keep a game remotely close against the Badgers, so at least there’s that!
It’s official: halfway through the season, Northwestern has put together the best offensive performance against Wisconsin of any team the Badgers have faced.— Inside NU (@insidenu) October 12, 2019
The Spartan defense kept the Jonathan Taylor under 100 yards for the first time all season, but that didn’t prove to matter as the Badger defense was simply relentless as they have been all defense. The Wisconsin defense has scored more points than its allowed through six games. They’ll head to Champaign next weekend before a huge clash in Columbus awaits the week after.
No. 10 Nittany Lions squeak out a win in Iowa City
The East division is really cementing itself as a class above the West. Two years ago, the eighth-ranked Nittany Lions squeaked out a 21-19 last-minute victory playing the Hawkeyes. They got it done again Saturday, propelled by a stifling defense and a late touchdown run.
James Franklin’s defense allowed just 12 points to the Iowa offense while doing enough against a tough Hawkeye defense to gut out its first win over a ranked opponent this year. After starting the year with high hopes, Kirk Ferentz’s squad is 0-2 in conference play in crossover games, with the offense mustering just 15 points over the last two games. With the Iowa loss and how the teams are playing, Wisconsin is firmly in the driver’s seat to win the division at this point.
Minnesota blows out Nebraska 34-7
Well, the Golden Gophers may be legit after all. P.J. Fleck’s team is still yet to face a true test, but they certainly handled their biggest one of the year thus far with a statement win over Nebraska last night. Minnesota moved to 6-0 in blowout fashion and cemented themselves as a legit contender in the Big Ten West as they took advantage of an Adrian Martinez-less Cornhusker team.
With the win, Minnesota cracked the Top 25 for the first time all season as they now sit at No. 20 heading into a date at Rutgers next weekend. With a home matchup against Maryland to follow, this Golden Gopher team will most likely be 8-0 heading into a home contest with what could also be an undefeated Penn State on November 9. Just like we all expected!
Rutger throws for a single passing yard
Yes, this actually happened. Rutger quarterback Johnny Langan went 5-for-13 with 1 passing yard. The Scarlet Knights gained a total of 75 yards on the day.
bad news but we’re taking the other R away it’s now:— rutger had one passing yard against indiana (@crimsonquarry) October 12, 2019
Purdue 40, Maryland 14
A week after getting blown out by Penn State, injury-riddled Purdue bounced back in a big way. Jack Plummer had a stellar afternoon, compiling 420 yards and three touchdowns to give the Boilermakers their first conference win. Maryland continues to falter against decent competition as its early-season offensive outburst looks more and more like a façade.
No. 16 Michigan 42, Illinois 25
This one was boring before it got very interesting. Michigan has been anything but convincing this season, and it looked in the first half like that might change. Up 28-0 in the second quarter against a porous defense, the Wolverines were rolling before Illinois scored 25 straight (!) to pull within a field goal. Michigan closed it out, though, on a day in which Shea Patterson accounted for four total touchdowns.