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Around the Big Ten, Week 9: Michigan bounces back big, Wisconsin falls flat

Meanwhile, the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions continue to look nearly unstoppable.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame 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 for 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 9:

Ohio State dominates Wisconsin 38-7

After being on the wrong end of a horrific upset against Illinois last week, the No. 13 Badgers marched into Ohio Stadium with their heads held high…until they met Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins. Fields threw for 167 yards and two touchdowns on 22 attempts, while scampering for 28 yards and another score on 13 carries. Meanwhile, Dobbins ran for an extremely efficient 163 yards and two touchdowns on just 20 totes, slicing through Wisconsin’s defense all day long and throwing some mean stiff arms while he was at it.

On the other side, Wisconsin’s offensive line allowed Chase Young to wreak havoc in the Badgers’ backfield. The presumptive high first-round draft pick had a monster day, sacking Wisconsin QB Jack Coan four times while also forcing two fumbles. Jonathan Taylor was shut down by the Buckeye front seven, with the former Heisman candidate held to just 52 yards on 20 carries.

Minnesota improves to 8-0

How about those Golden Gophers? After a 35-point win vs. Rutgers last week, Minnesota rolled through Maryland 52-10. As a team, the Gophers ran the ball for 321 yards and four touchdowns on 54 carries (with seven different ball carriers). QB Tanner Morgan didn’t have to do too much, throwing for just 138 yards on 21 attempts and completing two for touchdowns.

Throughout the game, Maryland struggled to put drives together, scoring their first and only touchdown on a 59-yard heave in the fourth quarter. Starting QB Tyrrell Pigrome went down late in the second, leaving backup Tyler DeSue to throw for 88 yards and their only touchdown. It was a game to forget for the Terrapins, who fall to 3-5.

Michigan decimates No. 8 Notre Dame

Is Michigan a dark horse in the Big Ten East? Following their heartbreaking loss at Penn State last week, the Wolverines bounced back and walked all over independent powerhouse Notre Dame, winning 45-14. Michigan dominated all facets of the game, forcing the Irish to punt the ball 10 times and rushing for 303 yards as a team (sophomore Hassan Haskins led the way with 149 while freshman Zach Charbonnet punched the ball in twice).

For Notre Dame, Ian Book went just 8/25, throwing for just 73 yards and one touchdown before being benched for backup Phil Jurkovec. The Irish were unable to get the ground game going, rushing for just 47 yards on 31 attempts, an average of 1.5 yards per carry. They will have to carry the indignity of a blowout loss until the next time they meet their rivals, tentatively scheduled for 2033.

Rutgers “upsets” Liberty

Forget Illinois breaking the hearts of the Badger fans. Today, Rutgers shocked the CFB world by beating Liberty 44-34. Liberty opened as 7.5 point favorites, but that wasn’t holding back the Scarlet Knights.

In all seriousness, Johnny Langan threw for 192 yards and two touchdowns for the Scarlet Knights while also carrying the ball 21 times for 118 yards and one touchdown. Why does this game matter? With this win, Rutgers improved to 2-6, dropping Northwestern to dead last in the Big Ten.

Other Scores

Illinois 24, Purdue 6

After shocking the world by upsetting No. 6 Wisconsin last week, Illinois followed up with an impressive 18-point win vs. Purdue. The Boilermakers were unable to score until late in the fourth quarter.

No. 6 Penn State 28, Michigan State 7

Sophomore quarterback Sean Clifford continued to dominate Big Ten competition, scoring all four touchdowns for the Nittany Lions. Michigan State falls to 4-3 after being held to just 77 yards rushing as a team.

Indiana 38, Nebraska 31

Despite being without Adrian Martinez for the second straight game, Nebraska managed to put up 31 points. Unfortunately, their defense couldn’t hold up, allowing Hoosier backup QB Peyton Ramsey to throw for 351 yards and two touchdowns. With this win, Indiana is the fifth of six Big Ten teams to clinch bowl eligibility (Michigan clinched late last night, making them the sixth).