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 13:
Ohio State clinches Big Ten East title
The Buckeyes topped Penn State 28-17, surviving their toughest test of the season and securing their spot in the Big Ten Championship game for a third consecutive year. Their offense was, as usual, led by Justin Fields and J.K. Dobbins, but it was really the Buckeye defense that clinched this win for them. After trailing 21-0, Penn State bounced back and brought the score to 21-17 early in the fourth quarter. A touchdown from Fields gave the Buckeyes some leeway, and then the defense stepped up with an interception and two late fourth down stops, the last of which included back-to-back sacks.
The Buckeyes finish out their regular season against rival Michigan in Ann Arbor before heading to Indy for a shot at their 38th Big Ten title. Penn State will take on Rutgers to close out the season.
Wisconsin keeps Lucas Oil dreams alive
Wisconsin came out on top against Purdue 45-24 behind 220 rushing yards from Jonathan Taylor, which marks his 12th time this season reaching 200+ yards in a game. The Boilermakers took the lead at one point, but the first of Jack Coan’s two touchdowns put the Badgers ahead for good at the end of the first half.
This marks the Boilermakers seventh loss this season and crushed at Purdue returning to a bowl game in 2019. For Wisconsin, the win secured its chance at a Big Ten West title as the division will now come down to if the Badgers can beat Minnesota to close out the regular season.
Iowa’s defense prevails once again
Iowa isn’t playing for the West crown, but the Hawkeyes ended the Fighting Illini’s four-game win streak this past Saturday by forcing a flurry of turnovers against the team that led the nation in turnover margin. With three forced turnovers, Iowa kept Illinois to its lowest total points scored of the season, the same thing they did against Minnesota a week ago. Offensively, Nate Stanley threw for 308 yards and Keith Duncan kicked four field goals for the Hawkeyes.
Michigan State 27, Rutgers 0
Michigan State ended their five-game losing streak behind a standout performance from Cody White, who had a career-high 11 catches and three touchdowns. If the Spartans beat Maryland at home next weekend (which they should), they will be bowl eligible.
Michigan 39, Indiana 14
Shea Patterson threw for 366 yards and five touchdowns to lead Michigan too their fourth-straight win in what was an impressive offensive performance for the Wolverines.
Nebraska 54, Maryland 7
Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez threw for 194 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 94 yards to keep the Cornhuskers chance bowl eligibility alive if they can beat Iowa at home next Friday.