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Big Ten Sampler: Week 7

While you were averting your eyes from Northwestern, the rest of the conference was in action on Saturday

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State 42, Indiana 28

Indiana has a fine offense; their 351 yards and 28 points are easily the most the MSU defense has allowed in either category this season. The problem is that Indiana allowed the Spartan offense to have its best day since Michigan State crushed FCS Youngstown State. Still, Indiana's hopes of bowl eligibility are still alive, with winnable games against Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, and Purdue still to come; since the Hoosiers only need 3 more wins to reach 6, they can even lose one of those and still make it. Michigan State, meanwhile, is now rounding into form as a strong contender for the conference championship.

Nebraska 44, Purdue 7

Purdue still sucks; this week, the Rick Venturi Trophy frontrunners made Nebraska's shaky defense look dominant, managing only 216 yards and a garbage time touchdown against a team averaging 407 yards and 22 points against. On a day like that, Taylor Martinez could miss the game and one of his backups could have a 6-18, 3 INT day passing without the slightest threat of an upset.

Penn State 43, Michigan 40 (4OT)

Michigan finally managed to lose a game, allowing PSU to score 10 points in the last 7 minutes to tie the game and then giving up a touchdown in the fourth overtime. This was a pretty brutal game for both offenses, as the teams were a combined 7-34 on third down and turned the ball over 7 times between them. In other words, it's amazing these teams managed to combine for a whole 15 points in the four overtimes.

UCLA 37, Cal 10

When the Cal offense failed to show up against Oregon, the Bears could plausibly blame a horrendous rainstorm for fouling their ball handling. Against UCLA, no such excuses are possible; they simply failed to move the ball efficiently, as Jared Goff posted a pedestrian 26-43, 215 yard, 1 INT statline and the running game provided no relief. Their defense, on the other hand, was entirely too familiar to Bear fans, allowing Brett Hundley to complete 31 of 41 passes for 410 yards and 3 TDs.

Syracuse 24, NC State 10

Syracuse dominated the ground, outrushing NC State 362 to 129, which allowed the Orange to pull away with two fourth quarter touchdowns. Their passing game, on the other hand, remains ineffective; Terrel Hunt completed only 10 of 20 passes for 74 yards and 2 interceptions. Still, Cuse is a quietly competent team, it seems, with enough of a running game and defense to grind out some wins; they should be the only bowl team of NU's non-conference opponents.

Buffalo 33, Western Michigan 0

Bad as Western Michigan has been this year, they hadn't been shut out until Saturday. 200 yards of offense and 4 turnovers will do that, though.

Next Week

11:00 CT

Purdue @ Michigan State

Purdue will be lucky to gain a yard against the Big Ten's top defense, and the Spartan offense has more than enough life to turn this into a laugher early.

11:30 CT

Syracuse @ Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech's offense is no fun to play against, especially for the first time. Syracuse probably loses this game, but there is always the chance that they get the flexbone right the first time and cruise.

Maine vs. William and Mary

Maine is off to a 5-1 start, with their only loss against Nortwestern; William and Mary is also doing well, sitting at 4-2 with losses to West Virginia and Villanova. Sagarin has this game as a toss-up between the second tier of teams in the Colonial Athletic Association; a Maine win would put them in great position to challenge Towson and Villanova for the conference.

1:00 CT

Western Michigan vs. Ball State

Ball State is 6-1 and 3-0 in MAC play; chalk this down as WMU's seventh loss of the year.

2:30 CT

Indiana @ Michigan

Indiana whipped the Penn State team that just beat Michigan by 20 points. Michigan opened as a 10.5 point favorite, which has since narrowed to 7.5 points. I can understand Michigan getting the benefit of the doubt up to a point, and they are the home team, but I think Michigan will be hard-pressed to win the game, much less cover that spread.

Iowa @ #4 Ohio State

In Iowa's last game, their running backs managed only 26 yards on 14 carries against the Big Ten's best run defense. This week, they get to take on the conference's second best run D, which recently held Wisconsin to 113 yards on the ground. Jake Rudock has a better chance of putting up points through the air than he did against MSU, but OSU should also score well more than the 26 points that the Spartans managed.

7:00 CT

#25 Wisconsin @ Illinois

Illinois has faced two good running offenses this year: Washington rushed for 273 yards on 50 carries, while Nebraska managed 335 on the same number. The matchup between the Illinois offense and Wisconsin defense will be entirely irrelevant once the Badgers get done with that defense.

9:30 CT

Cal vs. Oregon State

OSU thrashed PAC-12 bottom-dwellers in their last two games; no reason to think they will break that trend this week.