Written by: TJ Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)
Illinois – 0 at Penn State – 39
The Penn State defense completely dominated from start to finish as the Nittany Lions shut out the Illini, 39-0, to move to 7-2 (4-1). Christian Hackenberg completed 21 of 29 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns and Saquon Barkley added 84 yards with a score to pace the Nittany Lions offense. In total, PSU outgained Illinois 400 to 167 as the Illini managed only 1.4 yards per rush. Penn State still has a chance at a share of the B1G East crown if things break their way but their more realistic goal is reaching 10 wins by winning two of their next three and then getting a W in their bowl game. The Nittany Lions head to Northwestern next week and then take on Michigan and Michigan State to close the regular season.
Illinois has now lost three straight and they need to win two of their final four games to reach bowl eligibility. The Illini travel to West Lafayette to take on the Boilermakers on November 7.
Nebraska - 45 at Purdue – 55
This is not a typo. Purdue won a B1G home game under Darrell Hazell! Nebraska’s Tommy Armstrong was unable to play (ankle injury) so former walk-on Ryker Fyfe handled the starting quarterback duties. He threw four interceptions as the Huskers turned the ball over five times and lost in West Lafayette, 45-55. The Huskers are now 3-6 (1-4) and Purdue improved to 2-6 (1-3). The Huskers outgained the Boilers 484 to 457 but four of the five turnovers gave Purdue possession inside of Nebraska’s 20-yard line.
David Blough had a very good game at quarterback for the Boilers as he threw for 274 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 82 yards and a score. Purdue used their bye week well as they implemented a few quarterback run game wrinkles that paid off handsomely in the first half as Blough kept an inside zone run play and scampered 56 yards for a score. The Boilers were able to take a 49-31 lead with six minutes left before the Huskers pulled back to within 10 before the clock expired. The Boilermakers will look to win back-to-back games for the first time in the Darrell Hazell era as they host Illinois. For the Huskers, their fans are already pondering the future under Mike Riley. Blogger Brandon Vogel compared Nebraska football to a ghost story: “It’s Halloween, it’s OK to be afraid. For the future of Nebraska football, that is. Not to totally murder the Halloween metaphors here but Nebraska football felt like a ghost story more than ever on Saturday. Or at least more than any modern-day fan of the program remembers.” The Huskers still play Michigan State and Iowa and they travel to Rutgers: a 3-9 season is very much a possibility.
Rutgers - 10 at Wisconsin – 48
Corey Clement returned to the Wisconsin (7-2, 4-1) backfield and the Badgers offense looked like a revitalized force as the Badgers steamrolled Rutgers (3-5, 1-4) on a rainy day at Camp Randall Stadium, 48-10. Joel Stave threw for 217 yards and one touchdowns and Wisconsin finally got their running game going as Corey Clement churned out 115 yards and three touchdowns. The Badgers ran for 209 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per carry in total. Alex Erickson continued to impress as he caught six passes for 103 yards. The star of this team continues to be the Badgers defense though as they locked up the Rutgers attack for only 165 yards. Leonte Carroo didn’t play but still, the Scarlet Knights only completed six passes and didn’t eclipse 85 yards on either the ground or through the air.
Rutgers looked completely lifeless and IU’s late-game collapse becomes more and more baffling and angering every time I watch the Scarlet Knights play. Wisconsin has scratched and clawed their way to a 7-2 start and they play Maryland, Northwestern and Minnesota down the stretch. They need some help to catch Iowa in the B1G West but it appears they are on their way to another ten win season.
Maryland - 15 at Iowa – 31
The Iowa Hawkeyes are now 8-0 (4-0) after winning a rock-fight over the Maryland Terrapins (2-6, 0-4) as turnovers once again did the Terps in. Maryland entered the game at -13 in turnover margin (last in the country). They leave the game at -16 after turning it over four times (three interceptions, one fumble lost) and forcing only one. The Hawkeyes outgained the Terrapins 293 to 241 as Maryland only mustered 74 yards passing. Things weren’t all rosy for Iowa as they struggled to run the ball, rushing for only 2.5 yards per carry (44 carries for 110 yards). Maryland’s quarterback Perry Hills was the leading rusher on the day as he gained 104 yards on 19 carries.
The biggest play of the game was probably the “pick-six” by Desmond King as he picked off a pass on the 12-yard line and ran it back 88 yards for a touchdown that put Iowa ahead 31-7 and slammed the door shut on a potential comeback by Maryland (a score for Maryland makes 24-14). William Likely continued his excellent season as a kick returner as he ran yet another kick back for a touchdown to highlight the day for the Terrapins. Iowa’s second half wasn’t great but the Hawkeyes were in firm control and cruised to the win. They’ll now head to Bloomington to take on the Hoosiers. Maryland hosts Iowa next weekend and then travels to East Lansing before hosting IU.
Michigan - 29 at Minnesota – 26
Football is a strange and cruel game. Days after head coach Jerry Kill retired due to ongoing health concerns, the Minnesota Golden Gophers hosted one of the best defenses in the country. Minnesota’s offense has been anemic up to this point in the season and there was no reason to expect they could successfully move the ball on the Wolverines stout defense. However, no one told the Gophers and they erupted for a stunning 461 yards. Mitch Leidner threw for 317 yards and ran for another 37 yards with a touchdown. Minnesota outgained the Wolverines 461 to 296 and Michigan turned the ball over twice to Minnesota’s zero. The Gophers appeared to have won the game with under a minute to go when Mitch Leidner completed a pass to Drew Wolitarsky that appeared to be the go-ahead touchdown. However, the play was reviewed and the ball was placed at the one-yard line. No matter, there’s still nineteen seconds left and they only have to get one yard. However, the Gophers didn’t appear to know the clock was running and they left quite a bit of time run off the clock before snapping the ball. Mitch Leidner threw an incomplete pass to Brandon Lingen and the clock had ticked down to two seconds. The Gophers attempted to sneak the ball into the end zone on the final play as Leidner plunged forward but the Wolverines defense pushed the pile backwards and Leidner never got close to scoring. The clock expired and somehow, Michigan had survived to get their sixth victory (6-2, 3-1). The loss leaves Minnesota at 4-4 (1-3) and probably emotionally spent. They outplayed Michigan in every way possible until the final play. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough and the Wolverines retained the Little Brown Jug in just about the cruelest way imaginable.