Ohio turns it on late against Maryland, 49-28
While Ohio continues to struggle on defense, their offense seems to be starting to put the pieces together. They dialed up a dominant performance against the Terps, accumulating 499 yards of total offense and scoring touchdowns on all six of their red zone trips. The two-headed quarterback monster in Columbus reminded everyone of its potential as Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett combined for five touchdowns, 23 of 30 passing, and 353 yards of offense. Coupled with Ezekiel Elliott's two scores and 106 yards rushing on five yards per carry, Ohio's offense is good enough to make up for their sub-par defense. As for Maryland, they did more than anybody expected, especially considering the leaked reports stating head coach Randy Edsall was set to be canned after the game. Similar to the Michigan game, the Terps kept the game close heading into the half before crumbling in the final frames. Maryland lived and died at the hands of quarterback Perry Hills, who took back the starting job after losing it to Caleb Rowe two games into the season. Hills rushed for 170 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns but sunk any hopes for a comeback with his best Rowe impression as he threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter. His ugly passing line - 10 of 27 for 133 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions - should illustrate all you need to know about the quarterback situation in College Park. At least you'll always have this Maryland:
Michigan State continues to survive, tops
Leonte Carroo Rutgers 31-24
Perhaps inspired by the return of their captain and best player, Rutgers fought to the end against the favored Spartans. Well, they didn't fight to the very end as quarterback Chris Laviano hilariously spiked the ball on fourth down to end the Scarlet Knights last-ditch effort:
Yes, those frantic final drives can become a disorganized mess, especially after you suffer a big sack near midfield with seconds remaining when trailing by a touchdown, like Rutgers did. However, it's pretty bad when your interim head coach admits that Laviano "did what he was told to do." The flat finish slightly overshadows a dominant performance by reinstated Rutgers wide receiver Leonte Carroo, who completely exposed Michigan State's secondary en route to seven receptions for 134 yards and three touchdowns. As for the Spartans, they seemed to be their own worst enemy, especially as they struggled in the first half by making many critical mistakes: wideout Aaron Burbridge dropped a touchdown on the first series of the game, Rutgers blocked a 35-yard field goal, a poor punt resulted in a Scarlet Knights touchdown, and Connor Cook tossed a pick on a first and goal play. Still, the Spartans continue to find ways to win.
Jordan Canzeri runs all over the Illini, Iowa wins 29-20
Canzeri's performance on Saturday made me wonder if Iowa somehow kidnapped Leonard Fournette and disguised him as their running back. The senior Hawkeye rushed for 256 yards on 43(!) carries with this beauty of a 75-yard touchdown run:
That's some serious speed. Canzeri also added two receptions for 15 yards and a touchdown. Illinois, considered hopeless at the beginning of the year, continues to show promise as they kept this game close behind a solid performance by quarterback Wes Lunt - 25 of 42 for 317 yards and one touchdown. The Fighting Illini even had a chance to drive and win the game after getting the ball back at their 25-yard line trailing 26-20 with a little over three minutes remaining. However, running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn coughed up the ball on the next play, and an Iowa field goal four plays later sealed the game.
Minnesota discovers the concept of offense, stomps Purdue 41-13
After a close game against Michigan State, this has to be somewhat crushing for Boilermaker fans. Against Minnesota, a team that has not been capable of scoring at all this year, Purdue seemed to have a chance. Trailing 10-6 at halftime, Purdue seemed to still have a chance. Then, the Golden Gophers dropped 28 on the Boilermakers in the third quarter - more points than they have scored in any game this year - and that was that. Running back Shannon Brooks sparked Minnesota's offense with a 71-yard score on the second play of the second half. He finished the game with 176 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries. As for Purdue, they did themselves no favors, turning the ball over four times and having only four drives with more than five plays after opening the game with a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive.
Penn State cruises past Indiana, 29-7
This was the type of performance Christian Hackenberg supporters expected to be the norm rather than the exception. Penn State's signal caller was near-perfect on Saturday, throwing for 262 yards on 21 of 39 passing with two touchdowns as well as nine carries for 21 yards and two more touchdowns. On the other side, Indiana's Zander Diamont followed the excitement of almost beating the Buckeyes with a lackluster outing - 9 of 17 for 90 yards, 11 carries for 38 yards and one touchdown - before exiting the game with an injury in the third quarter. Third stringer Danny Cameron entered the game and proceeded to throw for 65 yards and an interception.
Wisconsin hands Nebraska another soul-crushing defeat, 23-21
Neither of these teams is playing all that well, but one sits at 4-2 with hopes of winning the B1G West while the other twitches in pain, dreams shattered. After losing a close game against Iowa, the Badgers eked out a victory at Nebraska, becoming the fourth team this year to win on their final offensive play against the Cornhuskers. After a Wisconsin field goal miss with 1:26 to play, the Cornhuskers decided to run the ball three times, forcing Wisconsin to burn their timeouts rather than trying to get a win-clinching first down. This led to the Badgers regaining possession with 63 seconds left. Joel Stave made short work of Nebraska's defense, hitting three straight passes to setup the 46-yard game-winning field goal and redemption for kicker Rafael Gaglianone. For Nebraska fans, as that pigskin soared through the uprights with four seconds remaining, there is nothing but pain and suffering. There is no silver lining. Nebraska football is death right now. At 2-4 and 0-2 in the B1G, your ceiling is a crappy bowl game, if that. Bo Pelini and 9-3 sure looks good now, doesn't it?