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B1G Football Roundup: Domination and Heartbreak

A week of highs and lows in the B1G.

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Buckeyes blow by Nittany Lions, 38-10

After the first quarter, Penn State held a 3-0 lead in Columbus, and Ohio's offense looked horrible behind Cardale Jones. Jones continued to disappoint, missing throws and making mistakes, leading to 18 yards on 11 plays and three consecutive punts for the Buckeyes to start the game. However, Ohio's stable of offensive weapons runs deep, and Penn State found that out in the second quarter on Saturday. Behind three combined rushing touchdowns, Ezekiel Elliott and J.T. Barrett righted the ship for Ohio in the second frame, and the Buckeyes never looked back. The Nittany Lions showed some spark by scoring on a three play, 78-yard drive to start the second half, but it would be the last points they put on the board.

Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of this game was that Barrett took over under center near the end of the third quarter and never looked back. He led the Buckeyes to a couple more touchdowns and finished with a solid stat line: 4 of 4 passing for 30 yards and two touchdowns, 11 carries for 102 yards and two touchdowns. Following the start, Urban Meyer acknowledged that Barrett is outshining Jones and named him the starter for this week against Rutgers.

Iowa follows Michigan's lead, annihilates Northwestern 40-10

The Hawkeyes continued to impress on Saturday in a one-sided affair against a downtrodden Wildcats squad. Even with standout running back Jordan Canzeri leaving the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury, Iowa won by doing what it does best: running the football. Backup Akrum Wadley replaced Canzeri and proceeded to rush for 204 yards and a school record-tying four touchdowns on 26 carries. On the other hand, Northwestern's defense looks more and more like a sham after surrendering 492 yards and 40 points this week. Their offense wasn't any better, surrendering three turnovers and gaining 198 total yards as quarterback Clayton Thorson struggled to 125 yards on 17 of 35 passing with one touchdown and one interception. Next year can't come soon enough for the Wildcats at this point. As for the Hawkeyes, with an easy schedule on the horizon, they are in the driver's seat with their foot on the gas pedal, speeding to that B1G West crown.

Wisconsin turns to Stave to save the day, beats up on Purdue, 24-7

The Badgers ruled this game, even if the final score doesn't show it. Quarterback Joel Stave led the way for Wisconsin, throwing for 332 yards on 30 of 39 passing with surprisingly no touchdowns and one interception. Those yards were desperately needed too as the Badgers limped to 96 yards rushing against a Boilermakers defense that surrenders, on average, over 200 rushing yards per game. As for Purdue, they are hopeless yet again, even though the game was 10-7 and "close" at halftime. The Boilermakers offense drove the ball inside Wisconsin's 30-yard line once - with minutes remaining in the game - and turned it over on downs. Their lone touchdown came after a 66-yard interception return gave them the ball at Wisconsin's 29-yard line. Even then, it took them nine plays, including a fourth down conversion, to find the endzone.

Nebraska and Minnesota are rivals now, Cornhuskers take home trophy, 48-25

If you haven't heard of the $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy yet, I suggest reading up on it's brief history. I hope it sticks, and if this photo is any indication, it's picking up some steam:

As for the game, Minnesota took the ball 75 yards for seven on the opening drive. That would be their only lead of the game. Nebraska responded with a three-play, 82-yard scoring drive to tie the game, and their offense cruised from there. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong dialed in a near perfect performance, tallying 261 yards and three touchdowns on 18 of 26 passing. Running back Terrell Newby also stood out, rushing for 116 yards and two touchdowns, although 69 yards came on Nebraska's first touchdown. On the other hand, while the Gophers rushed for 326 yards last week against Purdue, they struggled to find room against the Huskers, stumbling to 65 yards on 25 carries. Oof. They also coughed the ball over three times: at their own 29-yard line (Nebraska scored a touchdown three plays later), a pick six late in the fourth to end any hopes of a comeback, and an interception on their final drive. For Cornhuskers fans, this has to be a welcome sight after too many last-second losses this season.

Indiana follows Michigan's lead, drops a heartbreaker to Rutgers, 55-52

What's more painful? Losing on a fumbled punt turned touchdown as time expires or blowing a 25-point lead with roughly 20 minutes left to play? I'm leaning towards the latter. With 5:25 remaining in the third quarter, Hoosiers running back Devine Redding found the endzone after a 66-yard run to give Indiana a 52-27 advantage over Rutgers. Then, they completely collapsed. Here's how the Scarlet Knights came back: seven-play, 65-yard drive capped by a 43-yard pass to Leonte Carroo, fumbled punt turned touchdown (sound familiar?), interception turned seven-play, 68-yard touchdown drive, interception turned five-play, 63-yard touchdown drive. That's a perfect meltdown if I've ever heard of one. At this point, the game was tied at 52, and while down, the Hoosiers certainly weren't out. That is, until they went three-and-out on their next possession. Following the stop, Rutgers took over at their own 32-yard line and drove down the field to setup Kyle Federico's 26-yard game-winning field goal as time expired.