Ohio escapes #iufb4gameday, leaves Bloomington with a W, 34-27
This game boiled down to Ezekiel Elliott vs. Indiana's resiliency. The Hoosiers lost their two best offensive players during the game: Jordan Howard, the nation's leading rusher, in the first quarter, and quarterback Nate Sudfeld in the third. That would be the final two nails in the coffin for most teams, but the Hoosiers never relented. They led 10-6 at halftime before surrendering three big touchdown runs to Elliott - 55, 65, and 75 yards - to give the Buckeyes a 34-20 lead with a little over ten minutes to play. But backup quarterback Zander Diamont - who replaced Sudfeld as well as one could hope given the situation - responded on the first play of the next drive with a 79-yard rushing touchdown. Trailing by a touchdown, he later led the Hoosiers down to Ohio's six-yard line in the final minute of the game before ultimately falling short. The loss may be the most promising in Indiana football history, while Ohio is still showing weaknesses in victory.
Sparty survives Purdue Pete, 24-21
Michigan State sprinted out to a 21-0 lead by halftime, aided by three Purdue turnovers, and seemed to be in complete control. Then the second half happened. The Spartans seemed disinterested in closing out the victory, while Purdue took the opportunity to storm back into the game. In the second half, the Boilermakers offense revolved around running back Markell Jones, who broke off a 68-yard score and finished the game with 157 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. Trailing 24-21, Purdue's last-ditch effort to either tie or win the game fell short as they turned the ball over on downs near midfield with around a minute left to play. With injuries continuing to pile up in East Lansing, Michigan State has a tough road ahead to stay in the top four. Whether or not this should be considered a moral victory worth being happy about for Purdue remains up for debate.
Northwestern stomps Minnesota, 27-0
So much for Minnesota being an actual threat in the B1G this year. As for Northwestern, they are looking more and more impressive as the wins continue to pile up. Their lone field goal in the first quarter would have been enough to beat the Golden Gophers on Saturday as the Wildcats defense surrendered just 173 total yards and forced two turnovers. On offense, Northwestern was efficient, not flashy, doing most of their work on the ground with 184 yards rushing and two touchdowns, albeit on 51 carries for a 3.6 yards per carry average. Gopher nation seems to be divided on whether or not this defeat indicates a lost season, but it is now clear that they are probably not a sleeper to win the B1G this year anymore. As for the Wildcats, they mirror the Wolverines in a lot of ways, and next Saturday has the potential to be a staunch defensive battle. #NOOM.
Iowa makes a statement, reaches 5-0 with narrow 10-6 victory over Badgers
The Hawkeyes offense may have only functioned well enough for 10 points in the second quarter, but that proved to be plenty as their defense shut the door on Wisconsin. Turnovers were a major reason why Iowa won the game as they forced four Wisconsin turnovers, finished with a +2 margin, and scored all of their points off of turnovers. Junior back Desmond King - hometown Detroit, MI - led the way on defense for Iowa, snagging two interceptions on the day. Wisconsin's best chance to win the game came in the middle of the fourth quarter with a second and goal from Iowa's one-yard line. However, quarterback Joel Stave tripped and coughed up the ball while trying to hand it off. With the victory, Iowa won the Heartland Trophy and kept Ferentz's seat as cool as it's been in recent memory, while the Badgers are left to debate what's wrong with their team.
Penn State ignores conference play, tops Army 20-14
The Nittany Lions did the bare minimum - if that - to beat Army on Saturday, and their offense will lose them multiple games during conference play. I'm going to defer summarizing the game Off Tackle Empire, because this is all you need to know:
Army walked into Happy Valley with their backup QB at the helm, missing their best defensive player, and sporting nothing resembling a consistent passing attack. They put the ball on the ground seven times. They were penalized for more than twice as many yards as PSU. They have not a single NFL player on their roster. Yet, the Army team found themselves in a position to win the game on their final possession.
Good luck playing like this moving forward Penn State.
Nebraska forgets the concept of time, lose to Illinois 14-13
Before getting into the blunders of Nebraska, I must give credit where credit is due: Illinois did what they had to do to stick around in this game and took advantage in the final minute of regulation to snatch victory from the Cornhuskers. They were efficient on offense throughout the game, until they entered the red zone. All four trips to the red zone were scoreless for the Illini, yet they still found a way to win. As for the Cornhuskers, well...they should have won this game. Up 13-7 and facing a third-and-seven from Illinois's 27-yard line with 55 seconds remaining, they decided to throw the ball, even though the Illini were out of timeouts. After the pass fell incomplete, it meant that a couple seconds ticked off the clock rather than about 40. Then, instead of attempting a 41-yard field goal, they threw the ball again, failed to convert, and Illinois drove down the field to win the game. Somewhere, Bo Pelini is laughing.