I'm filling in for Pete again as we take a look at how our fellow Big Ten members fared over the weekend. Gifs will be used generously.
Illinois shuts out the Western Illinois Leathernecks, 44-0
For Illini fans, the abrupt end to the Beckman-era has turned into two huge wins - 96-3 combined score - to start the 2015 season. On Saturday, Illinois made their western counterpart a play toy, holding the Leathernecks to five plays or under on each of their 15 drives and a meager 141 yards of total offense. The Illini finished the game with 500 yards of total offense, a perfect 3-3 on fourth down attempts, and almost 40 minutes of possession time. Even though they tried to give the FCS team an edge by committing four turnovers, the Illini made short work of their opponent for the second time in as many weeks.
Maryland lays an egg at home against Bowling Green, 27-48
The Terps surrendered 692 yards and were outscored 42-14 in the second half on Saturday. Head over to Testudo Times for a full recap. TL;DR "Maryland is bad." I'd laugh, but we did lose to them last year...
Penn State takes baby step in win over Buffalo, 27-14
The Nittany Lions are Bob Wiley, Bill Murray's character from the 1991 comedy What About Bob? After a deflating loss to Temple last week, they took a baby step forward by coming alive in the second half to beat Buffalo. Rain made for an ugly first half for both squads, but Penn State led 10-0 at the break thanks to 69 yards of total offense. Yikes. The game seemed to be up for grabs coming into the third quarter, especially after Buffalo scored to narrow the deficit, 10-7. However, Penn State's offense woke up behind the strong play of quarterback Christian Hackenberg and running back Saquon Barkley, and the Nittany Lions prevailed.
Purdue pulls away from Indiana State for their first victory, 38-14
Raise your hand if you knew about the Indiana State Sycamores before watching or reading about this game? They may be an FCS team, but for a struggling program like Purdue, no win can be taken for granted:
"By margin this was the largest win over an opponent under Hazell and the 38 points scored tied for the second most points scored under Hazell with last year's games against Illinois and Minnesota."
Quarterback Austin Appleby led the way for the Boilermakers, finishing with 289 yards and four touchdowns. After losing to Marshall, this was a nice rebound win for Purdue.
Wisconsin does what it should against Miami (OH), 58-0
The Badgers took care of business against an inferior RedHawks team. Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave led the offensive charge for the Badgers by throwing three touchdowns in the first half and 236 yards on the day. The Badger defense did its part as well, forcing four turnovers and holding the RedHawks to just 157 total yards.
Ohio State beats Hawaii, 38-0
The Buckeyes didn't truly pull away from the Warriors until the fourth quarter, even though the game was never in doubt. Ohio State may have more weapons than they can count, but they are still struggling to execute consistently. Hopefully this shoots them in the foot somewhere down the road.
Rutgers roll over to Washington State on final drive, 34-37
See above for the Scarlet Knights' defensive strategy on Washington State's game-winning drive. Junior wideout Janarion Grant put the team on his back in a losing effort, finishing with a Rutgers school record of 339 total yards. He scored the team's final two touchdowns, first with a 100-yard kickoff return and then with a 55-yard punt return. But the Rutgers defense crumbled time and again and surrendered a ten play, 90 yard drive in a little over a minute to give the Cougars the lead with thirteen seconds remaining. With captain Leonte Carroo being added to the long list of suspended Scarlet Knights, things do not look good in Piscataway right now.
Minnesota escapes Colorado State in overtime, 23-20
Golden Gopher fans were sweating this one until the very end. With a little over three minutes remaining, Minnesota trailed 17-13, and their stagnant offense offered little hope for a game-winning drive. However, quarterback Mitch Leidner found a last-second rhythm, leading the Gophers on a 12 play, 80-yard drive to take the lead with about a minute remaining. But Minnesota's staunch defense cracked just enough to let Colorado State kick a 37-yard field goal to force overtime and regulation expired. The Gopher defense responded by forcing a fumble on the first play in overtime, and on their possession, Minnesota's offense wasted no time in sealing the victory.
Northwestern stymies Eastern Illinois, 41-0
The Wildcats rushed for 344 yards and three touchdowns in a dominating performance against the FCS Panthers. Northwestern's defense gave up a minuscule 138 total yards, and the rout earned them the 23rd spot in the AP poll. After two statement victories, the Wildcats seem to be trying to make a statement heading into conference play. Let's see how long this lasts (I'm guessing not long).
Nebraska annihilates South Alabama, 48-9
Does anyone in the state of Alabama even root for South Alabama? This game was fairly boring, as the Cornhuskers had it in hand by halftime, up 24-0. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. - 21 for 30 for 270 yards and two touchdowns - and running back Terrell Newby - 28 carries for 198 yards and two touchdowns - led Nebraska's offense to victory.
Indiana flirts with disaster again, beats Florida International 36-22
(Shamelessly reusing Pete's gif from last week for Indiana). Indiana trailed the FIU Golden Panthers by a score of 22-19 in the fourth quarter before forcing two turnovers and scoring some points. It wasn't quite as close as Southern Illinois last week, but it still isn't pretty. The Hoosiers are going to be in for a rude awakening when they play Ohio State in a few weeks. Though, I don't think anybody was denying that.
Iowa tops Iowa State after emotional week, 31-17
After an emotional week following the tragic passing of former Hawkeye Tyler Sash, Iowa dialed in a solid second-half performance to beat their in-state rivals. Trailing 17-10 at the half, Iowa's defense responded by shutting out the Cyclones in the second half while quarterback C.J. Beathard and running back Jordan Canzeri led the offense to three touchdowns. Following the win, the team walked hand-in-hand to retrieve the trophy before placing it in front of the locker honoring Sash.
Michigan State exacts revenge against Oregon, 31-28
I'm sure most of you watched this game as it was the marquis matchup of the weekend. The Spartans played a pretty good game and silenced Vernon Adams Jr. multiple times in critical situations. I'm not 100% sold on any aspect of their team right now, so we'll see what happens come Oct. 17.
Outside of Ohio State and Michigan State being ranked in the top four, Northwestern is the highest ranked Big Ten team at 23. Let that sink in for a moment...