As we roll through the final weekend in October, the Big Ten is starting to shake itself out. In the West Division, Wisconsin is three games ahead of the next best team, while Ohio State finds itself alone atop the East Division after defeating Penn State and Michigan State losing.
Here’s a quick glance at the day’s games:
In the only noon kickoff of the day, other than Michigan’s game against Rutgers, Wisconsin traveled to Champaign, Illinois, to take on the Fighting Illini. The Badgers, who remain undefeated through eight contests, did what they’ve done virtually all season — grinding out a methodical win with a balanced offense and strong defense. But hey, this little wrinkle was exciting:
On the shores of Lake Michigan, Michigan State visited Northwestern for a triple-overtime thriller. For most of the contest, it was a low-scoring affair with the teams locked in a 10-10 tie heading into the fourth quarter. Then the teams exchanged touchdowns in the fourth quarter, then again in the first overtime, and then again the second overtime. Finally, Brian Lewerke threw the fatal interception to give the Wildcats the victory.
This was a hard-fought contest for Northwestern. They showed grit, erasing a 10-point lead by MSU early, and then hanging with the Spartans in the extra periods.
Meanwhile, Indiana had itself a typical Indiana game against Maryland — a back-and-forth shootout for much of the contest. The Terrapins made plays when they needed to make them, trailing heading into the fourth quarter and then scoring two touchdowns to take the lead and the victory. This was a big game for these two schools, as they both were searching for their first Big Ten win.
Then there was the biggest game of the weekend, with No. 2 Penn State traveling to No. 6 Ohio State. The Nittany Lions did what they do best and jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead, and then went on to hold the lead for most of the game — that is, until J.T. Barrett threw the game-winning touchdown pass with under two minutes remaining to give Ohio State the one-point victory.
It was clear that these are the two best teams in the conference. It will be interesting to see the next four games play out and see where the Big Ten sits heading into the championship game and the College Football Playoff selection.