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Big Ten Conference Corner: House of the rising sun

What if I told you that Minnesota was tied for first place in the B1G West?

Michigan v Illinois Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Week seven brought more clarity to the Big Ten Conference, like Minnesota’s new status as a top team in the B1G West. Alright, some things are still flukes of the schedule, but at this point we do more or less know what kind of seasons teams are having.

For instance, while Minnesota almost surely won’t win their division, their team is indeed better than they usually are. There are some scary looking matchups for them down the stretch, but the Golden Gophers are going bowling this post season—and it probably will be a decent bowl at that. After looking dangerous to start the season, Maryland now looks mediocre. And Rutgers, well they’re still Rutgers.

Maryland 14-40 Purdue. After some strong results early in the season, Maryland continues to fall back to Earth—their most recent defeat coming at the hands of a four-loss Purdue Boilermakers squad. Jack Plummer had a strong day for Purdue, completing 33 of 41 passing attempts for 420 yards and 3 TDs. On the other side, Tyrell Pigrome was beset by ball security issues. He completed 21 of 39 passing attempts for 218 yards and 2 INTs, and ran for 107 yards, a TD, and a fumble. Purdue led 30-14 at the half and never looked back.

Rutgers 0-35 Indiana. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights suffered another loss, this time at the hands of the Indiana Hoosiers. The Hoosiers, holders of a perfectly mortal defense (No. 32 in the SP+), held Rutgers to just one yard passing. Seriously. The Rutgers ground game didn’t have much better of a day, averaging just 2.24 yards per carry. Michael Penix completed 20 of 29 passing attempts for 282 yards, 3 TDs, and an INT for the Hoosiers, while Stevie Scott added 164 yards rushing.

Michigan State 0-38 No. 8 Wisconsin. As you can probably tell from the tweet above and the score directly preceding this sentence, Mark Dantonio and the Michigan State Spartans had a bad day against the Wisconsin Badgers. Brian Lewerke and Rocky Lombardi combined for just 119 passing yards while throwing 2 INTs for the Spartans, and the MSU rushing attack gained just 30 yards while surrendering a pair of fumbles. For Wisconsin, Jack Coan was sharp—completing 18 of 21 attempts for 180 yards and a TD—while Jonathan Taylor was, well, Jonathan Taylor—80 yards rushing and 2 TDs.

No. 10 Penn State 17-12 No. 17 Iowa. Turnovers felled the Iowa Hawkeyes when they played the Penn State Nittany Lions this past weekend. Nate Stanley threw an INT while also losing a fumble, and Tyler Goodson fumbled as well. Both Stanley’s INT and Goodson’s fumble were deep in Iowa territory and led to 10 points for PSU. If not for those miscues, Iowa very well may have beaten Penn State; the Hawkeye defense held the Nittany Lions to less than 300 yards of total offense—perhaps giving Michigan a roadmap to success for next week.

Nebraska 7-34 Minnesota. The Minnesota Golden Gophers are undefeated and an AP Top-25 football team. Yes, I’m serious. Minnesota may have squeaked through September with three wins by a combined 13 points, but they are undefeated and the voters are beginning to give them some credit. The Golden Gopher rushing attack was dominant against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, rushing for 326 yards and 4 TDs across all attempts. Yes, Minnesota hasn’t played anybody yet, but looking at their remaining schedule it’s entirely possible that they end the season 9-3 or better.