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Big Ten Conference Corner: Train rolls on

Minnesota’s loss to Iowa sets up a showdown with Wisconsin for the Big Ten West division title

Michigan State v Michigan Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Week 12 has come and gone, and for the first time this year we can say that Minnesota did not win this past weekend. The Gophers’ loss to Iowa sets up all sorts of fun scenarios for the Big Ten West as the season comes to a close. But, we’ll get there in due course.

No. 14 Wisconsin 37-21 Nebraska. Wisconsin got the win in this one, and as far as the Big Ten West is concerned that’s all that matters. The Badgers were paced by Jonathan Taylor, who ran for 204 yards and two TDs. Taylor also caught two passes for 11 yards. Jack Coan did enough and didn’t turn the ball over, completing 13 of 21 passing attempts for 162 yards and one TD. Nebraska benefited from a strong day rushing the ball by Dedrick Mills. He ran for 188 yards and one TD. Adrian Martinez completed 13 of 23 passing attempts for 220 yards, one TD, and one INT. Martinez also ran for 89 yards and one TD.

Massachusetts 6-45 Northwestern. The Northwestern Wildcats broke their streak of seven straight losses with a win against UMass. Like Northwestern, the Minutemen are in the midst of their own season to forget—tallying only one win so far this season. Northwestern’s offense was almost exclusively on the ground in this game. Evan Hull ran for 220 yards and four TDs on the afternoon, while Raymond Niro added 45 yards and one TD and Aidan Smith ran for 47 yards. In the air, Smith was poor; completing seven of 13 passing attempts for 76 yards, no TDs, and two INTs. Regardless, a win is a win at this point in the year for Northwestern, and a win is what they got.

Indiana 27-34 No. 9 Penn State. Perhaps previewing what the Hoosiers have in store for Michigan next weekend, Indiana gave the Penn State Nittany Lions just about all they could handle this past Saturday. Trailing 27-14 with 10:30 left in the third quarter, the Hoosiers battled back to 27-24 with 10:48 left in the fourth—and they kept it there until Penn State found the endzone to assure their victory with 1:48 remaining in the game. Peyton Ramsey completed 31 of 41 passing attempts for 371 yards and one TD for the Hoosiers in the loss. Ramsey also ran for another 31 yards and two TDs. Sean Clifford threw for 179 yards and one TD for Penn State, while adding 55 yards and two TDs on the ground. Journey Brown also ran for 100 yards and one TD for the Nittany Lions.

No. 2 Ohio State 56-21 Rutgers. There wasn’t really a whole lot to this one. Ohio State is good, and Rutgers isn’t. The Buckeyes by and large beat the crap out of the Scarlet Knights, and if not for a garbage time 45-yard TD and a fumble deep in OSU’s own territory that Rutgers converted this game would have looked a whole lot worse than it did.

No. 8 Minnesota 19-23 No. 20 Iowa. Minnesota’s unbeaten season came to an end at the hands of the Iowa Hawkeyes, keeping the race for the Big Ten West interesting. Coming into the game, the Golden Gophers needed to win twice (or some combination of wins and Wisconsin losses) to clinch the West division, and with a game against Northwestern next week if the Gophers won this one they basically were assured of the West title. Now, Minnesota will have to win next week against Northwestern and against Wisconsin. A loss to Wisconsin would see the Badgers head to the Big Ten Championship game as a result of a tiebreaker.