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Around the Big Ten’s second weekend: Pretenders revealed in both divisions

Michigan fans are far from the only ones searching for answers after Week 2.

Michigan State v Michigan Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

The Big Ten returned for a second week of action over Halloween weekend and despite many of us now wishing that it would go away again, the race for someone, anyone, to challenge Ohio State goes on.

Here’s a quick recap of what took place in the other games that were played in the conference this weekend and why Michigan fans are far from the only ones looking for answers after disappointing outputs.

No. 9 Wisconsin at Nebraska — CANCELED

Due to Wisconsin’s COVID-19 outbreak within the program, this game did not get played. A week without the Cornhuskers did not keep them quiet, however. They attempted to schedule a game with UT-Chattanooga to no avail, which once again caused the fanbase to cry oppression.

Maryland 45, Minnesota 44 (OT)

If there was any type of foreboding feeling that maybe Michigan was not as good as we thought they were after a blowout over Minnesota in the first week, this game hammered it home before the Wolverines even suited up this weekend. The Gophers defense again choked in a major way and surrendered 45 points (and a 17-point fourth quarter lead) to a team that could only muster three points against Northwestern the week before. This was a coming out party for Taulia Tagavailoa, who finished the game with 394 yards passing and three touchdowns.

Michigan State 27, No. 13 Michigan 24

You watched it. You saw it. We wrote about it. The further we get away from this game, the more painful it is and the more questions there are about the direction of this program. More troubling than the final score was how they got there. Michigan’s coaching staff seemed to believe their gameplan would eventually work and that an MSU team that is more talented and better coached than they thought they were would crack. Neither of those things happened and as a result, Paul Bunyan now resides in East Lansing and the spark has been lit for Mel Tucker’s rebuild at Michigan State. Shameful.

No. 17 Indiana 37, Rutgers 21

Any worries of a hangover game from the Hoosiers after an emotional win over Penn State was quickly extinguished by the team’s effort at Rutgers. It did not start pretty and there were 11 penalties issued to Indiana players, but they were able to hold off a clearly-improved Rutgers team a week after they forced seven turnovers at Michigan State. Now, they go into the weekend looking to snap a 27-game losing streak to the Wolverines.

Purdue 31, Illinois 24

The list of players sitting out of this game for Illinois was longer than a CVS receipt, but they still found a way to stay competitive in a game against Purdue, who has clawed their way to a 2-0 record. More impressive is that they did it again without Rondale Moore, who was out for a second-consecutive week for undisclosed reasons. If they get him back, this could be a team that might be a legitimate contender in the West.

Northwestern 21, Iowa 20

Speaking of teams that are contenders in the West, hats off to Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats for a comeback victory over Iowa that kept them undefeated on the young season. It looked like they were in for a comedown week after a 43-3 win over Maryland and they faced a 17-0 deficit in the first quarter at Kinnick Stadium. A 21-3 scoring run the rest of the game preserved the victory for the ‘Cats, who now have more wins against the Big Ten than they did all of last season and are clearly set to surpass the three total wins they had in 2019.

No. 3 Ohio State 38, No. 18 Penn State 25

A week after the controversial loss at Indiana, Penn State was staring an 0-2 deficit in the face with the Ohio State Buckeyes coming to down. That’s about as rough a sequence of events that one could imagine in that situation and the game played out as it was expected to. OSU was never really in danger of losing this one as two-score favorites, though Penn State did get it to within eight points early in the second half. OSU is a machine once again and after a win over Penn State, it’s hard to see them stumbling this season. Nittany Lions fans might be as frustrated with James Franklin as folks around these parts are with Jim Harbaugh. Though, he has beaten Ohio State and won the Big Ten before.

2020 Big Ten Standings so far

West East
West East
No. 19 Northwestern (4-0) No. 9 Indiana (4-0)
No. 10 Wisconsin (2-0) No. 3 Ohio State (3-0)
Purdue (2-1) Maryland (2-1)
Iowa (2-2) Rutgers (1-3)
Nebraska (1-2) Michigan State (1-3)
Minnesota (1-3) Michigan (1-3)
Illinois (1-3) Penn State (0-4)

Next week’s schedule

No. 23 Michigan at No. 13 Indiana, 12 p.m., Fox Sports 1

Nebraska at Northwestern, 12 p.m., Big Ten Network

Michigan State at Iowa, 12 p.m., ESPN

Purdue at No. 10 Wisconsin, 3:30 p.m., ABC (this game feels unlikely to happen due to Wisconsin’s COVID-19 issues, but is still on the schedule)

Maryland at Penn State, 3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network

Minnesota at Illinois, 3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network

Rutgers at No. 3 Ohio State, 7:30 p.m., Big Ten Network