2007 Big Ten Football Season Simulation

What if Nebraska had been a Big Ten Conference member for the past 15 seasons and the 12 schools competed in two six-team divisions for a decade and a half? BTN.com partnered with WhatIfSports and Narrative Science to simulate those mythical Big Ten Conference football seasons. Below is the 2007 season. Click here for the other seasons.

STANDINGS W L
MICHIGAN 7 1
MICHIGAN STATE 6 2
NEBRASKA 4 4
IOWA 2 6
NORTHWESTERN 1 7
MINNESOTA 0 8
STANDINGS W L
OHIO STATE 8 0
PENN STATE 6 2
WISCONSIN 5 3
ILLINOIS 5 3
INDIANA 2 6
PURDUE 2 6

2007 Big Ten Championship:

Ohio State 34, Michigan 30

WEEK 1: GAME OF THE WEEK –  MICHIGAN 31, WISCONSIN 20

 WEEK 1 RESULTS
Penn State 25, Illinois 23
Ohio State 45, Minnesota 13
Michigan State 30, Northwestern 17
Nebraska 32, Indiana 26

Henne and Hart team up to propel Michigan past Wisconsin 31-20

In the first week of our simulated 2007 Big Ten football season, Wisconsin of the Leaders Division visited Michigan of the Legends Division. Chad Henne and Mike Hart teamed up to lead the Wolverines to a 31-20 victory over the Badgers.

Henne racked up 257 yards through the air and Hart rumbled for 101 yards and one touchdown on the ground.

Michigan almost threw away the game, as it committed four turnovers. The Wolverines’ offense gained 434 total yards though, and was able to score enough for the win.

Michigan’s offense dominated, ripping off huge chunks of yardage. Wisconsin’s defense gave up four plays of at least 20 yards. With 10:59 to go in the first quarter, Hart turned a handoff into a 45-yard touchdown, the Wolverines’ longest play on the day. The long touchdown gave Michigan a 7-3 lead.

The Badgers’ Tyler Donovan was good for 259 yards during the game, completing 18 of 34 passes. Donovan finished the game with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Donovan’s favorite target on the day was Travis Beckum. He hauled in five catches for 58 yards.

Wisconsin’s offense finished the game having gained 341 yards. In addition to Donovan’s efforts through the air, the Badgers also rushed 44 times for 82 yards.

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WEEK 2: GAME OF THE WEEK –  MICHIGAN STATE 34, PURDUE 31

 WEEK 2 RESULTS
Indiana 32, Minnesota 19
Ohio State 35, Illinois 20
Michigan 24, Penn State 20
Wisconsin 30, Iowa 14

Caulcrick pads his rushing stats against Purdue in 34-31 win

In the second week of our simulated 2007 Big Ten football season, Michigan State of the Legends Division visited Purdue of the Leaders Division. Jehuu Caulcrick broke out against the Boilermakers, piling up 88 rushing yards and scoring three touchdowns to lead the Spartans to a 34-31 victory.

Despite taking the loss, Curtis Painter gave Purdue a fighting chance thanks to a big game through the air. He hooked up with the Boilermakers receivers on 30 of 52 pass attempts and finished with 408 yards and three touchdowns.

The two teams combined for 1036 total yards of offense. With both offenses running wild, Michigan State took the lead in the fourth quarter and refused to give it back. Brian Hoyer hit Devin Thomas in the endzone from 25 yards out with 1:38 to go to give the Spartans a 34-31 lead, which turned out to be enough of an edge to hold off Purdue.

Michigan State and the Boilermakers traded the lead all game long. The game featured five lead changes before the Spartans finally pulled ahead for good.

Purdue racked up 502 total yards. In addition to Painter’s efforts through the air, the Boilermakers also rushed 25 times for 94 yards.

Michigan State’s Hoyer was good for 326 yards during the game, completing 25 of 37 passes. Hoyer finished the game with one touchdown and no interceptions. Thomas was the player Hoyer targeted most often. He caught seven passes for 152 yards and one touchdown.

The Spartans’ offense finished the game having gained 534 yards. Michigan State complemented Hoyer’s passing with 208 yards rushing on 42 attempts.

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WEEK 3: GAME OF THE WEEK –  IOWA 30, MINNESOTA 26

 WEEK 3 RESULTS
Ohio State 37, Indiana 16
Penn State 26, Michigan State 22
Michigan 34, Nebraska 26
Purdue 25, Northwestern 18

Weber’s big passing numbers not enough as Minnesota falls 30-26 to Iowa

In the third week of our simulated 2007 Big Ten football season, Minnesota visited Legends Division foe Iowa. Adam Weber put on an air show for the Golden Gophers, finishing with 318 passing yards, but Minnesota fell 30-26 to the Hawkeyes.

Iowa and the Golden Gophers took the lead from one another all game long. The game featured four lead changes before the Hawkeyes finally pulled ahead for good.

Home run plays keyed the Hawkeyes’ scoring attack. Minnesota’s defense gave up six plays of at least 20 yards. Iowa added to the highlight reel when Albert Young ran 35 yards with 1:24 left in the second quarter. The big gainer was part of a 12-play drive capped off when Daniel Murray made a 20-yard field goal. That gave the Hawkeyes a 20-13 lead.

Iowa’s Jake Christensen passed for 118 yards, completing nine of 21 throws. He threw one touchdown and no interceptions. Christensen was also a threat on the ground, as he rushed for 23 yards on 10 attempts.

The Hawkeyes racked up 398 total yards, including 231 yards passing while completing 19 of 31 attempts. Iowa also rushed 38 times for 167 yards.

The Golden Gophers’ offense finished the game having gained 415 yards. Minnesota complemented Weber’s passing with 97 yards rushing on 42 attempts.

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WEEK 4: GAME OF THE WEEK –  PENN STATE 26, INDIANA 23

 WEEK 4 RESULTS
Illinois 28, Iowa 13
Michigan 28, Michigan State 20
Nebraska 35, Northwestern 22
Wisconsin 30, Purdue 19

Penn State captures lead in third quarter in 26-23 victory over Indiana

In the fourth week of our simulated 2007 Big Ten football season, Indiana visited Leaders Division foe Penn State. The Nittany Lions took the lead in the third quarter and hung on for a 26-23 victory over the Hoosiers.

With 3:20 left in the quarter, Kevin Kelly kicked a 30-yard field goal to give Penn State the go-ahead score.

Anthony Morelli threw for 160 yards while completing 15 of 23 passes for the Nittany Lions. Morelli finished the game with two touchdowns and one interception.

Despite facing a 10-point deficit, Indiana closed to within striking distance of Penn State late, but the Nittany Lions survived the comeback attempt and secured the win.

Penn State’s offense finished the game having gained 322 yards. Along with Morelli’s stats in the passing game, the Nittany Lions also added 162 yards rushing on 39 attempts.

The Hoosiers’ Kellen Lewis was good for 304 yards during the game, completing 20 of 32 passes. He also threw one interception. James Hardy was the player Lewis targeted most often. He hauled in seven catches for 156 yards.

Indiana racked up 439 total yards. The Hoosiers’ rushing attack contributed 135 yards on 52 carries in addition to Lewis’ passing effort.

READ THE BOX SCOREPLAY GRIDIRON DYNASTY

WEEK 5: GAME OF THE WEEK –  PENN STATE 41, NEBRASKA 38

 WEEK 5 RESULTS
Northwestern 26, Minnesota 23
Michigan State 25, Iowa 15
Ohio State 36, Purdue 14
Wisconsin 29, Illinois 27

Morelli’s big day through the air overwhelms Cornhuskers as Nittany Lions win 41-38

In the fifth week of our simulated 2007 Big Ten football season, Penn State of the Leaders Division visited Nebraska of the Legends Division. Anthony Morelli threw for 359 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Nittany Lions to a 41-38 victory over the Cornhuskers.

Joe Ganz led the air attack for Nebraska in a losing effort. He hooked up with Cornhuskers receivers on 28 of 38 pass attempts and finished with 399 yards and four touchdowns.

The two teams combined for 1049 total yards of offense. With both offenses running wild, Penn State took the lead in the fourth quarter and refused to give it back. Touchdowns were plentiful, but the Nittany Lions got the go-ahead score with 6:12 left when Morelli threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to James McDonald to make the score 27-24.

Penn State and Nebraska traded the lead all game long. There were six lead changes in the game before the Nittany Lions ended up on top for good.

The Cornhuskers racked up 539 total yards. Along with Ganz’s stats in the passing game, Nebraska also added 140 yards rushing on 44 attempts.

Penn State’s offense finished the game having gained 510 yards. The Nittany Lions complemented Morelli’s passing with 151 yards rushing on 44 attempts.

READ THE BOX SCOREPLAY GRIDIRON DYNASTY

WEEK 6: GAME OF THE WEEK –  WISCONSIN 30, INDIANA 10

 WEEK 6 RESULTS
Illinois 27, Purdue 19
Michigan 28, Iowa 10
Nebraska 40, Minnesota 23
Ohio State 43, Northwestern 11

Hill runs over Hoosiers in Badgers’ 30-10 victory

In the sixth week of our simulated 2007 Big Ten football season, Wisconsin visited Leaders Division foe Indiana. P.J. Hill put the team on his back in the Badgers’ 30-10 win over the Hoosiers, rushing for 214 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Wisconsin’s offense dominated, ripping off huge chunks of yardage. Indiana’s defense gave up six plays of at least 20 yards. With 14:18 to go in the second quarter, Hill ran 66 yards, the Badgers’ biggest gain of the game. The big gainer was part of a six-play drive capped off when Taylor Mehlhaff made a 32-yard field goal. That gave Wisconsin a 10-7 lead.

All facets of the Badgers’ offense were in place and it showed against an overmatched Hoosiers defense. The offense for Wisconsin hummed along to the tune of 176 passing yards and 277 rushing yards.

The Hoosiers’ Kellen Lewis passed for 154 yards, completing 14 of 30 throws. He threw one interception. Lewis was also a threat on the ground, as he rushed for 51 yards on 16 attempts. Lewis’ favorite target on the day was James Hardy. He hauled in six catches for 83 yards.

Indiana’s offense finished the game having gained 286 yards. The Hoosiers’ rushing attack contributed 132 yards on 46 carries in addition to Lewis’ passing effort.

The Badgers’ Tyler Donovan was good for 176 yards during the game, completing 12 of 22 passes. He also threw no interceptions.

READ THE BOX SCOREPLAY GRIDIRON DYNASTY

WEEK 7: GAME OF THE WEEK –  ILLINOIS 35, NEBRASKA 31

 WEEK 7 RESULTS
Purdue 20, Iowa 15
Michigan State 25, Indiana 22
Michigan 34, Northwestern 12
Ohio State 32, Penn State 19
Wisconsin 39, Minnesota 18

Lucky’s big game on the ground can’t propel Cornhuskers past Fighting Illini in 35-31 defeat

In the seventh week of our simulated 2007 Big Ten football season, Nebraska of the Legends Division visited Illinois of the Leaders Division. Marlon Lucky carried the load for the Cornhuskers, finishing with 128 rushing yards and two touchdowns, but Nebraska came out on the losing end of a 35-31 game against the Fighting Illini.

The Cornhuskers’ big advantage evaporated, as Illinois went home with the win. The Fighting Illini showed their competitive spirit in digging themselves out of a 11-point hole and pulling out the win.

While both teams enjoyed big days on the offensive side of the ball, Illinois went up in the fourth quarter and hung on for the win. The key score came with 5:51 left, when Troy Pollard ran 49 yards to paydirt, allowing the Fighting Illini to take the lead, 35-31.

Rashard Mendenhall rushed for 181 yards and one touchdown, and Pollard picked up 136 rushing yards and one touchdown of his own, as the dynamic backfield duo led Illinois’ ground attack.

The Fighting Illini’s Juice Williams passed for 92 yards, completing five of 11 throws. He tossed one touchdown and gave up no interceptions. Williams was also a threat on the ground, as he rushed for 22 yards on 18 attempts.

Justin Sanders showed good hands on defense for Illinois, picking off two Nebraska passes. On a critical drive in the fourth quarter, he intercepted Joe Ganz on second-and-10 and returned it 70 yards.

The Fighting Illini’s offense finished the game having gained 441 yards. Along with Williams’ stats in the passing game, Illinois also added 349 yards rushing on 60 attempts.

Nebraska’s Ganz was good for 373 yards during the game, completing 22 of 39 passes. Ganz tossed two touchdowns while throwing four interceptions. Ganz looked for Lucky often. He caught six passes for 117 yards and one touchdown.

The Cornhuskers racked up 556 total yards. Nebraska’s rushing attack contributed 183 yards on 40 carries in addition to Ganz’s passing effort.

READ THE BOX SCOREPLAY GRIDIRON DYNASTY

WEEK 8: GAME OF THE WEEK –  IOWA 23, NORTHWESTERN 20

 

 WEEK 8 RESULTS
Illinois 28, Indiana 21
Michigan 38, Minnesota 16
Michigan State 31, Nebraska 30
Penn State 27, Purdue 17
Ohio State 34, Wisconsin 23

Hawkeyes go on top in third, finish off Northwestern 23-20

In the eighth week of our simulated 2007 Big Ten football season, Iowa visited Legends Division foe Northwestern. The Hawkeyes took the lead in the third quarter and hung on for a 23-20 victory over the Wildcats.

With 2:12 to go, Daniel Murray drilled a 21-yard field goal to give Iowa a 16-13 lead and the Hawkeyes held on.

Iowa operated its air game to perfection in dismantling Northwestern’s defense. The Hawkeyes’ air attack was uncontainable, as they torched the Wildcats for 290 yards and one touchdown.

Despite facing a 10-point deficit, Northwestern closed to within striking distance of Iowa late, but the Hawkeyes survived the comeback attempt and secured the win.

The Wildcats’ C.J. Bacher was good for 246 yards during the game, completing 20 of 39 passes. Bacher finished the game with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Bacher’s favorite target on the day was Eric Peterman. He hauled in six catches for 63 yards.

Northwestern racked up 350 total yards. The Wildcats’ rushing attack contributed 104 yards on 42 carries in addition to Bacher’s passing effort.

Jake Christensen threw for 186 yards while completing 13 of 22 passes for Iowa. Christensen finished the game with one touchdown and no interceptions.

Christian Ballard was perpetually in Northwestern’s backfield, and he recorded two sacks. He came up big during a crucial moment in the second quarter, when he sacked Bacher on second-and-8 for a five-yard loss.

READ THE BOX SCOREPLAY GRIDIRON DYNASTY

WEEK 9: GAME OF THE WEEK –  OHIO STATE 26, MICHIGAN 23

 WEEK 9 RESULTS
Nebraska 31, Iowa 19
Michigan State 34, Minnesota 19
Illinois 32, Northwestern 16
Penn State 27, Wisconsin 26
Indiana 23, Purdue 22

Hart runs all over Ohio State, not enough as Michigan loses to Buckeyes 26-23

In the ninth week of our simulated 2007 Big Ten football season, Michigan of the Legends Division visited Ohio State of the Leaders Division. Mike Hart carried the load for the Wolverines, finishing with 81 rushing yards and three touchdowns, but Michigan came out on the losing end of a 26-23 game against the Buckeyes.

Todd Boeckman and Brian Robiskie had a passing connection going, as Robiskie racked up 88 yards and one touchdown on four catches en route to a win for Ohio State.

The Buckeyes’ passing game looked unstoppable at times against the Wolverines’ defense. Ohio State’s air attack was uncontainable, as it torched Michigan for 264 yards and two touchdowns. Boeckman completed 19 of 32 passes for the Buckeyes.

At one point, the Wolverines trailed by 16 points, and while Michigan made a run in the game’s late stages, it couldn’t complete the comeback against Ohio State.

Malcolm Jenkins showed good hands on defense for the Buckeyes, picking off two Michigan passes. He came up big during a crucial moment in the second quarter, when he intercepted Chad Henne on first-and-10.

Ohio State racked up 418 total yards. In addition to Boeckman’s efforts through the air, the Buckeyes also rushed 46 times for 154 yards.

The Wolverines’ Henne was good for 258 yards during the game, completing 22 of 37 passes. He also threw two interceptions. Henne looked for Adrian Arrington often. He hauled in six catches for 125 yards.

Michigan racked up 341 total yards, including 273 yards passing while completing 23 of 39 attempts. The Wolverines also rushed 37 times for 68 yards.

READ THE BOX SCOREPLAY GRIDIRON DYNASTY

2007 BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME – OHIO STATE 34, MICHIGAN 30

Wells pads his rushing stats against Michigan in 34-30 win

In the tenth week of our simulated 2007 Big Ten football season, Michigan of the Legends Division visited Ohio State of the Leaders Division. Chris Wells put the team on his back in the Buckeyes’ 34-30 win over the Wolverines in overtime, rushing for 227 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

Chad Henne had a big passing day despite Michigan’s loss. He hooked up with the Wolverines receivers on 26 of 43 pass attempts and finished with 284 yards and three touchdowns.

Defense was an afterthought, as both teams lit up the scoreboard. The teams went wild on the attacking side of the ball, racking up 960 total yards combined.

Ohio State didn’t capture the lead until overtime. Wells’ one-yard touchdown run gave the Buckeyes their final lead.

Ohio State’s Todd Boeckman passed for 189 yards, completing 18 of 32 throws. He threw no interceptions. Boeckman was also a threat on the ground, as he rushed for 21 yards on five attempts.

The Buckeyes racked up 454 total yards. In addition to Boeckman’s efforts through the air, Ohio State also rushed 39 times for 265 yards.

Michigan’s offense finished the game having gained 506 yards. The Wolverines’ rushing attack contributed 222 yards on 49 carries in addition to Henne’s passing effort.

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