Following the action every Saturday, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart breaks down what every game, every result means for the teams involved and the Big Ten itself. Week 10 featured a quartet of close games that were in doubt into the fourth quarter, and you can find Tom’s analysis in this post.
Ohio State 34, Indiana 20
What it means for Ohio State: The Buckeyes’ third victory in a row keeps them in the thick of the Leaders Division race. But winning out—at Purdue; Penn State; at Michigan—will be tough unless Braxton Miller passes better. He ran for 104 yards and two touchdowns vs. the Hoosiers but completed just 5-of-11 passes for 55 yards with an interception in a game that was tied 20-20 midway through the third quarter.
What it means for Indiana: The Hoosiers have a future star in QB Tre Roberson, who hit 11-of-21 passes for 174 yards with a touchdown and pick and ran 19 times for a team-high 79 yards. But the defense remains an issue. Ohio State had three players rush for 100 yards, the first time OSU had turned that trick since 1989, as the Buckeyes finished with 420 yards. They entered the game ranked 11th in total offense in the Big Ten (309.6 ypg).
Michigan State 31, Minnesota 24
What it means for Michigan State: The Spartans need to run better. They entered the game ranked last in the Big Ten in rushing (133.4 ypg) and faced a Minnesota team ranked 11th in the Big Ten vs. the run (201.8 ypg). But Sparty ran for only 106 yards. QB Kirk Cousins can’t do it all. Still, Nebraska’s loss to Northwestern means Michigan State joins Iowa as the two teams that control their destiny in the Legends Division. And they meet next week in Iowa City.
What it means for Minnesota: The Gophers have a lot of fight left. Yes, Minnesota is 2-7 and officially out of the running for a bowl bid, but Jerry Kill is maximizing the talent and his troops are playing hard. And those are two big hallmarks of a talented coach. Don’t you wonder how this team lost to North Dakota State and New Mexico State?
Northwestern 28, Nebraska 25
What it means for Northwestern: The Wildcats out physicaled Nebraska, notching 464 yards of offense while limiting the Cornhuskers to 118 yards rushing. QB Kain Colter continues to impress, coming in for an injured Dan Persa and passing for 114 yards and rushing for 54. Also, 4-5 NU—which at one point lost five in a row–remains in the hunt for a bowl bid with three home games left. Incredible.
What it means for Nebraska: The loss ends a three-game winning streak—and eight-game home winning streak–wasting a great effort by QB Taylor Martinez (29-of-38 for 298 yards and two touchdowns.). But more vital, the defeat means the Cornhuskers don’t control their destiny in the Legends. Up next: a game at Penn State, followed by a game at Michigan and a visit from Iowa. The Legends Division title may be slipping away.
Wisconsin 62, Purdue 17
What it means for Wisconsin: The Badgers made sure they wouldn’t be beaten by a Hail Mary for a third game in a row by crushing the Boilermakers. RB Montee Ball ran 20 times for a career-high 223 yards and three touchdowns in a vintage Badger win that got the team back on track. Wisconsin has to win out—at Minnesota; at Illinois; vs. Penn State—and hope Ohio State loses once to have a shot to win the Leaders.
What it means for Purdue: For a second week in a row, the Boilermakers got squashed. Purdue yielded 604 yards and had just 286 while not scoring in the second half. One area of the game Purdue won: turnovers. It had two; Wisconsin one.