Dienhart: What I learned in Week 8
1. Ohio State is tough, resilient and resourceful squad. And the Buckeyes may need to summon even more of those traits, as this is far from a complete team. Still, the 29-22 overtime win vs. Purdue showed the type of grit—sprinkled with magic—that teams which finish unbeaten typically possess. Can’t wait for that game at Penn State this Saturday.
[RELATED: Dienhart’s Week 9 Power Rankings]
2. Wisconsin slowly but surely may be morphing into the top team in the Big Ten. The defense has played well all season, and the offense is just one wideout short from being very good. The Badgers have won three in a row and five of six. The lone loss in the stretch was 30-27 at Nebraska, when Wisconsin blew a 17-point lead. Doesn’t that 10-7 loss at Oregon State seem like it happened years ago? Oh, in case you are wondering: Ohio State plays at Wisconsin on Nov. 17.
3. Things never are as bad as they seem. Purdue is proof. Coming off a 44-13 home loss to Michigan and a 38-14 home loss to Wisconsin, the Boilermakers took no momentum to Ohio State. How on earth was Purdue going to have a shot to beat the unbeaten Buckeyes in the Horseshoe? Well, it almost happened before the Boilers fell in overtime, 29-22. This team just needs a bit more consistency from week to week. It can be maddening.
4. The Michigan at Nebraska game will pit the two best teams in the Legends in what may be a de facto division title game. Yes, it’s still early, but the victor will be in prime position to claim the crown—especially if the winner is the Wolverines, who enter the game as the lone unbeaten team in the division. A Cornhusker win? I would call it the biggest of the Bo Pelini era. But we may say that a lot as the season goes along if Nebraska keeps winning.
[RELATED: Dienhart: Time for Michigan D to take a bow]
5. Look, I know Ohio State’s Braxton Miller is special and likely the best player in the conference. But I think Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin deserves some mention after another strong effort. In the 38-14 win at Iowa—the Nittany Lions’ fifth in a row–he hit 26-of-38 passes for 289 yards with two touchdowns. The senior is the Big Ten’s top passer, hitting 62 percent of his attempts for 1,788 yards with 14 touchdowns and only two picks.
|BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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