Get Tom Dienhart's best of Week 6 in the Big Ten

Get Tom Dienhart's best of Week 6 in the Big Ten

An interesting Week 6in the Big Ten, as Iowa notched what may have been a season-saving win at Minnesota, Ohio State and Michigan rolled on, Purdue showed it means business and Michigan State continued to struggle.

Here’s my best of Week 6.

Biggest surprise: No real big shockers on this day, but it was a bit of surprise to see Penn State rout unbeaten Maryland, 38-14. This was a big victory for the Nittany Lions, perhaps a must-win as James Franklin and Co., have some mojo entering a bye week.

Biggest disappointment: Michigan State. Things have reached a crisis level in East Lansing, as the Spartans have lost three in a row for the first time since 2009 after a 31-14 loss at home to a 2-3 BYU team. MSU still has to play Michigan and Ohio State. Will this team even make a bowl?

Play this again: The Purdue at Illinois tilt proved to be a highly entertaining affair between struggling programs desperate for success. It was a back-and-forth tilt filled with drama. The Illini looked primed to win as time expired, but a potential 41-yard game-winning field goal bounced off an upright to force overtime. Then, Illinois lost a fumble on its OT possession. Purdue took over and subsequently kicked a game-winning 28-yard field goal.

Never play this again: The Michigan at Rutgers game didn’t figure to be a nip-and-tuck affair. And, it wasn’t, as Michigan won, 78-0. The Wolverines out gained the Scarlet Knights, 309-6 and led 43-0 at halftime and never looked back. It was an embarrassment, as Michigan out gained RU, 600-39.

Best play: Penn State RB Saquon Barkley showed his stuff, once again, when on one spectacular play he hurdled Maryland star DB Will Likely, to make something out of nothing, and added a nice spin move at the end of the run.

Best catch: Illinois’ Malik Turner made a spectacular catch in the third quarter after Purdue corner Tim Cason had batted the ball in the air. Turner reached out and grabbed the ball as he fell to the ground. The Illini scored on the drive to take a 23-21 lead.

Did you see this? Another week, another Penn State opponent ejected for an unsportsmanlike penalty against kicker Joey Julius. Saturday, it was Maryland’s Isaiah Davis hitting the kicker when the ball was dead, this time following a kick out of bounds.

Did you see this, part II? An official lost his footing while backpedaling for the extra point following Jehu Chesson’s early touchdown in Michigan’s rout at Rutgers. It resulted in a great must-see blooper. How about the recovery, though? Smooth!



Illinois: C
Indiana: C
Iowa: B
Maryland: C-
Michigan: A+
Michigan State: F
Minnesota: C
Ohio State: B+
Penn State B+
Purdue: B-
Rutgers: F



Offensive Player of the Week: Penn State RB Saquon Barkley ran 31 times for 202 yards and TD in carrying the Nittany Lions to a big 38-14 win over Maryland. Barkley’s 202 yards are the most by a Penn State player since Larry Johnson had 279 yards against Michigan State in 2002.

Defensive Player of the Week: Ohio State’s Jerome Baker had a career-high 11 tackles with two TFLs vs. Indiana.

Special Teams Player of the Week: Purdue’s J.D. Dellinger hit both of his field-goal attempts, including the game-winner from 28 yards in overtime to beat Illinois.



Michigan. The Wolverines keep on keeping on, whipping Rutgers to push out to a 6-0 start for the first time since 2011. Michigan dominated in every phase of the game in a 78-0 rout with 481 yards rushing. The second half of the season should provide more of a challenge, with games at Iowa, at Michigan State and at Ohio State.

Ohio State. The Buckeyes kept rolling with a 38-17 win vs. Indiana. It wasn’t a dominating effort by the offense, which struggled in the passing game. But the defense held an explosive Hoosier attack to 281 yards and carried OSU to victory. On to Wisconsin.

Iowa. The Hawkeyes didn’t just win Floyd of Rosedale when they toppled Minnesota. They may have saved their season with that 14-7 victory, as Iowa avoided a 2-3 start. The offense still has work to do, but the defense looked better in allowing just 268 yards and only 102 on the ground.

Penn State. That’s two wins in a row for the Nittany Lions, who dumped Maryland, 38-14. The maligned Penn State defense limited the Terps to 270 yards.

Purdue. The Boilermakers showed they still will fight for embattled coach Darrell Hazell, securing a dramatic 34-31 overtime win at Illinois despite allowing 311 yards rushing and losing the turnover battle. Purdue snapped a nine-game road losing streak, notching its first road win since it beat Illinois in 2014. The road team has won the last five games in this series.


Michigan State. The swoon continues for the Spartans, who have lost three in a row for the first time since 2009 after falling 31-14 at home to BYU. MSU is now 2-3 overall and 1-2 in the Big Ten. The Spartans benched quarterback Tyler O’Connor in the fourth quarter, but replacement Damion Terry didn’t spark a listless offense that had just 206 yards with only 85 yards rushing.

Minnesota. The Gophers are 0-2 in the Big Ten, opening with an overtime loss at Penn State and falling at home on Saturday vs. Iowa. Minnesota still has a favorable schedule, but it may be hard-pressed to get back into the race in the Big Ten West.

Illinois. Wins will be few and far between for Lovie Smith in his debut. And, most figured Illinois would get one vs. Purdue. But, it didn’t happen, as the Fighting Illini lost a heartbreaker at home in overtime. That’s three losses in a row for Illinois, which saw QB Wes Lunt get hurt but Chayce Crouch played well in relief by hitting 10-of-14 passes for 143 yards and running for 134 yards and two TDs.

Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights got hammered at home by Michigan, their third loss in a row. The 78-0 loss was Rutgers worst since an 82-0 setback against Princeton in 1888. How bad was it? Rutgers had five yards passing and 34 yards rushing and was 0-for-17 on third downs with two first downs. Last week, the Scarlet Knights lost 58-0 at Ohio State. Will RU win again? Illinois visits next week. If the Rutgers falls to the struggling Fighting Illini, it could be a really long season.



524, yards offense for Penn State vs. Maryland, as the Nittany Lions had 372 yards rushing. Last week, the Terps allowed 10 yards rushing vs. Purdue and had 400 yards rushing of their own vs. the Boilermakers.

2, touchdowns on three carries for Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers, who had 74 yards rushing vs. his home state Rutgers squad.

2, Rutgers’ first downs vs. Michigan.

127, yards rushing for Purdue’s Brian Lankford-Johnson. He subbed in well for Markell Jones, who didn’t play because of a shoulder injury.

137, yards rushing for Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett on 26 carries with a touchdown. That made up for a sub-par day passing, as Barrett hit just 9-of-21 passes for 93 yards with a touchdown and interception.

53, plays run by Michigan State compared to 78 for BYU.

231, yards rushing for Purdue at Illinois a week after having only 10 at Maryland.

129, yards receiving for Illinois Malik Turner on nine catches.

4, TDs allowed by Ohio State this season. OSU has allowed no rushing scores.

9, rushing touchdowns for Michigan at Rutgers, which is as many or more than eight Big Ten teams have on the season

372, rushing yards for Penn State, fourth most in the last 20 years for the program.

Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer

About Tom Dienhart: senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, and send him questions to his weekly mailbag.


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