Get Tom Dienhart’s Best of Week 10 in the Big Ten

Get Tom Dienhart’s Best of Week 10 in the Big Ten

All 14 teams were action. And Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan all sent loud messages. In fact, the Badgers look to be settling in as the best in the West. The East? Stay tuned. It will be a fun next few weeks, but Michigan and Ohio State still control their own destiny. But is anyone playing better than Penn State?

Biggest surprise: It was eyebrow-raising to see Penn State (41-14 over Iowa) and Ohio State (62-3 over Nebraska) win with ease. This was NU’s worst loss since 2004, when the Huskers lost 70-10 to Texas Tech.

Biggest disappointment: Nebraska and Iowa. Yes, it wasn’t a shock to see the Cornhuskers and Hawkeyes lose. But they got hammered. Nebraska allowed 590 yards; Iowa yielded 599.

Play this again: Illinois’ 31-27 win vs. Michigan State was fun. The Illini led, 7-6, at halftime. MSU took a 9-7 lead, Illinois got it back, 14-9, and the game was 17-17 entering the fourth quarter. Each team had the lead in the fourth quarter before the Illini scored the game-winning TD with 1:35 left and then snuffed out the Spartans’ final chance in the dying moments.

Never play this again: Got two for you. Michigan eviscerated Maryland, 59-3. The Wolverines led, 45-0, before the Terps scored in the fourth quarter. It was total domination on every front. Also have to mention Ohio State’s 62-3 whipping of Nebraska.

Best play: Ricky Jones TD vs. Rutgers. Not only did Jones break a tackle right after hauling in the Richard Lagow pass, he managed to avoid having a knee touch the turf, before regathering himself and racing by the Scarlet Knights for the go-ahead touchdown. Sweet stuff.

Best defensive play: Jason Cabinda stuffs C.J. Beathard. The Penn State linebacker channeled LaVar Arrington, leaping over the line to deny the Iowa quarterback a first down on a fourth-and-1 keeper. You don’t see stuff like this every day.

Best moment: Tommy Armstrong Jr. returns to Nebraska sideline. The quarterback suffered a scary injury midway through the second quarter, hitting his head on the turf and briefly being knocked unconscious. He was taken off the field on a stretcher and an ambulance took him to the hospital. In the third quarter, Armstrong, dressed in street clothes, returned the sideline and received a standing ovation from the Ohio Stadium crowd.

Did you see this? Northwestern LB Anthony Walker wore No. 11 in honor of Matthew Harris, a NU corner who had to end his career due to injury. A nice tribute to a buddy.

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WEEK 10 GRADES

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

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WEEK 10 SUPERLATIVES

Offensive Player of the Week: Michigan QB Wilton Speight hit 19-of-24 passes for a career-high 362 yards with two touchdowns in a 59-3 demolition of Maryland. Is he the best signal-caller in the Big Ten? Maybe.

Defensive Player of the Week: Michigan LB Ben Gedeon had 11 tackles (five solo) with half a sack and three TFLs.

Special Teams Player of the Week: Minnesota’s Emmitt Carpenter was three-for-three on field goals, nailing two from over 50 yards (52 and 53 yards) to help the Gophers smoke Purdue. He also hit all five of his PATs.

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STOCK UP

Ohio State. The Buckeyes sent a big message by crushing Nebraska, 62-3. Ohio State still controls its destiny in the East, as its offense finally showed life after slumbering for several weeks. OSU really needed this.

Wisconsin. That is three wins in a row for the Badgers, who sat on Northwestern in a 21-7 victory in Evanston. It was vintage Wisconsin football, as the Badgers played great defense (39 yards rushing allowed) and used a strong rush game that notched 190 yards to win for the first time at Northwestern since 1999. Credit UW wideout Jazz Peavy, who caught four passes for 73 yards and had a 46-yard TD jaunt.

Penn State. The Nittany Lions pushed their winning streak to five—longest since 2011–with a 41-14 win over Iowa. Penn State outgained the Hawkeyes, 599-234. PSU had 359 yards rushing; the 599 yards is PSU’s most since 1995. Too bad the Nittany Lions can’t play Michigan now. Penn State’s remaining foes are a combined 9-18.

Michigan. Another week, another win. Ho-hum. The Wolverines moved to 9-0 by blasting Maryland and former Michigan DC DJ Durkin, 59-3. Jim Harbaugh’s crew had 660 yards of offense with 387 in the air and 273 on the ground. Can this team be beaten?

Indiana. The Hoosiers have won two in a row and are one win from being bowl eligible for a second season in a row after a 33-29 win at Rutgers. IU was fueled by 567 yards of offense and overcame four turnovers, missed two PATs and three missed field goals. The Hoosiers have games left vs. Penn State, Michigan and Purdue.

STOCK DOWN

Nebraska. The Cornhuskers’ Big Ten West hopes took a big hit with the 62-3 loss at Ohio State, a game in which Husker QB Tommy Armstrong left on a stretcher before returning with a clean bill of health. This was NU’s second defeat in a row, as it notched just 204 yards and allowed 590. And next week’s visit from Minnesota won’t be a treat.

Michigan State. The misery continues for the Spartans who have lost seven in a row after falling 31-27 at Illinois and have been eliminated from bowl contention a season after winning the Big Ten. MSU lost despite outgaining the Illini, 490-304. But the Spartans were hurt by 10 penalties. The Spartans have games left with Rutgers, Ohio State and Penn State. MSU is 0-6 in the Big Ten for the first time ever.

Iowa. That is two losses in a row. The 41-14 defeat may have stuck a fork in the Hawkeyes’ hopes to repeat as Big Ten West champs, as Iowa is 3-3 in the conference with games left vs. Michigan, Illinois and Nebraska.

Northwestern. After winning three in a row, the Wildcats dropped their second game in a row, falling 21-7 to Wisconsin. It was NU’s fourth home loss of the season, as the Wildcats couldn’t get their offense on track with Justin Jackson running for just 42 yards. He entered the game No. 2 in the Big Ten in rushing (108.5 ypg).

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TOP NUMBERS

178, total yards for Ohio State’s Curtis Samuel, who caught eight passes for 137 yards and two TDs and ran five times for 41 yards.

106, yards rushing for Wisconsin’s Corey Clement on 32 attempts with a TD in a 21-7 win at Northwestern.

167, rushing yards for Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, who ran 20 times with a TD and caught a 44-yard TD pass.

12, catches for Northwestern’s Austin Carr for 132 yard and a TD. He entered the game leading the Big Ten with 58 receptions for 878 yards and nine TDs.

1,521, career yards receiving for Michigan’s Jake Butt, the most ever for a Wolverine tight end.

153, yards rushing for Minnesota’s Rodney Smith on 24 carries with three TDs. It is the fourth game in a row Smith has eclipsed the 100-yard mark and sixth this season.

146, yards rushing for Illinois’ Kendrick Foster on 17 totes with two TDs.

118, yards receiving for Rutgers’ Jawuan Harris on eight catches.

114, yards rushing for Michigan’s De’Veon Smith on 19 carries with three TDs.

391, yards passing for Purdue’s David Blough, who hit 29-of-48 passes with four TDs and a pick.

10, penalties for 89 yards against Michigan State at Illinois.

394, yards passing for Indiana’s Richard Lagow, who hit 28-of-40 passes with three TDs and two interceptions in a 33-27 win at Rutgers.

100, yards receiving for Indiana’s Mitchell Paige on six catches.

290, yards passing for Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett, who hit 26-of-38 passes for 290 yards with four TDs and ran for 39 yards.

112, yards receiving for Michigan’s Jehu Chesson on five catches with a TD.

2, 100-yard receivers for Purdue, as Cameron Posey (seven catches, 128) and DeAngelo Yancey (four for 126) each turned the trick.

280, total yards for Penn State QB Trace McSorley, who hit 11-of-18 passes for 240 yards with two TDs and ran 14 times for 40 yards and a TD.

Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer

About Tom Dienhart: 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, and send him questions to his weekly mailbag.

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