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Dienhart: This Michigan-OSU game was a 'classic'

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Michigan-Ohio State games usually are exciting. This one was a classic. There were 1,129 yards of combined offense; 83 points; a melee that saw three players ejected (Watch); a valiant comeback; a last-second touchdown; a gutsy two-point conversion call that failed (Watch) all wrapped in a 42-41 Ohio State win over Michigan that sucked the air out the Big House and left the 113,511 fans breathless. “That was a classic game, I just want to congratulate our players,” said Urban Meyer. “Someone asked a question about what means more, our 24th win in a row or

Dienhart: Offense wins this one for Spartans

LINCOLN, Neb. — The credentials of the Michigan State defense have been well-chronicled in 2013. We’ve all heard and seen the numbers recited. The unit entered today’s game No. 1 in the nation in total defense (210.2 ypg), No. 1 in rushing defense (43.4 ypg), No. 1 in pass efficiency defense (90.3 rating), No. 1 in first downs defense (12.7 pg) … and on and on it goes. Yes, the Michigan State defense is really good. But, it was the offense that won this big game at Nebraska. “That whole offense, (Connor) Connor included, this whole year they have just

Dienhart: These Gophers are making history

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Just when you thought Minnesota’s season couldn’t get any better, another win happens. That’s four in a row for the Golden Gophers after a methodical 24-10 triumph over Penn State. And I know they are keeping track in places like Fergus Falls, Ely, Mankato and Albert Lea. Why not? The last time Minnesota won four Big Ten games in a row was 1973. That’s history, which is what this team is making. That 1973 squad closed the season with victories over Northwestern, Purdue, Illinois and Wisconsin to finish 7-4 overall and 6-2 in the Big Ten under

Dienhart: Spartans send message loud and clear

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State wanted to deliver a message. Mission accomplished … loud and clear. All season long, defense has been the calling card of the Spartans team. Heck, it has been the last few years. The unit was at his suffocating best Saturday vs. Michigan in backstopping a 29-6 victory. Check out some of these numbers for the Michigan offense. Rushing yards: minus 48 Total yards: 168 Third-down conversions: 2-of-13 Zero touchdowns And on it went all afternoon on a soggy day in Spartan Stadium. [ MORE: Video: Spartans dance with Paul Bunyan Trophy in locker room

Dienhart: Minnesota 'thriving' sans its leader

This was a program-defining win for Minnesota under Jerry Kill’s watch. But really, it was much more than that. The Golden Gophers’ 34-23 upset victory over No. 24 Nebraska was a testament to the foundation that Kill has laid since arriving in the Twin Cities in 2011. It also embodied the toughness Kill possesses as a coach and in his fight to control his epilepsy. His players don’t want to let him down while he’s away dealing with his health issues. They want to make him proud. And, they did that today. It’s just too bad that Kill wasn’t on

Dienhart: 5-2 Wisconsin still has a lot to play for

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – There is gonna come a time in, say, February or March when Wisconsin fans are gonna wonder: What if? What if the Badgers hadn’t been rooked by the refs at Arizona State? What if the Badgers had found a way to win at Ohio State? The possibilities will seem endless in the dead of winter. But, great possibilities still loom for the Badgers in 2013. There still is a lot to play for, even with the two excruciating defeats. [ MORE: Watch all of the top Week 8 Big Ten plays ] This is a good Wisconsin

Dienhart: Nothing was going to stop OSU on this night

EVANSTON, Ill. — There were lead changes, momentum shifts and rain … lots of rain. And, in the end, there was one big win for Ohio State. The Buckeyes’ 40-30 victory over Northwestern not only solidifies their status as king of the Big Ten, it also keeps them unbeaten and still squarely in the national title hunt. The victory caps an impressive two-week run in which the Buckeyes have beaten Wisconsin and now the Wildcats. And Urban Meyer has now won all 18 games as Ohio State coach. Books already have been written about him. Maybe one day, a statue

Dienhart: OK, Ohio State, it's time to dream 'really big'

How good is Ohio State? The question was posed, oh, at least 14,328 times since the start of the season. The Buckeyes went 12-0 in 2012, the school’s first under Urban Meyer. Alas, NCAA probation kept the Buckeyes from competing for the Big Ten championship or going to the postseason. So, America never got to see if Ohio State was national title caliber. But now, unencumbered by sanctions, Ohio State’s possibilities are endless. And, after tonight’s 31-24 win over Wisconsin, the Buckeyes can begin to dream big. Really big. [ MORE: Braxton Miller makes’s Leaders of Week 5 ]

Dienhart: 'This was a big step back' for Nebraska

UCLA made it look easy. Too easy. And that’s not a good thing for Nebraska. This was supposed to be the Cornhuskers’ chance to show the world that the 2013 team was different from last year’s squad. After all, this year’s team had a standout offense led by a Heisman-contending quarterback in Taylor Martinez who was pacing a veteran attack that teemed with talent. But most importantly, this team had a re-made defense that was faster and more athletic, that was going to make up for last year’s horrid effort at UCLA—and disappointing finish to 2012 that saw the Huskers

Dienhart: This was a win Devin Gardner needed

Welcome to the big time, Devin Gardner. And get used to being here, kid. This was the win you needed. This was the victory that provides validation of your special skills. Michigan 41, Notre Dame 30. The world knew all about your fanciful talents. Your blazing feet, quick hips and rocket arm. And we heard time and again about how you were everything that Denard Robinson wasn’t when it came to being a great fit for coordinator Al Borges’ pro-style offense. It all was true—at least on this night when the national spotlight was blaring. It’s gonna be fun to