Every Saturday during the Big Ten football season, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart watches all the action and offers his Snap Reactions. See Dienhart’s immediate thoughts from Michigan State’s impressive rally and overtime victory at Wisconsin and Minnesota’s emphatic win over Purdue in this post.
Andrew Maxwell threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Bennie Fowler in overtime, giving Michigan State a 16-13 victory and snapping Wisconsin’s 21-game home winning streak. It was the first win at Camp Randall since 2001 for the Spartans (5-4, 2-3 Big Ten), who have won four of the last six games against Wisconsin. It was the Badgers’ first loss at home since Oct 17, 2009.
Defense continues to dominate as Wisconsin leads Michigan State, 7-3, heading to the fourth quarter. The two teams combined for four punts in the quarter. More proof of the defense: Michigan State, with Le’Veon Bell, and Wisconsin, with Montee Ball and James White, have combined for 31 rushing yards.
Wisconsin’s defensive line went crazy in the second quarter, penetrating Michigan State’s backfield so often that the Spartans finished the second quarter with minus-2 rushing yards. The Badgers take a 7-3 lead to the locker room.
Fans were treated to more punts than points in the first quarter, and the game is tied 0-0 at the end of the first quarter. The teams’ stale offenses boomed a total of three punts in the quarter.
When Michigan State beat Wisconsin on a long, last-second touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to Keith Nichol last fall, the eyes of the rest of the conference were on that game. In a feature story that ran on our pregame TV show this morning, BTN talked to a number of Big Ten names who recall watching that incredible play on TV. We’ve posted the whole video here.
In my preview of this Saturday’s six games, I believe most teams will play with a real sense of urgency. Nebraska and Michigan are two good examples, but Ohio State and Penn State each have something to prove, too. Michigan State and Wisconsin have a history, Iowa leads Northwestern in the standings, and Purdue, Minnesota, Indiana and Illinois each seek their first conference win.
Every week, BTN.com’s Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina) and Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) offer their predictions for each Big Ten football game. We also provide a poll for all of the games so fans can vote for their winners.
We met him as Mon-TEE Ball. He corrected us this summer and said it’s Mon-TAY. Now, he’s back to Mon-TEE, the pronunciation we used last year when he tied the single-season FBS record for touchdowns (39) and was a Heisman finalist. To be clear, the whole thing is more superstition than anything. After a slow start, Ball is running like the Mon-TEE of old. So coaches and players joke they don’t want to see Mon-TAY again. Ball is just playing along.
Saturday is fast approaching. Here are my most pressing questions for each school. The answers may come Saturday, but if you want to tackle them now, let me know in the comments box or via my Big Ten mailbag. Read all of my Big Ten coverage here. And don’t be afraid to drop ask me a question on Twitter (@BTNTomDienhart).
This shapes up as a great weekend that is headlined by Michigan’s visit to Nebraska in a huge Legends clash that will go a long way toward determining who will win the division.