Every Saturday, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart offers his thoughts on every Big Ten game. Get Dienhart’s Snap Reactions to Nebraska’s comeback victory over Penn State and Minnesota’s bowl-clinching win at Illinois in this post.
It wasn’t pretty, but Minnesota was good enough in a 17-3 win over Illinois on Saturday. In a battle of sluggish offenses, Minnesota running back Donnell Kirkwood did most of the work, rushing for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Kirkwood’s 3-yard run in the third quarter broke a 3-3 tie. He scored on a 12-yard run late in the fourth quarter to clinch the victory, giving his team its fourth straight win at Illinois.
Minnesota held Illinois to three total yards during the third quarter and the Golden Gophers now lead 10-3. Minnesota held the Fighting Illini to one yard on the ground during the quarter.
Minnesota’s Donnell Kirkwood ran for 73 yards in the quarter, and the two teams are tied 3-3 at the end of the second. The Golden Gophers tied things up at three when a 10-play, 75-yard drive ended after Jordan Wettstein made a 20-yard field goal. Minnesota’s drive was keyed by Kirkwood’s 48-yard run.
Fans were treated to more punts than points in the first quarter, and Illinois leads 3-0 at the end of the first quarter. The teams’ stale offenses boomed a total of four punts in the quarter. The Fighting Illini scored when Nick Immekus kicked a 19-yard field goal to cap a nine-play, 89-yard drive, giving Illinois the game’s first lead.
Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE
It’s time to get ready for Week 11 of the Big Ten season. And it shapes up to be interesting on many fronts. Can Nebraska make it four wins in a row and knock off Penn State? Wisconsin’s game at Indiana in some ways will be a de facto Leaders Division championship game. Meanwhile, Northwestern plays at Michigan in a “Survivor” contest in the Legends Division.
It’s November, and, just as we all predicted at the outset of the season, the most intriguing game in the conference in Week 11 pits Indiana against Wisconsin. Ok, no one actually predicted that. In fact, even though it’s now a reality, not everyone is actually admitting it. Said Indiana coach Kevin Wilson, “This isn’t a big game. If it was, we wouldn’t be 4-5 and we wouldn’t be playing at 12 o’clock.”
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.
Like the November rain, the questions never stop coming. Each week I pose a key one for each Big Ten squad. There are some vexing queries this week. Chief among them: How will the Wisconsin offense look without injured quarterback Joel Stave? See what other questions I have as we head toward Week 11 of the Big Ten season.