Big Ten fans pulling for upsets were left disappointed as every favorite won with the exception of the Maryland Terrapins. This doesn’t mean there weren’t a few nailbiters that went into the final few minutes before being decided. Over the next few weeks, there will be a greater opportunity for drama as the quality of matchups increases, but not so much this week.
Big Ten East Division:
Indiana Hoosiers 4-2 (1-2)
The Hoosiers were next up on “take advantage of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights,” and they didn’t disappoint their fans with the 35-0 blowout win. After losing two consecutive conference games, feasting on a conference bottom-feeder could be what Indiana needs to finish the rest of the conference season strong. Each phase of the offense played well, and the defense limited the Rutgers offense to only ONE-yard passing.
Key Players: Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (282 yards passing, three touchdowns), Running Back Stevie Scott III (164 yards rushing) Wide Receiver Whop Phylor (10 catches, 182 yards), Linebacker Cam Jones (six tackles, two sacks)
Maryland Terrapins 3-3 (1-2)
What started off as a promising season has taken a sudden turn for concern as the Terrapins were blown out 40-14 by the Purdue Boilermakers. Injuries and inconsistent quarterback play plagued Maryland in the past, and it seems to have resurfaced with their starter going down. With the offense out of sorts and unable to find any continuity, the defense struggled to slow down the Purdue offense all day.
Key Players: Receiver Dontay Demus Jr. (10 catches, 93 yards), Linebacker Ayinde Eley (10 tackles), Running Back Javon Leake (seven carries, 79 yards, one touchdown)
Michigan Wolverines 5-1 (3-1)
For one half of the 42-25 win over the Illinois Fighting Illini, we saw a glimpse of what everyone was hoping the Michigan team would be in 2019. A big-play rushing attack, opportunistic passing game, and attacking defense. But in the second half, something happened. The team let off the gas and allowed 25 straight points. With that game still in doubt, Michigan regained the sense of urgency and closed out the game strong.
Key Players: Running Back Hassan Haskins (12 carries, 125 yards, one touchdown), Running Back Zach Charbonnet (18 carries, 118 yards, one touchdown), Linebacker Josh Uche (six tackles, three sacks), Linebacker Cam McGrone (11 tackles, one sack)
Michigan St. Spartans 4-3 (2-2)
MSU fans knew that October would be a tough month for the team, but they couldn’t foresee the team suffering a 38-0 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers. The Badgers are stout defensively, but there is no reason why the team should have only mustered 149 total yards and seven first downs. The lack of a rushing attack has stymied the offense, and with the recent transfers, things don’t look like they’ll be getting better this season. The defense tried to hold up the team as it limited Wisconsin’s talented back to only 80 yards, but it still surrendered 222 yards on the ground. The bye week couldn’t come at a better time.
Key Players: Wide Receiver Darrell Stweart Jr. (five receptions, 59 yards), Linebacker Antjuan Simmons (10 tackles)
Ohio St. Buckeyes 6-0 (3-0)
no game scheduled
Penn State Nittany Lions 6-0 (3-0)
It wasn’t pretty, but the Nittany Lions got the job done in the 17-12 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes. The defense has been playing stellar all season, but outsiders wondered how it would face against a team that had talent offensively. They were challenged but held on until the offense could get going with a late touchdown. The rushing attack proved to be able to something Penn State could lean on if their young quarterback struggled
Key Players: Running Back Noah Cain (102 yards rushing, one touchdown), Wide Receiver KJ Hamler (seven receptions, 61 yards, one touchdown), Defensive Tackle Robert Windsor (six tackles, 1.5 sacks)
Rutgers Scarlet Knights 1-5 (0-4)
Another conference game, another blowout loss for the Scarlet Knights. This time it was at the hands of the Indiana Hoosiers, 35-0. This season cannot be soon enough for a team that is facing the grim reality of having to hire its fourth head coach in 10 years. The offense struggled to move the ball and only generated one-yard passing. No matter who they bring in as the new coach, he must be willing to undergo a major overhaul on both sides of the ball. They might have to make a call to an old friend named Greg Schiano.
Key Players: Linebacker Olakunle Fatukasi (10 tackles, one tackle-for-loss)
Big Ten West Division:
Illinois Fighting Illini 2-4 (0-3)
Maybe the Fighting Illini forgot that the game started at 11 AM. Whatever it was, the team started off slowly in the 42-25 loss to the Michigan Wolverines, and it cost them. Without its starting quarterback, the Illinois offense did what it could, and during the third quarter, it looked as if they would fight back and pull off the upset. Close only works in horseshoes, and it seems like as the losses continue to mount, Head Coach Lovie Smith’s time in Champagne is close to ending.
Key Players: Safety Stanley Green 12 tackles, two fumble recoveries), Wide Reciever Josh Imatorbhebhe (five receptions, 102 yards, one touchdown), Quarterback Matt Robinson (192 yards passing, one touchdown)
Iowa Hawkeyes 4-1 (1-1)
The defense did its job, but for the second consecutive week, the Hawkeyes offense struggled to move the ball in the 17-12 loss to the Penn State Nittany Lions. Iowa has to cut down on the mistakes — another interception was thrown this week — and the rushing attack disappeared, but this team has enough talent to play spoiler later in the season if they can play a complete game.
Key Players: Wide Receiver Brandon Smith (seven receptions, 86 yards, one touchdown), Safety Jack Koerner (13 tackles), Wide Receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette (five receptions, 72 yards)
Minnesota Golden Gophers 6-0 (3-0)
The Gophers continue its hot play with the 34-7 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers. As the season progresses, opposing teams will have the unfortunate decision of “picking its poison” when it comes to trying to stop the Minnesota offense. On Saturday, the Cornhuskers chose to try to stop the ariel attack, and Minnesota gashed them to the tune of 322 total yards rushing. The Gophers defense took advantage of Nebraska starting its backup quarterback by sacking him four times and limiting him to only 148 yards passing. Doubters are still waiting on Minnesota to “face a real team,” but until that happens, the Gophers continue to take care of the teams on its schedule in dominating fashion.
Key Players: Running Back Rodney Smith (139 yards rushing, one touchdown), Running Back Mohamed Ibrahim (84 yards rushing, three touchdowns), Wide Receiver Tyler Johnson (five receptions, 109 yards)
Nebraska Cornhuskers 4-3 (2-2)
Most teams would struggle without its starting quarterback, and the Cornhuskers proved that in the 34-7 loss to the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Someone will look at the stat sheet and see the yards given up by the Nebraska defense and wonder how losing a quarterback can lead to that? A struggling offense will make things that much worse for a defense that has had its ups and downs all season because of its inability to sustain drives and score. Nebraska has a bye week on the horizon, and hopefully, that helps with the healing process for the entire team.
Key Players: Wide Receiver JD Spielman (three receptions, 59 yards), Cornerback Mohamed Barry (11 tackles)
Northwestern Wildcats 1-4 (0-3)
no game scheduled
Purdue Boilermakers 2-4 (1-2)
The Boilermakers have been faced with a lot of adversity this season, but the team did not let injuries to key players keep it from easily defeating the Maryland Terrapins 40-14. It has to be fulfilling for head coach Jeff Brohm to finally see his backup quarterback and fill-in receiver come up big in a critical game. Let’s see if they can build upon this momentum over the next few weeks.
Key Players: Quarterback Jack Plummer (420 yards passing, three touchdowns), Receiver David Bell (nine receptions, 138 yards, two touchdowns), Receiver Brycen Hopkins (10 receptions, 140 yards), Safety Cory Trice (six tackles, two interceptions, one touchdown)
Wisconsin Badgers 6-0 (3-0)
Last week we questioned if the Wisconsin defense was legit, and in the 38-0 win over the Michigan State Spartans, that unit showed that it is. It limited the Spartans to 149 total yards and forced two turnovers. With the defense playing this well, the offense was able to coast as it tallied 402 total yards. The only downside to the game is that MSU may have put a ding in the Badgers star running back Heisman candidacy by limiting him to only 80 yards rushing.
Key Players: Running Back Jonathan Taylor (80 yards rushing, two touchdowns), Safety Rachad Wildgoose (one interception), Linebacker Zack Baun (three tackles, one interception, one touchdown)
Sports Q&A Big 10 Player of the week:
Jack Plummer QB – Purdue
It took him a while, but it looks like Plummer has finally settled in as the replacement for Elijah Sindelar. You cant throw for over 400 yards if you don’t have some talent, and even if his ceiling isn’t as high as Sindelar, the win over Maryland proved that Purdue’s offense can function well under Plummer’s leadership.
Game of the Week
Michigan vs. Penn State
The Jim Harbaugh “Prove it to me” tour begins in Happy Valley this weekend as his much-ballyhooed road record versus ranked teams will be discussed ad nauseam. The Wolverines have shown in small spurts to have the talent to contend for a Big Ten title this year, but never against a defense as talented as the Nittany Lions’. Because of that, the Michigan fans and detractors will once again be discussing how someone who is paid so much gets away with not winning when it matters.
Penn State 27 Michigan 16
Week 7 Picks: (Week 6 record 5-1)
Ohio State over Northwestern
Wisconsin over Illinois
Iowa over Purdue
Minnesota over Rutgers
Indiana over Maryland
BYE WEEK: Nebraska, Michigan State