While some teams took care of their business, the conference suffered perhaps the biggest upset in the 2019 college football season as one of the frontrunners for a spot in the Big Ten Title game was caught looking ahead. This upset shows how there is no easy game in the conference… unless it’s Rutgers.
Big Ten East Division:
Indiana Hoosiers 5-2 (2-2)
There aren’t many teams that would feel confident if their starting quarterback went down, fortunately for the Hoosiers, their backup is good enough to be a starter for most teams in the nation. In the 34-28 win over the Maryland Terrapins, the Hoosiers relied on its backup and an opportunistic defense to guide them to victory.
Key Players: Quarterback Peyton Ramsey (193 yards passing, one touchdown, 46 yards rushing), Running Back Stevie Scott III (102 yards rushing, two touchdowns), Tight End Peyton Hendershot (six catches, 95 yards), Defensive Back Reese Taylor (three tackles, one interception)
Maryland Terrapins 3-4 (1-3)
After closing within three late in the game, the old Terrapins resurfaced with two inopportune turnovers in the 34-28 loss to the Indiana Hoosiers. After being without its starting quarterback last week, Maryland played a lot better under the old-new starter but couldn’t overcome the late mistakes.
Key Players: Receiver Dontay Demus Jr. (five catches, 82 yards, one touchdown), Linebacker Chance Campbell (10 tackles), Running Back Javon Leake (23 carries, 158 yards, two touchdowns)
Michigan Wolverines 5-2 (3-2)
There’s something about facing a top-ranked team on the road that gives the Wolverines the fits, and it continued in the 28-21 loss to the Penn State Nittany Lions. After getting down 21-0 in the first half, the Wolverines fought back to get the game within seven but couldn’t overcome a late big play by PSU and an unfortunate drop. The fans and local media are starting to wonder if Coach Harbaugh will ever be able to win a big game on the road?
Key Players: Quarterback Shea Patterson (276 yards passing, one rushing touchdown), Running Back Zach Charbonnet (15 carries, 81 yards, two touchdowns), Wide Receiver Nico Collins (six catches 89 yards), Linebacker Cam McGrone (six tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack)
Michigan St. Spartans 4-3 (2-2)
no game scheduled
Ohio St. Buckeyes 6-0 (3-0)
Something about this OSU team seems different this year. There appears to be a higher level of focus and determination to not overlook anyone, and 52-3 win over the Northwestern Wildcats was another example of this. Playing on Friday night may not be ideal for the Buckeyes, but they showed the ability to dominate on both sides of the ball.
Key Players: Quarterback Justin Fields (194 yards passing, four touchdowns), Running Back J.K. Dobbins (18 carries, 121 yards, one touchdown), Master Teague III (seven carries 96 yards, one touchdown), Wide Receiver Chris Olave (five catches, 60 yards, two touchdowns)
Penn State Nittany Lions 7-0 (4-0)
The Nittany Lions rode a quick start to a 28-21 victory over the Michigan Wolverines in this year’s white-out game Saturday. After starting fast, the Penn State offense bogged down, but fortunately, the offense got a big play from its go-to wide receiver that sealed the victory. It’s always good getting a win over a top opponent, but Nittany Lions fans have to be concerned at how they were outplayed the majority of the second half.
Key Players: Quarterback Sean Clifford (182 yards passing, four total touchdowns), Wide Receiver KJ Hamler (six receptions, 108 yards, two touchdowns), Linebacker Micah Parsons (14 tackles)
Rutgers Scarlet Knights 1-6 (0-5)
It has to be hard being a fan/supporter of the Scarlet Nights as every week, the team finds a new way to be embarrassed. This week it was a 42-7 loss to the Minnesota Golden Gophers, where the opposing defense scored as many points as the Rutgers offense. The one bright spot in the defeat was the ability of the Rutgers offense to find some sort of rushing attack as three running backs accounted for 120 yards on 22 carries. Now if the rest of the team could see that type of production, this team might not be as deplorable
Key Players: Running Back Isaih Pacheco (15 carries, 50 yards), Running back Elijah Barnwell (one carry, 40 yards), Linebacker Olakunle Fatukasi (13 tackles)
Big Ten West Division:
Illinois Fighting Illini 3-4 (1-3)
Head coach Lovie Smith and the Fighting Illini have been looking for a big win and finally got one in the 24-23 upset over the Wisconsin Badgers. It was the first win over a ranked team in eight seasons — and a ranked Big Ten team in 12 seasons. Illinois took advantage of three Wisconsin turnovers and look to build upon this epic win to finish the season strong… and maybe even save Smith’s job.
Key Players: Running Back Reggie Corbin (17 carries, 83 yards, one touchdown), Wide Reciever Josh Imatorbhebhe (two receptions, 42 yards, one touchdown), Linebacker Dele Harding (16 tackles), Defensive Back Tony Adams (one interception
Iowa Hawkeyes 5-2 (2-2)
The defense continues to carry the squad as the Hawkeyes held on to defeat the Purdue Boilermakers 26-20. The Hawkeyes limited Purdue to only 33 yards rushing and forced two turnovers, but at some point, the offense is going to have to catch up to this vaunted defense if it wants to win a meaningful game.
Key Players: Wide Receiver Brandon Smith (nine receptions, 106 yards), Defensive Back Riley Moss (2 tackles, one interception), Defensive Back Matt Hankins (11 tackles, one fumble recovery)
Minnesota Golden Gophers 7-0 (4-0)
Another week, another uncontested victory for the Golden Gophers. This week it was a 42-7 win over the lowly Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Rather than get caught up in looking past a lousy team, Minnesota made quick work of a team it was supposed to beat. Alone at the top of the Big Ten West Division, the Gophers have now become the hunted, and it will be interesting to see how the team reacts to being chased by an equitable team.
Key Players: Running Back Rodney Smith (111 yards rushing, two touchdowns), Quarterback Tanner Morgan (245 yards passing, two touchdowns), Wide Receiver Tyler Johnson (six receptions, 130 yards, one touchdown), Cornerback Antoine Winfield Jr. (two interceptions, one touchdown)
Nebraska Cornhuskers 4-3 (2-2)
no game scheduled
Northwestern Wildcats 1-5 (0-4)
The Wildcats were coming off a .bye before facing the Ohio State Buckeyes and the way they played in the 52-3 loss, most of the players forgot that they had a Friday night game. The journey of finding a replacement for a four-year starter has been a difficult one all season, and it showed Friday as the Wildcats only tallied 42 total passing yards. This has to be frustrating for a team that is one year removed from playing in the conference championship game.
Key Players: Linebacker Blake Gallagher (11 tackles), Running Back Isaiah Bowser (65 yards rushing)
Purdue Boilermakers 2-5 (1-3)
The Boilermakers couldn’t overcome a slow start and ineffective run game in the 26-20 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes. The season may not be going the way many Boilermaker fans had hoped, but there is a foundation being laid out for success next season.
Key Players: Quarterback Jack Plummer (327 yards passing, two touchdowns), Wide Receiver David Bell (13 receptions, 197 yards, one touchdown), Cornerback Derrick Mackey (two tackles, one interception)
Wisconsin Badgers 6-1 (3-1)
The dream season for the Badgers took a significant hit with the 24-23 loss to the Illinois Fighting Illini. This was the perfect example of looking past an opponent with a big game on the horizon. Unfortunately, the Badgers aren’t good enough to play bad but escape with a victory. Wisconsin still has a few big games left on its schedule left to still salvage this season, but the room for error has diminished dramatically.
Key Players: Running Back Jonathan Taylor (132 yards rushing, one touchdown), Tight End Jack Ferguson (five receptions, 77 yards, one touchdown), Linebacker Eric Orr (nine tackles, three sacks)
Sports Q&A Big 10 Player of the week:
KJ Hamler WR- Penn State
Hamler showed on Saturday night why he is one of the better receivers in the country. Even with the Wolverines defense game planning to stop him, there was little they could do to slow him down. It was his 53-yard touchdown that sealed the victory for the Nittany Lions
Game of the Week
Wisconsin vs. Ohio State
It seems as if these teams are going in different directions after last week. The Badgers are out to prove that the loss to Illinois was a fluke, while the Buckeyes want to show that they are one of the best four teams in the nation. The Buckeyes have too much firepower on both sides of the ball and easily defeat the Badgers.
Ohio State 38 Wisconsin 20
Week 8 Picks: (Week 7 record 5-1)
Iowa over Northwestern
Purdue over Illinois
Rutgers over Liberty
Penn State over Michigan State
Minnesota over Maryland
Nebraska over Indiana
Notre Dame over Michigan