Michigan State has been silencing a lot of critics this year.
The Big Ten title game picture got a lot clearer this week. Ohio State was eliminated from the Leaders division due to their OT loss to Purdue. Iowa was eliminated from the Legends division by virtue of their loss to MSU. Michigan needs MSU to lose out while Nebraska needs MSU to drop at least one more game. So right now it looks like the teams playing in the first Big Ten title game will be Michigan State and the PSU/Wisconsin winner.
Game of the Week:
Michigan State Spartans 8-2 (5-1) @ Iowa Hawkeyes 6-4 (3-3)
Final Score: MSU - 37 Iowa - 21
Iowa had control of their own destiny. All they needed to do was beat a Michigan State team that has struggled on the road this year. MSU quickly jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, then extended their lead to 31-7 by halftime and never looked back. Iowa scored twice in the third quarter to draw to within 13, but MSU put the clamps down and took the game 37-21.
MSU Player of the Game: Kirk Cousins threw for 260 yards and 3 TD
Iowa Player of the Game: Marvin McNutt had 8 receptions for 130 yards and 1 TD
All the Rest:
This was the Dan Persa and Jeremy Ebert show. Both players posted monster numbers that helped the Wildcats pull to within a game of bowl eligibility. Persa threw for 372 yards and 2 TDs, while Ebert caught both TDs and had 208 of those receiving yards. Rice never really had a chance.
Northwestern Players of the Game: As noted, both Persa and Ebert had career games for NW.
Ohio State Buckeyes 6-4 (3-3) @ Purdue Boilermakers 5-5 (3-3)
Final Score: Purdue - 26 OSU - 23
All Ohio State needed to do was kick an extra point. Down 20-14 with 55 seconds to go, Braxton Miller found Jordan Hall for a 13 yard TD pass to tie the game. An extra point would have given OSU a 1 point lead with less than a minute to play. Purdue came up huge and blocked that extra point attempt. Then they held OSU to a FG on their possession in overtime. 7 plays later Robert Marve snuck into the the endzone from a yard out, ending Ohio State's chances at the first ever Big Ten title game.
Purdue Player of the Game: Marve only threw for 94 yards and an INT, but he had 3 rushes for 10 yards and scored the game winning TD.
OSU Player of the Game: Braxton Miller actually surpassed 100 yards passing in this game. He threw 2 TDs and ran for a third.
Wisconsin has two modes: lose hilariously and run up the score. This week was another run up the score week as Montee Ball capped the scoring with his 3rd rushing TD with 9 minutes left in the 4th quarter. The lone bright spot for Minnesota in this game was Duane Bennett's 96 yard kick return for a TD to start off the second half. Nick Toon also had 100 yards receiving and 2 TDs.
Wisconsin Player of the Game: Montee Ball ran for 166 yards and 3 TDs.
Minnesota Player of the Game: Duane Bennett had 141 kick return yards.
The wheels have completely come off for the Illini as they've now lost four straight games. Michigan kept their hopes for a Legends Division title alive, but now have to deal with an injury to Denard Robinson. Robinson injured his wrist in the third quarter and missed the rest of the game. Despite Illinois ineptitude on offense, Michigan only had a 10 point lead until Fitzgerald Toussaint (possibly the best name in college football) scored from 27 yards out with 2:24 to play.
Michigan Player of the Game: Toussaint had 192 yards rushing on 27 carries and 1 TD.
Illinois Player of the Game: A.J. Jenkins was on the receiving end of 103 of Nathan Scheelhaase's 170 passing yards.
Bye Week: Indiana