Reid Compton-US PRESSWIRE
A glimpse around the week nine action throughout the Big Ten, from Nebraska's big win over Michigan to Indiana's victory in the battle of the basement against the Illinois.
Want to know how bad things are going for the Big Ten? Indiana is only a game behind Wisconsin in the race for the Leaders Division championship. Should they make it, they would likely play Nebraska- who got smacked around by a UCLA squad that can't be described as anything more than a very average Pac-12 team. In other words- prepare for a very ugly postseason.
It looked like Michigan's was in for another defensive battle that would go to the final seconds. But then, Denard Robinson left the game with an injured elbow and the Wolverines offense came to a screeching halt. In 31 the plays following Robinson's exit, Michigan gained a whopping 44 yards and backup QB Russell Bellomy threw three interceptions. Michigan's defense was constantly on the field in the second half thanks to the offense's inability to gain a first down, as the 'Huskers outpaced the Wolverines 16-3 to run away with a victory that gives them the inside track to the Legends Division crown.
Michigan State- 16
If you are looking for an interesting Big Ten game, look no further than the Sparty. Week after week, Michigan State always plays to the level of their opponent. This game proved to be a defensive slugfest, as the teams went to overtime tied at 10. Wisconsin's offense could not get anything going and were forced to settle for a 43-yard field goal, setting up the Spartans win after Andrew Maxwell found WR Bennie Fowler for the game-winning touchdown. For further proof of the lack of offense in this game, look no further han the stat lines of two one-time Heisman Trophy contenders- Le'Veon Bell had 77 yards on 21 carreies while Montee Ball managed only 46 yards on 22 rush attempts for a paltry 2.1 yard per carry average. To pour salt in the wound, Wisconsin lost starting QB Joel Stave for the season with a broken collarbone.
Illinois proved what we all knew for some time- the Illini are by far the worst team in the Big Ten. Indiana snapped a five game winless streak despite losing out in just about every statistical category. However, turnovers and penalties once again sunk the Illini, who now find themselves with a five game losing streak of their own.
It must feel like an eternity for Danny Hope and the Boilermakers since they were the trendy pick to win the Leaders Division and play for a chance to go to Pasadena. Now they find themselves searching for answers after starting off 0-4 in Big Ten play. Minnesota true freshman QB Phillip Nelson showed that he may have a bright future by passing for 246 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Iowa scored a couple late touchdowns to make the score respectable, but Northwestern pretty much ran away with this game. The Wildcats went into halftime with an 11-point lead, and two quick touchdowns to open up the second half helped them build an insurmountable lead (even for Northwestern standards). Kain Colter rushed for 166 yards and Venric Mark added another 162 yards on the ground as the duo simply sliced through the Hawkeyes defense with ease.