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Creepin' The B1G: Week 5 Recap

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The two best teams in the conference narrowly escaped monumental upsets and somebody other than Wisconsin or Nebraska is likely to rule the West in 2015.

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Ohio State 34, Indiana 27

This was a barnburner that had the entire college football Internets abuzz. In front of its first sell-out crowd in five years, the Hoosiers gave the Buckeyes everything they could handle on both sides of the ball, despite losing their top running back Jordan Howard and starting quarterback Nate Sudfeld to injuries. The Hoosier defense held tough throughout the first half, frustrating Cardale Jones and the Buckeye offense and went into the locker room with a 10-6 lead at the half. The second half however, saw Ezekiel Elliott break OSU out of its offensive funk, scoring on three long touchdown runs of 55, 65, and 75 yards, respectively. The latter two of Elliott's touchdown runs came immediately following an Indiana touchdown and an IU field goal.

Thanks to three forced turnovers though (including two that came when OSU was threatening in Indiana's red zone) and gritty play from backup running back Devine Redding and beloved backup quarterback Zander Diamont, the Hoosiers drove all the way into the Buckeye red zone in the game's waning seconds with a chance to score a touchdown (and have the opportunity to potentially win with a two-point conversion). Unfortunately for IU, a bad snap sent Diamont scrambling to pick up the loose ball and heave a prayer to the back of the end zone, which sailed out of bounds as time expired.

At the time this post is being written, Penn State has opened as an 8-point favorite for next Saturday against the Hoosiers. While I personally feel that is a tad high and will likely go down by a couple of points over the course of this upcoming week, you have to factor in the possibility of Saquon Barkley being available once again (along with perhaps Brandon Bell and Marcus Allen) and an emotionally drained IU squad being forced to roll with Diamont and Redding as starters on the road in a Noon kickoff in Happy Valley. Because, you know, college football is weird like that...

Michigan State 24, Purdue 21

In yet another edition of "College Football Is Weird," Michigan State went from seemingly being en route to a comfortable afternoon against an overmatched Purdue squad to needing similar last-minute defensive heroics that Penn State needed against Army to avoid an embarrassing home loss. Sparty led this one 21-0 at halftime, thanks to a Connor Cook touchdown pass and L.J. Scott finding the end zone twice (Scott would finish with 146 yards) but the ghosts of SPARTY NO's past came out in full force in the second half as Purdue scratched and clawed their way back, thanks to a pair of touchdown runs from Markell Jones (157 yards total rushing) and a touchdown pass from David Blough to cut the deficit to 24-21 with a little under seven minutes remaining in the game. From there, the Sparty defense clamped down and was able to hold Purdue on downs on the Boilers' potentially game-tying/game-winning drive.

Northwestern 27, Minnesota 0

Clayton Thorson may not have thrown for any touchdowns, but he did run for a pair (along with Justin Jackson adding 120 yards rushing). More impressively, the Wildcat defense made life miserable for Minnesota's offense, holding the Gophers to 170 total yards.

If it wasn't apparent beforehand, it's certainly apparent now that it's time to take Northwestern seriously as a B1G West contender. Yes, Minnesota is a very one-dimensional team offensively but for the Wildcats to put up a statement win like this, and to put on dance moves such as in the video, below?

Iowa 10, Wisconsin 6

This was a good ol' fashioned B1G battle chock full of defense and pounding the rock. Iowa's Jordan Canzeri rumbled for 125 yards and his teammate C.J. Beathard threw for the game's only TD (in an otherwise forgettable performance for Beathard) while Joel Stave threw a pair of interceptions and fumbled the ball away twice for Wisconsin, including a furniture-smashing botched exchange at Iowa's one-yard line midway through the fourth quarter with the Badgers trailing 10-6. Stave did attempt to lead a game-winning drive in the final minute but a miscommunication on a pass to his tight end on 4th-and-2 ended all hope for the Badgers. Much like Northwestern, it's time to start taking this Iowa squad seriously as a representative of the West division in Indianapolis this December.

Michigan 28, Maryland 0

The Randy Edsall Farewell Tour made a quick stop at home before heading out to Columbus next weekend (against a likely pissed-off Buckeye team) to get shutout and held to barely over 100 yards of total offense by a stifling Michigan defense (including an ugly 8-for-27 and three picks from one Caleb Rowe). The first half was a rather sloppy affair, particularly with the rain, as neither offense able to get much going and exchanged turnovers. The Wolverines held a 6-0 halftime lead thanks to a pair of field goals, but with the way their defense was dominating Maryland, it may as well have felt like 56-0. Surely enough, a gassed Maryland defense gave way to back-to-back explosive touchdown plays by Michigan midway through the third quarter as Jake Rudock hit Drake Johnson on a 31-yard pass and Jehu Chesson rumbled for a 66-yard score on the next Wolverine possession.

It's fair to say that this Michigan team has looked much better than a lot of folks may have thought in year one of the Jim Harbaugh era, and pitching back-to-back shutouts is mighty impressive, no matter the competition. With that being said, let's pump the brakes on the "Michigan will win the B1G East" talk until they actually square off against Michigan State and Ohio State (#hotsprotstakes).

Illinois 14, Nebraska 13

In what may go down as the most boneheaded coaching decision of the year, Mike Riley opted to throw the ball on third and fourth down with a minute to play, with his Nebraska squad clinging to a 13-7 lead with the ball inside Illinois' 30 yard line (instead of you know, running the damn ball, killing some clock, and setting up a potential game-sealing field goal). Those extra 40 seconds were enough for Wes Lunt to throw his way down the field, ultimately hitting Geronimo Allison in the corner of the end zone on a fade route with 10 seconds left. The ensuing extra point sealed the upset bid for the Illini and an emotional interim head coach Bill Cubit.

And let's get a quicker Twitter pulse on how Husker Nation is handling things: