#3 Ohio State 28, Illinois 3
It wasn't anything flashy and the Buckeyes did get off to a bit of a slow start offensively as the Illinois defense made things difficult, clearly treating this game as if it were the Illini's Super Bowl. Ultimately, the combination of J.T. Barrett (150 yards passing and a touchdown, 74 yards rushing and a TD) and Ezekiel Elliott (181 rushing yards and two TD's) was just too much for Illinois to handle. Erstwhile, the Buckeye defense held tough, limiting Illinois to 20 total yards rushing, forcing Wes Lunt to beat them by himself.
What This Means For Ohio State: The Buckeyes took care of business on the road and they now begin a couple weeks' worth of final exams when they take on Michigan State and arch-rival Michigan.
What This Means for Illinois: With a road game at Minnesota and a home contest against rival Northwestern still on the slate, Bill Cubit has a shot at getting that sixth win and subsequent bowl eligibility he needs in order to be a serious candidate for the permanent head coaching gig at Illinois.
Up Next for Ohio State (10-0 overall, 6-0 in B1G): vs. #13 Michigan State 11/21
Up Next for Illinois (5-5, 2-4): at Minnesota 11/21
#5 Iowa 40, Minnesota 35
It wasn't easy for Iowa, but under the Kinnick Stadium lights, and behind 195 yards and three rushing TD's from LeShun Daniels and steady play from C.J. Beathard (18 for 26 passing for 213 yards and 50 yards rushing with a TD), the Hawkeyes were able to hold off Minnesota. The game started out with both teams trading a pair of TD's but Iowa scored the first half's final ten points with the game tied at 14 to take a 24-14 lead into the locker room. With the Gophers having cut into Iowa's 33-21 lead late in the fourth quarter with a TD drive of their own, the Hawkeyes responded with a clutch 51-yard TD run by Daniels to seal the deal. Mitch Leidner tossed for 259 yards and a TD and also rushed for a TD, while Shannon Brooks ran for 86 yards and a TD, and KJ Maye (106 yards) and Brandon Lingen (105 yards and a TD) both went over 100 yards receiving for Minnesota in a losing effort.
What This Means for Iowa: The dream season continues for the Hawkeyes, as they are now 10-0 for the first time in school history. Holding tiebreakers against Northwestern and Wisconsin, Iowa will clinch the B1G West with a win at home against Purdue next weekend. This is a team humming on all cylinders right now in all three facets of the game and Kirk Ferentz's crew has their sights set on crashing the playoff party.
What This Means for Minnesota: Poor Tracy Claeys, he was unfortunate enough to inherit the toughest three-game stretch of the season after Jerry Kill abruptly retired. At 4-6 and with games against Illinois and Wisconsin remaining, bowl eligibility is looking like a pipe dream at this point. Nonetheless, Minnesota still made the right decision in dropping the 'interim' tag from Claeys and continuing to build upon what Jerry Kill had set in motion in Minneapolis.
Up Next for Iowa (10-0, 6-0): vs. Purdue 11/21
Up Next for Minnesota (4-6, 1-5): vs. Illinois 11/21
#13 Michigan State 24, Maryland 7
It was a very forgettable day for Connor Cook, who went 6 for 20 passing for 77 yards and suffered a shoulder injury (Cook is expected to be available for Ohio State next week). Nonetheless, Maryland's penchant for turning the ball over continued to rear its ugly head, as the Terps committed five of them, including three interceptions between Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe. Gerald Holmes rushed for 83 yards and a TD while backup quaterback Tyler O'Connor threw a TD strike to McGarrett Kings and Riley Bullough had a pick-six for Sparty.
What This Means For Michigan State: Much like Ohio State, Michigan State took care of business against an inferior opponent and did not get caught looking ahead to its upcoming clash with the Buckeyes. Sparty will have an opportunity to maintain their slim playoff chances with an upset in Columbus next weekend.
What This Means For Maryland: Two grand opportunities (Indiana at home and Rutgers on the road) present themselves for Maryland to win another game in 2015. Whether they can get that win though, is another story. Besides, basketball season is underway which at this point, is likely what Terps fans are focusing all their full attention on.
Up Next for Michigan State (9-1, 5-1): at #3 Ohio State 11/21
Up Next for Maryland (2-8, 0-6): vs. Indiana 11/21
#14 Michigan 48, Indiana 41 (2 OT)
At this point, you can't help but feel sorry for Indiana football fans as Kevin Wilson's team appears to be snakebitten. Once again, the Hoosiers, behind Jordan Howard's 238 rushing yards and a pair of TD's and Nate Sudfeld's arm (Sudfeld tossed for 220 yards and a TD) pushed Michigan to the brink, but with the defense needing to come up with a key stop on the game's final play with IU leading 34-27, Jake Rudock connected with one of his favorite targets, Jehu Chesson in the end zone as time expired to force overtime (it was one of six TD passes for Rudock, who threw for 440 yards on the day). The first overtime period saw both teams trade TD's before the second overtime saw Michigan reach the end zone again before stopping the Hoosiers on downs.
What This Means for Michigan: Like many a team that has come into Bloomington this year, Michigan faced adversity but persevered and made the necessary clutch plays to escape with the W. The fact that they wore themselves out having to go into double overtime could provide a slight advantage to a well-rested Penn State team coming off a bye week that plays host to them. The Wolverines still have a shot at winning the B1G East though with a win at PSU and an upset over Ohio State the following week (presuming the Buckeyes hold serve at home against Michigan State).
What This Means for Indiana: Once again, close, but no cigar for the Hoosiers. They now must win their remaining two games at Maryland and home against Purdue in order to earn bowl eligibility and perhaps save Kevin Wilson's job. If you ask me though, I think Wilson should be brought back for 2016, especially given how ridiculously crowded the college football coaching carousel will get in the next month.
Up Next for Michigan (8-2, 5-1): at Penn State 11/21
Up Next for Indiana (4-6, 0-6): at Maryland 11/21
#18 Northwestern 21, Purdue 14
It wasn't their best performance, but on senior day in Evanston, the Wildcats did manage to make enough plays to send their seniors out with the victory. The Boilermakers drew first blood, going up 7-0 early and the game was tied at 14 late in the fourth quarter when Clayton Thorson led the game-winning drive with his legs, rattling off back-to-back 16-yard scampers (including one on a critical 3rd and long in Purdue territory) to set up Justin Jackson's game-winning TD run. Jackson would lead all rushers with 116 yards and Warren Long also added two TD's for Northwestern on the ground. Markell Jones rushed for 58 yards and a TD and David Blough threw for 287 yards a TD, and an interception in a losing effort for Purdue.
What This Means for Northwestern: At 8-2 overall, Pat Fitzgerald's crew can potentially finish the season with ten wins if they are able to upset Wisconsin on the road next week and then take care of their rival, Illinois. Regardless, this has been a critical bounce-back season for the Wildcats coming off of consecutive 5-7 seasons and they should find themselves landing in a New Year's Day Bowl someplace warm.
What This Means for Purdue: It was a valiant effort but another week, another loss for the Boilers who now sit at 2-8 overall. While it was announced a couple weeks ago that Darrell Hazell's job was secure for another year, that still may be subject to change if they get annihilated and look lifeless in their remaining two games. Like with Maryland fans though, Purdue fans have already shifted their attention to their much better shooty hoops team.
Up Next for Northwestern (8-2, 4-2): at Wisconsin 11/21
Up Next for Purdue (2-8, 1-5): at #5 Iowa 11/21
Nebraska 31, Big Ten Powerhouse Rutgers 14
Egads! A winning streak for the Huskers! Any concerns that Nebraska may be ripe for a letdown performance on the road against a desperate BTPR squad. Nebraska's Tommy Armstrong Jr. tossed three TD's but also threw three picks in the process, but BTPR's Chris Laviano was even less effective, throwing for two picks and drawing the ire of #RutgersTwitter in the process:
Why the fuck is Chris Laviano still starting for Rutgers we have a better qb on the fucking bench this is some bullshit— good content maker (@LiveLoveAK) November 15, 2015
Janarion Grant is a better QB than Chris Laviano. #Rutgers #Lefty— Josh Gabriel (@Josh_Gabriel) November 14, 2015
And Chris Laviano is our starter...again. I quit— Mike Keelen (@mkeelen22) November 15, 2015
What This Means For Nebraska: The Huskers will get a much-needed bye week before taking on an Iowa on Black Friday in a Heroes Game that will have the most at stake for either team since it became an annual thing in 2011. At 5-6 overall, they will need to re-kindle some of that upset magic they used upon Michigan State in order to earn bowl eligibility (which to the team's credit - does not seem as improbable as it did just a couple weeks ago).
What This Means for BTPR: At 3-7, Kyle Flood and Co. will be spending the bowl season in Piscataway and this loss may have very well been the final nail in Flood's coffin, given all of the scrutiny he has received for off-the-field issues. Nearly two years into their Big Ten membership and reality is already setting in for the fanbase that their football program is a long ways away from competing for championships.
Up Next for Nebraska (5-6, 3-4): vs. #5 Iowa 11/27
Up Next for Rutgers (3-7, 1-6): at Army 11/21