#9 Michigan State 17, #3 Ohio State 14
If losing on the road at Nebraska was a classic SPARTY NO performance, then the 13-point underdog Michigan State team's upset of the Buckeyes in Columbus was classic SPARTY YES. Perhaps even more impressive about this upset win for Sparty was the fact that they accomplished it without Connor Cook available due to a nagging shoulder injury. Tyler O'Connor got the starting nod and while he didn't put up flashy numbers (7 for 12 passing for 89 yards and a TD), he did manage the game well and also received help from his buddies Gerald Holmes (65 yards rushing and a TD), the entire Michigan State defense (which held J.T. Barrett and Ezekiel Elliott in check all day long and held OSU to a total of 132 yards) and of course, Michael Geiger's leg, which booted the game-winning field goal through the uprights as time expired.
Naturally, the Ohio State fans, coaches, and players aren't taking this loss very well, but Ezekiel Elliott decided to take it a step further by bashing the play calling and subsequently announcing his intent to declare for the 2016 NFL Draft, something several Buckeye underclassmen are reportedly expected to do.
What This Means For Michigan State: This may go down as perhaps the greatest accomplishment of Mark Dantonio's coaching career. After barely escaping with wins against Rutgers and Purdue and losing to Nebraska, most everybody had written off Sparty's chances of winning the B1G East Division, let alone beating Ohio State in Columbus. All of a sudden, it's Sparty that controls its own destiny with regards to winning the conference and earning themselves a spot in the College Football Playoff. To look at it from Penn State's perspective, it renders PSU as the ultimate kingmaker between Sparty/OSU/Michigan based upon whether they can pull off a similar shocker in East Lansing on Thanksgiving weekend.
What This Means For Ohio State: While virtually every other college football fan base in America would kill to have the track of record of success Urban Meyer has had while at OSU (48-4 at the moment), he now finds himself in the unfamiliar position of having suffered a regular season loss in B1G play and must make sure that this loss does not have a snowball effect on the Buckeyes' performance going forward, particularly with their much-anticipated clash with a Michigan team coming off of a critical win at Penn State. OSU must not only beat the Fightin' Harbaughs on the road, but also will have to cheer like hell for some SPARTY NO magic in order to make their third consecutive appearance in the B1G title game.
Up Next for Michigan State (10-1 overall, 6-1 in B1G): vs. Penn State on 11/28
Up Next for Ohio State (10-1, 6-1): at #12 Michigan on 11/28
#5 Iowa 40, Purdue 20
Iowa leapt out to an early 20-0 advantage and seemed poised for a very comfortable afternoon at home on Senior Day before Purdue crawled back to cut the deficit to 20-13 early in the third quarter. The Hawkeyes however, would flip on a switch and pull away from the Boilermakers, thanks to the legs of Jordan Canzeri (95 yards rushing and a TD) and LeShun Daniels Jr. (31 yards and 2 rushing TD's), and C.J. Beathard's arm (213 yards passing and a hat trick of TD's). Purdue's Markell Jones had 87 yards rushing and a TD while Austin Appleby tossed for 247 yards and a TD in a losing effort.
What This Means for Iowa: The Hawkeyes have sealed up the B1G West and have punched their ticket to Indianapolis for the B1G Championship game on December 5th. Should they get past a tough test at Nebraska and win the conference championship game the following week, there is no question that they will be in the College Football Playoff.
November 22, 2015
What This Means For Purdue: The 2015 football season mercifully comes to an end next weekend, but not before Darrell Hazell's crew gets a golden opportunity to spoil their bitter rival Indiana's bowl hopes in West Lafayette.
Up Next For Iowa (11-0, 7-0): at Nebraska on 11/27
Up Next for Purdue (2-9, 1-6): vs. Indiana on 11/28
#20 Northwestern 13, #25 Wisconsin 7
Wisconsin sure didn't do themselves any favors by turning the ball over five times in this game and rushing for -26 yards (not a typo, btw), but the Badgers sure have some legitimate gripes against the referees. Trailing 13-7 in the game's final minute and driving for the game-tying TD (and subsequent game-winning extra point attempt), Joel Stave threw what appeared to be a TD strike to Troy Fumagalli but replays showed Fumagalli's knee was down at the one yard line. On first and goal, Stave threw a TD to Jazz Peavy but that was somehow overturned when the refs determined that Peavy didn't "complete the catch" (despite replay being inconclusive, which should've allowed the TD to stand). Stave would then get sacked on second and goal and subsequently knocked out of the game. After spiking the ball on third and goal because Wisconsin was out of timeouts, backup Bart Houston's fourth and goal pass attempt fell incomplete, sealing a controversial victory for Northwestern. It was a loss that got Badgers fans so mad offline, that they threw snowballs at their own cheerleaders (in addition to the refs). Justin Jackson was the star of the game, rushing for 139 yards and a TD for Northwestern.
What This Means For Northwestern: The Wildcats may be out of the B1G West race after Iowa locked it up, but Pat Fitzgerald's crew has a chance to earn its 10th win of the season this upcoming weekend if they can knock off Illinois. This has truly been a nice bounce-back year for Northwestern after back-to-back 5-7 seasons had some wondering whether Fitz had ran his course in Evanston.
What This Means For Wisconsin: While this was a tough loss for the Badgers, Paul Chryst still has a shot to win 10 games in his first year at the helm in Madison if his team can beat Minnesota next week and win their bowl game. They will have to get their running game going again however, in order for that to happen.
Up Next For Northwestern (9-2, 5-2): at Illinois 11/28 (Soldier Field in Chicago)
Up Next For Wisconsin: (8-3, 5-2): at Minnesota 11/28
Big Ten Powerhouse Rutgers 31, Army West Point 21
Paul James (116 yards rushing, 3 TD's) and Robert Martin (99 yards rushing, one TD) were the true difference makers in this contest, as BTPR snapped a four-game losing skid over a scrappy but outmanned Army squad. Army QB Chris Carter went over 100 yards rushing and passing, with 111 yards on the ground and a TD to go with 144 yards and a TD through the air in a losing effort for the Black Knights.
What This Means For BTPR: Hardly anything, really. BTPR already sealed their bowl-less fate last week with a loss to Nebraska, but will have an opportunity to end their season on a high note by beating a hapless Maryland team. Regardless, Kyle Flood's job status remains very much up in the air and a win this past weekend probably did nothing to change that.
Up Next For BTPR (4-7, 1-6): vs. Maryland 11/28
Indiana 47, Maryland 28
Things looked rather bleak for Kevin Wilson's future at Indiana, as Maryland raced out to an early 21-3 lead, thanks to a pair of TD runs by Brandon Ross (Ross would finish with 250 yards rushing and three TD's on just 19 carries). Fortunately for Wilson, the IU offense woke up and rallied for 27 unanswered points before ultimately pulling out the 47-28 victory and ruining Maryland's senior day in the process. Nate Sudfeld's arm led the way with 385 yards passing and four TD's, with 192 of those yards being the result of connections with Simie Cobbs. Devine Redding also added 130 yards rushing for the Hoosiers.
What This Means for Indiana: At 5-6, the Hoosiers' dream of going bowling is still very much alive going into their annual rivalry game at Purdue this upcoming weekend. It's never easy to beat your rival, and IU should expect Purdue's best shot, but at this juncture it will be bitterly disappointing for IU fans if the team stumbles in West Lafayette.
What This Means For Maryland: The Terps will get one final chance to salvage their season with a conference win when they travel to Rutgers this upcoming weekend. At this point though, the only football news Maryland fans truly care about is who will be hired as the permanent head coach and whether said permanent head coach will keep Mike Locksley on his staff in some capacity, which could have serious implications regarding their upcoming recruiting class.
Up Next for Indiana (5-6, 1-6): at Purdue 11/28
Up Next for Maryland (2-9, 0-7): at Rutgers 11/28
Minnesota 32, Illinois 23
This was a tight game throughout, as Illinois led briefly at times but Minnesota spent most of the game hanging on to a tenuous lead. With the Gophers leading 24-23 with a minute and a half to play and backed up in their own territory, Shannon Brooks broke off a 75-yard TD run that ended up sealing the deal. It was one of three TD scampers on the day for Brooks, who finished with 174 yards on the ground while Mitch Leidner added a TD pass, himself and 88 yards passing. Wes Lunt pitched in 279 yards, 2 TD's and an interception for Illinois while Malik Turner caught 11 balls for 126 yards and a TD in a losing effort.
What This Means for Minnesota: Not only did Tracy Claeys get his first career win as head coach of Minnesota, but at 5-6, his team kept its bowl hopes alive with an upset of Wisconsin this upcoming weekend.
What This Means for Illinois: Unlike Claeys, Bill Cubit's chances of having the interim tag pulled have plummeted. This was a game Illinois really needed to have, and now at 5-6, the Illini must somehow find a way to upset Northwestern in order to earn bowl eligibility.
Up Next for Minnesota (5-6, 2-5): vs. Wisconsin
Up Next for Illinois (5-6, 2-5): vs. #20 Northwestern (Soldier Field in Chicago)