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Big Ten Recap: Week 5

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Prime-time blowouts put a damper on the first full weekend of conference play.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 28 Minnesota at Purdue Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Five weeks into the season now each Big Ten team has played a conference opponent. In the East, Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan highlighted the gap between the haves and the have-nots, with the Wolverines reassuring fans that they’re still in the upper echelons of the league. Michigan State and Indiana remain somewhere in the middle, with the Spartans doing just enough to eke out the home victory and retain their ranked status heading into a likely beatdown in Columbus next week.

Nebraska did not end up making the statement they wanted to on Saturday, unofficially removing themselves from contention in the West with their performance at home against the Buckeyes. Northwestern’s offense remained dormant until the fourth quarter. Wisconsin’s defense looked as good as ever, and the score made the game seem closer than it was. Once the Badgers were up by a touchdown the game felt out of reach. Minnesota continued its push to contender status with sophomore QB Tanner Morgan putting on a Sean Clifford-esque performance against Purdue going 21-22 for 396 yards and 4 TDs. Iowa still looks to be the strongest contender to upset Wisconsin and win the division continued their undefeated start with a non-conference win over Middle Tennessee State.

Scoreboard

Penn State 59, Maryland 0

Iowa 48, Middle Tennessee State 3

Michigan 52, Rutgers 0

Wisconsin 24, Northwestern 15

Michigan State 40, Indiana 31

Minnesota 38, Purdue 31

Ohio State 48, Nebraska 7

Major Storylines

- Purdue suffered a major blow in the first quarter of their game against Minnesota losing WR Rondale Moore and QB Elijah Sindelar on the same play. Moore was carted off with a leg injury and Sindelar hurt his arm while being sacked, neither returned. No update has been provided for either but their loss is a major blow to the Boilermakers offense.

- Maryland and Nebraska come up short in primetime games at home. As enjoyable as Friday night was as a Penn State fan, taking a step back it’s not hard to see the heartbreak for the home fans looking for their programs to turn the corner. Both teams will have chances to rebound next week with Maryland traveling to Rutgers and Nebraska hosting Northwestern.

Other notes

- Sean Clifford and Tanner Morgan lead the league in passing with 398 and 396 yards respectively. Morgan’s efficiency was incredible with just one incompletion and no interceptions, but Clifford’s line of 26-31 with 3 TDs and 1 interception leaves little to criticize. Brian Lewerke was not nearly as efficient with a 50% completion percentage, but his 300 yard day keep him atop the Big Ten leaderboard in passing yards with 1,325 on the year (ahead of Clifford in second with 1,179).

- Who is the best running back in the league not named Jonathan Taylor or J.K. Dobbins? The Big Ten’s best seem to be in a class of their own compared to the rest of the league. Taylor had a hum-drum day of 119 yards and one TD on 26 carries, while Dobbins was able to find a bit more open space against Nebraska and rushed for 177 yards on 24 carries but failed to reach the endzone. Not only are the two best RBs in the conference, they also run behind the two best run-blocking o-lines.

- On the receiving end it was the Gophers Rashod Bateman linking up with Tanner Morgan to the tune of 177 yards and 2 TDs on six receptions. The sophomore wide receiver now has 466 yards and 4 TDs on the year. In the matchup between the Hoosiers and Spartans both Whop Philyor and Darrell Stewart Jr. surpassed 100 yards receiving. Philyor had 142 yards and 2 TDs on 14 receptions, while Stewart Jr. had 117 yards and 2 TDs on five receptions. Stewart Jr. now has over 100 yards receiving in three of five games this season, he leads the league with 556 receiving yards thus far.

Next Week:

Maryland at Rutgers (noon)

14 Iowa at 19 Michigan (noon)

Purdue at 12 Penn State (noon)

Kent State at 8 Wisconsin (noon)

Illinois at Minnesota (3:30 p.m.)

Northwestern at Nebraska (4 p.m.)

25 Michigan State at 4 Ohio State (7:30 p.m.)