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Big Ten Superlatives: Week 8

East teams push for bowls, the West remains muddled, and a big game looms

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 22 Northwestern at Maryland Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In my locale, Saturday was simply one of the nicest days of 2022. The afternoon air was warm, the foilage was bright, and there was plenty of college football being played in the sunshine on my television. Many of you respected readers were in Happy Valley, enjoying that perfect White Out Saturday.

Well, some other things happened around the Big Ten while you were tailgating - let’s take a look at some of those highlights.

Best Win of the Week: Penn State

Pure homer call, but thrasing a conference opponent on national television in the best environment in college football will always be best to me. We needed it. Manny Diaz needed it. Sean Clifford needed it. The biggest game of the year comes at the end of this week (and month), but Saturday was Penn State’s best October far.

Worst Loss of the Week: Indiana

Way back in September, the Hoosiers started out 3-0. That included a win against Illinois, who hasn’t lost since. But for Indiana, who will next take the field at home against Penn State following a bye, it’s been nothing but losses since September. On Saturday, the Hoosiers (3-5) jumped out to a 14-0 - including returning the opening kickoff for a score - lead on the road at Rutgers, but mustered just three more points the rest of the way in a 24-17 loss. It was the first Big Ten home win for the Scarlet Knights since 2017.

Offensive Player of the Week: Roman Hemby, Maryland

Playing without starting quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland turned to Hemby in a home game against Northwestern. The redshirt freshman delivered, accounting for 179 and three touchdowns as the Terps reached bowl eligibility. That included the game winner, shown below.

Defensive Player of the Week: Tommy Eichenberg, Ohio State

The Ohio State linebacker came up with a Pick 6, the first defensive score for the Buckeyes this season. He also accounted for seven tackles as the Ohio State defense never let Iowa find the end zone.

Offensive Play of the Week: Parker Washington TD catch

We’ve been waiting for this one. Washington had his best game of the season, hauling in seven catches for 70 yards that included this grab that helped break the game open in the third quarter.

Defensive Play of the Week: Christian Braswell Pick 6

Here’s the biggest play for the aforementioned Scarlet Knights, who moved to 4-3 and picked up their first Big Ten win of 2022.

Most Big Ten Moment of the Week: End of Maryland/Northwestern game

No video for this one, but here’s the context. Maryland looked to bleed out the remaining seconds of what was ultimately a 31-24 win against Northwestern. Faced with a fourth down and just seconds remaining, the Terrapins decided to have reserve quarterback Billy Edwards, Jr. roll out and heave a long throw down the field that would allow the final seconds to expire. Here’s the problem: Edwards got stuck in the pocket and threw to an area down the sideline with no receiver within 20 yards. The announcers on the call were quick to note that it should be grounding, which would have allowed Northwestern one untimed down. After a long conference with officials that took place during handshakes, they decided to go to check the clock. That review took a couple minutes and ultimately showed that time had expired, but there was no mention of the rather obvious intentional grounding. The result. A lot of time wasted...which I guess is basically every Northwestern game.

Most Iowa Moment of the Week: Early lead at Ohio State

Of course Iowa’s defense scored a touchdown and helped the Hawkeyes stay in the game for the better part of the first quarter. Of course they did.

Your West in a Nutshell Moment of the Week: Purdue and Wisconsin

Purdue went on the road to face a Wisconsin team they have historically struggled with - having not won in Camp Randall since Drew Brees was playing. But this year was going to be different, right? The Boilermakers were tied for the division lead and Wisconsin, with an interim coach, was coming off an overtime loss to Michigan State. Nope. Not even close. The Badgers raced out to a 21-0 first quarter lead, leaving Illinois alone atop the West and controlling its destiny to reach Lucas Oil Stadium in December.

Thing We’re Looking Forward to the Most: Biggest Game of Year #2

Penn State gets a redo on “program defining game” of 2022. As already mentioned, the Lions shrugged off a sluggish start to dominate Minnesota on Saturday. Now, one last chance at a Big Ten title/Playoff appearance comes. Ohio State is the best team on Penn State’s schedule and has the best offense in the country. We like big games.