Week 7 of college football ended with Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin surviving scares during an upset ridden weekend. The Big Ten now boasts three teams in the top six of the AP rankings, and five in the top twenty-five overall. With five teams ranked, the Big Ten has the most ranked teams out every conference. Michigan, Penn State, Ohio State and Wisconsin have all been featured in the AP top 25 every week so far. As for Big Ten play, Wisconsin took a game and a half lead in the Big Ten West and Ohio State took a half game lead in the East. This weekend’s matchup between No. 19 Michigan and No. 2 Penn State has major Big Ten race implications on the line.
Rutgers defeats Illinois 35-24. The Scarlet Knights managed to win their first Big Ten game since 2015. Rutgers dominated on the ground; they posted 274 rushing yards and four different Scarlet Knights found the end zone. Rutgers led the whole game, starting with running back Raheem Blackshear’s 19-yard run to open up the scoring. The Scarlet Knights host Purdue on Saturday and look to build on the win. Illinois was led by freshman wide receiver Ricky Smalling who had 111 yards receiving and added a touchdown. The Illini look for their first conference win at Minnesota on Saturday.
No. 19 Michigan survives against Indiana, 27-20. The Wolverines led by ten at the end of the first half. They struggled with penalties all day, posting a school record of 16 penalties. Indiana scored ten points in the final 5 minutes to tie the game. Hoosier kicker Griffin Oakes hit a 46-yard field goal as time expired to force overtime. Michigan running back Karan Higdon ran for a touchdown on the first play in overtime. He finished the day with 200 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Indiana quarterback Peyton Ramsey’s pass was intercepted on fourth and goal, sealing the Wolverine victory. Michigan will travel to Happy Valley for a showdown with No. 2 Penn State on Saturday. The Hoosiers look to bounce back at No. 18 Michigan State this weekend.
Northwestern beats Maryland 37-21. The Wildcats won their first Big Ten game of the season, moving them into a three-way tie for third in the West division. The Terrapins struck first in the game, scoring a touchdown on their second possession and taking a 7-3 lead after the first quarter. However, the second quarter was all Wildcats as they put up 21 points in the quarter alone. Northwestern running back Justin Jackson rushed for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Maryland won the turnover battle, turning it over zero times to Northwestern’s two turnovers. Northwestern dominated in time of possession and total yardage, posting 531 yards for the game. Northwestern hosts Iowa this weekend, while the Terrapins travel to Madison to play the No. 5 Badgers.
No. 5 Wisconsin beats Purdue 17-9. The Badgers got off to a quick start, scoring touchdowns on their first two possessions. The Boilermakers would outscore the Badgers 9-3 in the final three quarters. The story of the day was the Wisconsin defense, holding Purdue to just 221 yards of total offense. Turnovers were a problem for the Badgers, as quarterback Alex Hornibrook threw two interceptions and running back Jonathan Taylor lost a fumble. Purdue was threatening in the red zone when linebacker Leon Jacobs made a game saving interception. Both teams need to shore up the quarterback position if they hope to make moves going forward. Wisconsin will host Maryland on Saturday while Purdue travels to Rutgers.
No. 6 Ohio State routs Nebraska 56-14. The Buckeyes struck early and often in this one, taking a commanding 35-0 lead into the first half. Quarterback JT Barrett made his case for the Heisman trophy, posting an impressive 325 yards passing and five total touchdowns. The Buckeyes also dominated in number of first downs, totaling 41 compared to the Cornhuskers 15. Nebraska made news after the game, hiring Bill Moos as their new athletic director. The Cornhuskers have a lot of questions to address about their underperforming football team going forward. They have a bye week to prepare for their matchup at Purdue. The Buckeyes will also have a bye week as they look to carry momentum into their clash with No. 2 Penn State on October 28th.
No. 18 Michigan State outlasts Minnesota, 30-27. The Spartans dominated the first three quarters of the game, taking a commanding 23-6 lead into the fourth quarter. However, the Golden Gophers would come storming back, scoring 21 points in the fourth to make it a 27-30 game with 1 minute remaining. Michigan State would recover the ensuing onside kick, sealing the win for the Spartans. Running back LJ Scott was the story of the day for the Spartans, rushing for 194 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Tyler Johnson had a big game for the Gophers, catching three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Minnesota will look to bounce back this weekend against Illinois. Michigan State will travel to Bloomington to take on Indiana.
Bye Week: No. 2 Penn State will host No. 19 Michigan on Saturday. Iowa will travel to play Northwestern on Saturday.
* AP rankings as of Oct. 16
Big Ten East Standings:
- Ohio State 4-0 (6-1 overall)
- Penn State 3-0 (6-0 overall)
- Michigan State 3-0 (5-1 overall)
- Michigan 2-1 (5-1 overall)
- Maryland 1-2 (3-3 overall)
- Rutgers 1-2 (2-4 overall)
- Indiana 0-3 (3-3 overall)
Big Ten West Standings:
- Wisconsin 3-0 (6-0 overall)
- Nebraska 2-2 (3-4 overall)
- Iowa 1-2 (4-2 overall)
- Northwestern 1-2 (3-3 overall)
- Purdue 1-2 (3-3 overall)
- Minnesota 0-3 (3-3 overall)
- Illinois 0-3 (2-4 overall)