This season may not have a relatively strong team representing the Big Ten in more than one BCS bowl, but there are still quality teams in the conference.
Due to NCAA sanctions, Ohio State is ineligible for the postseason which appears to be a real shame this season because this may be the best Buckeyes team in quite some time. There’s no team in the Big Ten that can hang with Ohio State this season as Urban Meyer has done a remarkable job in his first season as head coach in Columbus, Ohio.
With the Buckeyes missing the postseason this season, it leaves the third place team in the leaders division, Wisconsin; open to reaching the conference championship game if the season ended this week. In the legends division, a tight race is developing between Michigan, Iowa and Northwestern.
Wisconsin 38-Purdue 14
Montee Ball did something he hasn’t done in a while for the Badgers, score three touchdowns in a game. Ball who is more than likely isn’t a Heisman trophy candidate any longer, put the Badgers on his shoulders yesterday as he broke the all-time Big Ten touchdown rushing record against Purdue with three scores giving him 72 for his career. The Boilermakers entered this game with a chance to prove itself within the division but fell flat on its face for its second consecutive conference loss.
Northwestern 21-Minnesota 13
If you ever want to know what an ugly win in football looks like, watch highlights of this game as the Wildcats held on for its first road conference victory of the season. Northwestern lead this game 21-10 at halftime, but its defense stepped up in the second half limiting Minnesota to three points. The Golden Gophers couldn’t take a lead in this game despite outgaining the Wildcats in total yards and having more first downs than Northwestern. Venric Mark was his usual playmaking self as he rushed for a career-high 182 yards with two touchdowns. Although the stats won’t show it, the Wildcats defensive line played exceptionally well after halftime and overall this unit forced Minnesota into three turnovers.
Iowa 19-Michigan State 16 OT
This was another critical matchup in the legends division and the Hawkeyes escaped East Lansing, Mich. with important road win. Both teams have struggled on offense this season but Iowa was able to benefit from an overtime interception by cornerback Greg Castillo. Spartans quarterback Andrew Maxwell had an average game while Le’Veon Bell proved once again why he’s this team’s workhorse on offense with 148 yards rushing. Iowa kicker Mike Meyer duplicated his four field goal performance from earlier this season with four completed field goals on Saturday.
Michigan 45-Illinois 0
The Fighting Illini players have simply quit on first-year head coach Tim Beckman. Not taking anything from the Wolverines victory but Illinois simply showed no fight in its third consecutive loss. The Illini were simply just beat by a better team on Saturday. Michigan gained 527 offensive yards while limiting Illinois to a measly 134 yards. It’s a shame that Beckman has come to a program full of unfulfilled potential. The Illini could possibly lose out this season, maybe they should’ve allowed Zook to stay one more year.
No. 8 Ohio State 52-Indiana 49
The Hoosiers put up a valiant effort against one of the best teams in the country, but the Buckeyes were just too strong and too good. Ohio State has looked nearly flawless on offense this season while the defense still has room for improvement. Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde rushed for a total of 338 yards against Indiana. Miller continues to show why he deserves to be a candidate for the Heisman trophy as he passed for with two touchdowns. Considering this will undoubtedly be one of the better teams in the country, it’s going to end with unanswered questions because the mistakes of previous players and coaches.
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