BT Spin: Badgers Headed To Indy

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Wisconsin's Montee Ball churned out 198 yards vs. Indiana

We hope to make this a weekly recap on what happened in Big Ten football. Plus, we’ll share the first word on what’s next for each Big Ten school.

Wisconsin went to Indiana for a battle of the top two eligible teams in the Leaders Division. The Badgers crushed the host Hoosiers 62-14 to wrap up that division’s spot in the Big Ten Championship Game. UW has earned a shot at a third straight Big Ten title.

With Penn State’s 32-23 loss at Nebraska, Ohio State – which was idle – clinched at least a share of the Leaders Division championship. Even though OSU and Penn State are ineligible for postseason play, the Big Ten ruled that one or both were still eligible for the division title. OSU can win the division outright with a win at Wisconsin Nov. 17 or at home over Michigan Nov. 24.

The Leaders Division lead remains tied between Nebraska and Michigan, which needed a furious late rally to force overtime and take a 38-31 win over visiting Northwestern. Nebraska holds the tiebreaker edge over Michigan because of a head-to-head win, but this race seems headed to the final weekend of the season.

Purdue took a 27-24 win at Iowa on a 46-yard Paul Griggs field goal as time expired, while Minnesota defeated Illinois 17-3 to become bowl-eligible.

Regarding bowl eligibility, Nebraska (8-2 overall), Michigan (7-3), Northwestern (7-3), Wisconsin (7-3) and Minnesota (6-4) have all qualified. Michigan State (5-5) can join that group with a win over Northwestern this Saturday or at Minnesota Nov. 24.

Iowa, Indiana and Purdue are all 4-6 and each need two wins to become eligible. Iowa closes at Michigan and home with Nebraska. Indiana visits Penn State and Purdue. Purdue visits Illinois and hosts Indiana.

There are three notable games with high stakes next week, including Iowa-Michigan, Minnesota-Nebraska and Ohio State-Wisconsin.

Here we go with this week’s report:

Wisconsin 62, Indiana 14

* What Happened – It was billed as Indiana’s biggest home game ever as the Hoosiers were trying to keep their chances alive to rep the Leaders Division in the Big Ten title game. But Wisconsin (7-3, 4-2) stole the show as it barreled to 564 yards rushing in an easy rout of the host Hoosiers (4-6, 2-4). The Badgers will be back in the Big Ten title game for the second year in a row and have a chance at a third straight conference crown.

The Wisconsin RB tandem of Montee Ball (27 carries, 198 yards, 3 TDs) and James White (14 carries, 161 yards, 2 TDs) was simply too much for the IU defense to handle. Ball passed 1998 Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams for second on the FBS list with 77 career TDs, leaving him one behind all-time leader Travis Prentice of Miami (Ohio).

UW jumped out to a 17-0 lead. Indiana rallied with a second-quarter touchdown. But White ripped off a 69-yard TD run in the final minute of the first half to send the Badgers up 24-7 at the break. UW added five more rushing touchdowns in the second half to complete the rout.

"I’m very excited about the ways our guys played today," Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said. "A lot has been said this week about the showdown between us and Indiana to get to Indy and our guys know that the only way you get there is you take everything one game at a time.

"Obviously, our offense put up record-breaking numbers today. Give credit to everybody."

* What We Learned – In three years, Wisconsin has outscored Indiana 203-41 … An Indiana win would have given the Hoosiers their first three-game winning streak in Big Ten play since 1993 … It was an uneventful first start for Wisconsin QB Curt Phillips, filling in for the injured Joel Stave. Phillips was 4 of 7 passing for 41 yards and a touchdown … The indestructible Ball enjoyed his 22nd career 100-yard rushing game and 24th career multiple touchdown game.

* What’s Next – Wisconsin hosts Ohio State next Saturday, while Indiana visits Penn State.

* More Coverage – Click here for more coverage of Wisconsin-Indiana. Click here for more coverage from Badger 247.

Click here for more coverage of Wisconsin-Indiana. Click here for more coverage from Inside Indiana.

Michigan 38, Northwestern 31 (OT)

* What Happened – Michigan’s Big Ten championship hopes were hanging by a thread as the Wolverines trailed visiting Northwestern 31-28. The Wolverines forced an NU punt and, after a 23-yard return by Jeremy Gallon, took possession at their own 38-yard line with 18 seconds left.

Devin Gardner, starting at quarterback for the second game in a row in place of the ailing Denard Robinson (elbow), kept the play alive and threw deep down the middle for Roy Roundtree. It appeared that an NU defender got a hand on the pass, which careened to Roundtree at the Northwestern 9-yard line. UM spiked the ball to stop the clock, setting up Brendan Gibbons’ 26-yard field goal to force overtime.

Michigan (7-3, 5-1) had the ball first and, after a 17-yard Gardner pass to Roundtree, Gardner scored on a 1-yard run. Northwestern (7-3, 3-3) took possession. But on fourth-and-2 at the 17, Kain Colter handed to Tyris Jones on a zone read. UM linebacker Kenny Demens shot through traffic and smacked Jones down for no gain to end it for Michigan. Demens had also stopped Colter for a 1-yard loss on third down.

It was a huge day for Gardner, who completed 16 of 29 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. He also rushed nine times for 47 yards and two scores.

UM coach Brady Hoke was asked if he ever doubted the outcome.

"No, no," Hoke said. "Because of those kids, no way. My wife (Laura) just asked me that on the way in (to press conference) 'Did you know you were going to win?' I said, 'Yes.' "

* What We Learned – Gardner looks like he will be the guy to replace Robinson full-tiime next year … Northwestern was on pace to win consecutive games at The Big House for the first time since 1934 and 1936 … Michigan can still contend for its first Big Ten title since 2004. But the Wolverines probably need to win out against Iowa and Ohio State and hope either Minnesota or Iowa can upset Nebraska so they can win the Legends Division … This was Northwestern’s third loss this year after leading by double digits in the second half. “It stinks,” NU coach Pat Fitzgerald said … Colter left the game with an injury but was able to come back at the end. Backup Trevor Siemian was 6 of 7 for 87 yards and two touchdowns in his place … Michigan has won 10 of its last 12 meetings with Northwestern.

* What’s Next – Michigan hosts Iowa next Saturday, while Northwestern visits Michigan State.

* More Coverage – Click here for more coverage from Wolverine 247.

Nebraska (18) 32, Penn State 23

* What Happened – Nebraska’s comeback kids kept their hopes alive for a Big Ten title in their second year in the conference. For the second week in a row and fourth time this year, Nebraska (8-2, 5-1) overcame a double-digit second-half deficit to pull out a win – even if this one came with a tinge of controversy.

The Huskers were leading 27-23 in the fourth quarter when PSU TE Matt Lehman caught a pass and tried to reach the ball across the goal line. He was hit by an NU defender and fumbled into the end zone, where the Huskers recovered for a touchback. Replay reviews showed Lehman may have barely crossed the plane of the goal line before he fumbled. But the replay official allowed the call on the field to stand.

"They just didn't feel like they could reverse it," he said. "He tried to reach it out. You can't do that. He was just reaching it out. Good kid trying to make a play."

Nebraska won this one behind the efforts of QB Taylor Martinez, who threw for 171 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 104 yards. RB Ameer Abdullah, starting again in place of the ailing Rex Burkhead, carried a career-high 31 times for 106 yards.

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said, “These games are hard on the ticker … our kids never give up.”

* What We Learned – This was a great, rugged football game. Unfortunately for Penn State, it came down to a call that could have gone either way, and it went against them … After trailing 20-6 at halftime, Nebraska held Penn State to 136 yards of total offense and allowed just three points as Penn State's last four possessions ended with a punt, fumble, safety and loss of downs … Abdullah put together his sixth 100-yard rushing day, the longest streak of 100-yard games to open a career by a starter since Lawrence Phillips had 11 in 1994 … Martinez now has 5,832 yards passing in his career, and needs just 18 yards to match Zac Taylor's previous NU career-best passing mark of 5,850 yards … Penn State QB Matt McGloin hit on 18 of 37 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown, while RB Zach Zwinak had 141 yards and a score on 21 carries … Nebraska edges ahead 8-7 in a rivalry pitting two of the winningest programs in college football history.

* What’s Next – Nebraska hosts Minnesota next Saturday, while Penn State hosts Indiana.

* More Coverage – Click here for more coverage of Nebraska-PSU. Click here for more coverage from Lions 247.

Click here for coverage of Nebraska-PSU and here for more coverage from Huskers Illustrated.

Minnesota 17, Illinois 3

* What Happened – Minnesota (6-4, 2-4) became bowl-eligible for second-year head coach Jerry Kill as they cruised past visiting Illinois (2-8, 0-6). RB Donnell Kirkwood was the man of the match with 28 carries for 152 yards and the game’s only two touchdowns, both coming in the second half after the teams fought to a 3-3 halftime tie.

Minnesota won its fourth straight home game, while QB Philip Nelson improved to 2-2 as a starter. He completed nine passes for 78 yards as Minnesota relied heavily on the run.

* What We Learned – Illinois lost for the seventh game in a row with all seven by 14 points or more … The anemic Illini managed just 276 yards total offense and turned it over twice … Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase threw for 175 yards on 15 of 23 passing, but he lost two fumbles … Minnesota will go bowling for the first time since 2009 … Illinois’ first eight possessions netted a field goal, a fumble and six punts.

* What’s Next – Minnesota visits Nebraska next Saturday, while Illinois hosts Purdue.

Purdue 27, Iowa 24

* What Happened – Purdue (4-6, 1-5) snapped a five-game losing streak and gave its postseason hopes a big boost, while likely dealing a fatal blow to the same for Iowa (4-6, 2-4). The Boilers led most of the way in this one, but were staring at overtime after Iowa’s Mike Meyer hit a 24-yard field goal to tie it at 24-24 with 3:32 left in the game.

Purdue got the ball back on its 34-yard line after an Iowa punt with 21 seconds left. QB Robert Marve scrambled for a 17-yard gain and then hit Antavian Edison for 20 more down to the Iowa 29. Purdue called a timeout with five seconds left. Paul Griggs came on and hit a 46-yard field goal as time expired for the dramatic win.

Marve was 25 of 33 passing for 266 yards and two touchdowns. Ralph Bolden had 14 carries for 102 yards.

* What We Learned – There is some life in Purdue after all. The Boilers have a real chance at a bowl game, but they must win at Illinois next week and defeat rival Indiana at home in their season finale … Marve appears to be the answer for the Boilers at quarterback as they try and finish the year on a high note … Purdue dominated the total yardage, outgaining Iowa 490-264. That allowed the Boilers to overcome three lost fumbles, one of which Iowa’s Micah Hyde returned for a touchdown … Iowa QB James Vandenberg was 19 of 36 passing for 190 yards and a score … This was Purdue’s first win over Iowa in Iowa City in 20 years … Iowa has lost four straight for the first time since 2007 and, with must-wins against Michigan and Nebraska left, is staring at its first season without a bowl since 2007. It would also mark the fourth time in Kirk Ferentz’s 14-year career that the Hawkeyes haven’t reached postseason play.

* What’s Next – Purdue visits Illinois next Saturday, while Iowa travels to Michigan.

* More Coverage – Click here for coverage of Purdue-Iowa. Click here for more coverage from the Voice Of The Hawkeyes.

Click here for more coverage of Purdue athletics.

Idle This Weekend: Michigan State, Ohio State (5)

* What’s Next – Michigan State (5-5, 2-4) hosts Northwestern, while Ohio State (10-0, 6-0) travels to Wisconsin.

* More Coverage – Click here for more coverage from Bucknuts.com.

Click here for more coverage from Spartan Tailgate.

Big Ten Standings

Leaders Division

*Ohio State (10-0, 6-0)
#Wisconsin (7-3, 4-2)
Penn State (6-4, 4-2)
Indiana (4-6, 2-4)
Purdue (4-6, 1-5)
Illinois (2-8, 0-6)

Legends Division

Nebraska (8-2, 5-1)
Michigan (7-3, 5-1)
Northwestern (7-3, 3-3)
Minnesota (6-4, 2-4)
Michigan State (5-5, 2-4)
Iowa (4-6, 2-4)

*-Clinched tie for division title
#-Clinched Big Ten Championship Game berth

Nov. 10 Results

Purdue 27, Iowa 24
Wisconsin 62, Indiana 14
Michigan 38, Northwestern 31 (OT)
Minnesota 17, Illinois 3
Nebraska (18) 32, Penn State 23
Idle: Michigan State, Ohio State (5)

Nov. 17 Games (All times Eastern)

Iowa at Michigan, noon (ESPN)
Northwestern at Michigan State, noon (ESPN2)
Indiana at Penn State, noon (Big Ten Network)
Ohio State at Wisconsin, 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional, ESPN2 outer market)
Minnesota at Nebraska, 3:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
Purdue at Illinois, 3:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)

Nov. 23 Game

Nebraska at Iowa, noon (ABC national)

Nov. 24 Games

Michigan at Ohio State, noon (ABC national)
Illinois at Northwestern
Michigan State at Minnesota
Wisconsin at Penn State
Indiana at Purdue

Dec. 1 Game
Big Ten Championship Game at Indianapolis

Wisconsin vs. Nebraska or Michigan, 8 p.m. (FOX)

Steve’s Updated Top 20

Five of the AP’s top 25 teams lost: No. 1 Alabama (to No. 15 Texas A&M), No. 11 Louisville (to Syracuse), No. 13 Oregon State (to No. 16 Stanford), No. 22 Mississippi State (to No. 9 LSU) and No. 23 Toledo (to Ball State).

I moved out Oregon State after its second loss. I added USC. Here is my new top 20:

Oregon, Kansas State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Florida State, Clemson, South Carolina, LSU, Texas A&M, Stanford, Oklahoma, Louisiana Tech, Nebraska, UCLA, Texas, Louisville and USC.

Picks Update

On Thursday, I made my picks for Week 11.

After a great Week 10, I stumbled in Week 11.

I ended up 18-8 straight-up and 9-15-2 against-the-spread. For the year, I am now 203-67 SU and 128-129-3 ATS.
In Big Ten games, I was 3-2 straight-up and 2-3 ATS. Through 11 weeks, I am 67-17 straight-up and 41-35 ATS.

Stay tuned this week for our Big Ten Blast notes column on Tuesday and our Picks for Week 12 on Thursday.

Also Check Out

We were all over the start of Big Ten basketball this week. We published our detailed Big Ten preview as well as analysis and opinions from ESPN experts Dan Dakich and Jimmy Dykes on the Big Ten race.

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