BT Spin: Nebraska, OSU Showdown Set

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Nebraska and Wisconsin wore special throwback uniforms

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.

The early shift on Saturday saw three lopsided games with Penn State winning easily at Illinois (35-7), Iowa putting in a workmanlike showing to knock off previously unbeaten Minnesota (31-13) and Northwestern putting on a record-breaking offensive display in dispatching Indiana (44-29).

Purdue stepped out of conference to win a shootout with Marshall (51-41).

The two featured games – each televised nationally by ABC – delivered their fair share of drama. No. 14 Ohio State held off No. 20 Michigan State in a 17-16 nail-biter. And No. 22 Nebraska rallied from down 17 to defeat visiting Wisconsin 30-27. Those two winners will meet in a prime time showdown on ABC next Saturday in Columbus.

Here we go with this week’s report:

Ohio State (14) 17, Michigan State (20) 16

* What Happened – Ohio State (5-0, 1-0) gave first-year coach Urban Meyer a win in his Big Ten debut, prevailing in a real defensive battle. QB Braxton Miller accounted for 315 yards total offense. He hit Devin Smith for a 63-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to give the Buckeyes the lead for good at 17-13. OSU’s much-maligned defense (ranked 12th in the Big Ten coming in) held MSU to 303 yards, including just 34 rushing. MSU RB Le’Veon Bell, averaging 152.5 yards per game, netted just 45 yards on 17 carries for the Spartans (3-2, 0-1).

“We beat a good team,” Meyer said. “This was a great team win. We found out something about our team today to go on the road and win in a hostile environment. We found a way to win. When it was time to go make a play, they did.

“This was a war and this was two sledgehammers going at each other. I thought that was a great game, great atmosphere and a bunch of great players on the field.”

* What We Learned – Miller overcame three turnovers (two lost fumbles and an interception) and was “sore” after this physical, hard-hitting game. He carries 23 times for 136 yards and hit on 16 of 23 passes for 179 yards … MSU QB Andrew Maxwell completed 22 of 42 passes for 269 yards and a touchdown. But he had a number of throws go off his receivers’ hands … OSU moved to 5-0 for the seventh time in 13 seasons since 2000 … The Buckeyes also secured their first one-point win in nine years, dating to a 2003 win at Penn State (21-20) … OSU also won for the fourth straight time at Spartan Stadium and for the 13th time in the teams’ last 16 meetings.

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

* More Coverage – Click here for coverage of MSU-OSU. Click here for more coverage from Spartan Tailgate.

Click here for more coverage from

Nebraska (22) 30, Wisconsin 27

* What Happened – Nebraska (4-1, 1-0) rallied from down 17 in the third quarter to steal the win from Wisconsin (3-2, 0-1). UW led 27-10 after a Montee Ball touchdown run with 10:29 left in the third quarter before Nebraska scored the game’s last 20 points. NU moved ahead on Brett Maher’s 41-yard field goal with 9:41 left in the game. QB Taylor Martinez had a big day for the Huskers with 288 yards total offense and three touchdowns.

In avenging a 48-17 loss at Wisconsin last year, Nebraska held Wisconsin to 60 yards rushing on 38 attempts.

"Contrary to what you guys think, I haven't forgotten how to coach defense or how to stop the run,” said NU coach Bo Pelini. "The wheels didn't come off, as some of you like to say."

* What We Learned – Wisconsin RB Montee Ball, coming back from a head injury last week, had 30 carries for 89 yards and three touchdowns. But he was stopped on fourth-and-1 in the final minute as the Badgers were trying to drive for a tying or go-ahead score … Danny O’Brien relieved starting UW QB Joel Stave late in the game as the Badgers offense stagnated. Stave, a redshirt freshman making his first road start, was 12 of 23 passing for 214 yards and a touchdown … Martinez’s 38-yard TD run was the seventh Nebraska TD run of 35 yards or longer this year … Both teams wore snazzy throwback style uniforms … RB Rex Burkhead had 86 yards and Ameer Abdullah had 70 for the Huskers … Since allowing 653 yards to UCLA, the Huskers have allowed 285, 210 and 296 in the last three games … Nebraska’s comeback from down 17 to win is the school’s second-largest ever, trailing the 21-point comeback in last year’s home win over Ohio State (34-27) … Former Nebraska coach and retiring athletic director Tom Osborne was presented the game ball after the win.

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

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

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

Penn State 35, Illinois 7

* What Happened – In a battle of coaches making their Big Ten debut, Penn State gave Bill O’Brien a lopsided win over host Illinois and Tim Beckman. PSU (3-2, 1-0) led 14-0 after one quarter and 21-0 at the half and never looked back. PSU QB Matt McGloin completed 18 of 30 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown and also had a TD run. Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase was 28 of 46 passing for 270 yards, but he had two interceptions.

This was a contentious game with some minor scuffles. Some of the hard feelings came from this past July, when Beckman sent eight coaches to State College to recruit Penn State players after the school’s NCAA sanctions were announced.

Penn State LB Mike Mauti was a one-man wrecking crew. He fired up his teammates before the game and had six tackles and two interceptions – one of which he almost returned 99 yards for a touchdown. (He was dragged down from behind at the 1-yard line on the final play of the first half.)

"We hadn't forgotten about what happened this summer," Mauti said. "To be honest with you, we had that in the back of our minds."

* What We Learned – PSU’s Zack Zwinak had 100 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries … The Nittany Lions had great balance with 173 yards rushing and 211 passing … Illinois netted just 74 yards rushing on 22 attempts … As expected, the postgame handshake was notable as O’Brien and Beckman didn’t even stop as they briefly shook hands and moved on … The Nittany Lions converted three Illinois turnovers into 14 points.

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

* More Coverage – Click here for coverage of Penn State-Illinois. Click here for more coverage from Lions 247.

Iowa 31, Minnesota 13

* What Happened – Iowa (3-2, 1-0) resurrected its season, jumping on visiting Minnesota early and knocking the Gophers (4-1, 0-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten. Iowa led 24-0 at halftime and cruised to the win behind bullish RB Mark Weisman (21 carries, 177 yards, one TD). The Hawkeyes bounced back from a deflating home loss to Central Michigan last week.

Minnesota QB Max Shortell completed 20 of 33 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns, but also had three interceptions.

* What We Learned – Iowa QB James Vandenberg completed 18 of 31 passes for 192 yards, including a 47-yard TD to Jordan Cotton … Iowa won the Floyd of Rosedale Trophy. Minnesota was going for a third straight win in the rivalry for the first time since 1998-2000 … Minnesota played a second game without starting QB MarQueis Gray … Christian Kirksey's 68-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter capped it for Iowa … Weisman, a fullback-turned-tailback, was pressed into service because of injuries. The walk-on (and Air Force transfer) has responded with 507 yards and seven touchdowns the last three games.

* What’s Next – Iowa and Minnesota will be idle next Saturday.

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

Northwestern 44, Indiana 29

* What Happened – Northwestern (5-0, 1-0) rolled up a school-record 704 yards total offense in turning back visiting Indiana (2-2, 0-1) in Evanston. NU led 27-0 early in the third quarter before IU made a charge to cut it to 37-29 early in the fourth quarter, but the Hoosiers could get no closer.

This was an offensive smorgasbord for Northwestern. QB/RB/WR Kain Colter rushed for 161 yards and four touchdowns and also had nine catches for 131 yards. Trevor Siemian played most of the game at QB and ended up 22 of 32 for 308 yards with an interception. And Venric Mark chipped in 139 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries.

* What We Learned – With Siemian’s emergence, Colter could revert to the role he had a year ago as an occasional passer but featured runner and pass catcher … Nate Sudfeld and Cameron Coffman continued their platoon at quarterback for Indiana. Sudfeld was in the game during the second-half uprising … Tevin Coleman had a 96-yard kick return touchdown for the Hoosiers as part of that comeback bid … Northwestern is 5-0 for the first time since 2008 … Indiana is 3-30 in its last 33 Big Ten games dating to the start of the 2008 season.

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

* More Coverage – Click here for more coverage from Inside Indiana.

Purdue 51, Marshall 41

* What Happened – An offensive shootout was expected with two teams averaging just over 40 points a game. The teams combined for 92 points and 977 yards total offense, including 534 yards for Marshall. But the Boilers (3-1) used a pair of interception returns for touchdowns (39 yards by Ricardo Allen and 74 yards by Josh Johnson) to go up 42-14 at halftime.

Purdue QB Caleb TerBush was 27 of 37 passing for 294 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. He threw three TD passes to Gary Bush.

* What We Learned – Marshall (2-3) came into the game with the nation’s top-ranked passing offense (383.5 ypg). QB Rakeem Cato did not disappoint as he completed 45 of 68 passes for 439 yards and five touchdowns with three interceptions. It was the highest number of completions and attempts ever against Purdue, breaking the marks set by Illinois' Jack Trudeau back in 1985 … Marshall WR Tommy Shuler caught 19 passes for 200 yards, breaking the school's single-game record for receptions … Allen’s fourth career touchdown off an interception is a new Purdue record, breaking the old mark of three he had shared with Mike Rose and Rod Woodson … The Purdue defense will have plenty to work on as the Boilers embark on Big Ten play next Saturday against Michigan (2-2), which was idle on Saturday.

* What’s Next – Purdue opens Big Ten play at home against Michigan next Saturday.

Idle This Week: Michigan

* What’s Next – Michigan (2-2) opens Big Ten play at Purdue next Saturday.

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

Big Ten Standings

Leaders Division

Ohio State (5-0, 1-0)
Penn State (3-2, 1-0)
Purdue (3-1, 0-0)
Wisconsin (3-2, 0-1)
Indiana (2-2, 0-1)
Illinois (2-3, 0-1)

Legends Division

Northwestern (5-0, 1-0)
Nebraska (4-1, 1-0)
Iowa (3-2, 1-0)
Michigan (2-2, 0-0)
Minnesota (4-1, 0-1)
Michigan State (3-2, 0-1)

Sept. 29 Games (All times Eastern)

Penn State 35, Illinois 7
Iowa 31, Minnesota 13
Northwestern 44, Indiana 29
Ohio State (14) 17, Michigan State (20) 16
Purdue 51, Marshall 41
Nebraska (22) 30, Wisconsin 27
Idle: Michigan

Oct. 6 Games

Michigan State at Indiana, noon (Big Ten Network)
Northwestern (24) at Penn State, noon (ESPN)
Illinois at Wisconsin, 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional, ESPN2 outer market)
Michigan at Purdue, 4 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
Nebraska (21) at Ohio State (12), 8 p.m. (ABC national)
Idle: Iowa, Minnesota

Steve’s Updated Top 20

Three of the AP’s top 25 teams lost: No. 8 Stanford (to Washington), No. 20 Michigan State (to No. 14 Ohio State) and No. 25 Baylor (to No. 9 West Virginia).

I moved Michigan State and Oregon State out and added Nebraska and Mississippi State. Here is my new national top 20:

Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, Georgia, West Virginia, LSU, South Carolina, Kansas State, Notre Dame, USC, Florida, Ohio State, Texas, TCU, Oklahoma, Clemson, Stanford, Louisville, Nebraska and Mississippi State.

Picks Update

On Thursday, I made my picks for Week 5.

I ended up 20-3 straight-up and 10-12-1 against-the-spread. For the year, I am now 100-30 SU and 58-61-1 ATS.

In Big Ten games, I was 6-0 straight-up and also 3-3 ATS. Through five weeks, I am 42-10 straight-up and 20-24 ATS.

Stay tuned this week for our Big Ten Blast notes column on Tuesday, Picks for week 6 on Thursday and a Chat either Thursday or Friday.

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