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BT Spin:Huskers Control Own Destiny

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Nebraska's Taylor Martinez gives to Ameer Abdullah as MSU's William Gholston closes in

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.

There were a couple of thrillers this weekend as Nebraska rallied late to defeat host Michigan State 28-24 and Indiana outlasted visiting Iowa 24-21.

Nebraska remains tied with Michigan, which defeated Minnesota 35-13, for the Legends Division lead at 4-1. However, Nebraska holds the tiebreaker edge with last week’s head-to-head win over Michigan.

Indiana’s win means the Hoosiers, despite a 2-3 Big Ten record, remain in the hunt for the Leaders Division spot in the Big Ten title game. With Ohio State and Penn State ineligible, that berth is between Wisconsin and Indiana. Wisconsin, 3-2 in conference play, can clinch that berth with a win at Indiana next Saturday.

Ohio State, which blasted Illinois 52-22 in Columbus, improved to 10-0 overall and 6-0 in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes are idle next week, but they would clinch a tie for the Leaders Division title with a win over Wisconsin or Michigan or a Penn State loss. The Nittany Lions bounced back from their home loss to OSU by winning easily at Purdue (34-9).

There are three notable games next week, including that Wisconsin-Indiana match-up as well as Northwestern at Michigan and Penn State at Nebraska. Ohio State and Michigan State will be idle.

Here we go with this week’s report:

Nebraska (21) 28, Michigan State 24

* What Happened – Nebraska (7-2, 4-1) took advantage of a late pass interference penalty to rally for a critical win over host Michigan State (5-5, 2-4). Trailing 24-21, the Huskers got the ball back on their own 20 with 1:20 left. QB Taylor Martinez hit passes of 22 yards to Quincy Enunwa and a clutch fourth-down toss of 38 yards to Kyler Reed.

On third-and-10 at the MSU 20, Martinez threw for Kenny Bell in the end zone. He and MSU’s Darqueze Dennard jostled for the ball, which fell incomplete. But the pass interference call gave Nebraska a first down at the 5. Two plays later, Martinez hit Jamal Turner with a perfect out pass for the 5-yard game-winning touchdown with just six seconds left.

With RB Rex Burkhead out, Martinez got it done. He carried 17 times for 205 yards and two TDs (including an electrifying 71-yarder) and also completed 16 of 36 passes for two touchdowns with three interceptions. Martinez, a junior, became NU’s career leader in total offense. He now has 8,166 yards of total offense, passing 2001 Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch who had 7,915.

"I can't say enough about Taylor and how he played and how he finished that football game," NU coach Bo Pelini said. "He made some mistakes - but you know everybody does. But he put the team on his back at the end of that football game and made some plays. He did it with his arm today, with his legs...it shows character like everybody else."

The loss spoiled a huge day for MSU RB Le’Veon Bell, who had 36 carries for 188 yards and two touchdowns. MSU QB Andrew Maxwell completed just 9 of 27 passes for 123 yards and a score. MSU led 24-14 early in the fourth quarter before Martinez ripped off a 35-yard TD run and gave the Huskers the lead with his pass to Turner.

* What We Learned – This was a great, rugged football game. Unfortunately for MSU, the Spartans were on the wrong end of another close one. Their four Big Ten losses have been by a combined 10 points. This one was a stinger with several players voicing their displeasure with the officiating on Twitter … The pass interference call on Dennard was a black mark on an otherwise strong game where he had two interceptions … The Big Ten MVP award looks like a two-man race between Martinez and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller … Nebraska churned out 313 yards rushing against an MSU defense that was only giving up a Big Ten-leading 91 per game coming in. RB Ameer Abdullah added 110 yards on 22 carries … Nebraska improved to 7-0 all-time against MSU … MSU still needs a win to qualify for a bowl game. The Spartans host Northwestern Nov. 17 and visit Minnesota Nov. 24 … Each team had nine penalties with Nebraska’s totaling 72 yards and MSU’s adding up to 100.

* What’s Next – Nebraska hosts Penn State next Saturday, while Michigan State will be idle.

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

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

Ohio State (6) 52, Illinois 22

* What Happened – Ohio State moved to 10-0 overall and 6-0 in Big Ten play with a workmanlike win over Illinois (2-7, 0-5). QB Braxton Miller completed 12 of 20 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for a score in the win. RB Carlos Hyde had 18 carries for 137 yards and three scores as OSU won the Illibuck game for the fifth straight year.

QB Nathan Scheelhaase never got into a flow for Illinois. He was 19 of 34 for just 96 yards with an interception. OSU broke up a close game early with a 24-0 second-quarter explosion.

"I've been fortunate to have a couple of top-five teams; this probably has more holes than those other ones," said OSU coach Urban Meyer, who won two national titles at Florida. "However, there were also some great performances (in this game). We are going to dwell on the weaknesses because those weaknesses get exposed when you play two good teams like we have to finish the season."

* What We Learned – Ohio State’s defense is rounding into shape. The Buckeyes outgained Illinois 567-170 and allowed just 74 yards rushing on 32 attempts (2.3 average per carry) … OSU LB Ryan Shazier had another big game with 14 tackles … The Buckeyes reached 10-0 for the 10th time in school history and third time since 2006. OSU is one of six remaining unbeatens nationally, although the Buckeyes are the only team at 10-0 … Illinois has suffered its five Big Ten losses by an average margin of 26.8 points … OSU rolled up 330 yards rushing.

* What’s Next – Ohio State is idle next Saturday, while Illinois hosts Minnesota.

* More Coverage – Click here for more coverage of OSU-Illinois. Click here for more coverage from Bucknuts.com.

Penn State 34, Purdue 9

* What Happened – Penn State (6-3, 4-1) bounced back from its home loss to Ohio State by walloping host Purdue (3-6, 0-5). QB Matt McGloin threw for 321 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Nittany Lions.

He got plenty of help as WR Brandon Moseby-Felder had six catches for 129 yards, RB Zach Zwinak ran for 134 yards and FB Michael Zordich ran for two touchdowns. PSU got out to leads of 20-3 at halftime and 34-3 after three quarters.

Purdue lost its fifth straight game. Other than an overtime loss at Ohio State (29-22), the Boilers have lost their other four Big Ten games by an average of 24 points. The Boilers will need to win out to reach a bowl game for the second year in a row under fourth-year head coach Danny Hope. The pressure is on for Hope after athletic director Morgan Burke released a statement earlier in the week that the team’s performance had kept them from reaching their goals.

* What We Learned – Penn State improved to 12-2 all-time vs. Purdue … QB Caleb TerBush passed for 155 yards and a touchdown and Antavian Edison had nine catches for 93 yards and a score for the Boilermakers … Purdue’s remaining games will be at Iowa and at Illinois the next two weeks before the Boilers host rival Indiana Nov. 24.

* What’s Next – Purdue visits Iowa next Saturday, while Penn State travels to Nebraska.

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

Click here for more coverage of Purdue athletics.

Indiana 24, Iowa 21

* What Happened – Indiana (4-5, 2-3) kept its Leaders Division hopes alive with a come-from-behind win over struggling Iowa (4-5, 2-3). The Hawkeyes led 14-0 early after Christian Kirksey returned an interception thrown by IU’s Nate Sudfeld 18 yards for a touchdown.

Cameron Coffman stepped in for Sudfeld and threw for 315 yards and three TD passes to Cody Latimer. Their last connection – a 30-yarder with 10:58 left – gave Indiana the lead for good. Latimer had seven catches for 113 yards.

“We have talked about controlling our own destiny and we’re trying to make sure they realize they you control it every day for your whole life,’’ said IU coach Kevin Wilson. “Our business right now is that we’re a 4-5 football team, we’re 2-3 in the Big Ten, and that’s not very good. We’re going to keep working hard to get better and it’s not coach speak.

QB James Vandenberg was 21 of 34 for 249 yards passing and a touchdown for Iowa, while WR Kevonte Martin-Manley caught seven passes for 131 yards and a score.

* What We Learned – This game was delayed by 45 minutes due to inclement weather – a rare November thunderstorm … Indiana torched Iowa for 473 yards total offense, including 406 yards passing … The win over Iowa marked the first time since 2007 that IU had won back-to-back Big Ten games. A win over Wisconsin would give Indiana its first three-game Big Ten winning streak since 1993 … Both of these teams still need two wins to become bowl-eligible. Indiana has been to one bowl game (in 2007) since 1993. Iowa has been to bowls in four consecutive years and in 10 of coach Kirk Ferentz’s previous 13 seasons. Indiana closes with games at home with Wisconsin and at Penn State and Purdue. Iowa hosts Purdue, visits Michigan and hosts Nebraska.

* What’s Next – Iowa hosts Purdue next Saturday, while Indiana hosts Wisconsin.

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

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

Michigan 35, Minnesota 13

* What Happened – Michigan (6-3, 4-1) won a game without standout QB Denard Robinson, who sat out with an elbow injury suffered in last week’s loss to Nebraska. Devin Gardner, returning to quarterback after repping mostly at wideout this season, completed 12 of 18 passes for 234 yards with two touchdowns and one interception and also rushed for a score.

RB Fitzgerald Toussaint added 13 carries for 70 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown for the Wolverines, who sustained scoring drives of 91, 90, 86 and 79 yards against the host Gophers (5-4, 1-4).

QB Philip Nelson completed 13 of 29 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown in his third career start for Minnesota.

* What We Learned – Gardner showed good command for a player making his first career start at quarterback. His first touchdown to Drew Dileo – a 45-yarder – was a thing of beauty. He rolled left, reversed field and kept the play alive before finding Dileo in the back of the end zone … It was not announced that Gardner would start until just before gametime after Hoke had insisted most of the week that Robinson would play. Russell Bellomy, who filled in for Robinson last week, did not play due to an undisclosed injury … Michigan won the Little Brown Jug game over Minnesota for the 21st time in 22 meetings and 38th time in the last 41 games … Minnesota played without top WR A.J. Barker (ankle) … Minnesota hasn't beaten Michigan at home since 1977 … The Gophers still need one win to become bowl-eligible for second-year coach Jerry Kill. They close by visiting Illinois and Nebraska and hosting Michigan State.

* What’s Next – Michigan hosts Northwestern next Saturday, while Minnesota travels to Illinois.

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

Idle This Weekend: Wisconsin, Northwestern

[b]* What’s Next – Wisconsin visits Indiana next Saturday, while Northwestern travels to Michigan.

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

Big Ten Standings

Leaders Division

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

Legends Division

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

Nov. 3 Games

Michigan 35, Minnesota 13
Indiana 24, Iowa 21
Nebraska (21) 28, Michigan State 24
Ohio State (6) 52, Illinois 22
Penn State 34, Purdue 9
Idle: Northwestern, Wisconsin

Nov. 10 Games (All Times Eastern)

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

Nov. 10 Games

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

Steve’s Updated Top 20

Seven of the AP’s top 25 teams lost: No. 5 LSU (to No. 1 Alabama), No. 17 Mississippi State (to No. 16 Texas A&M), No. 18 USC (to No. 2 Oregon), No. 19 Boise State (to San Diego State), No. 20 Texas Tech (to Texas), No. 23 West Virginia (to TCU) and No. 24 Arizona (to UCLA).

I moved out USC, Mississippi State and Boise State. I added Nebraska, UCLA and Texas. Here is my new top 20:

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

Picks Update

On Thursday, I made my picks for Week 10.

I am glad to finally say this was my best week yet.

I ended up 16-6 straight-up and 15-7 against-the-spread. For the year, I am now 185-59 SU and 119-114-1 ATS. I went from three games under .500 ATS to five games over.

In Big Ten games, I was 5-0 straight-up and 4-1 ATS. Through 10 weeks, I am 64-15 straight-up and 39-32 ATS.

Stay tuned this week for our Big Ten Blast notes column on Tuesday, our Picks for Week 11 on Thursday and a Big Ten basketball preview this week as well.

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