BT Spin: Nighttime Is Right For OSU

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Braxton Miller cruises for TD vs. Nebraska

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.

Ohio State survived the weekend as the Big Ten’s only unbeaten team after defeating visiting Nebraska 63-38 in a shootout. The Buckeyes improved to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in Big Ten play. They also jumped four spots in this week’s Associated Press poll from 12th to eighth.

Nebraska, ranked 21st last week, fell out of the poll after its loss at OSU. Likewise, Northwestern also fell out of the poll after its 39-28 loss at Penn State. The Wildcats were No. 24 last week – their first ranking in four years.

Michigan, coming off a bye week, crushed host Purdue 44-13. That win propelled UM back into the poll at No. 25 this week.

Michigan State had to rally from down 13 at halftime to take a 31-27 win at Indiana. And Wisconsin cruised to a 31-14 win over visiting Illinois.

Looking to next Saturday, there are a pair of division games that could be critical in deciding those championships. In the Leaders Division, defending champion Wisconsin must go on the road to Purdue. In the Legends Division, defending champ Michigan State hosts Iowa.

Here we go with this week’s report:

Ohio State (12) 63, Nebraska (21) 38

* What Happened – Ohio State (6-0, 2-0) shrugged off a slow start and ended up with a runaway win over visiting Nebraska (4-2, 1-1) before an Ohio Stadium-record crowd of 106,102. QB Braxton Miller carried 16 times for a career-best 186 yards and a touchdown. He also completed 7 of 14 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown for the Buckeyes. RB Carlos Hyde added 140 yards and a career-high four touchdowns as OSU avenged a painful 34-27 loss at Nebraska last year.

“I'm learning every week,” Miller said. “They throw new stuff at us every week. So I’m just trying to get it down pat. I don't believe this is what it can be capable of. I think it can be better.”

Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez completed 15 of 25 passes for 214 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. Martinez also carried 18 times for 40 yards and two touchdowns. RB Rex Burkhead had 119 yards on 14 carries.

* What We Learned – Although the OSU defense gave up 437 yards, the Buckeyes got four takeaways. Two of those were interceptions by emerging soph corner Bradley Roby, who took one of those back for a touchdown … Philly Brown also had a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown for the Buckeyes … OSU’s offense was cold (17 yards, zero first downs in the first quarter) and then hot (481 yards, 20 first downs in the final three quarters) … The 63-point outburst is OSU’s biggest since scoring 73 against Eastern Michigan in a 73-20 win in 2010. It is OSU’s largest point game in a Big Ten game since the Buckeyes defeated Minnesota 69-18 in 1983 … Miller enjoyed his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season. He also set a new single-game rushing record for an OSU quarterback … OSU improved to 8-3 all-time in Ohio Stadium night games and 3-1 all-time against Nebraska … DE John Simon was a one-man wrecking crew for OSU with 5 TFLs, 2 sacks and a forced fumble (all that was missing was a partridge and a pear tree).

* What’s Next – Ohio State visits Indiana next Saturday, while Nebraska will be idle next week.

* More Coverage – Click here for more coverage of OSU-Nebraska. Click here for more coverage from Huskers Illustrated.

Click here for more coverage of OSU-Nebraska. Click here for more coverage from Bucknuts.com.

Wisconsin 31, Illinois 14

* What Happened – Wisconsin was nursing a 10-7 lead going into the fourth quarter against visiting Illinois before exploding for 21 points to win going away. QB Joel Stave was 16 of 25 passing for 254 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, while RB Montee Ball had 116 yards and two TDs on 19 carries for the Badgers (4-2, 1-1).

"There was a lot of frustration, knowing what we're capable of doing, and not doing," Ball said. "We were supposed to come into this game and do what we did. It's a great feeling overall right now."

Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase had 178 yards passing and 84 rushing, but the Fighting Illini (2-4, 0-2) dropped their third straight game.

* What We Learned – Ball has 69 rushing TDs in his career, four shy of the all-time I-A record of 73 set by Travis Prentice of Miami (Ohio) in 1996-99 … Illinois DB Terry Hawthorne left the game on a stretcher after a hit on UW receiver Derek Watt. He gave the crowd a thumbs up as he was loaded onto a vehicle … Backup RB James White had six carries for 42 yards and also caught a screen pass from Stave for a 62-yard TD … WR Jared Abbrederis had a touchdown and over 100 yards receiving for the third straight game for the Badgers … In their four losses this season (to Arizona State, Louisiana Tech, Penn State and Wisconsin), the Illini have been outscored 163-59 … Illinois still leads this all-time series 37-36-7, but Wisconsin has won the last three, seven of the last eight and 12 of the last 16 meetings.

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

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

Penn State 39, Northwestern (24) 28

* What Happened – Penn State (4-2, 2-0) knocked Northwestern (5-1, 1-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten at State College. The Nittany Lions trailed the Wildcats 28-17 after three quarters before scoring three touchdowns in the final 9:49 to win it.

NU had surged ahead 28-17 on Venric Mark’s 75-yard touchdown on a punt return with 50 seconds left in the third quarter. But PSU rallied with QB Matt McGloin hitting Allen Robinson for a 6-yard TD and then giving the Lions the lead on his own 5-yard TD run with 2:37 left.

Penn State then made a big defensive stop on a fourth down as a Trevor Siemian pass was deflected incomplete. PSU FB Michael Zordich added a 3-yard TD run to cinch it with 1:30 left.

"We're excited to go into this bye as a team on a little bit of a roll," Zordich said. "We're feeling good. We still got a lot to work on, obviously, on offense and defense and a little bit on special teams. Your main goal with the bye week is to go in with a win. Because the worst thing ever is to go into a bye week with a loss. This way we can go in and take care of our body, get our minds right and get ready for Iowa."

* What We Learned – After an 0-2 start, Penn State has won four straight and done it in impressive fashion (19.3-point margin of victory). The Lions figure to be a real factor in determining both division races in the homestretch of the season … Northwestern was shooting to become bowl-eligible for the fifth straight year and to reach 6-0 for the first time since 1962 … McGloin continued his strong play, completing 35 of 51 passes for 282 yards and two TDs and also rushing for a score … A week after putting up a school-record 704 yards total offense against Indiana, Northwestern was held to just 247 yards total offense. Siemian completed 21 of 36 passes, but those completions only netted 135 yards against PSU’s stingy defense … PSU is now 13-3 all-time against Northwestern with six straight wins.

* What’s Next – Northwestern visits Minnesota next Saturday, while Penn State will be idle.

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

Michigan State 31, Indiana 27

* What Happened – Coming off a rough home loss to Ohio State, Michigan State fell behind host Indiana 17-0 after one quarter and 27-14 at the half. But the Spartans (4-2, 1-1) blanked the Hoosiers (2-3, 0-2) 17-0 in the second half to come out with the win. MSU finally gained the lead on Andrew Maxwell’s 36-yard TD pass to Bennie Fowler with 6:35 left in the game.

Maxwell threw for 290 yards and two TDs for MSU, while RB Le’Veon Bell had 121 yards and two TDs on 37 carries. WR Aaron Burbridge caught eight passes for 134 yards for the Spartans.

* What We Learned – Michigan State is trying to get back to Indianapolis for the Big Ten title game for the second year in a row. A loss at Indiana and an 0-2 Big Ten start would have been disastrous, however … MSU, which gave up nearly 200 yards in the first quarter, held Indiana to 37 yards and two first downs in the second half … IU coach Kevin Wilson dropped to 0-10 in Big Ten games in his second year. This was the closest conference loss in his tenure, though … Wilson may have settled on QB Cameron Coffman, though. Coffman completed 33 of 48 passes for 282 yards and three TDs … MSU has won four in a row, eight of the last nine and 12 of 14 against IU in the battle for the Old Brass Spittoon.

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

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

Click here for coverage of MSU-Indiana. Click here for more coverage from Spartan Tailgate.

Michigan 44, Purdue 13

* What Happened – Coming off an open week, Michigan (3-2, 1-0) went on the road and blasted host Purdue (3-2, 0-1). UM got out to leads of 21-0, 28-3 and 31-10 in cruising to the easier than expected win.

QB Denard Robinson rushed 24 times for 235 yards and also threw for 105 yards and a touchdown for the Wolverines. Purdue only had the ball for about 23-1/2 minutes and netted just 213 yards total offense. QB Caleb TerBush was 16 of 25 for 105 yards with a touchdown, but he had an interception that Raymon Taylor returned 63 yards for a touchdown.

* What We Learned – Robinson now has 3,905 career rushing yards, setting a Big Ten record for a quarterback and breaking a tie with Kent State's Josh Cribbs to move into fifth place in NCAA history … Fitzgerald Toussaint had a pair of 1-yard TD runs to get UM out to a 14-0 lead. That’s when Taylor intercepted an errant TerBush pass on fourth down at the UM 41 and returned it for the score against the stunned Boilers … Purdue can still contend for the Leaders title, but the Boilers are in almost a must-win situation this week when they host Wisconsin … It is readily apparent that UM coach Brady Hoke and his staff got under the hood of their offense and did some major tinkering during the open week … UM has held its last three opponents (Massachusetts, Notre Dame and Purdue) to 13 points.

* What’s Next – Michigan hosts Illinois next Saturday, while Purdue hosts Wisconsin.

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

Idle This Week: Minnesota, Iowa

* What’s Next – Iowa (3-2, 1-0) visits Michigan State next Saturday, while Minnesota (4-1, 0-1) hosts Northwestern.

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

Big Ten Standings

Leaders Division

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

Legends Division

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

Oct. 6 Games

Michigan State 31, Indiana 27
Penn State 39, Northwestern (24) 28
Wisconsin 31, Illinois 14
Michigan 44, Purdue 13
Ohio State (12) 63, Nebraska (21) 38
Idle: Iowa, Minnesota

Oct. 13 Games(All Times Eastern)

Wisconsin at Purdue, noon (Big Ten Network)
Iowa at Michigan State, noon (ESPN)
Northwestern at Minnesota, noon (ESPN2)
Illinois at Michigan (25), 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional; ESPN outer market)
Ohio State (8) at Indiana, 8 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
Idle: Penn State, Nebraska

Oct. 20 Games

Minnesota at Wisconsin, noon (ESPNU)
Indiana at Navy, 3:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
Michigan State at Michigan, noon or 3:30 p.m. (ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 or BTN)
Nebraska at Northwestern, noon or 3:30 p.m. (ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 or BTN)
Purdue at Ohio State, noon or 3:30 p.m. (ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 or BTN)
Penn State at Iowa, 8 p.m. (Big Ten Network)

Steve’s Updated Top 20

This was wipeout weekend as eight of the AP’s top 25 teams lost: No. 3 Florida State (to N.C. State), No. 4 LSU (to No. 10 Florida), No. 5 Georgia (to No. 6 South Carolina), No. 11 Texas (to No. 8 West Virginia), No. 15 TCU (to Iowa State), No. 21 Nebraska (to No. 12 Ohio State), No. 23 Washington (to No. 2 Oregon) and No. 24 Northwestern (lost to Penn State),

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

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

Picks Update

On Thursday, I made my picks for Week 6.

I ended up 18-6 straight-up and 12-12 against-the-spread. For the year, I am now 118-36 SU and 70-73-1 ATS.

In Big Ten games, I was 5-0 straight-up and also 4-1 ATS. Through six weeks, I am 47-10 straight-up and 24-25 ATS.

Stay tuned this week for our Big Ten Blast notes column on Tuesday, Picks for week 7 on Thursday and a Chat either Thursday or Friday.

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