BT Spin: Nebraska, OSU Surge Ahead

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Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah runs against Michigan

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.

This was quite a week for Big Ten football with two games matching division leaders and another game as a rematch of the inaugural Big Ten championship game.

When the dust settled, Nebraska had defeated Michigan 23-9 to move into a tie for the Legends Division lead. The Huskers took advantage as Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson went out with an elbow injury.

In the Leaders Division, Ohio State rallied with a big second half to defeat host Penn State 35-23 to take sole possession of the Leaders Division lead.

Michigan State stunned host Wisconsin 16-13 in overtime in a rematch of last year’s conference championship game. Despite the loss, Wisconsin is still the clear favorite among the eligible teams to represent the Leaders Division in the title game.

Indiana and Minnesota scored their first conference wins of the season, while Northwestern turned back Iowa 28-17.

The feature game next week will send Nebraska to Michigan State. Michigan will also travel to Minnesota. Wisconsin and Northwestern will be idle.

Here we go with this week’s report:

Nebraska 23, Michigan (20) 9

* What Happened – Nebraska (6-2, 3-1) moved into a tie with Michigan (5-3, 3-1) for the Legends Division lead. Robinson was knocked out of the game after injuring the elbow in his right throwing arm. He watched the game from the sideline as backup Russell Bellomy threw three interceptions. Michigan generated just 188 yards total offense. It’s unclear how soon Robinson will be able to return.

RB Ameer Abdullah, filling in for the injured Rex Burkhead, carried the ball 24 times for 101 yards and a touchdown. QB Taylor Martinez was 14 of 24 for 166 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Huskers. He also rushed for 58 yards.

"This was a big step for us," Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said. "Just like I told the team, you win and the season goes on and it takes you higher and higher."

* What We Learned – This was Michigan’s first visit to Nebraska since 1911 … Nebraska avenged a 45-17 defeat at Michigan from last year … Bellomy, the heir apparent to Robinson after this season, was 3 of 16 passing for 38 yards … Nebraska’s Brett Maher kicked field goals of 19, 51 and 31 yards, with his last one putting Nebraska up 16-6 in the third quarter … Nebraska won its 11th straight home night game and also celebrated 50 years of sellouts – 323 games in a row – at Memorial Stadium.

* What’s Next – Michigan will travel to Minnesota, while Nebraska visits Michigan State.

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

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

Ohio State (9) 35, Penn State 23

* What Happened – Ohio State moved to 9-0 overall and 5-0 in Big Ten play with a resounding win in the face of a White-Out at Penn State (5-3, 3-1). The Buckeyes broke open a 7-7 game at the half by outscoring the Lions 21-3 in the third quarter.

One week after suffering a whiplash injury in his neck against Purdue, OSU QB Braxton Miller showed no ill effects. He struggled early throwing the ball, before ending up 7 of 19 passing for 143 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also had 134 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 25 carries.

The OSU defense was also huge. The Buckeyes held PSU to 36 yards rushing on 28 attempts. OSU sacked Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin four times. With the running game non-existent, McGloin ended up 27 of 45 passing for a career-high 327 yards with two touchdowns and an interception that OSU LB Ryan Shazier returned for a touchdown.

“I think we are definitely one of the top teams in the country,” said OSU WR Jake Stoneburner, who caught a 72-yard touchdown from Miller late to seal it. “We just keep on winning. There is something about this team. We have a very good chemistry. We’re going to try and win every single game.”

* What We Learned – Miller, now with 1,093 yards rushing, became the first OSU quarterback and third in Big Ten history to reach the 1,000-yard plateau … Shazier, wearing the No. 48 instead of his usual No. 10 to honor a prep classmate who had died after a battle with muscular dystrophy, was a one-man wrecking crew. He had seven tackles, two sacks, the pick-six interception and a forced fumble … OSU now leads the all-time series with Penn State 15-13. The Buckeyes have won five of the last seven meetings overall and four of their last five trips to Penn State … Ohio State is the nation’s only 9-0 team. Five unbeatens went down in Week 9, leaving just six undefeated teams nationally. The Buckeyes have reached 9-0 to start a season for the 12th time in school history and third time in seven years, dating to 2006.

* What’s Next – Ohio State hosts Illinois next Saturday, while Penn State will visit Purdue.

* More Coverage – Click here for more coverage of OSU-PSU. Click here for more coverage from

Click here for more coverage of OSU-PSU. Click here for more coverage from Lions 247.

Michigan State 16, Wisconsin 13 (OT)

* What Happened – Michigan State (5-4, 2-3) had lost four of its last six games and was heading to Madison, where visiting teams had lost their last 21 games. But the Spartans held tough and outlasted Wisconsin (6-3, 3-2) in overtime.

MSU trailed for most of the game before rallying late to tie it at 10-10 and force overtime when QB Andrew Maxwell hit Le’Veon Bell with a shovel pass for a 5-yard touchdown. In OT, the Spartans held the Badgers to a 43-yard Kyle French field goal. MSU went for the win with Maxwell hitting Bennie Fowler with a 12-yard touchdown pass to end it.

Wisconsin QB Joel Stave was 9-of-11 for 127 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Pedersen that gave Wisconsin a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter. But Stave injured his left shoulder when he was sacked on the opening play of the second half and did not return. It was later reported he will miss the rest of the season. Danny O’Brien, who began the season as the starter, replaced him and was 5 of 11 passing for 44 yards.

This was finally some good news for a Michigan State team that had suffered its three Big Ten losses by a combined six points.

“I think when you go through tough times it makes you a bit resilient,” MSU coach Mark Dantonio said. “You’re close, it’s not like we’re sitting there saying, ‘Hey, we lost 45-0’ or something like that in the past. We’ve been close, we’ve been a play here or a play there. We just need to come up with those plays. Somehow, someway at the end of this game we came up with the plays.”

* What We Learned – After rushing for 804 yards the last two weeks, Wisconsin was held to 19 yards rushing. RB Montee Ball was limited to 46 yards after averaging 125 a game the last three games … William Gholston and Max Bullough combined for eight TFL for the Spartans … MSU has won four of its last six meetings with Wisconsin, including three straight in the regular season. Wisconsin won their Big Ten title game meeting last December (42-39) … Only LSU had more consecutive home wins (22) than Wisconsin … Wisconsin goes into a bye week before a key game at surging Indiana Nov. 10. A win there would all but wrap up the Big Ten title game bid for the Badgers … MSU needs one more win to become bowl-eligible.

* What’s Next – Wisconsin will be idle next Saturday, while MSU hosts Nebraska.

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

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

Northwestern 28, Iowa 17

* What Happened – This one was never much in doubt as Northwestern (7-2, 3-2) led 14-3 at the half and immediately went up 28-3 early in the third quarter. NU QB Kain Colter was the man of the match. He carried 26 times for 166 yards and three touchdowns and also completed 6 of 9 passes for 80 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown to Christian Jones.

Northwestern’s Venric Mark ran for 162 yards on 16 carries. Mark became Northwestern's first 1,000-yard rusher since Tyrell Sutton in 2006. Iowa rolled up 349 yards rushing.

Iowa (4-4, 2-2) came in off a 38-14 home loss to Penn State and provided little resistance here in Evanston. QB James Vandenberg was 24 of 38 for 214 yards, while RB Damon Bullock had 107 yards on 22 carries. Vandenberg scored on a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs in the second half to make the final margin look a little bit better.

* What We Learned – Northwestern continued its mastery of Iowa, winning for the sixth time in the last eight meetings … Iowa RB Mark Weisman had 21 yards on nine carries before leaving the game with another injury … Northwestern’s David Nwabuisi had 18 tackles to lead the Wildcats defensively … Iowa gave up three sacks in the loss … Colter went most of the way at quarterback for the Wildcats and that may be the way NU goes down the stretch. He had said the NU offense did not have an identity. It seems he (and Mark) are it … Iowa is in a tough spot after back-to-back rough losses. The Hawkeyes still need two wins to become bowl-eligible. The Hawkeyes visit Indiana next week before hosting Purdue, visiting Michigan and hosting Nebraska to end the year.

* What’s Next – Northwestern will be idle next Saturday, while Iowa visits Indiana.

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

Minnesota 44, Purdue 28

* What Happened – Minnesota (5-3, 1-3) broke through for its first Big Ten win of the season by blowing out visiting Purdue (3-5, 0-4). The Gophers exploded for a 34-7 halftime lead and never looked back in handing the Boilers their fourth straight loss.

Freshman QB Philip Nelson completed 15 of 22 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns in his second career start as the Gophers rolled. RB Donnell Kirkwood carried 23 times for 134 yards.

Purdue QB Caleb TerBush was just 5 of 18 passing for 49 yards before he was lifted. Robert Marve threw two touchdown passes and Rob Henry had another in garbage time for the Boilers.

* What We Learned – Minnesota is now one win away from qualifying for postseason play. The Gophers still have home games with Michigan and Michigan State and must still visit Illinois and Nebraska … Purdue had hoped it turned a corner with last week’s overtime loss at Ohio State (29-22). But it’s obvious it will take a miracle for the Boilers to make a bowl this year … Minnesota’s Michael Carter returned a TerBush interception 43 yards for a touchdown as the Gophers eventually led to a 44-7 lead before Minnesota called off the dogs … WR A.J. Barker had five catches for 135 yards, including touchdowns of 38 and 63 yards for the Gophers.

* What’s Next – Purdue hosts Penn State next Saturday, while Minnesota hosts Michigan.

* More Coverage – Click here for more coverage of Purdue athletics.

Indiana 31, Illinois 17

* What Happened – Indiana (3-5, 1-3) finally broke through and gave second-year head coach Kevin Wilson his first Big Ten win with this victory at sadsack Illinois (2-6, 0-4). The win snapped an 11-game conference losing streak for the Hoosiers, who had lost four games by a combined 10 points earlier this year. It also spoiled Illinois’ homecoming.

The Illini were their own worst enemy, allowing QB Nathan Scheelhaase to be sacked seven times and committing eight penalties for 81 costly yards.

QB Nate Sudfeld entered the game for IU after starter Cameron Coffman threw a first-quarter interception. Sudfeld ended up 10 of 15 passing for 107 yards and two touchdowns. RB Stephen Houston carried 21 times for 71 yards and two scores and also caught a TD pass.

RB Donovan Young was a bright spot for Illinois as he had 124 yards on 21 carries.

* What We Learned – You never know what impact a road win like this could have, but Indiana had been threatening a breakthrough in recent weeks after tough losses to Michigan State, Ohio State and last week at Navy … This was still a 24-17 game until Sudfeld found Shane Wynn for a 17-yard touchdown with 5:48 left … Illinois lost despite racking up 23 first downs. IU won despite going a woeful 1-for-13 on third down … IU needs a 3-1 finish to become bowl-eligible. The Hoosiers close by hosting Iowa and Wisconsin and visiting Penn State and Purdue. Even crazier: If the Hoosiers could somehow win out, they would go to the Big Ten title game. Yes, the Hoosiers control their own destiny after Wisconsin’s loss to Michigan State … Illinois showed some spark offensively after coming out of a bye week, but just could not get out of its own way. The Illini suffered their sixth double-digit defeat.

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

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

Big Ten Standings

Leaders Division

Ohio State (9-0, 5-0)
Penn State (5-3, 3-1)
Wisconsin (6-3, 3-2)
Indiana (3-5, 1-3)
Purdue (3-5, 0-4)
Illinois (2-6, 0-4)

Legends Division

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

Oct. 27 Games

Northwestern 28, Iowa 17
Indiana 31, Illinois 17
Michigan State 16, Wisconsin 13 (OT)
Minnesota 44, Purdue 28
Ohio State (9) 35, Penn State 23
Nebraska 23, Michigan (20) 9

Nov. 3 Games (All Times Eastern)

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

Nov. 10 Games

Purdue at Iowa, noon (Big Ten Network)
Wisconsin at Indiana, noon (ABC, ESPN or ESPN2)
Northwestern at Michigan, noon (ABC, ESPN or ESPN2)
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

Steve’s Updated Top 20

Nine of the AP’s top 25 teams lost: No. 3 Florida (lost to No. 12 Georgia), No. 7 Oregon State (lost to Washington), No. 8 Oklahoma (lost to No. 5 Notre Dame), No. 10 USC (lost to Arizona), No. 13 Mississippi State (lost to No. 1 Alabama), No. 15 Texas Tech (lost to No. 4 Kansas State), No. 18 Rutgers (lost to Kent State), No. 20 Michigan (lost to Nebraska) and No. 23 Ohio (lost to Miami, Ohio).

I dropped Michigan, Rutgers and Texas Tech out of my top 20 and added Texas A&M, Boise State and Louisiana Tech. Here is my new top 20:

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

Picks Update

On Thursday, I made my picks for Week 9.

I ended up 14-7 straight-up and 11-10 against-the-spread. For the year, I am now 169-53 SU and 104-107-1 ATS.

In Big Ten games, I was 3-3 straight-up (I hit Indiana-Illinois on the score, 31-17) and 4-2 ATS. Through nine weeks, I am 59-15 straight-up and 35-31 ATS.

Stay tuned this week for our Big Ten Blast notes column on Tuesday, Picks for Week 10 on Thursday and a Chat likely late in the week.

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