Most of the games in the Big Ten this past weekend didn’t have much for drama towards the end of the game. Well that is ok because Michigan State and Wisconsin had enough late game heroics and drama for the entire conference. The Spartans won their third big game in a row behind a great total team effort, headed by quarterback Kirk Cousins. Iowa and Penn State both remain in the middle of their respective division races with wins while Purdue pulled the upset over sliding Illinois.
Michigan State and Wisconsin looked destined for overtime after Wisconsin rallied from 14 points down in the fourth quarter to tie the game with less than 90 seconds to play. But the 90 seconds proved to be just enough. The Spartans game winning drive started off slow before they converted on two third downs to set up a hail marry pass on the final play of the game. Kirk Cousins passed found its way to Keith Nichol’s hands after being deflected by other players; Nichol caught the ball at the one and was able to fight his way into the end zone for the game winning touchdown. Michigan State’s offense was helped out with a safety from the defense and a blocked punt for a touchdown from the special teams unit. Russell Wilson threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another 30 yards and a score, but he had two costly interceptions as well.
Purdue improved to 2-1 in the conference with a win over 23rd ranked Illinois. Purdue QB Caleb TerBush looked good throwing for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Purdue jumped out to a 21-0 lead before Illinois mounted a comeback that fell just short. Illinois lost their second game in a row as the offense continued to struggle scoring before mounting to long drives in the fourth quarter.
Penn State continues to make a push for being one of the top teams in the conference. The Nittany Lions sit atop the Leaders Division at 4-0 after beating Northwestern. The win marked Joe Paterno’s 408th victory, which ties him with former Grambling State Legend Eddie Robinson. Penn State got great efforts from QB Matt McGloin and RB Silas Redd. McGloin who has been locked up in a quarterback battle with Rob Bolden much of the season, took all of the snaps en route to throwing for just under 200 yards and a touchdown. Redd grinded out 164 yards and is now third in the Big Ten in rushing yards per game, just a yard behind leader Montee Ball. Northwestern once again couldn’t get anything going in the second half of a game, scoring zero points in the last two quarters after putting up 24 in the first half.
Records were also being set in Iowa City where Iowa WR Marvin McNutt broke the school’s receiving touchdown record. He then continued to break the Indiana defense’s spirit with three touchdowns and 184 yards on the day. When McNutt wasn’t running around or past the Hoosier defense, RB Marcus Coker was running over them. Coker finished with 139 yards and two touchdowns in the blow out. Indiana did have a bright spot with true freshman quarterback Tre Roberson who had a total of 281 yards and a touchdown.
Best performance of the week: Michigan State
Worst performance of the week: Illinois
Week 8 Scores
(16) Michigan State 37, 6 Wisconsin 31
(13) Nebraska 41, Minnesota 14
(21) Penn State 34, Northwestern 24
Purdue 21, 23 Illinois 14
Iowa 45, Indiana 24
Week 8 Statistical Leaders
1. Dan Persa (Northwestern) 294 yards, 1 TD, 1 Interception
2. Kirk Cousins (Michigan State) 290 yards, 3 TDs
3. James Vandenberg (Illinois) 253 yards, 4 TDs
1. Silas Redd (Penn State) 164 yards, 1 TD
2. Marcus Coker (Iowa) 139 yards, 2 TDs
3. Rex Burkhead (Nebraska) 117 yards, 1 TD
1. Marvin McNutt (Iowa) 6 catches, 184 yards, 3 TDs
2. Devon Smith (Penn State) 6 catches, 110 yards, 1 TD
3. Jeremy Ebert (Northwestern) 5 catches, 109 yards
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