Around the Big Ten Week 7 plus nonconference foes

Pat Lovell-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

A quick review of the weekend's football games, with perspectives from the SBNation bloggers. Indiana's non-conference opponents' results are included as well.

Nebraska and Penn State had byes this week, so once again, there were only five conference games to talk about.

Illinois 0, Michigan 44

Scheilhaase is not having the best year, as he got KO’d and removed from the game. The Illini are just in full-fledged free-fall at this point in the season.

Maize n Brew praises the defense:

Purdue scored 13 points. Illinois didn't score any. The rush defense looks much improved in recent weeks, mostly due to a surprising revival on the defensive line. The linebackers are also playing at an very high level, quickly diagnosing plays and running with reckless abandon. At the beginning of the season I thought the defense would need Kovacs in the box for the majority of games, and right now I'm glad to admit that I'm wrong. He's part of a secondary that's allowed less than 200 total yards of passing in two combined games, adding three interceptions to go with it. And I haven't even gotten to the best part yet... [Jake Ryan]

Iowa 19, Michigan State 16 (OT)

The Hawkeyes found some offense, but also found the heartbreak of losing on a last-minute field goal. Black Heart Gold Pants sings the praises of RB Charlie Wiesman:

It wasn't always pretty and it wasn't always easy against Michigan State -- he had more carries that lost yards or went for minimal gain (1-2 yards) than he had in probably the previous three games combined -- but he came on in the second half to help lead the Iowa comeback and he was still able to grind out a very solid day at the office. Hopefully the ankle injury he suffered on the game-tying touchdown run late in the fourth quarter really is minor (that seemed to be the indication after the game) because at this point I can't envision the 2012 Iowa offense without a healthy dose of Weismania every week. Or, rather, I can... but that vision gives me night terrors. Sans Weisman, the Iowa offense might be the worst offense we've ever seen a KF-led team field at Iowa.

The Only Colors has little good to say about this game:

Andrew Maxwell's numbers were ugly (12-for-31, 179 yards, 1 INT). But from my view in the north end zone. No one was open downfield, ever. It seemed almost every pass was a checkdown. No one was ever open downfield. The blame can probably be shared between the receivers, the playcalling, the weather and Maxwell, but something's got to change....
Moving forward, a bowl game is very much in question. The only game MSU fans can feel comfortable about is Minnesota. As for the rest, they could lose any of them, but the defense should keep them in most. Hopes of a special season have turned to hopes of avoiding a disastrous season.

Minnesota 13, Northwestern 21

Minnesota coach Jerry Kill was hospitalized when he suffered another seizure after the loss, but has already been released.

The Daily Gopher sees signs of progress, but still wants the team to develop with greater speed:

The Gophers really won the box score outgaining Northwestern 327 to 275, dominating time of possession 26 min to 34 and they were much better on 3rd down. But the one stat that mattered was three Gopher turnovers to Northwestern's zero. It started early when LaMonte Edwards fumbled the opening kickoff, Northwestern scored on the very next play taking a 7-0 lead just 10 seconds into the game.
The good news, if you want to search for any, is that the defense played much (MUCH) better in the second half giving the Gopher offense a chance by pitching a two-quarter shutout.

Sippin’ On Purple sees a mixed bag in the win, especially on offense:

Hoo boy, that Venric Mark. He only ran for 182 yards because the field has end zones instead of just being endless planes, continuing to the waterfalls that encircle this flat planet we live on. He only broke loose a few times, but when he did, he broke loose in ways no Northwestern running back has in a while...

Other than those few plays, the offense was a gaping mess. 26 non-Venric yards on the ground, 67 yards passing. The second half was an endless slog of three and outs.

Ohio State 52, Indiana 49

Land Grant Holy Land is pretty ticked about the defensive lapses in the second half, but is relieved overall:

But let's also look at the bigger picture: Ohio State is 7-0. Yes, there's plenty to work on (see: ten sloppy penalties), and while the defense will still have to battle through injuries that saw first week effective starting middle linebacker Zach Boren lead the team in tackles at 8, all is not lost. Yes, the Buckeyes gave up 26 first downs to Indiana (and seemingly 3/4 of those during the second half alone), but as they continue to break in talented underclassmen and return those seniors who've missed time with injury, it's still not inconceivable that the team finds some much needed stability. As the team continues to progress, 8-0 is still very doable.

Wisconsin 38, Purdue 14

Bucky’s 5th quarter celebrates getting back on track:

It was a record-breaking day for Montee Ball, who became the Big Ten's all-time touchdowns leader in an incredible 29-carry, 247-yard, three-touchdown performance....

Wisconsin are now 2-1 in the Leaders division, while Purdue are 0-2. Indiana and Illinois are also 0-2, and both are underdogs in their games later on Saturday. The Badgers are still not as good as anticipated and have plenty of issues that need fixing, but this was their biggest hurdle on the road to a Big Ten Championship game berth.

Hammer and Rails says it is time for coach Hope to go:

Sadly, Wisconsin didn't do anything special.
Landon Feichter said it best, they played like men and we did not. Once again, we shrank from the moment and got physically dominated by the Badgers. They shoved us around on offense and prevented us from getting anything going. They shoved us out of the way defensively and opened hole. They even shoved us aside on special teams and blocked a punt.

Even then, we still had a chance. A pair of missed field goals in the first half meant it was just a ten point deficit at halftime. That's hardly insurmountable. Instead, we gave up a 67-yard touchdown run in the first minute of the half and promptly went three and out.

Non-conference foes

Indiana State, in perhaps a landmark game that signifies their progress over the last few seasons, edged the defending FCS champion North Dakota State on the road by a score of 17-14, to rise to 5-2. This was NDSU’s first loss on the season, and while the Bison outgained the Sycamores 294-197, they also had three turnovers. ISU’s Johnny Towalid capitalized on on two of those turnovers, taking two interceptions back for touchdowns! This seems like a pretty decent win for Indiana State, who is now just two wins away from their best record in over a decade, and miles ahead of the mid-2000’s nadir. I hadn’t even realized that ISU had only won 2 games over the course of five seasons (2005-2009).

Massachusetts suffered no loss this week as they had a bye.

Ball State overcame Western Michigan 30-24 in overtime to raise their overall record to 4-3. It was a close game throughout, but the Broncos had to kick a 52-yard field goal at the end of regulation to send it to OT. The Cardinals actually coughed up the ball three times, but still narrowly outgained WMU 433-424. Keith Wenning again threw the ball a lot, completing 27 of 43 passes for 265 yards and a TD.

Navy beat Central Michigan 31-13 to even their record at 3-3 going into next week’s game with the Hoosiers. CMU has gone into a three-game tailspin after their thrilling victory over Iowa, and the Midshipmen took advantage. Freshman QB Keenan Reynolds tossed three TDs in this one, but the real story was how Navy outgained the Chippewas 238-70 on the ground. Navy also converted all five of their fourth down conversion attempts.
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