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Around the Big Ten, week 8 (and how IU's non-con opponents fared).

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Yes, I know it's late, and everyone is focused on week 9, but I started it, so I'm going to finish it.

Hail to the Orange is appropriately dismissive of the Hoosiers in his discussion of the Illini win over IU.


The end result of this pressure was the four INTs caught by Illini defenders, including two that went back for TDs and one that should have. I remember when this Illini team would struggle to win the turnover battle, now they seem to be getting them in gobs, although maybe playing Indiana means statistical aberrations across the board, they really are that bad.


Wisconsin 31, Iowa 30

The Badgers remained in the thick of the Rose Bowl hunt with their win over Iowa. Bucky's Fifth Quarter thinks the game said good things about the state of the program:

Bret Bielema critics, you are officially silenced. What we witnessed Saturday at Kinnick Stadium was a complete and total 31-30 team victory over Iowa that started with the head coach, trickled down to his assistants, continued onto the starters and ended with a third-string running back and a punter. The play on the field was impressive, but the revelations off the field after Wisconsin's 31-30 win over Iowa were even more noteworthy . When James White went down with a knee injury in the first half, one had to worry about John Clay carrying the load all by himself. But on the very next play after White went down on a rush for no gain, seldom used third-string running back Montee Ball ran out on the field and took a shovel pass from Scott Tolzien 14 yards to the Iowa seven-yard line on 3rd-and-12.

BHGP was disappointed in the defense, despite superficially decent numbers:

The numbers don't look that bad in aggregate -- Wisconsin gained just 347 yards for the day, and just 142 on the ground (far below their average) -- but as anyone who watched the game can attest, Iowa had a hell of a time getting defensive stops when they needed them. Wisconsin had four drives of 10 or more plays -- they scored on all of them and three times they got touchdowns. Iowa forced only two punts all day and had just one turnover (a very nice interception by Brett Greenwood early in the fourth quarter). The defense avoided giving up any home run plays (the longest gain on the day for the Wisconsin offense was a 30-yard reception by Isaac Anderson), but they got gashed in short increments by Wisconsin -- and then couldn't force turnovers or hold them to field goals. That's a lot of bending and a lot of breaking, which is not a formula for success.

Michigan State 35, Northwestern 27

The Spartans remained in the hunt for Big Ten and BCS glory with a come from behind win over IU's next opponent, Northwestern.  The Only Colors takes a look at the big picture:


Many have said that a major characteristic of great teams is the ability to win on bad days. Saturday was a bad day for MSU, and yet, the Spartans are now 8-0, and are now 5th in the BCS standings. The "same old Spartans" reputation ain't an easy one to kick, and if MSU loses in Iowa City on Saturday, we'll surely hear it again. Win or lose, these guys are different. This team has prevailed against adversity and handled success -- and indeed, on Saturday, did both in the same game. Soak it up, MSU fans: this is a special, special team.

Lake the Posts, meanwhile, tries to find the bright side:

The ‘Cats played 58 solid minutes of football against the best team we’ll face all year. We can all bitch and moan, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that was a heck of a team we faced. Kudos to our preparation and the first half defense. Kudos to Adonis Smith for running like a champion. Kudos to Dan Persa for playing like a warrior and sacrificing everything he had to try and carry us home. Let’s break it down.


Ohio State 49, Purdue 0

The Buckeyes avenged last year's shocking loss to Purdue and regrouped after losing to Wisconsin with a shutout of Purdue.  Along the Olentangy seemed happier about the zero than the 49:


Aiding the offensive explosion, the Silver Bullets returned with a vengeance, dominating the injury-plagued Purdue offense. The Boilermakers were held to 117 yards on 54 plays for a paltry 2.17 yards per play. Redshirt freshman quarterback Rob Henry was knocked out of the game late in the 3rd quarter with a busted finger, and true freshman Sean Robinson stepped in to the fold. Predictably, he struggled and the Purdue offense even failed to move the ball against Ohio State's combination 2nd/3rd string defense. The defensive tackle option play was well defended by Ohio State, and the overmatched Boilermakers had nothing else to turn to after that failed.

Hammer and Rails says it all in the headline:Just Burn The Tape, and remains hopeful for next week:

This was an embarrassment on the level with last year's trip to Madison, yet I would not be surprised if Purdue pulled off a win in Champaign next week. It seems like Hope's teams are establishing a pattern of playing a stinker against a MAC team each year and getting embarrassed on the road in one conference game, yet looking night and day better in the following games.


Penn State 33, Minnesota 21

The Gophers fared no better under an interim coach than they did under Tim Brewster, and Penn State found a much-needed win, per Black Shoe Diaries:


After the game Paterno was asked how it felt to get win No. 398, and his response was "I'm just happy to get a win." Indeed, it was a game the Nittany Lions had to have in order to save hope for a post season bowl game. Now the Nittany Lions must start preparing for Michigan, and the big question on everyone's mind all week will be who lines up under center if Bolden can't play.

From the Minnesota perspective, it was  same old, same old:


With a new coach, and seemingly a new attitude, the Gophs still managed the same old result, losing to Penn State 33-21 (I do believe they covered the spread again, however) in a game that wasn't as close as the score would indicate. I wondered what differences, if any, we'd see with Brewster gone and Horton in his place, and the answer we got was: not many. I did like Thomas Hammock's playcalling today, as despite the low point total, the Gophs still racked up close to 500 yards offense, and did so by throwing the ball much more, and much earlier, than in the previous six games. If that continues for the last four games, they'll at least be watchable.



On the non-conference side, Western Kentucky finally won, but Akron fell to 0-8.



Western Kentucky snapped the nation's longest losing streak on Saturday, beating Louisiana-Lafayette 54-21 on Saturday. The Hilltoppers (1-6, 1-2 Sun Belt Conference), in their second year as a member of the Football Bowl Subdivision, had lost 26 straight games for the longest loss streak among all NCAA divisions. - College Football news


Arkansas State 37, Florida Atlantic 16 - NCAAF - Yahoo! Sports



Juan Nunez had three touchdowns and 192 yards receiving in Western Michigan's 56-10 rout of Akron on Saturday. The Broncos (3-4, 2-1 Mid-American Conference), who totaled 519 yards of offense, scored the game's first 35 points. Nunez scored the first two touchdowns on passes of 26 and 59 yards from Alex Carder. - College Football news


Richmond forces 4 TOs to beat Towson 28-6 - College Football -

Kendall Gaskins ran for 100 yards and a touchdown while Jovan Smith added 76 yards on the ground and a score as Richmond defeated Towson 28-6 in Colonial Athletic Association play on Saturday. Smith scored with 6:10 left in the opening quarter on a 7-yard run to put the Spiders (4-3, 2-2) in front 6-0 after a blocked extra point attempt. - College Football news