Around The Big Ten, Week Ten — Defense Optional
And you thought high-scoring overtime games were only for the SEC…
Michigan wins triple-overtime thriller, topples Illinois, 67-65
Last week, I made mention that this Illinois team still does not have an identity, you never know who is going to show up or when they are going to make a statement. This week, it looked as though they took on the identity of the Wolverines as their defense decided to stay on fall break in the highest-scoring game in Big Ten history. Both starting quarterbacks had big games: Illinois freshman Nathan Scheelhaase passed for 211 yards and ran for another 101 yards while Denard Robinson passed for 302 yards and three touchdowns. But it was former starter and current enigma Tate Forcier who carried Michigan to the win, replacing Robinson in the fourth quarter after he was injured.
Michigan is now bowl-eligible for the first time since 2007, and Rich Rod may be off the hot seat for at least this week. Illinois will continue to search for its sixth win this weekend when it travels to Minnesota to take on the not-so-Golden Gophers.
Iowa survives and advances in the Big Ten race by rallying over Indiana, 18-13
With four teams being tied at the top of the Big Ten standings, a loss by any of those teams would sufficiently drop them out of the race. Iowa was able to keep its conference championship dreams alive by coming back late against an Indiana team who hasn’t won a Big Ten game in over a year. Ricky Stanzi led a late Hawkeye charge in the game’s final minutes, finishing it off with a 52-yard touchdown pass to Marvin McNutt with under three minutes left to thwart the Hoosier upset attempt. I was very close to giving Indiana the Minnesota treatment, but with this performance, they’ll stay on my writing list for at least another week.
Wisconsin handles business against Purdue, wins decisively, 34-13
While I’m too late to put anything on the ballot for this past election, I think it should be made illegal for one college team to have the stable of running backs that Wisconsin has. With starter John Clay banged up and backup James White out with a knee injury, third-stringer Monte Ball came in and promptly tore up the Purdue defense for 127 yards and two touchdowns as the Badgers kept doing what they need to do to have a shot to grab the Big Ten Championship.
Michigan State over Minnesota, 31-8
Once again, I refuse comment on this abomination of a team.