|This story originally published on CollegeFootballNews.com|
2011 Big Ten - Week 9
Leaders Illinois | Indiana | Ohio State | Penn State | Purdue | Wisconsin
Legends Iowa | Michigan | Michigan State | Minnesota | Nebraska
Big 12 Roundups Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6
Week 7 | Week 8
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Week 9 Game Recaps
Michigan State at Nebraska
Purdue at Michigan
Northwestern at Indiana
Iowa at Minnesota
Illinois at Penn State
Wisconsin at Ohio State
|Big Ten Standings|
|Ohio St||2||2||5||3Ohio St|
|Players of the Week
9/3 LB Brandon Herron, Michigan
9/10 QB Denard Robinson, Michigan
9/17 QB James Vandenberg, Iowa
9/24 QB Denard Robinson, Michigan
10/1 QB Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
10/8 QB Taylor Martinez, Neb
10/15 RB Edwin Baker, MSU
10/22 QB Kirk Cousins, MSU
10/29 RB Rex Burkhead, Nebraska
Games of the Week
9/3 at Purdue 27 … Middle Tennessee 24
9/10 Michigan 35 ... Notre Dame 31
9/17 at Iowa 31 … Pitt 27
9/24 at Illinois 23 … Western Michigan 20
10/1 at Illinois 38 … Northwestern 35
10/8 at Nebraska 34 … Ohio State 27
10/15 at Michigan State 28 … Michigan 14
10/22 at Michigan State 37, Wisconsin 31
10/29 at Ohio State 33 … Wisconsin 29
Nebraska RB Rex Burkhead ran 35 times for 130 yards and two scores, and caught a pass for a 27-yard score in the win over Michigan State.
Three Best Games of the Week
1. at Ohio State 33 … Wisconsin 29
2. at Penn State 10 … Illinois 7
3. at Minnesota 22 … Iowa 21
Illinois ... at Penn State 10 … Illinois 7 … Now the breaks aren’t coming Illinois’ way. When Derek Dimke is hitting the upright on a game-tying field goal, things aren’t going well, but the team needs to start making its own breaks. All three games on the recent losing streak were winnable, but the offense can’t put points on the board. A.J. Jenkins was held in check, and while the running game was fine against the tremendous Nittany Lion defense, it didn’t get into the end zone and didn’t lead the way to enough points. The defense was outstanding, with Jonathan Brown coming up with another great game with 11 tackles, but it wasn’t enough. With 28 points in the last three games, it’s time to turn it on with Michigan and Wisconsin up next.
Indiana ... Northwestern 59 … at Indiana 38 … The Hoosier defense is getting worse. Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Northwestern combined for 204 points over the last four games, and now comes the Ohio State running game. IU couldn’t tackle against the miserable Northwestern running game, and it didn’t generate any pressure on Dan Persa; the Wildcat passing attack did whatever it wanted. On the plus side, Tre Roberson was good, running for 121 yards and a score and throwing for 169, and Stephen Houston tore off 151 yards and two scores, but they didn’t get any help from the defense. Call this an ongoing step back to potentially leap forward. The Hoosiers are playing several true freshman and other untested young players, and they’re taking their lumps while the coaching staff is getting a look to see who can play.
Iowa ... at Minnesota 22 … Iowa 21 … Uhhhh, Iowa. What was that? Just when it seemed like the Hawkeyes were going to make a move in the Legends, with home games against Michigan and Michigan State up next, they came up with this bizarre brain cramp. Marcus Coker was amazing, running 32 times for 252 yards and two scores, and James Vanderberg wasn’t bad, but the offense stalled way too often and the defense was stunningly mediocre against the normally non-existent Gopher ground game. James Morris made 14 tackles, but the run defense was too soft in the fourth quarter. Was this just an aberration or are the Hawkeyes this mediocre? It was probably a little of both, but the season can turn around quickly by beating the Wolverines. To do that, though, the linebackers will have to handle Denard Robinson better than they dealt with MarQueis Gray.
Michigan ... at Michigan 36 … Purdue 14 … Michigan controlled the game with its running attack, and Purdue didn’t have a chance. It looked like it might be a long day after Purdue scored on its opening drive, and then Fitzgerald Toussaint and Denard Robinson took over, with Toussaint running for 170 yards and two touchdowns including a brilliant 59-yarder late in the third quarter to put the game away. This is how it’s supposed to work for a team with a limited downfield passing game. Run the ball, beat people up with the defense, and control the game for an easy win. The Wolverines picked it back up after the loss to Michigan State two weeks ago, but now it’s time to come up with a big win at Iowa in what should be a Legends elimination game.
Michigan State ... at Nebraska 24 … Michigan State 3 … The Spartans looked dead. After the emotional games against Michigan and Wisconsin, MSU didn’t have the same bounce and it wasn’t nearly effective enough on either side of the ball. The defense only gave up 270 yards, but the offense couldn’t get anything going. Kirk Cousins was under pressure the entire game against a Nebraska defensive front that hadn’t done anything all year to get to the quarterback. B.J. Cunningham didn’t catch a pass, and the ground game only finished with 101 yards. Call this an aberration – the team is much better than this – and getting Minnesota next week at home should ease the pain before a huge game at Iowa.
Minnesota ... at Minnesota 22 … Iowa 21 … That’s the MarQueis Gray the team was hoping for. The defense couldn’t tackle Marcus Coker, and it took a few chances to pull off the upset, but for a Gopher team in the midst of a miserable season, a second straight win over Iowa is a really big deal. Gray was effective throwing the ball, completing 11-of-17 passes for 193 yards and a score, and he ran for 62 yards and the key score, playing under control and in command. The offensive line played its finest game of the year doing a strong job for the running game and giving Gray time to work. The defense might have stunk, but it kept the deep passes to a minimum and kept the game close so Gray could pull it out. This was Minnesota’s bowl game. Reality will return with Michigan State and Wisconsin up next, but no matter what happens the rest of the way, Jerry Kill has his first big win.
Nebraska ... at Nebraska 24 … Michigan State 3 … Nebraska pitched a nearly perfect offensive game. Coordinator Tim Beck and the coaching staff were always one step ahead of the Spartans, and while the 270 yards were anything special, the running game was effective and Taylor Martinez was terrific throwing the ball. While he missed a few wide open targets, including Kyler Reed in the end zone, he did enough to take advantage of an MSU secondary selling out against the run. This was the one win the team had to have to take control of the Legends race, and while there are some big games ahead, this was the one that proved the Ohio State win wasn’t a fluke and showed that this really might be the division’s team to beat.
Northwestern ... Northwestern 59 … at Indiana 38 … Northwestern needed this. It might have only been against Indiana, but the offense finally started to blow up with Dan Persa coming up with a brilliant game, completing 16-of-20 passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns, while running for 41 more, and Kain Colter completing two passes for two touchdowns. Drake Dunsmore was unstoppable, catching seven passes for 112 yards and four scores in an onslaught that’s been way overdue. Finally, finally, there was a running game with 317 yards and three scores. The defense is never going to be a rock, but it didn’t need to be this week. The trip to Nebraska next week won’t be like playing in Bloomington.
Ohio State ... at Ohio State 33 … Wisconsin 29 … Be careful, Ohio State; there’s still lots and lots of work to do. Even after this big win, there’s still no margin for error, needing to win out to likely win the Leaders, but for now, this was a breakthrough moment when Braxton Miller looked like a playmaker to get truly excited about – the Badgers couldn’t tackle him – while the return of Dan Herron at home made all the difference for an offense that needs more playmakers. The lines beat up the Badgers with John Simon getting his mail sent to the UW backfield, but for all the great things OSU did and for all the positives, it took an epic play by Miller to pull the win out of the fire after the D broke down. Now the division is there for the taking. Win out, hope for a Penn State loss to Wisconsin or Nebraska, and the Leaders title can be a phenomenal reward after such a tough year.
Penn State ... at Penn State 10 … Illinois 7 … The team just finds a way. The offense is sputtering, but the defense – led by 19 carries from Gerald Hodges - continues to be fantastic. The passing game stinks, but Silas Redd continues to be the best back in the Big Ten behind Wisconsin’s Montee Ball. Temple, Indiana, Iowa, Purdue; the Nittany Lions make a habit out of coming up with close wins by coming up with the big plays the other team doesn’t. It happened again, with the offense getting a generous pass interference call, and the defense getting a gift from the gods on the missed field goal that went off the upright. 8-1 is nice, but now comes the reality check with Nebraska, Ohio State, and Wisconsin, and 9-fo-28 passing isn’t going to get it done. Once again, the coaching staff tries to get Rob Bolden in, and once again, Matt McGloin looks better despite completing just 9-of-24 passes.
Purdue ... at Michigan 36 … Purdue 14 … A step slow on defense, and with the back seven taking too many poor angles, Michigan ran wild with big dash after big dash. The Boilermaker offense did a nice job of hitting the home run early on a 48-yard Gary Bush touchdown catch, but the attack was shut down cold from then on. The Wolverines never gave Purdue a chance to get into any sort of a groove, but penalties and misfires on third downs didn’t help the cause. To have any chance against Wisconsin next week, the offense has to do a far better job of controlling the ball and have to find some sort of a running game that wasn’t there in Ann Arbor.
Wisconsin ... at Ohio State 33 … Wisconsin 29 … Wisconsin, keep your head up; you can still win the Big Ten title. Win out, hope for an Ohio State loss, and hope for a Penn State loss to OSU or Nebraska, and the Rose Bowl is still on the table. However, the team has to get back to being more physical after getting whipped by the Buckeye lines. The defense couldn’t tackle Braxton Miller or Dan Herron – but Mike Taylor tried, with 22 tackles – and the offense sputtered and coughed too much in the middle of the game. Getting a punt blocked for a second straight week was inexcusable, and giving up a big play deep to a wide open Devin Smith is unforgiveable. With Purdue and Minnesota up next, there’s time to right the ship before going to Illinois and Penn State, and to get back on track the O line has to start playing like the Wisconsin O line again.
Saturday, October 29
Northwestern 59 ... at Indiana 38
- Game Recap & Analysis
CFN Prediction: Northwestern 42-30
Line: Northwestern -8.5 O/U: 59
at Michigan 36 ... Purdue 14
- Game Recap & Analysis
CFN Prediction: Michigan 34-17
Line: Michigan -14 O/U: 52.5
Minnesota 22 ... at Iowa 21
- Game Recap & Analysis
CFN Prediction: Iowa 44-17
Line: Iowa -16 O/U: 54.5
at Nebraska 24 ... Michigan State 3
- Game Recap & Analysis
CFN Prediction: Michigan State 27-17
Line: Nebraska -4 O/U: 49.5
at Penn State 10 ... Illinois 7
- Game Recap & Analysis
CFN Prediction: Penn State 23-17
Line: Penn State -5 O/U: 40.5
at Ohio State 33 ... Wisconsin 29
- Game Recap & Analysis
CFN Prediction: Wisconsin 31-13
Line: Wisconsin -7.5 O/U: 50.5