Big Ten Roundup - Week Four Standings & More

Click on each team for game recaps, thoughts, schedules and more and scroll down for the games, results, players of the week and the conference roundup.

This story originally published on CollegeFootballNews.com
Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Michigan | Michigan State | Minnesota
Northwestern | Ohio State | Penn State | Purdue | Wisconsin
Big Ten Roundup Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3

Big Ten Game of the Week
Notre Dame 40 ... Michigan State 37
With a stunning comeback scoring 19 points in the final 8:18, Notre Dame kept hopes for a BCS slot and a possible national championship alive thanks to two Brady Quinn touchdown passes and a 27-yard interception return for a touchdown from Terrail Lambert with 2:53 to play. Quinn threw five scoring strikes on the day highlighted by a 43-yard play to Jeff Samardzija on fourth down to spark the comeback. Samardzija caught two touchdown passes and Rhema McKnight caught scoring passes from 32 and 14 yards out. Michigan State got out to a 31-14 lead with two Drew Stanton touchdown passes and a 19-yard interception return for a touchdown from Ervin Baldwin, but the offense turned it over three times in the fourth quarter finishing off with a strange interception by Lambert off a ricocheted pass that sat on the back of a Spartan receiver Kerry Reed.

Big Ten Player of the Week
Michigan WR Mario Manningham caught seven passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns in the 27-13 win over Notre Dame
  Conference Overall Home Away
  W L PF PA W L PF PA Str W L W L
Iowa 1 0 24 7 4 0 112 44 Won 4 2 0 2 0
Michigan 1 0 27 13 4 0 142 58 Won 4 3 0 1 0
Ohio St. 1 0 28 6 4 0 124 32 Won 4 3 0 1 0
Purdue 1 0 27 21 4 0 163 115 Won 4 4 0 0 0
Michigan St. 0 0 0 0 3 1 154 100 Lost 1 2 1 1 0
Indiana 0 0 0 0 2 2 98 92 Lost 2 1 2 1 0
Northwestern 0 0 0 0 2 2 73 74 Lost 1 1 1 1 1
Wisconsin 0 1 13 27 3 1 96 51 Lost 1 2 0 1 1
Minnesota 0 1 21 27 2 2 144 69 Lost 1 1 0 1 2
Penn St. 0 1 6 28 2 2 94 88 Lost 1 2 0 0 2
Illinois 0 1 7 24 1 3 70 105 Lost 3 1 2 0 1

Conference Roundup
Illinois … Why is Tim Brasic getting any work? Juice Williams couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat against Iowa, but he has the talent and the arm, and now he needs as much experience as possible in all situations, good and bad. Illinois isn't going anywhere this year, and it needs to get the franchise the work. However, that's going to be tough to do if Juice completes nine of 32 passes again. The offense moved the ball as well as it has all year against any D-I team, but interceptions, four of them, killed any hopes of staying with the Hawkeyes. The overall talent level just isn't there.
Indiana … Where's the running game? IU has generated absolutely nothing on the ground over the last few weeks thanks to lousy play from the offensive line. Kellen Lewis was terrible for the second straight week meaning the attack has to rely on Blake Powers to find some of the magic he had at the beginning of last year when he was bombing away. The Hoosiers have the receivers, and now they have to use them to start throwing some sort of a scare into opposing defenses. Expect the ground game to struggle to gain 50 yards next week against Wisconsin.
Iowa … Iowa went through the motions against Illinois and won with ease, but there has to be some concern over how many yards the D allowed to an anemic offense. Granted, Iowa came up with four interceptions, but the third down defense wasn't all that tight and there wasn't nearly enough offense in the second half. The Hawkeyes might be 4-0, but they're not playing nearly well enough to beat Ohio State next week. Maybe the team is waiting to turn it on? As long as Drew Tate is efficient, Iowa has a shot.
Michigan … The Michigan run defense is playing at a national title level. Wisconsin tried to establish the run right off the bat, but couldn't get anything going and was held to 12 yards on the day. Chad Henne threw three interceptions, two of them on lousy deep throws, but with the way the D was playing, he could afford to take a few chances. Wisconsin has a fantastic defense, but converting third downs is still a big issue for the Wolverines after succeeding on a mere two of 13 chances.
Michigan State … Fortunately, Michigan State as Illinois up next week. The loss to Notre Dame wasn't in Big Ten play, and it doesn't signal the end to the team's season. Now the team has to learn from this epic choke and figure out what it did wrong. Instead of being "same old Michigan State," it has to learn from this. It lost its momentum in the second half against the Irish by not staying aggressive and losing the edge. Instead of playing like it was behind and making plays, it played not to lose. Drew Stanton is a much better quarterback than he played on Saturday night, and he still has chances to pull off huge wins with games against Michigan and Ohio State ahead.
Minnesota … Minnesota needs to prove it can come through in the clutch. With a chance to start the Big Ten season with a nice road win at Purdue, the defense couldn't come up with a stop when it absolutely needed one, and the offense couldn't crank out enough first downs on the final drive. Bryan Cupito (not counting the Temple game) has been a bit too inconsistent considering he's getting help from the running game. Minnesota will win more than its share of games when Amir Pinnix is cranking out yards in chunks, but it needs more big pass plays to upset Michigan next week.
Northwestern … Mike Kafka ran extremely well against Nevada, but he has to find some semblance of consistency in the passing game. The three interceptions proved to be a killer, and the team isn't anywhere near good enough to overcome five turnovers to win. The defense wasn't bad, and it got to Nevada QB Jeff Rowe four times, but it couldn't slow down the short to midrange Wolf Pack passing game. The D will have to come up with a few turnovers to battle on the road against Penn State and Wisconsin over the next few weeks.
Ohio State … It wasn't Ohio State's best game, and the run defense was surprisingly soft against Penn State, but team came up with the plays when it needed to in the hard-fought win. While Troy Smith struggled to get into any sort of a rhythm, Antonio Pittman kept on chugging averaging 5.5 yards per carry and providing some semblance of consistency to the attack. Where was Ted Ginn? He was all but erased by the Nittany Lions from the game plan, but he wasn't bad returning punts. He has to have the ball in his hands more than twice on offense.
Penn State
… It might not seem fair to Anthony Morelli, but Penn State would've beaten Ohio State with a more experienced steadier quarterback. The defense kept the high-powered Buckeye offense under wraps, and RB Tony Hunt had a magnificent game averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Morelli played like a rookie starter in a huge game and did next to nothing to get the ball down the field. Where's Derrick Williams? Three catches for 22 yards isn't going to get it done against a team as good as Ohio State. The coaching staff has to do more to get the ball in his hands.
Purdue … Purdue's running game came through with a nice performance with Jaycen Taylor and Kory Sheets keeping the Minnesota defense on its heels, but it was the steady play of QB Curtis Painter that was the difference. He made good decisions and he didn't make mistakes even though the Gophers did everything possible to take away Dorien Bryant. The one concern is the third down conversion percentage succeeding on only three of ten chances. That has to improve to have any shot against Notre Dame next week.
Wisconsin … Wisconsin's lack of a vertical passing game, or even the threat of one, proved costly against Michigan. It was obvious the Wolverines didn't worry one bit about the Badger receivers and put everyone up to stuff P.J. Hill and the running game. For Wisconsin to beat the better teams, especially if the passing game is clicking, everything else has to work. The D did a great job of keeping the game close, but the special teams were way too shaky, especially in the punting game. The Badgers needed several breaks, and didn't get them.

  Friday, September 22

8:00 PM

Nevada 31 ... Northwestern 21
CFN Prediction: Nev. 27-14   Nev -7.5

  Saturday, September 23

12:00 PM

Michigan 27 ... Wisconsin 13
CFN Prediction: Mich. 23-10   UM -14.5

12:00 PM

Iowa 24 ... at Illinois 7
CFN Prediction: Iowa 38-16   Iowa -21.5

12:00 PM

Purdue 27 ... Minnesota 21
CFN Prediction: Minn. 23-20   Minn. -2.5

3:30 PM

Ohio State 28 ... Penn State 6
CFN Prediction: OSU 26-13   OSU -16.5

3:30 PM

Connecticut 14 ... at Indiana 7
CFN Prediction: Conn. 27-23   IU -2.5

8:00 PM

Notre Dame 40 ... at Michigan State 37
CFN Prediction: ND 34-27   ND -4.5

Past Big Ten Games of the Week
Aug. 31 - Northwestern 21 ... Miami University 3
Sept. 9 - Purdue 38 ... Miami 31 OT
Sept. 16 - Southern Illinois 35 ... Indiana 28
Sept. 23 - Notre Dame 40 ... Michigan State 37

Past Big Ten Players of the Week
Sept. 3 - Northwestern QB Mike Kafka
Sept. 9 - Michigan State WR Matt Trannon
Sept. 16 - Michigan WR Mario Manningham
Sept. 23 - Michigan WR Mario Manningham


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