|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 | Week 4
Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11
Big Ten Game of the Week
Ohio State 42 ... Michigan 39
Ohio State won a classic as Troy Smith threw four touchdown passes to four different receivers highlighted by a 39-yard pass to Ted Ginn off a fake for a 21-7 second half lead and an eight-yard strike to Anthony Gonzalez for a 28-14 halftime advantage. Michigan roared back with a stop on OSU's first second half possession to go 60 yards in five plays finished off by the second of Mike Hart's three touchdown runs. The Wolverines pulled within four on a 39-yard Garrett Rivas field goal, but the Buckeyes got their second big touchdown run of the game, the first coming in the first half on a brilliant, spinning 52-yard dash from Chris Wells, on an Antonio Pittman 56-yard dash. Michigan capitalized off a fumble with a short Hart scoring run, but head coach Lloyd Carr chose to kick the extra point rather than go for two allowing OSU to be up by four. With an 11-play, 82-yard drive that took five minutes and was kept alive on a penalty from a helmet-to-helmet hit on a third down misfire, Smith hit Brian Robiskie on a 13-yard touchdown pass for a 42-31 lead. Michigan marched back with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Ecker and the two point conversion, but the Buckeyes recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.
Big Ten Player of the Week
Ohio State QB Troy Smith completed 25 of 41 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions in the win over Michigan
|Ohio State||8||0||305||92||12||0||436||125||Won 12||7||0||5||0|
|Penn St.||5||3||135||117||8||4||270||177||Won 2||6||1||2||3|
|Michigan St.||1||7||148||241||4||8||302||341||Lost 4||2||5||2||3|
Illinois … Going into the off-season on a seven-game losing streak is bad enough, but to get an awful game from Isaiah Williams and only seven first downs against a porous Northwestern defense shows just how much there is to work on. While Williams is an undeniable talent, consistency was a problem throughout the year. If he can just find a way to tune up the arm and make the easy throws, the offense is going to be dangerous.
Indiana … While losing to Purdue is certainly disappointing, and the turnovers and mistakes are certainly not going to sit well this off-season, there's more excitement in Bloomington in several years thanks to Kellen Lewis. The freshman finished up with a brilliant performance, outside of a few errors, running and passing equally well. If there's help around him to spread out the workload, and if the defense can make a few adjustments, this could be a dangerous team next year that no one will want to face. No, it won't challenge for the Big Ten title, but it'll be a tough out.
Iowa … Ugh. A three game losing streak and losses in five of the final six games isn't the way Iowa pictured this season going. Missed plays and dropped passes were the problem against Wisconsin last week, while turnovers were the problem against Minnesota. Drew Tate suffered the ultimate indignity of getting benched for a period, but he came back with his best drive of the game. 2-6 in Big Ten play isn't going to sit well this off-season no matter how the bowl game goes.
Michigan … No matter where you fall on the sure-to-come debate about a rematch with Ohio State, it'll be hard to argue that Michigan isn't the second best team in America. Yes, the offense, especially Mike Hart, did a great job of responding time after time when the Buckeyes appeared to throw the knockout punch, but the defense is going to spend the next several weeks kicking itself for all the missed tackles and the problems in the secondary in the early zone coverages. Lost in all the great days from all the stars was the play of punter Zoltan Mesko, who bombed away for 222 yards and pinned two kicks inside the 20. As disappointing as the loss might be, going to the Rose Bowl, if it's not Glendale, isn't a bad second prize.
Michigan State … MSU closed out the John L. Smith era with a somewhat bizarre, uneven loss to Penn State. QB Brian Hoyer bombed away 61 times leading the offense absolutely nowhere, while the coaching staff abandoned the running game despite getting up 10-0 early and staying close throughout. The run defense didn't show up for the second straight week and the offense failed to capitalize on all the chances, but that's the Smith era in a nutshell.
Minnesota … Talk about having heart, Minnesota looked like a dead and buried team after the 10-9 win over North Dakota State and the 44-0 loss to Ohio State, but it came up with wins over Indiana and Michigan State and blew past Iowa in a nasty rivalry game to become bowl eligible. The defense was non-existent giving up 546 yards, but it made up for the problems with big plays and turnovers. Offensively, the improved play of Bryan Cupito over the last three weeks led the drive to bowl eligibility, while Amir Pinnix stepped up his way to a quiet 1,000-yard season.
Northwestern … The Wildcats got through the season. Considering all the turmoil, to end up with a shockingly easy win over Illinois is exactly what head coach Pat Fitzgerald can use throughout the off-season. A young team needs all the positives it can get, and beating Iowa and Illinois over the last three weeks shows how far things have come. One thing this win proved; when Tyrell Sutton is rolling, the offense controls the game. He needs to be even more of a workhorse next year.
Ohio State … It's on to Glendale. Ohio State got everything Michigan had, but kept coming back with the big plays, at least on offense, when it absolutely needed them. Troy Smith was brilliant in the first half sealing up the Heisman, Ted Ginn had his best game of the season, and the backs came up with brilliant long runs. The defense struggled and the offense had a hard time putting the game away, but that was the number two team in the nation the Buckeyes just beat. How can anyone possibly find fault with cranking out 503 yards of total offense and 42 points on one of the best teams in the nation? Give credit to an offensive line that, once again, had a strong game. When Smith got time, it was a thing of beauty.
Penn State … It wasn't a pretty performance by Penn State, but it came away with the win over Michigan State to finish with a semi-strong eight-win season on the way to an almost certain New Year's Day game. This is a shadow of last year's team with Anthony Morelli still not progressing despite getting a full season of starting experience. He still isn't making all the right throws or the right decisions, and he's not making the players around him better. On the plus side, Tony Hunt closed out a marvelous season with his seventh 100-yard game of the year.
Purdue … It hasn't been a pretty ride by any stretch, but Purdue finished in a tie for fourth place in the Big Ten, although it'll be behind Penn State in the pecking order, and still has a shot at a ten-win season with a win at Hawaii and a bowl win. Part of the trick is beating the team's you're supposed to, and even though the offense was hardly sharp and the defense gave up way too many yards, a rivalry win is a rivalry win. The offense had better gear up for a track meet considering the Hawaii game should see 100 combined points and well over 1,000 yards.
Wisconsin … Fine, so Wisconsin didn't beat anyone with a pulse this season, with the possible exception of Penn State, but 11 wins in the best regular season in team history is still an impressive first go-around for new head coach Bret Bielema. Tyler Donovan got some great work in over the last two games, with a solid performance against Buffalo, to give hope that the offense will be in good hands next year. All the top players are coming back offensively, with the one notable exception being OT Joe Thomas, so the next month-and-a-half should do wonders to get the hype going for next year.
Big Ten Saturday, November 18
12:00 Minnesota 34 ... Iowa 24
12:00 Penn State 17 ... Michigan State 13
12:00 Wisconsin 35 ... Buffalo 3
12:00 Purdue 28 ... Indiana 19
1:00 Northwestern 27 ... Illinois 16
3:30 Ohio State 42 ... Michigan 39
Past Big Ten Games of the Week
Aug. 31 - Northwestern 21 ... Miami University 3
Sept. 9 - Purdue 38 ... Miami University 31 OT
Sept. 16 - Southern Illinois 35 ... Indiana 28
Sept. 23 - Notre Dame 40 ... Michigan State 37
Sept. 30 - Illinois 30 ... Michigan State 20
Oct. 7 - Indiana 34 ... Illinois 32
Oct. 14 - Indiana 31 ... Iowa 28
Oct. 21 - Michigan State 41 ... Northwestern 38
Oct. 28 - Wisconsin 30 ... Illinois 24
Nov. 4 - Michigan 34 ... Ball State 26
Nov. 11 - Wisconsin 24 ... Iowa 21
Nov. 18 - Ohio State 42 ... Michigan 39
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
Sept. 30 - Ohio State QB Troy Smith
Oct. 7 - Penn State RB Tony Hunt
Oct. 14 - Indiana WR James Hardy
Oct. 21 - Michigan State QB Drew Stanton
Oct. 28 - Indiana QB Kellen Lewis and WR James Hardy
Nov. 4 - Minnesota QB Bryan Cupito
Nov. 11 - Wisconsin QB Tyler Donovan
Nov. 18 - Ohio State QB Troy Smith