By Michael SchlossbergThe Daily Northwestern
Michigan was able to do its share in setting up the highly anticipated No.1-No. 2 showdown next week against Ohio State.
One week after nearly getting caught looking ahead to the big matchup against Ohio State, Michigan made sure it avoided another close call in its 34-3 victory over Indiana.
The Wolverines jumped out to an early 21-3 halftime lead and erased all doubts by scoring 13 more points in the third quarter.
“I think some of the mistakes we made in the Ball State game were helpful to us,” Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. “I thought they focused us, (and) I thought we came in with great intensity.”
Michigan (11-0, 7-0) finally can start focusing on next week’s matchup against Ohio State, in which the winner earns a spot in the national championship game.
Indiana (5-6, 3-4) failed in its second attempt to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 1993. The Hoosiers must win at Purdue next week in order to end the Big Ten’s longest bowl drought.
No. 16 Wisconsin 24, Iowa 21
Filling in for the injured John Stocco, Wisconsin (10-1, 7-1) quarterback Tyler Donovan led Wisconsin to another victory to complete an impressive 7-1 Big Ten season for the Badgers.
Replacing Stocco, who was unable to play with an injured shoulder, Donovan completed 17 of 24 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 61 yards on 13 carries.
“I don’t think you can say enough about a guy starting his first game in the Big Ten finale in a hostile environment,” Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said. “The plays he was able to come up with today were amazing.”
For Wisconsin’s seniors, the game against Iowa (6-5, 2-5) was their final chance to defeat the only Big Ten school no player on the Badgers’ roster ever had defeated.
Iowa now has lost consecutive games at home after winning 27 of its previous 29 games at Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes also sit in eighth place in the Big Ten with just one game remaining.
Penn State 47, Temple 0
With Joe Paterno missing just his second game in his 41 years as Penn State coach, the Nittany Lions (7-4, 4-3) overwhelmed Temple (1-10) in a 47-0 rout.
After undergoing surgery to repair a broken leg and torn ligaments following a sideline collision last week, Paterno watched from home, just one day after being released from the hospital.
While handing over the reins to his assistant coaches, the 79-year-old coach did give his team a pep talk before the game over the phone.
“What really hit home is when he said, ‘Good luck guys, I love you,'” linebacker Paul Posluszny said. “Even though he wasn’t here, he was definitely with us in spirit.”
The only other game Paterno missed was in 1977 after his son was involved in an accident.
Minnesota 31, Michigan State 18
After needing five games to figure it out, Minnesota appears to have discovered the formula for winning games in the Big Ten.
Opening its conference season with five straight losses, the Golden Gophers (2-5, 5-6) since have won their last two games to keep their bowl hopes alive.
Bryan Cupito became Minnesota’s all-time leading passer and threw two second-half touchdowns to help the Golden Gophers pull away for a 31-18 victory over Michigan State (1-6, 4-7).
In his second game since learning he would not be returning as Michigan State’s coach, John L. Smith was unable to guide his team to a victory in his final game at Spartan Stadium.
The Spartans now have lost seven of their last eight games and officially are eliminated from bowl contention.
Purdue 42, illinois 31
After three weeks of sub-par offensive performances, Purdue (7-4, 4-3) looked like its old self on its way to putting up 42 points against Illinois.
Quarterback Curtis Painter rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another as the Boilermakers erased a nine-point third quarter deficit with a 28-point second half performance.
Purdue, which had scored just 20 combined points in its previous three games, racked up nearly 500 yards of total offense.
For llinois (2-9, 1-6), which gave Ohio State its first scare of the season in a seven-point loss a week ago, it was the sixth loss in a row.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Reach Michael Schlossberg at [email protected]