Big Ten Roundup: After losing Paterno, Big Ten perfection next to go for Penn State

Rebecca Friedman

Despite an impressive fourth-quarter Buckeyes comeback, Purdue (5-5, 3-3 Big Ten) upset Ohio State in overtime on a touchdown by backup quarterback Robert Marve. The Buckeyes (6-4, 3-3) found the end zone with 1:55 left in regulation to tie the score at 20. Purdue defensive tackle Bruce Gaston blocked the crucial extra point try to send the game into overtime. On the first possession of overtime, the Buckeyes drove to the Boilermakers’ 16 and took the lead with a 33-yard field goal. However, Ohio State was unable to contain Purdue, which scored the winning touchdown on a one-yard run by Marve.

No. 19 Nebraska 17, No. 12 Penn State 14

After a tumultuous week to say the least, Penn State (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten) found itself down 17-0 to Nebraska halfway through the third quarter. The Nittany Lions didn’t quit, rallying to score 14 points, but fell just short of maintaining their spotless Big Ten record. Nebraska (8-2, 4-2) was led by running back Rex Burkhead, who finished with 121 yards rushing and a touchdown. Penn State running back Stepfon Green scored both the Nittany Lions’ touchdowns and led the team in rushing with 71 yards. Even with the loss, Penn State remains atop the Leaders Division, but its lead has been reduced to one game over Wisconsin. Nebraska remains in a two-way tie for second with Michigan in the Legends Division.

No. 16 Wisconsin 42, Minnesota 13

Led by running back Montee Ball and quarterback Russell Wilson, the Badgers (8-2, 4-2 Big Ten) trampled the Golden Gophers (2-8, 1-5). With his two touchdowns on the day, Ball set the conference single-season record for rushing touchdowns. Wilson threw for 178 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. The game was one-sided from the start as the Badgers took a 28-6 lead into the locker room and continued to pile on the points in the second half. Wisconsin compiled 461 total yards as opposed to Minnesota’s 156 and accumulated 29 first downs as opposed to the Golden Gophers’ nine. The Badgers remain in second in the Leaders Division, now just a game behind Penn State.

No. 13 Michigan State 37, Iowa 21

With a key win over Iowa, Michigan State (8-1, 5-2 Big Ten) is in prime position to be the Legends Division representative in the Big Ten title game. The Spartans jumped out early, obtaining a 14-0 lead after 7:23 of play and took a 31-7 lead into the locker room. The Hawkeyes (6-4, 3-3) bounced back in the second half with two late touchdowns but couldn’t rally enough to even scare the Spartans. Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins finished with 260 yards passing and three touchdowns. Iowa running back Marcus Coker was limited to only 57 yards rushing.

No. 22 Michigan 31, Illinois 14

Despite a second half push by Illinois, Michigan (8-2, 4-2 Big Ten) fought to protect its impressive first half performance and maintain its lead. The Wolverines came ready to play, scoring the first 17 points of the game and not allowing the Fighting Illini to cross midfield until there was 1:54 left in the third quarter. Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint led Michigan with 192 yards rushing and a touchdown. Illinois (6-4, 2-4) contained quarterback Denard Robinsion, allowing him only 30 yards rushing, even though he did find the end zone twice on the ground. Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase led Illinois’ second half push with 170 yards passing and a touchdown, but was picked off in the fourth quarter by Michigan cornerback J.T. Floyd, who returned it 43 yards to set up a Wolverines score and give them a conclusive 24-7 lead.

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