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Big Ten weekend review: Week Four

The Terps win again, and a few mid-tier Big Ten teams fell.

Wisconsin v Notre Dame Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It was quite the weekend in the Big Ten, to say the least.

Maryland football kept it rolling and improved to 4-0 for the first time since 2016 with a 37-16 win over Kent State on Saturday afternoon. The offense bounced back in a big way after a 20-point performance against Illinois on Sept. 17.

Junior quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was spectacular yet again, throwing for 384 yards and three touchdowns. The Terps are heading into next weekend on fire as they prepare for their biggest game of the season to date, as they are taking on Iowa on Friday night in College Park.

Let’s take a look at how the Big Ten fared in the fourth week.

*Rankings are from the time that the games were played, not this week’s AP Top 25.

Big Ten East

Team Conf. Record Overall Weekend Outcome
Team Conf. Record Overall Weekend Outcome
Michigan State 2-0 4-0 W, 23-20 (OT), Nebraska
Maryland 1-0 4-0 W, 37-16, Kent State
Michigan 1-0 4-0 W, 20-13, Rutgers
Penn State 1-0 4-0 W, 38-17, Villanova
Ohio State 1-0 3-1 W, 59-7, Akron
Rutgers 0-1 3-1 L, 20-13, Michigan
Indiana 0-1 2-2 W, 33-31, Western Kentucky

Big Ten West

Team Conf. Record Overall Record Weekend Outcome
Team Conf. Record Overall Record Weekend Outcome
Iowa 1-0 4-0 W, Colorado State, 24-14
Purdue 1-0 3-1 W, 13-9, Illinois
Illinois 1-2 1-4 L, 13-9, Purdue
Minnesota 0-1 2-2 L, 14-10, Bowling Green
Northwestern 0-1 2-2 W, 35-6, Ohio
Wisconsin 0-1 1-2 L, 41-13, Notre Dame
Nebraska 0-2 2-3 L, 23-20 (OT), Michigan State

Upset game: Bowling Green vs. Minnesota

Bowling Green came into this matchup as 31-point underdogs and came away with a shocking win, taking down Minnesota 14-10 in Minneapolis.

This one of course comes as a major surprise, especially because Minnesota entered this game on a hot streak after it took down the likes of Miami University in Ohio and Colorado in back-to-back weeks.

The Golden Gophers failed to establish anything offensively against the Falcons on Saturday, though. Quarterback Tanner Morgan had an inefficient start, completing five of his 13 attempted passes for 59 yards and two interceptions. Running back Treyson Potts was the only bright spot for Minnesota, rushing 27 times for 141 yards.

Bowling Green wasn’t all that impressive on offense either, but it still managed to pull off the upset. Quarterback Matt McDonald found the end zone twice with his feet and the defense stepped up to hold Minnesota to just 10 points. McDonald only completed 19-of-35 passes for 170 yards and one interception, but the 14 points that he helped produced for Bowling Green were enough to hold off the Golden Gophers.

This was a sloppy game from a Minnesota team that had high hopes coming into the season. Bowling Green, on the other hand, moves to 2-2 as it picked up one of its biggest wins in program history.

Surprise game: No. 12 Notre Dame vs. No. 18 Wisconsin

No. 12 Notre Dame took on No. 18 Wisconsin at Soldier Field in the early slate of games on Saturday. The game got off to a slow start and Notre Dame was able to pull away in the second half, thrashing Wisconsin 41-13.

Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz was subpar, throwing a total of four interceptions, including two that were returned for touchdowns by the defense. Mertz completed just 18-of-41 passes and did not show much consistency all game. Mertz also fumbled on a crucial fourth-quarter drive to seal the deal. The fumble led to another touchdown for the Fighting Irish, as backup quarterback Drew Pyne, who replaced starting quarterback Jack Coan after he left with an injury, found wideout Kevin Austin Jr. for a 16-yard touchdown to give Notre Dame a 24-13 lead.

Austin Jr. finished the day as Notre Dame’s leading receiver, hauling in six catches for 76 yards and touchdowns. Pyne looked excellent during his time on the field, throwing for 81 yards and a touchdown on just eight pass attempts.

Mertz then went on to finish off the Wisconsin loss with back-to-back interceptions that the defense both returned for touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The final score makes it seem like Notre Dame dominated, but the game was 10-10 after three quarters. Notre Dame scored 31 points in the final frame, with 14 of them gifted from Mertz’s mistakes.

Coan finished the game completing 15-of-29 passes for 158 yards and one touchdown before leaving the game. Pyne, a former four-star recruit, was sharp and it’ll be interesting to see if he gets the opportunity to get more reps under center.

For Wisconsin, it’s clear that this loss stems from Mertz. The Badgers have some serious questions to answer as they drop to 1-2 on the season. Notre Dame moves to 4-0 and will likely find itself moving up in the AP Top 25 poll soon.

Statement game: Nebraska vs. No. 20 Michigan State

Nebraska came into this matchup with No. 20 Michigan State sitting at 2-2 on the season. That being said, the Cornhuskers have played better as of late, which made this a potential trap game for the perfect 3-0 Spartans.

After a slow first quarter, Michigan State jumped out to a 7-0 lead after quarterback Payton Thorne found wide receiver Jayden Reed for a 35-yard touchdown. Thorne ended the day with 183 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

After both teams traded field goals, Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez ran it into the end zone from 12-yards out to tie the game 7-7 in the second quarter. Martinez threw for 242 yards and one pick on the day but added 59 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The dual-threat quarterback showed his great ability to get outside the pocket and make something out of nothing.

Martinez’s second score of the day came on a read-option to give Nebraska a 20-13 lead with seven and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter. After the Spartans’ offense couldn’t answer, the Michigan State defense forced a three-and-out and a Nebraska punt. With four minutes left in the game, Michigan State’s Reed answered the bell yet again, returning the punt 62 yards for a Spartans touchdown, his second of the game. The game headed to overtime tied 20-20.

On the first possession of overtime, Michigan State defensive back Chester Kimbrough jumped a slant route and picked off Martinez, setting the Spartans up for the game-winning field goal. Kicker Matt Coghlin connected on the 21-yard field goal to keep Michigan State undefeated. Nebraska now falls to 2-3 after back-to-back hard-fought losses against Oklahoma last week and now Michigan State.