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Big Ten weekend review: Week 9

One team threw for 26 yards, another ran for 323 — both won on Saturday.

Landgrantholyland.com

The losing streak has hit three for Maryland football, which was absolutely eviscerated by Minnesota, 52-10, in Minneapolis on Saturday.

For the first time in a month, every single team in the Big Ten was in action, though two teams — Michigan and Rutgers — had nonconference matchups.

Although there weren’t too many surprises from Saturday’s slate, there were still some notable moments. Here’s what stood out the most:

Big Ten East

Team Conf. Record Overall Record Weekend Outcome
Team Conf. Record Overall Record Weekend Outcome
Ohio State 7-0 10-0 W, 56-21, Rutgers
Penn State 6-1 9-1 W, 34-27, Indiana
Michigan 5-2 8-2 W, 44-10, Michigan State
Indiana 4-3 7-3 L, 34-27, Penn State
Michigan State 2-5 4-6 L, 44-10, Michigan
Maryland 1-6 3-7 Bye
Rutgers 0-7 2-8 L, 56-21, Ohio State

Big Ten West

Team Conf. Record Overall Record Weekend Outcome
Team Conf. Record Overall Record Weekend Outcome
Minnesota 6-1 9-1 L, 23-19, Iowa
Wisconsin 5-2 8-2 W, 37-21, Nebraska
Iowa 4-3 7-3 W, 23-19, Minnesota
Illinois 4-3 6-4 Bye
Purdue 3-4 4-6 Bye
Nebraska 2-5 4-6 L, 37-21, Wisconsin
Northwestern 0-7 2-8 W, 45-6, UMass

Biggest Surprise: No. 8 Notre Dame vs No. 19 Michigan

Maybe the Wolverines aren’t done just yet.

Two early-season losses for Michigan took away a bit of the glamour of Saturday’s night’s top-25 showdown, but it was still a highly anticipated battle between two perennial powerhouses.

However, Notre Dame never truly arrived, gaining just 52 yards of total offense in the first half as the Wolverines jumped out to a 17-0 lead by halftime.

The Fighting Irish scored a touchdown less than 10 minutes into the third quarter, cutting their deficit to 10 points, but Michigan went on to score 28 points unanswered over the ensuing 16 minutes to blow them out of the water, ultimately holding on for a 45-14 victory.

The Wolverines’ passing attack wasn’t utilized often, as the team attempted just 14 passes on the night — though three of those went for scores. But the ground game was more than enough to lead to a resounding victory, gaining 323 sack-adjusted yards on 55 attempts with three touchdowns.

Michigan may be a distant third in the Big Ten pecking order behind Ohio State and Penn State, but the Wolverines showed they can still hang around with great teams.

Statement game: No. 13 Wisconsin vs No. 3 Ohio State

Is anyone going to stop Ohio State?

Now, the Buckeyes were two-touchdown favorites on Saturday in Columbus, but Wisconsin was expected to put up some semblance of a fight against the Buckeyes. That simply did not happen.

Ohio State thoroughly dominated the Badgers en route to a 38-7 victory, led by Chase Young and its vaunted defense. The presumptive No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft couldn’t be stopped, as he picked up six tackles, five tackles for loss, four sacks and two forced fumbles, becoming a one-man wrecking crew who completely shut down Wisconsin’s offense.

On the other side of the football, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields wasn’t otherworldly, completing just 12-of-22 passes for 167 yards and a pair of touchdowns. But as he’s done all season long, running back J.K. Dobbins led the offense, racking up 221 all-purpose yards on 23 touches (9.6 yards per touch) and finding the endzone twice.

Ohio State has four games left: two easy matchups — Maryland and Rutgers — and a pair of top-25 battles — Penn State and Michigan. The final two present a legitimate challenge, but if the Buckeyes continues to play at this high of a level, it’s hard to imagine anyone taking them down until the postseason.

Upset game: Illinois vs Purdue

The Fighting Illini are becoming regulars in this spot. Just one week after taking down then-No. 6 Wisconsin, Illinois has pulled off another upset.

Now, this victory over Purdue wasn’t in the same stratosphere as the stunner over the Badgers — the Illini were mere 9.5-point underdogs at kickoff on Saturday, compared to 29.5 last week — but it was another winning weekend for the team from Urbana-Champaign.

Crazily enough, Illinois threw for just 26 yards against the Boilermakers, though there were only seven pass attempts on the afternoon. In a rain-heavy game, the Illini relied on their running attack, which produced 251 sack-adjusted yards on 52 attempts and two touchdowns, the second of which came from quarterback Brandon Peters.

Thanks to a pick-six in the second quarter, Illinois got out to a sizable lead early and never looked back, amassing a 24-0 advantage by the end of the third. Purdue had a touchdown late to make the final score more respectable, but it was too little too late in the team’s 24-6 defeat.