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Big Ten weekend review: Week 11

There were no surprises this week — including Maryland getting blown out by Ohio State.

Landgrantholyland.com

Yes, Saturday actually happened. Maryland football was completely decimated by Ohio State in Columbus, losing 73-14, and the Terps have now lost five straight games.

The rest of the Big Ten also had an eventful weekend, as two undefeated teams squared off and every non-Maryland game was decided by one score. However, four conference members — Michigan, Indiana, Nebraska and Rutgers — were on a bye week.

In case you were otherwise engaged on Saturday — or were so traumatized by the Terps’ loss that you suppressed all memory of what transpired — here’s what went down across the Big Ten.

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: N/A

There were two surprises in the Big Ten this weekend, but those are better suited down below. As for the other three games, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin were all expected to win, though the Badgers let Iowa stick around until the end.

Statement game: No. 4 Penn State vs No. 17 Minnesota

Entering Saturday, these teams had identical 8-0 records on the season. There was one main difference between them, however — Penn State had quality wins.

The Nittany Lions had won games over then-No. 17 Iowa, then-No. 16 Michigan and Michigan State before its Week 10 bye, while Minnesota’s toughest bout of the year was against Illinois on Oct. 5.

That key discrepancy led to the Golden Gophers not getting much respect coming into the game. In the battle for the Governor’s Victory Bell, Minnesota was a touchdown underdog, even with the action being played in Minneapolis.

However, the Golden Gophers put all doubt to rest. They took a 14-7 lead late in the first quarter and never looked back, as P.J. Fleck’s team never trailed for a second. Quarterback Tanner Morgan was excellent, completing 18 of his 20 pass attempts for 339 yards and three touchdowns, and receivers Rashod Bateman and Tyler Johnson racked up 14 catches for 307 yards and two scores combined.

Down 31-26 with 2:40 on the clock, Nittany Lion quarterback Sean Clifford and the Penn State offense had a chance to put together a game-winning drive. However, all hope was lost when Clifford threw an interception — his third of the day — in the end zone with a minute remaining.

Minnesota’s schedule doesn’t let up, as No. 23 Iowa and No. 15 Wisconsin remain on the regular season slate. And if the Golden Gophers run the table through November, a potential Big Ten Championship Game against Ohio State would loom in the distance.

But Fleck and Co. proved they belong in the national spotlight, and Minnesota could find itself in playoff contention as the season rolls on.

Upset game: Illinois vs Michigan State

The Fighting Illini haven’t had a winning season since 2011, and entering the 2019 campaign, head coach Lovie Smith had amassed a 9-27 record. Things weren’t bright in Urbana-Champaign.

But he’s put together a remarkable turnaround with Illinois, and that carried over into Saturday’s game against Michigan State.

The Illini were 15-point underdogs, and in the second quarter, they found themselves down a whopping 25 points to the Spartans. And entering the fourth quarter, they trailed 31-10.

Then things got crazy. Brandon Peters threw an 83-yard touchdown to Josh Imatorbhebhe on the first play of the period.

Down seven points with under five minutes to go, Illinois needed its defense to make a play. And it did just that.

A missed extra point and a Michigan State field goal with just over three minutes to go meant Illinois needed a touchdown to win the game. A field goal wouldn’t help. And with under 20 seconds remaining, Peters pulled off the miracle.