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Big Ten weekend review: Week Eight

Here’s what stood out this past weekend after the conclusion of Big Ten football regular season play.

NCAA FOOTBALL: OCT 03 Iowa at Wisconsin Photo by Patrick S. Blood/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Maryland football was unable to close out its final Big Ten regular season game against Rutgers this past weekend, giving up a late lead and eventually losing, 27-24, in overtime in College Park.

There were just 10 teams in action this weekend in the Big Ten, as the Purdue-Indiana and Michigan-Ohio State matchups were both canceled due to COVID-19.

This past Saturday did not have too many surprises, but there were a few notable storylines to follow in the final weekend of Big Ten play. Here’s what stood out the most this weekend.

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

Big Ten East

Team Conf. Record Overall Record Weekend Outcome
Team Conf. Record Overall Record Weekend Outcome
Ohio State 5-0 5-0 N/A
Indiana 6-1 6-1 N/A
Maryland 2-3 2-3 L, 27-24, Rutgers
Penn State 3-5 3-5 W, 39-24, Michigan State
Rutgers 3-5 3-5 W, 27-24, Maryland
Michigan 2-4 2-4 N/A
Michigan State 2-5 2-5 L, 39-24, Penn State

Big Ten West

Team Conf. Record Overall Record Weekend Outcome
Team Conf. Record Overall Record Weekend Outcome
Northwestern 6-1 6-1 W, 28-10, Illinois
Iowa 6-2 6-2 W, 28-7, Wisconsin
Minnesota 3-3 3-3 W, 24-17, Nebraska
Wisconsin 2-3 2-3 L, 28-7, Iowa
Purdue 2-4 2-4 N/A
Illinois 2-5 2-5 L, 28-10, Northwestern
Nebraska 2-5 2-5 L, 24-17, Minnesota

Biggest Surprise: Rutgers vs Maryland

Saturday’s game against the Scarlet Knights is the one that got away from the Terps.

Maryland led twice late in the game that it was favored by nearly a touchdown, but without starting quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, the Terps were unable to maintain their advantage on the scoreboard as the game came to a thrilling close.

The contest began as an offensive no-show performance from both sides, as Maryland led just 3-0 at halftime. Then, a scoring outburst from both teams in the second half turned the game into a must watch.

Rutgers and Maryland took turns piling up touchdowns, with Rutgers opening the half with a 44-yard rushing touchdown from running back Bo Melton. Maryland’s Jake Funk responded with a 44-yard scamper of his own to recapture the lead for the Terps in the third quarter.

The game was tight in the fourth quarter until a Brian Cobbs’ 52-yard touchdown catch put Maryland in front, 24-21. A last minute Rutgers’ drive resulted in a field goal, which was assisted by a few critical flags on Maryland’s defense, pushed the game into overtime.

The Scarlet Knights were able to outlast the Terps in overtime, and because of Maryland’s self-inflicting wounds, Rutgers came away with the comeback win by a score of 27-24.

The surprising collapse in the fourth quarter was a sour note to end the Terps’ 2020 regular season. Maryland finishes the regular season under .500 with a 2-3 record. The Terps’ two wins came against Minnesota and Penn State. Rutgers ends its Big Ten play with a 3-5 record, after winning two of its last three games to close out the season.

Statement game: Wisconsin vs No. 16 Iowa

Wisconsin’s slow downfall in the national rankings was emphasized by a strong performance by an up-and-coming Iowa team on Saturday.

The Hawkeyes opened the game with two straight field goals. Wisconsin was shut out in the first half, which resulted in a 6-0 lead for Iowa heading into the third quarter. It was the first time in the 2020 season that the Badgers were scoreless through the first two quarters.

The Hawkeyes took a 13-0 lead in the third frame when quarterback Spencer Petras threw a 19 yard touchdown pass to Ihmir Smith-Marsette. After a Wisconsin touchdown broke the shutout bid, Smith-Marsette sealed the game with a 53-yard touchdown from Petras.

Iowa went on to win in statement fashion with a 28-7 victory at home in what was a stellar defensive performance. The win was the Hawkeyes’ sixth straight and they haven’t lost a football game since October 31.

The Hawkeyes’ defense allowed just 225 total offensive yards while forcing two turnovers from the Badgers. Wisconsin was held to just 11 first downs and went just 4-for-18 on third down conversions.

It was a true full game performance from Iowa, as it now sits second in the Big Ten West standings, just behind Northwestern.

The Hawkeyes close the regular season red-hot and finish 6-2. Wisconsin disappointed in 2020 to say the least, completing its campaign with just a 2-3 record.

Upset game: Minnesota vs Nebraska

Two straight weekends of cancellations and 33 missing players this weekend due to COVID-19 would usually point to a recipe for disaster for the Minnesota Golden Gophers heading into the final weekend of Big Ten play.

However, the Golden Gophers were able to provide a formidable performance and overcome their status as a 9.5 point underdogs, albeit the win coming against a weak Nebraska Cornhuskers roster.

Minnesota got off to a hot start, scoring the game’s first 10 points in the first quarter. Running back Mohamed Ibrahim opened the scoring with a 26-yard scamper into Nebraska’s end zone.

After Nebraska crawled its way back into the contest with two straight touchdowns in the second quarter, Minnesota answered back quickly with a score of its own to take a 17-14 lead at half.

The second half started as a stalemate with both teams going scoreless in the third quarter. Then, the Golden Gophers managed to close out the game with an Ibrahim rushing touchdown in the fourth. Minnesota went on to win, 24-17, on the road over Nebraska.

Even though they were missing nearly three dozen players, the Golden Gophers scraped by on Saturday with an impressive upset win on the road.

That ends the regular season for both squads, as Minnesota will finish with a 3-3 record in 2020. Nebraska closes out its slate with a 2-5 record.