KEEP YOUR FRENEMIES CLOSER: BIG TEN WEEK 13

By Adam Jacobi on November 27, 2017 at 8:05 am
Dwayne Haskins
© Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
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Some teams played hard, some teams played because they had to.

NO. 22 NORTHWESTERN 42, ILLINOIS 7

Northwestern finished off a 7-game winning streak — second best in the Big Ten behind undefeated Wisconsin — and erased Illinois in the Hat Game. The Illini defense hung tough early, and the score was even 7-0 Illinois at the end of the first quarter. But that Illinois offense is just plain putrid, and Lovie Smith is going to have to put in a lot of work developing whoever his starting QB is; Cam Thomas was just 14-for-31 for 139 yards and two picks in this one. Yes, Northwestern's defense can play, but yikes.

PURDUE 31, INDIANA 24

This was the only Big Ten game within single digits, but it was never in doubt. Purdue scored two touchdowns late in the first half — one on a nasty catch by Anthony Mahoungou, who is still a bad man — and the Boilermakers led by as many as 21 before two late, inconsequential Indiana TDs. With the win, Purdue locks up its first bowl bid since the 2012 season (a hilarious mismatch against Oklahoma State in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, as you undoubtedly remember). 

NO. 10 PENN STATE 66, MARYLAND 3

Max Bortenschlager deserved better than this. Penn State rushed for 286 yards, threw for 248 more, and was never challenged by the Terps in any way. At 10-2 (7-2), PSU's an easy, deserving pick for a New Year's Six bowl. Meanwhile it'll be interesting to see what Maryland looks like next season, provided a respite from injuries and another year under D.J. Durkin. The juice has not been excessive at Maryland for several weeks now. We need excessive juice. 

NO. 9 OHIO STATE 31, MICHIGAN 20

Obviously the most-hyped game of the week, and this one absolutely delivered. Michigan took an early 14-0 lead in front of its hometown fans, and OSU never led until late in the third quarter — led by Dwayne Haskins at QB, who stepped in for an injured J.T. Barrett. Urban Meyer then reported that a rogue cameraman had hurt Barrett's leg prior to the game, which is something that sounds like a fake joke thing we would write but we promise is true. The Big Ten is now set for an Ohio State-Wisconsin title game, which should be immensely entertaining. If Ohio State wins, which is entirely plausible, do you put them in the College Football Playoff? 

NO. 16 MICHIGAN STATE 40, RUTGERS 7

This was, we've been told, a college football game that took place. End transmission.

NO. 5 WISCONSIN 31, MINNESOTA 0

There's less question about Wisconsin's playoff bona fides these days, as Bucky absolutely choked out Goldy to finish a 12-0 regular season. Wisconsin's schedule was easy, to be sure, but the Badgers can only play who's put in front of them and they crushed just about everybody. Case in point: Wisconsin outgained Minnesota 456-133 in this one, with Alex Hornibrook delivering a 15-for-19 performance for 151 yards and three TDs. Jonathan Taylor is now over 1,800 yards for the 2017 season, with the magical 2,000 mark firmly within reach. That's a credit to Wisconsin's offensive line, of course, and that's a line that can keep Wisconsin competitive against any defense in the nation. 

 

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