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The Whistlestop Tour: Week 5 Of Big Ten Football

A light week in the Big Ten still had some important games.

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

The short week of games in the Big Ten allowed for the glare of the spotlight to shine on all six teams involved. Half the conference was on bye, but two teams were able to get their first conference win and Ohio State, with one victory, likely seized the Leaders Division barring a miraculous run by Indiana, Illinois, or Purdue. The Buckeyes now essentially own a two-game lead over Wisconsin because of the tiebreaker and it is looking less and less likely that Ohio State loses two games while Wisconsin remains perfect the rest of the way.

Here is what happened around the league, including a look at what NIU had to say about the win over Purdue:

Northern Illinois 55, Purdue 24

Boiled Sports seems to be already trending slightly against coach Hazell, as after five games they are asking for a cessation of the happy talk:

So, we're five games into a season in which the W-L record is exactly what I thought it'd be when I gazed into my cloudy crystal ball back in August...But I really didn't see beatdowns like this one coming. That fragile psyche of this team that I talked earlier is probably teetering or has already tipped...a bye week might help the coaches get the players focused on the essential work that needs to get done now; and there's plenty of it.

There were a large number of records established on Saturday:

  • Largest MAC margin of victory over a a B1G team (tied with a 38-7 Toledo over Minnesota win in 2001)
  • Largest MAC margin of victory over a B1G team at a B1G stadium
  • Most points (55) scored by a MAC team against a B1G team (previous record was 41 held by Ball State over Indiana last season).
  • Most points ever by any opponent in the history of Ross-Ade Stadium, which opened in 1924
  • Most points ever given up by Purdue at home in the 126 year history of the program.

Red and Black Attack was naturally very pleased:

Pretty much every game that NIU has ever played against a BCS opponent has been a close victory, with pundits saying they "just slipped by" in certain games. This, however, was not one of those game. NIU dominated every facet of the game. Sure Purdue put up 524 yds, but a lot of that was in garbage time and not to mention they turned the ball over 5 times to the Huskies. It's about time the Huskies showed they could dominate a game like this.

Illinois 50, Miami (OH) 14

The Fighting Illinois had no problems at all in dispatching Miami, who is among the worst teams in the nation at the FBS level. Nathan Scheelhaase threw for five touchdown passes and three different quarterbacks got to play. Illinois is definitely looking far better than originally thought thanks to Bill Cubit as its new offensive coordinator:

It was great. From the two point conversion to the ensuing onside kick and the 29-point outburst in the second quarter that just buried the Redhawks, I enjoyed the hell out of it. I also enjoyed seeing that 50 on the scoreboard even if the Illini probably could have had 70 points if not for turnovers and taking a knee in the fourth quarter.

Iowa 23, Minnesota 7

In this old rivalry the Floyd of Rosedale will get to stay in Iowa City as the Golden Gophers did little to nothing on offense for most of the afternoon:

This game was won by Iowa in the box.  The Gopher offensive line was unable to open holes for the running game against the talented and more experienced Hawkeye front-seven.  Conversely the Iowa offensive line opened huge holes for their running backs against our front-seven.  Throughout the 2nd half, Iowa was able to effortlessly move the ball on the ground with time consuming and will-breaking drives.  Mark Weisman closed out this game amassing 147 rushing yards for the game.  He racked up a lot of yards but he was running through massive holes, credited to the Hawkeye offensive line.

Iowa fans were more than happy to relish another win for the Hawkeyes as Iowa joins the list of teams not looking as bad as originally thought:

This game was reminiscent of the Iowa State game from a few weeks ago: another rivalry game on the road, another game where Iowa struggled to turn a dominant performance in yardage into a truly lopsided scoring margin, another game where things were a little squirm-inducing late.  But Iowa also did a few things differently (and better) in this game: they forced a turnover on a late Minnesota drive (which had the added benefit of preventing us from having to see if Iowa could recover an onside kick) and their running game was able to run out the clock.  This team does seem to be making progress game by game -- and it's a lot of fun to watch.

Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 24

This game was really won on one play. The Buckeyes went for it on Fourth and Long just before halftime and the Badgers fell asleep. Philly Brown caught a 40 yard touchdown pass from Braxton Miller and that was the separation Ohio State needed:

Brown had a great game, nabbing eight balls for 88 yards and two scores. The first one was an electric, momentum changing score at the end of the first half, and the second one was one where he bailed out Miller on a third and goal, and it was the score that put the game out of reach for the Buckeyes.

Bucky's Fifth Quarter noted that the Badgers made several mistakes, but still kept things close:

Like the 31-13 Buckeyes' victory over the Badgers in 2009, Stave and company gained more total yards than the Buckeyes, 399 to 300. Unfortunately, Wisconsin received the same result as five seasons ago in the loss column, albeit a closer affair.

Non-Conference Opponents:

Cincinnati - ON BYE

Indiana State - The Tree lost to Tennessee Tech on a late touchdown 38-37.

Notre Dame - God bless the Sooners for their 35-21 win.