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The Whistlestop Tour: Week 11 of Big Ten Football

An exciting week saw three games come down to the very end.

NCAA Football: Purdue at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

This was one of the best weeks of the seaosn for the BIg Ten. Of the five games, four came down to the very end. Illinois made a furious comeback, while Minnesota all but locked up the Big Ten West in one of the biggest victories for the Gophers in decades.

Minnesota 31, Penn State 26

What a win for the Gophers. Penn State football never deserves good things to happen to it, but Minnesota is now in a position where it could go back to the Rose Bowl for the first time in almost 60 years even if it doesn’t win the Big Ten:

With the ball, the Nittany Lions drive. Sean Clifford, who struggled for much of the game, starts connecting going 4/4 to begin the drive. These four completions, including a 49-yard strike, gets Penn State to the Minnesota 11. First down rush for 1 yard and it is 2nd and 9 from the 10. The next play was crucial and likley changed the outcome of the game. Clfford completes a pass to Brown, who takes the ball down to the 2 yard line. But an offensive pass interference is called on Daniel George pushing PSU back to the 25. Second down was an incomplete pass.

Now third and 24 from the 25 and Jordan Howden makes an interception in the end zone to seal the game.

It was a disappointing loss for Penn State, whose playoffs hopes took a major hit:

I don’t know about y’all, but to me this loss hurt as much as any since Iowa in 2008. Ohio State hurt in 2017 and 2018, but you can rationalize losing to extremely talented OSU teams. Minnesota is undoubtedly good, but Penn State has no business losing to that team. At 8-0 and fourth in the initial CFP poll, it was all there in front of the Nittany Lions and they puked all over themselves in the first half in Minneapolis.

Ohio State 73, Maryland 14

The No. 1 team in the country had no trouble at all:

The Maryland Terrapins came to the Horseshoe on the wrong day, as No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes team angry about the suspension of Chase Young was able to take out all of its frustrations on an overmatched Terp squad, throttling the turtles 73-14. The offense and defense were both clicking on all cylinders right from the get-go, as any doubts of a potential let down without their star defensive player were immediately dashed away.

There was not a lot of positves for the Terps:

A year after the Terps took them to overtime in College Park — but ultimately lost 51-52 — the Buckeyes jumped out to a 14-0 lead on its first two drives Saturday. But instead of kicking the ball back to Maryland, the Buckeyes executed a perfect onside kick that was popped up in the air and found the outreached arms of wide receiver Chris Olave.

Purdue 24, Northwestern 22

The Wildcats at least got a few touchdowns, but miscues down the stretch cost them dearly:

But a missed 32-yard Charlie Kuhbander field goal allowed for Purdue to have an opportunity to put together a game-winning drive. The Boilermakers drove the ball to the NU 39 and were faced with a fourth-and-4. A pass intended for David Bell was intercepted by J.R. Pace, but Cam Ruiz was flagged for pass interference.

With eight seconds left, kicker J.D. Dellinger knocked a 39-yard field goal through the uprights, giving Purdue the win.

Illinois 37, Michigan State 34

The Fighting Illini made a wild comeback with 27 fourth quarter points to steal a road game:

Lovie ball was huge in the Illini’s comeback. The FBS’ leading defense in takeaways had another four on Saturday, making their total on the year 26. The first came on a Stanley Green interception, the second on a Sydney Brown pick late in the first half. The third came when Michigan State QB Brian Lewerke saw a snap sail over his head and it was recovered by the Illini.

But the biggest came when Brown picked off Lewerke for the second time, and returned it all the way for a pick-six. Unfortunately James McCourt missed the extra point, the Illini made that not matter.

The Spartans suffered a complete collapse and now must get ready for Michigan:

Welcome to helplessness.

Who could have saw this coming to start the season? Or to end the 10-win 2017 season? Or after the 2015 College Football Playoff? Or the 2014 Rose B—you get it.

We’re in a state of helplessness. And this is what it means on every level.

What happened Saturday. If you were one of the last souls that thought Mark Dantonio still had some magic, now it’s gone.

Wisconsin 24, Iowa 22

Jonathan Taylor ran for 250 yards in a warmup for our defense:

Wisconsin will continue their final push of the season next weekend as it travels to Nebraska (4-5, 2-4 B1G) to take on the struggling Cornhuskers. This will be the second in a stretch of four straight B1G West opponents to end the season.

The Hawkeyes seem destined for 8-4 again:

I just don’t know. Good fight. Bad execution again all over the field. Settling for early crushed Iowa. Wisconsin is still the class of this division.

Non-Conference Opponents

Nevada 17, San Diego State 13 - The Wolf Pack pulled off a shocker on the road against the 1-loss Aztecs.

Florida 56, Vanderbilt 0 - Technically, that was a football game.

Baylor 29, TCU (3OT) - TCU let one slip away here.