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The Whistlestop Tour: Week 12 of Big Ten Football

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Okay, so I forgot the preview.

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

My apologies for Friday. With it being a bye week and basketball season just starting I completely forgot to do a Big Ten preview for this weekend. That is really uncharacteristic of me and I am sorry for that. I’ll make it up to you, however, with a free Whistlestop Tour here.

Ohio State 56, Rutgers 21

This was dull, as Ohio State went through the motions and won with ease, but gave up the most points Rutgers has scored in a conference game this year. In fact, the Scarlet Knights had scored only 24 points in their previous six Big Ten games:

With the Scarlet Knights starters still on the field, the home team continued to try and put points on the board. Late in the third quarter, Langan hit Bo Melton deep downfield, able to shrug off a pair of defenders en route to his team’s second touchdown of the afternoon, now trailing 49-14 heading into the fourth quarter.

Ohio State was not done adding to the scoreboard itself, however. After Steele Chambers drove the Buckeyes down into Rutgers territory, Chugunov hit Jaelen Gill on a screen pass. A play that looked destined to pick up maybe just a few yards wound up going 32 yards to the house as the redshirt freshman showed off his impressive strength and broke a bunch of tackles as he would not be denied a touchdown, extending the lead to 56-14 with just over eight minutes to go.

For Rutgers, just scoring felt like a win:

Rutgers did use the bye week quite well. The wrinkles in the offense did take a few drives for OSU to adjust to. Unfortunately, Rutgers could not connect to some open receivers on well designed plays and the runs weren’t long enough to keep the clock moving. To even stay close with a team like OSU, everything has to go perfectly. The OSU defense was just too fast to the perimeter to allow anyone to turn the corner.

Iowa 23, Minnesota 19

Iowa is always great as a spoiler of unbeaten seasons in Iowa City:

On first down, Morgan is sacked! On second down, Morgan is sacked again! Morgan was injured and has to come out, backup Kramer comes in and it’s incomplete. And on fourth down, IT’S PICKED OFF BY RILEY MOSS!

ALL THE BACONNNNNNNNN!

The pig stays home!

Play that sweet, juicy, everlasting polka!

The undefeated season is over for the Gophers, but they are still in firm control in the Big Ten West:

The undefeated season ends for the Gophers but the season continues on. Minnesota controls their own destiny for the Big Ten West and it will likely be decided in two weeks when Wisconsin comes to TCF Bank Stadium. But first, a trip to 2-8 Northwestern next Saturday.

Penn State 34, Indiana 27

The Hoosiers made Penn State earn this one, and the Nittany Lions may have lost KJ Hamler as a result:

A week after giving up 339 yards passing yards to Minnesota, the secondary once again had an uninspiring performance as the Hoosiers totaled 371 yards through the air. If you combine Tanner Morgan’s and Peyton Ramsey’s performances, it means the Nittany Lion defense has given up 710 passing yards and an 80.3% completion rate over the last two weeks.

Indiana is really, really good, it turns out. They still can’t get that critical ranked team win, but they are getting the job done vs. lesser foes:

But there are plenty of positives to take away from the day. Largely without Philyor, Indiana passed for nearly 400 yards against an elite defense and out-gained Penn State on the day. A team vying for a spot in the College Football Playoff had to milk the clock and play the possession game late to hang on to a win against Indiana. That’s a positive!

Now, Indiana heads back home for it’s biggest home game of the year. There’s a lot of history of the Hoosiers coming close against Michigan and there’s even more reason for optimism that Indiana can make one last breakthrough and knock off a ranked team.

Wisconsin 37, Nebraska 21

Purdue’s next opponent had no trouble on the road in Lincoln:

Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez re-gained the lead for Nebraska, following a Collin Larsh 31-yard field goal. Martinez took a quarterback keeper in from two yards out, to cap off a 5 plays, 73-yard drive.

Wisconsin then went on a 24-0 run.

Jack Coan hit A.J. Taylor in stride and Taylor did the rest, going 55 yards for the score, his second of the season.

Nebraska at least signed Scott Frost to an extension despite being 4-7 against the “easier” Big Ten West:

It may seem hard to believe, looking at a 16-point loss to #15 Wisconsin, but there was improvement in this game. The offensive line looked competent, and because of that, Dedrick Mills had a break-out performance, racking up 188 yards against a stout defense. And Adrian Martinez looked better than he has most of the season.

Michigan 44, Michigan State 10

The Wolverines are peaking just in time to lose to Ohio State again:

After the game Jim Harbaugh said that Josh Gattis had a great game-plan and predicted the adjustments Michigan State would make and had an answer for them. Shea Patterson said that the plan wasn’t to pass as much as they did, but it was working, so they kept the air onslaught going. This was an attacking offense, there was a steady dose of aggressiveness that didn’t coincide with recklessness. Michigan kept their foot on the gas down the stretch and didn’t let up once they stepped on MSU’s throat.

Michigan State is now on the edge of missing a bowl, but finishes with Maryland and Rutgers. It also may be the end for Mark Dantonio:

There’s no questioning the fact that Mark Dantonio built this program from the ground up. He wanted to make a living off of beating the Wolverines.

He wanted to be the program people bragged about, not Michigan.

He wanted so desperately to flip the script in this state for Spartan fans, and he did it.

He did it.

Time and time again, he beat Michigan. He beat the odds. He proved everyone wrong and brought MSU football to national relevance.

So I guess it makes sense for the Wolverines to put the nail in the coffin.

Northwestern 45, Massachusetts 6

This was a football game:

In a game where both teams looked equally terrible for most of the game, the Wildcats prevailed 31-6 thanks to some solid play from its front-seven and a career day from running back Evan Hull. The true freshman had quite the breakout game, finishing with 224 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Despite the final score, there were still plenty of woes and concerns for this Northwestern team. The Wildcats committed three turnovers, and coughed up the ball a few more times that they luckily recovered.

Non-Conference Opponents:

Nevada – on Bye

Kentucky 38, Vanderbilt 14 – It has been a long season in Nashville.

TCU 33, Texas Tech 31 – The Horned Frogs pulled this one out on a late field goal.