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The Whistlestop Tour: Week 10 of Big Ten Football

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A slow week in the conference as Purdue-Nebraska was the best game.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Purdue Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

There were only four games in the conference this week and none of them were really appealing. At least Purdue-Nebraska came down to the wire.

Purdue 31, Nebraska 27

It’s been a rough season in Lincoln as they now officially have a losing streak to Purdue:

Even backups can hit open receivers (or tight ends). The Blackshirts made a valiant effort to stuff a third and one, but Purdue JUST got the conversion. On first down...Hopkins on a crossing pattern. Sigh. Whiffed tackle. Sigh.

The Husker pass rush is just too late the linebackers can’t cover. There is always someone open. Red zone. 1:16 left in the game. Third and five at the nine yard line.

Aaaand. No backside defenders. Touchdown Purdue. 1:08 left in the game.

Michigan 38, Maryland 7

The Wolverines took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown and that was that:

The Michigan’s special teams got off to one hell of a start. Giles Jackson returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, and then on a fake punt run Michael Barrett picked up 14 yards to give the Wolverines a first down.

On the flipside, Jake Moody missed a 37-yard field goal before the half that would have put Michigan up 24-0, and then in the third quarter the kickoff unit allowed Maryland’s only score of the day, a 97-yard Javon Leake kickoff return.

It’s been pretty much a disastrous season for Maryland since opening the year with two blowouts:

Jackson ran the final 60 yards to the end zone for a touchdown just 11 seconds into Saturday’s game, completely silencing the Maryland fans that were already massively outnumbered by the traveling Michigan faithful.

The Terps (3-6, 1-5 Big Ten) went three-and-out on their first offensive drive, and the Wolverines (7-2, 4-2) scored less than five minutes later to take a 14-0 lead. They wouldn’t need to score any more the rest of afternoon — they did, though — as Maryland suffered a 38-7 defeat.

Illinois 38, Rutgers 10

The Illini are now a win away from a bowl game and saving Lovie Smith’s job:

After heading to the locker rooms tied at 10 against Rutgers at Memorial Stadium, Brandon Peters took things into his own hands — and legs — when he decided to keep the ball and make a 54-yard run into the 2-yard line. Dre Brown, for the second time, made sure Illinois got the touchdown.

Illinois head coach Lovie Smith noted Brown’s performance: “Senior, captain, makes all of the calls. Whether it was big hits, interceptions, touchdowns. Just outstanding play.”

But it was outstanding play from the whole team in the third quarter.

A defensive touchdown, forced fumble, long pitch-and-catch to Josh Imatorbhebhe and another defensive touchdown later, and Illinois has three straight Big Ten wins in the same season for the first time since 2007.

Rutgers is still Rutgers, and still has to play Ohio State and Penn State:

Rutgers traveled to Illinois as 20 point underdogs, give or take depending on the sportsbook. Isaih Pacheco who gained over 100 yards on the ground last week was ruled out. So Rutgers went into the game without their top two quarterbacks, running backs, and tight ends. But otherwise were healthy.

It was windy and on the opening kickoff Justin Davidovicz was not present (though he was suited up), so instead it was Guy Fava. There was no news of Justin being out for this game, but ironically his absence against the Fighting Illini a year ago was a huge factor early in that game. Fava pinned Illinois back and they were forced to punt on their first drive. Rutgers would flip the ball back though with an Adam Korsak punt.

Indiana 34, Northwestern 3

That’s now 7 wins for the Hoosiers, as they rolled through an easy stretch of schedule 4-0 to clinch their second winning season in the last 25 years:

(Still no Crimson Quarry wrap)

Northwestern continues to be abysmal on offense:

In a game in which they were outclassed from start to finish, the Wildcats (1-7, 0-6 B1G) fell to the Indiana Hoosiers (7-2, 4-2 B1G) by a final scoreline of 34-3.

Once again, Northwestern’s offense looked lifeless. This time, though, the defense broke down early and often. The Hoosiers outgained the ‘Cats 414-199, and this one was over by halftime.

Non-Conference Opponents:

Nevada 21, New Mexico 10 - Nevada is a win from bowl eligibility.

South Carolina 24, Vanderbilt 7 - Vandy falls to 2-6 and on the brink of bowl elimnation.

Oklahoma State 34, TCU 27 - The up and down season for the Horned Frogs continues.