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The Whistlstop Tour: Week 14 of Big Ten Football

Another season is in the books, at least for Purdue.

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

Another football season has come and gone. The final weekend of the season saw Ohio State dominate Michigan and Wisconsin ruin Minnesota’s season. Purdue tried to cancel #9Windiana, but couldn’t quite do so.

Everything still sucks.

Iowa 27, Nebraska 24

Iowa put its kicker on scholarship after booting the Cornhuskers:

In fact, this might have been one of the best years record wise for a Hawkeye team with a non-mobile quarterback. I love Nate Stanley and the heart and soul that he brings every single week, not to mention his legendary quarterback sneak, but he makes the expression “molasses in January” seem like the hare in the ‘Tortoise and the Hare’ fable. The years with the best win-loss success in recent memory have been led by more mobile quarterbacks like C.J. Beathard (2015 - 12 wins), Ricky Stanzi (2009 - 11 wins), and Drew Tate (2004 - 10 wins). Will Spencer Petras or Peyton Mansell be more mobile next season? Absolutely. Will this lead to a more prolific offense? Possibly, only time will tell.

Nebraska will head into the offseason frustrated and just 4-8 against the Big Ten West under Scott Frost:

Nebraska needed the win against a motivated Iowa Hawkeyes team in order to qualify for a bowl. There is an extremely long shot that they may qualify as a five-win team but we might as well assume the 2019 season is over for the Nebraska football team after the loss to Iowa.

In many ways the 27-24 loss was a great reflection of the season. Missed tackles leading to huge plays. Substandard special teams, especially on kick-off coverage. Rotation of quarterbacks throughout. Unable to close on drives. The defense playing well in chunks but unable to close the deal. And oh ya. Six different kickers.

Indiana 44, Purdue 41 2 OT

Over at Crimson Quarry the dream of a nine win season is still alive as Indiana has finally figured out the recipe for beating a bunch of crappy teams (and yes, Purdue is one of them):

The Austin Starr Kick is always going to hold the sentimental vote but Saturday’s game might be the best game in the history of the Old Oaken Bucket. It was only the second overtime game in the history of the rivalry, which is hard to believe.

The game had a bit of everything. It had lots of scoring, some big defensive plays, highlight reel plays, circus catches and lots of drama all with a bucket on the line.

For Indiana, though, there wasn’t a more fitting ending to the game than the ball being in Peyton Ramsey’s hands. First, the play design to get to the one-yard line was terrific. The decision to hurry to the line and run a sneak given everything Purdue was trying to do defensively was a great call as well. Special shoutout to Ronnie Walker for the push.

Ohio State 56, Michigan 27

The Buckeyes continued jsut beating ass on their way to the playoff. They are now 30-1 in their last 31 games, but no one has any idea what happened in that one:

Ohio State has now won The Game eight-straight times — the longest winning streak for the Buckeyes in the history of the series. UM head coach Jim Harbaugh now falls to 0-5 in the matchup, losing all four games against Urban Meyer and now his first against Day. The Wolverines had some opportunities in the first half to really give OSU a scare, but thanks in part to a fumbled snap and a few incredibly costly penalties, a happy rendition of “Carmen Ohio” got to ring through Michigan Stadium when all was said and done.

Michigan continues to be good, but only third place good:

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields got to experience the Ohio State rivalry for the first time on Saturday, and he had a great day during The Game. Fields went 14-of-25 for 302 yards and 4 touchdowns. When OSU needed Fields to make a play, he came up clutch time and time again.

At Fields’ post-game presser, he made a comment that caught the attention of college football fans worldwide. Fields claimed that Ohio State takes The Game vs. Michigan more seriously than the Wolverines.

“I think we just take it more seriously than they do,” Fields said. “We prepare for it all year, like (coach) said, we’re preparing for them next year right now so I think it just means more at Ohio State so that’s pretty much how I think the bigger reason why we have more success than they do.”

Wisconsin 38, Minnesota 17

It was a snowy day in Minneapolis and the Badgers took a big dump on the Gophers’ parade:

I tuned into this game right before Zach Hintze’s second quarter field goal narrowed the score to a 7-3 deficit for the Wisconsin Badgers (I will explain why in the bonus grades). But in the final 40 minutes of play, Wisconsin thoroughly whooped up on the Minnesota Gophers 35-3 until Minnesota got a garbage time touchdown.

In the end, Paul Bunyan’s Axe is home because the No. 12 Badgers (10-2 overall, 7-2 B1G) capsized the No. 8 Gophers (10-2 overall, 7-2 B1G) by the thorough margin of 38-17.

Minnesota was all set for Pasadena with GameDay in town, but Wisconsin always ruins GameDay:

Missed opportunities throughout this game for Minnesota, but also one where Wisconsin owned the line of scrimmage and didn’t make mistakes. Wisconsin came to TCF Bank Stadium and beat the Gophers. They move on to play next weekend in the Big Ten Championship game against Ohio State.

Penn State 27, Rutgers 6

The Nittany Lions were bored:

This isn’t an excuse, as it’s their job to care. But it was very clear from the jump that Penn State players wanted to be anywhere else but on the football field against Rutgers on Saturday. And who could blame them, really? You just lost a big game. The Scarlett Knights are a dumpster fire. It was cold, and you had to practice over Thanksgiving break. All of that manifested itself in a less than inspired performance in the win. The tenacity and effort level seemed to tick up after halftime, but there was a still a distinct lack of sharpness.

Rutgers officially goes down as the worst offense in Big Ten play of the modern era with only 51 points in 9 Big Ten games. They have now lost 21 consecutive Big Ten games, the most sicne Northwestern lost 38 in a row from 1978-1982:

Every year it seems someone on the Rutgers defense is involved in a disproportionate number of plays for better or worse. This year it was Christian Izien (though last week Tim Barrow had the mantle). There were a lot of mistakes, but Izien plays hard and saved numerous touchdowns with hustle tackles.

Northwestern 29, Illinois 10

Northwestern breaks out and wins a game:

A usually anemic Northwestern offense exploded by way of a run-heavy scheme that featured a unique group of backs and a heavy dosage of Andrew Marty carries. In his first start, the Ohio native ran for 111 yards and two touchdowns, becoming the first NU QB since Clayton Thorson in 2015 to cross 100 yards, while the team as a whole picked up 378 yards on the ground.

The Illini unfortunately reverted to the form we expected from them:

A year ago, Illinois’ last home game was a heartbreaking loss. This year, Illinois ended its season with another loss, only this one was a different type of heartbreak.

In rainy, 40-degree temps, both teams felt the impact of the conditions, but Northwestern (3-9, 1-8 Big Ten) took home the Land of the Lincoln trophy for the fifth consecutive time and beat Illinois 29-10 for its first conference win this season.

With Illinois already bowl eligible after its win against Michigan State, there were still a few things at stake: ending the season with its best record since 2014, beating the enemy up North (as Lovie would say) and playing into a better bowl game.

Michigan State 19, Maryland 16

Michigan State is going to a bowl, but why:

Let’s be frank, this season didn’t turn out how any of us wanted it to, but MSU still has a chance to finish it out on a positive note.

Maryland’s season is mercifully over:

The final drive was symbolic of Maryland errors all game long, continuously failing to take advantage of key opportunities. It seemed like Mike Locksley’s squad didn’t stand a chance coming into this one, entering as 22-point underdogs. Maryland kept it close, but it just couldn’t finish when it mattered most.

Non-Conference Opponents:

UNLV 33, Nevada 30 OT - A fight managed to break out at the end of this one.

Tennessee 28, Vanderbilt 10 - The Commodores closed out a disappointing season.

West Virginia 20, TCU 17 - The Horned Frogs will miss a bowl after finishing 5-7.