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The Whistlestop Tour: Week 7 of Big Ten Football

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Purdue is the story this week.

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

Purdue football is not often the story of the week in the Big Ten, but when it is, it is a lot of fun. That’s what we find this week in the Whistlestop Tour.

Purdue 24, Iowa 7

For as much fun as this game was for Purdue fans, Iowa fans did not have as much fun seeing their team fall:

Purdue used three quarterbacks in the game (Aidan O’Connell, Jack Plummer, and Austin Burton), which kept Iowa’s defense off-balance, but most of the damage was done by O’Connell, who cut Iowa’s defense to shreds all afternoon long. He finished 30/40 (75%) for 375 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. His main target? You know who that was. Noted Hawkeye-killer David Bell set Iowa’s much-hyped secondary on fire and then pissed all over the ashes, just as he’s done all three years he’s played Iowa.

Michigan State 20, Indiana 15

The Spartans are now 7-0 on the season and are getting it done as a very gritty team:

The offense struggled to run the football all day, as Heisman Trophy candidate running back Kenneth Walker III was limited to just 84 yards on 22 carries (3.7 yards per attempt) and Spartan quarterback Payton Thorne struggled, especially in the first half, to move MSU through the air.

But, the Spartan defense grew stronger as the afternoon wore on and eventually made just enough plays to give the offense a chance. The offense took that chance, thanks in part to a pair of long second-half field goals by Matt Coghlin to steal the victory.

Indiana has now scored a grand total of one touchdown in three Big Ten games.

(There has been no Crimson Quarry recap yet).

Minnesota 30, Nebraska 23

The Gophers jumped out to a lead early and were able to hold on to get the $5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy:

Most Gopher games have a story, a clear line of what the overall narrative and story of the game was. But this game was different and hard to pin down what the story really was. It was a tale of two very different halves where Minnesota dominated the 1st and Nebraska moved at will in the 2nd. It was a story of a great offensive game plan led by a highly efficient Tanner Morgan. And really the Gopher defense was great all day.

Nebraska continues to have moments of being really good followed by moments of absolutely imploding:

As poorly as we looked for a majority of the game offensively, we had opportunities to win this game. Multiple opportunities. Maybe it’s general fatigue of the past eight game grind. Maybe it’s injuries (which multiple cropped up during this game as well). All I can say is...their is still hope. Husker Nation, you might not want to believe it and be willing to cash in your chips for a 5-7 season, or worse. But I think this team still has a reason to fight. They got hit in the mouth today and still they fought. Another, “close, but not close enough” week. This one will have longer to digest as a bye week is all we have to look forward to next Saturday.

Northwestern 21, Rutgers 7

In the surprise of the day Northwestern showed up against a Rutgers team that has been frisky all year:

It seems like a little bit of rest and regrouping is just what this Northwestern football team (3-3, 1-2 B1G) needed to finally piece together a conclusive identity. While there were a few missed opportunities and tackles in the backfield, the Wildcat offense managed to put a decent number of points on the board and the defense looked like a completely different unit in Fitz and Co.’s first conference win of the season.

It was a surprisingly poor effort from a Rutgers team that has been playing well:

After an inspiring 3-0 start to the season by sweeping the non-conference portion of the schedule, Greg Schiano’s second season has gone off the rails. You can’t sugarcoat this loss. The only hope is to douse it with gasoline.

It was a troubling performance in many ways.

Rutgers averaged 2.2 yards rushing per carry against the worst rush defense in the Big Ten as Northwestern allowed 234 yards on the ground coming in.

Wisconsin 20, Army 14

Purdue’s next opponent was in some trouble until recovering a late forced fumble:

Following back-to-back rushes by Army, the Black Knights were facing third-and-four and that was where Wisconsin’s defense came through big, forcing their first turnover of the game.

Leo Chenal sacked Jabari Laws, forcing the ball out, which was then recovered by Keannu Benton at the 1-yard-line. After a lengthy review, the play was upheld and Wisconsin got the ball back.

Non-Conference Opponents:

Oregon StateOn Bye

Connecticut 21, Yale 15 – UConn has actually won a game of American football.

Notre DameOn Bye