Week 10 of Big Ten play was highlighted by upsets, close games and a controversial call. Here are the top takeaways from this week:
1. Quarterback J.T. Barrett should remain the starter for the Ohio State University Buckeyes.
With Barrett serving a one-game suspension due to an arrest during the bye week, Cardale Jones started for OSU this week.
Jones, who started for the Buckeyes during last season’s national championship run, was not flashy, completing a little more than 50 percent of his passes and failing to eclipse 200 passing yards against the Golden Gophers.
After leading 21-0 heading into the fourth quarter, the University of Minnesota scored 14 unanswered points until a failed onside kick gave OSU a short field.
A 38-yard run by Jones eventually put the game away. Expect Barrett to return to his starting role when he returns this week.
2. The Cornhuskers finally won in the final seconds of a game.
University of Nebraska has suffered three final-second losses this season.
Nebraska was finally able to pull off some late-game heroics on a Tommy Armstrong Jr. 30-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Reilly with 17 seconds left in regulation against No. 7 Michigan State University.
The play was reviewed to see if Reilly illegally went out of bounds and back in play before making the catch.
Officials ruled that Reilly was forced out of bounds, making the catch legal.
The Cornhuskers held off the Spartans on the following possession to secure a 39-38 upset.
Armstrong Jr. finished with 320 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
MSU quarterback Connor Cook finished with 335 yards and four touchdowns.
3. Penn State University failed to capitalize on the Wildcats’ misfortunes.
Despite kicking woes and an injury to its starting quarterback, Northwestern University fended off the Nittany Lions’ second-half surge for a 23-21 win.
Wildcats backup quarterback and senior Zack Oliver didn’t have earth-shattering numbers, but he threw two passing touchdowns and ran for two as well.
Northwestern kicker Jack Mitchell had a rough afternoon, missing two field goals and an extra point, but he ultimately redeemed himself with a game-winning field goal with nine seconds remaining.
4. Jake Rudock’s career-best passing performance led to a Wolverines blowout.
Before Saturday, University of Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock eclipsed only 200 passing yards in one game this season.
Rudock took advantage of Rutgers University’s No. 120-ranked pass defense en route to a career-high 337-yard performance.
Ten Wolverines caught a pass in the 49-16 win.
5. The University of Illinois ended its losing streak in a blowout over Purdue University.
Coming off three straight losses, the Illini dismantled the Boilermakers in a 48-14 effort.
Wes Lunt had three touchdown passes in the first half, while running backs Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Josh Ferguson rushed for 180 yards and 130 yards, respectively. The victory prevented Illinois from falling under .500 and inched them one win closer to becoming bowl eligible with a 5-4 record.
6. The University of Iowa’s defense held the Big Ten’s No. 2 passer in check during its 35-27 victory over the Hoosiers.
Indiana University’s Nate Sudfeld is second in the Big Ten in passer rating and third in touchdown passes and yards. The Hawkeyes held Sudfeld to a season-low 180 yards and 43.2 completion percentage and remain undefeated at No. 8.
7. Iowa’s defense was one-dimensional.
Although Iowa had an impressive day shutting down Sudfeld, it struggled to defend the run game, as Jordan Howard had 174 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
If Iowa wants to contend for the Big Ten Championship, its rush defense will need improvement.
8. The University of Wisconsin and the University of Maryland were evenly matched.
The Wisconsin Badgers and Maryland Terrapins posted nearly identical stats in their matchup, which Wisconsin won 31-24.
Wisconsin posted 117 yards on the ground, while Maryland had a total of 112.
They were also similar in total yards with the Terrapins, edging the Badgers 316 to 305.
The difference in the game was a 98-yard kickoff return touchdown by Wisconsin’s Natrell Jamerson.
Wisconsin climbed back into the AP Poll this week at No. 22.
9. Big Ten players know how to get to the quarterback.
Three of the top five sack leaders in the nation belong to the Big Ten Conference.
Penn State’s Carl Nassib leads the nation with 15.5, which is also a school record.
He’s followed by Maryland’s Yannick Ngakoue, with 11; and Wisconsin’s Joe Schobert, ranked fourth with 9.5.
10. The majority of ranked teams are from the Big Ten.
The Big Ten Conference leads all conferences with five ranked teams in the AP Poll (OSU, Iowa, MSU, Wisconsin and Northwestern). The SEC, ACC and Big 12 each have four.