Around the Big Ten (Football): Week 8

Story posted October 21, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Nolan Wick

Although many teams in the Big Ten had a bye week, there was still plenty of action around the conference, including one major upset.

So, let’s take a look.

Starting off with the biggest news of the week, the Iowa Hawkeyes were upset at home by the Purdue Boilermakers, 24-7.

The former No. 2 Hawkeyes were knocked back to No. 11, while Purdue is now ranked No. 25. The result virtually eliminated Iowa’s chances of making the college football playoff.

Much of Iowa’s loss can be attributed to an atrocious performance from quarterback Spencer Petras. Petras threw a whopping four interceptions and only 195 yards. Scoring only seven points against a Purdue defense that has allowed an average of 14 points per game shows a lot about Iowa’s offense.

Meanwhile, Purdue’s offense exposed Iowa’s defense. Quarterback Aidan O’Connell threw for 375 yards and scored two touchdowns. Wide receiver David Bell also had himself a great game, with 240 yards and one touchdown.

Elsewhere in the Big Ten, No. 9 Michigan State defeated Indiana in Bloomington, 20-15.

Quarterback Payton Thorne and running back Kenneth Walker III were uncharacteristically quieter than usual despite the win. Thorne threw 126 yards and two interceptions, while Walker III had only 86 yards despite 23 carries.

The most impressive offensive player for Michigan State, however, was kicker Matt Coghlin. Coghlin nailed a 49-yard field goal attempt, as well as a 51-yard attempt, respectively.

The Spartans remain undefeated, leading the conference with a 4-0 Big Ten record and a 7-0 overall record. 2021 has been a great year in East Lansing, as Michigan State was not expected to be competitive this year.

If the Spartans continue winning, they may well end up in the college football playoff.

Out in Madison, the Wisconsin Badgers defeated Army, 20-14.

Neither team performed well offensively, as this was a low scoring affair. Defensively, however, Wisconsin linebacker Leo Chenal had a total of 17 tackles, eight of which being solo, as well as one sack. Meanwhile, Army’s Andre Carter II had one sack and two tackles for loss.

Wisconsin has had a disappointing season based on preseason expectations.

The Badgers were initially ranked No. 12 in the AP preseason rankings, but are no longer ranked amid losses against Penn State, Michigan and Notre Dame. Sophomore quarterback Graham Mertz has regressed since an impressive 2020 campaign, with seven interceptions and just two touchdowns the entire season.

The Badgers are currently tied for fourth place in the Big Ten West, with a 1-2 conference record and a 3-3 overall record.

What’s Next?

Some teams have a bye week in week eight, including Iowa and Michigan State. Iowa’s next game is at Wisconsin, while Michigan State will host its in-state rival, No. 6 Michigan. That matchup will be pivotal in the race for the Big Ten East crown.

No. 7 Penn State will host Illinois with kickoff scheduled for 12:00 p.m. It will be interesting to see whether or not quarterback Sean Clifford is healthy for this matchup.

Maryland will travel to Minnesota, while Michigan will host Northwestern. No. 25 Purdue will face Wisconsin at home, while No. 5 Ohio State will travel to Bloomington to face the Indiana Hoosiers.

The Big Ten has proved to be especially talented this year, with four teams currently ranked inside the top ten and two others in the top-25. Barring something unforeseen, Iowa will likely win the Big Ten West, while the East is very much up for grabs. Several matchups in the coming weeks will determine the division’s fate.

 

Nolan Wick is a first-year student majoring in journalism. To contact him, email nhw5046@psu.edu.