Around the Big Ten Week 4
David Arroyo, Dylan Huberman, Will Desautelle and Zach Kaplan tell you everything you need to know about this week's matchups around the Big Ten.
Week four in Big Ten football provided a respite to the drama that unfolded last week, with the lone marquee matchup being #11 Wisconsin taking on #8 Michigan State. With Maryland, #3 Ohio State and Illinois on their bye weeks, it was a relatively light slate of games this past weekend. While other intriguing games like #20 Nebraska-Northwestern, Penn State-Michigan, and Wake Forest-Indiana grabbed some attention, all eyes were on East Lansing for a battle of two Top 15 teams.
Many predicted a low-scoring defensive battle, but the Wisconsin Badgers shocked many not only by winning on the road, but winning pretty easily as well. Jumping out in front with a 13-6 halftime lead, they kept their foot on the gas with 17 unanswered points, shutting out the Spartans in the second half, improving to an impressive 4-0 on the season. It was the Wisconsin defense that dominated, forcing three Tyler O’Connor interceptions and a fumble. Things get no easier for the Badgers next week though, as they will travel to the Big House and take on #4 Michigan.
Speaking of Michigan, they hosted Penn State this week in a game many proclaimed a “show-me” game for the #4 Wolverines, who had struggled at times against Colorado a week earlier. They sent a statement to the rest of the Big Ten and the country, shredding the Nittany Lions with 326 yards on the ground in a 49-10 romp that was never in doubt. While they improved to 4-0 on the season, they face their toughest test so far hosting #8 Wisconsin, while Penn State travels back to Happy Valley 2-2 on the season, taking on Minnesota in a battle for the Governor’s Victory Bell.
Newly unranked Iowa traveled to Piscataway, NJ this past week for what seemed like a rebound game against Rutgers. They found themselves in a rock fight, with a late Akrum Wadley 26 yard touchdown run with 8:35 to play proving the difference. The Hawkeyes came away with a 14-7 win, but not the bounce-back win they had hoped for. They host Northwestern this week at home where they should take care of business, but Kirk Ferencz and the 3-1 Hawkeyes need to find themselves.
In Minneapolis, the Golden Gophers hosted out-of-conference Colorado State in what ended up being a pretty close game. Shannon Brooks and Rodney Smith combined for 184 yards on 30 carries, adding three touchdowns to overpower the Rams 31-24. Their defense was vulnerable, giving up 11 plays of 15+ yards to the Rams, but they head into conference play undefeated at 3-0.
In Evanston, Illinois, #20 Nebraska traveled to take on Northwestern in a game many feared as a “trap game” for the up-and-coming Cornhuskers. They proved the doubters wrong however, beating the Wildcats 24-13. Tommy Armstrong led the way yet again, going 18-29 for 246 yards and a touchdown, while adding 132 yards on 13 carries. #15 Nebraska should find things even easier, as they take on Lovie Smith and the Illinois Fighting Illini, a team still trying to find their way with a new coach but coming off their bye week.
Indiana found themselves in a tight game this weekend, taking on ACC foe Wake Forest at home. The Hoosiers were a surprising 2-0 coming into the game, but came out of the game with their first loss of the season 33-28. It was a disappointing loss as Indiana found themselves down 24-7, but fought back to make it a 6 point game at 27-21. Rich Lagow’s 5 interceptions were too much to overcome, and things get no easier next week with #17 Michigan State coming to Bloomington in a Saturday night showdown in a battle for the Old Brass Spittoon.
Elsewhere, the Purdue Boilermakers were able to take care of business at home, defeating Nevada 24-14. This week should get more intriguing with no Big Ten teams on their bye weeks. Games to look out for include Northwestern-Iowa in a game neither wants to lose, with both coaches taking heat for their respective starts to the season. That game kicks off at 12PM EST on ESPNU. For a nightcap, turn on the Big Ten Network at 8PM as Michigan State faces a potential intriguing game against Indiana. Minnesota-Penn State promises to be interesting as well, kicking off at 3:30PM EST on BTN. The marquee game though, stands head and shoulders as #8 Wisconsin takes on #4 Michigan at 3:30 on ABC.
Zach Kaplan is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. Shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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