BY MICK MILLER
BIG TEN INSIDER
If you’re an old dude like me, you were raised on the Big Ten of yesteryear; Bo, Woody, three yards and a cloud of dust. This just in, someone else just scored. Four teams scored 48 points or more this weekend and a fifth scored 38 in a win. To me, the same old garbage thrown around by sportswriters about the weakness of the conference and how the BCS caters to the Big Ten is simply ludicrous. How many years have we had to hear about the team that doesn’t deserve to be where they are? Take it up with the schedule makers and as Ohio State reaches a number one ranking for a second straight season, let’s look at another exciting weekend in the conference.
Michigan 48 Purdue 21
After running for 102 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, Michigan running back Mike Hart suffered what appears to be a minor ankle injury and sat the second half of the Wolverines’ best team performance of the season. Quarterback Chad Henne completed 21-of-28 passes and two touchdowns, both to wide receiver Mario Manningham, who returned from a one game suspension to have a career-high in yards with 147 on eight catches. The Michigan defense shut down Purdue’s conference best offense and Curtis Painter, holding him to 113 yards passing and the team to 5.4 yards per pass play.
Next Up: Michigan is at Illinois; Purdue invites Iowa
(3) Ohio State 38 Kent State 7
After not having a punt return longer than 21 yards all season, Buckeye wide receiver Brian Hartline set a school record with a 90-yard touchdown return in the second quarter, after catching a 14 yard touchdown from quarterback Todd Boeckman in the first. The offense appears to be catching up to the defense, which had fireworks of its own, a 70 yard interception return for a score by Donald Washington which was part of a 28-point second quarter, and allowed the Buckeyes to play the reserves in the second half. Ohio State held Kent State to 6-of-15 passing for 62 net yards.
Next Up: Ohio State hosts Michigan State
Northwestern 49 Minnesota 48 (2 OT)
After an earth-shaking performance last week in an overtime win against Michigan State, Wildcat quarterback C.J. Bacher threw for 470 yards (41-58 completions) and four touchdowns Saturday in bringing his team back from a 21-point deficit and a win versus the Golden Gophers. In an old fashioned quarterback gunfight, Minnesota redshirt freshman Adam Weber threw for 341 yards and five touchdowns while running for another 89 yards and a score. Wildcat receivers Ross Lane and Eric Peterman combined for 21 receptions, 222 yards and three touchdowns. Minnesota wide receiver Ernie Wheelwright had his best game of the season with 116 yards and three touchdowns.
Next Up: Northwestern travels to Eastern Michigan; Minnesota welcomes North Dakota State
Michigan State 52 Indiana 27
Spartan running back Javon Ringer led a dominating rushing attack against Indiana with 203 yards and two touchdowns while his backfield mate Jehuu Caulcrick added three scores on the ground. MSU dominated the time of possession battle and kept the high-powered Hoosier offense off the field. After tying the game at seven with quarterback Kellen Lewis’ 59-yard touchdown run on their first offensive play, Indiana saw themselves trail by as many as 32 points and were on the field for less than 19 minutes for the game. A 76-yard fumble return by Hoosier corner Tracy Porter pulled Indiana within 18, but that ended their scoring for the game. Quarterback Brian Hoyer was efficient with 20-of-23 completions and 190 yards and his lone touchdown pass went to the all-purpose Devin Thomas who added 13 receptions for 147 yards.
Next Up: Michigan State is at Ohio State; Indiana is at home versus Ohio State
Penn State 38 (19) Wisconsin 7
Following a rough week with off the field issues, Penn State erupted at home while Wisconsin lost for the second consecutive time after a 14-game win streak. Their usually dominant run game fizzled (held to 87 yards) and a balanced Nittany Lion offense broke out with 437 total yards against the Badger defense. Anthony Morelli threw for 216 yards and a touchdown and running back Reggie Kinlaw logged 115 yards on the ground and a score as Penn State excelled on both sides of the ball. The lone Badger bright spot was freshman wide receiver Kyle Jefferson with six receptions for 124 yards, picking up the slack for the injured senior Luke Swan. Wisconsin quarterback Tyler Donovan could not get it going against the Penn State defense that sacked him five times on the day.
Next Up: Penn State travels to Indiana; Wisconsin hosts Northern Illinois
Iowa 10 (18) Illinois 6
A stout Hawkeye defense defused the nation’s fifth-ranked Illini running game to 137 yards on 35 attempts, and came up with just enough offense for their first conference victory, and handing Illinois their first Big Ten loss. In the third quarter, Illinois head coach Ron Zook decided to accept a five-yard penalty that made it third and seven instead of fourth and two for Iowa at the Illini 15-yard line. Hawkeye quarterback Jake Christensen proceeded to hit tight end Brandon Myers with a 20-yard touchdown pass that proved to be the difference in the game. Hawkeye running back Albert Young gained 99 yards on 25 carries while the star Illini halfback Rashard Mendenhall was held to 67 yards on 15 rushes. Illinois quarterback Eddie McGee, replacing starter Juice Williams, threw an interception the end zone from the 12-yard line to seal the win for Iowa. Freshman receiver Arrelious Benn had four receptions for 87 yards for Illinois, including two for 52 yards on their final drive.
Next Up: Iowa is at Purdue; Illinois hosts Michigan