It’s safe to say the Big Ten Rivalry Week lived up to the hype. Comebacks, upheaval, and an image-shaking edition of The Game of the playoffs all contributed to a very entertaining milestone for the regular season. Here’s a look at some of the best games of week 13.
You couldn’t find a more fitting way to end one of the craziest regular seasons in recent memory. With playoff chances for both teams, Michigan beat Ohio State for the first time in a decade.
Hassan Haskins immersed himself in the Heisman conversation with an incredible performance at the Big House. Accumulating 169 rushing yards and five touchdowns in 28 carries, Haskins spearheaded Michigan’s offensive offense in their 42-27 victory. He won each of the Wolverines’ 63 yards on their deciding touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Ohio State entered this game firmly in the playoffs table while Michigan was away, but the teams have now traded places. With two losses and no conference title game to go, the Buckeyes’ CFP hopes are nearly dead. Meanwhile, the Wolverines will take part in next Saturday’s Big Ten Championship against Iowa as the nation’s No.2 team. A victory in Indianapolis should see Michigan advance to the playoffs for the first time.
When Logan Smothers’ yardage gave Nebraska a 21-6 lead midway through the third quarter, all hope seemed lost for Iowa. But a turnaround by the Hawkeyes in all three phases fueled an exciting comeback, resulting in a 28-21 win on Black Friday.
The Iowa offense moved the ball well even though it was dragging. But his failure to complete two runs over 60 yards – which ended in a turnaround on goal-line downs and a fumble from Tyler Goodson, respectively – allowed Nebraska to take control early on. . Kirk Ferentz’s team limited both Smothers and Jaquez Yant to the ground, but the two managed to build enough momentum to propel the Cornhuskers into an early lead.
The tide turned on a blocked punt that occurred less than a minute into the final period of play. Joe Evans broke through the Nebraska blockers to disrupt play and create a touchdown in Iowa . That brought the Hawkeyes down to five points and set the tone for a dominant fourth quarterback. Four minutes later, the defense forced a safety. Later, the Iowa offense finally took the lead with three minutes left on a 76-yard touchdown that included a massive 55-yard run by Goodson, who finished with 156 yards on 23 carries.
Because Minnesota upset Wisconsin on Saturday, Iowa was able to steal the Big Ten West title. Despite their offensive struggles in the middle of the year, the Hawkeyes now have the opportunity to secure a spot at the Rose Bowl and ruin Michigan’s playoff hopes. Nebraska, meanwhile, will finish with a 1-8 B1G record despite a net zero point differential in conference. Classic dehullers.
After a demoralizing loss to Columbus last week, Michigan State rebounded with a 30-27 victory over Penn State.
It wasn’t easy, as the Nittany Lions have never trailed more than seven points. And while MSU’s offensive attack wasn’t predictable enough, snowy conditions and strong winds forced the Spartans to rely even more on Kenneth Walker II. That didn’t stop Walker, a one-year candidate for Heisman, from rushing for 138 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries.
A three-possession streak in the fourth quarter was also crucial. Leading 23-20, Spartans linebacker Cal Haladay stripped Keyvonne Lee to force a turnaround around midfielder. Mel Tucker’s offense then materialized with a 48-yard touchdown, which culminated with Jayden Reed’s 20-yard capture and a score in the 4th and 15th. In the ensuing kick-off, MSU’s special teams unit forced a fumble to kill another clock minute.
Sean Clifford played well throughout the game, throwing for 313 yards and three touchdowns. But his performance was ultimately not enough for Penn State to avoid their fifth loss in seven games. While James Franklin now has as much job security as anyone on a new ten-year contract, he and the Nittany Lions have a lot of work ahead of them to improve their disappointing 7-5 record. Meanwhile, the Spartans notched their first ten-game winning season in five years and are in the mix for a New Year’s Bowl offer.
Illinois 47, Northwest 14
Minnesota 23, Wisconsin 13
Purdue 44, Indiana 7
Maryland 40, Rutgers 16