While the matchup between the two most recent opponents of the Buckeyes wasn't much of a contest, Buckeye fans were able to sit back and watch a thriller between two teams that Ohio State will face down the road. Penn State was able to hand Michigan their first loss on the season in one of the best games that has been played so far this year in college football. A couple of Ohio State's non-conference opponents have looked better as well after rocky starts. Buffalo and San Diego State have now strung together winning streaks, and will be looking to make some more noise in their respective conferences.
Buffalo (4-2), WIN at Western Michigan (33-0), NEXT GAME: vs. Massachusetts, Saturday 3:30 PM
Saturday saw Buffalo go into Kalamazoo and win their fourth straight game on the season and keep Western Michigan winless in 2013. While quarterback Joe Licata only went 11 for 21 on the day, three of those passes went for touchdowns. Licata only passed for 124 yards, but he didn't need to do much more, as the Bulls rung up 290 yards on the ground. A week after rushing for 150 yards against Eastern Michigan, senior running back followed it up with 128 yards against Western Michigan. The Bulls forced Western Michigan into four turnovers on the day, including linebacker Khalil Mack recovering two fumbles. Not only was the offense and defense excelling for the Bulls, but the special teams found success from the foot of kicker Patrick Clarke. In the game Clarke hit two field goals, including a career-long from 51 yards.
Buffalo will try and extend their winning streak on Saturday when they square off against Massachusetts. The Bulls will look to keep pace with Bowling Green, who currently sits at the top of the MAC East standings with a 3-0 record in conference play.
San Diego State (3-3), WIN at Air Force (27-20), NEXT GAME: vs. #17 Fresno State, October 26th
After it was looking like early in the week this game was going to be a casualty of the government shutdown, these two teams were able to take the field after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that sports at the military services academies would continued to be played at least through the end of the month. San Diego State scored first at the end of the first quarter when Eric Judge caught a 44 yard touchdown pass from Quinn Kaehler. The Aztecs weren't able to convert the extra point, and Air Force took control after, scoring the next 20 points in the game. Heading into the fourth quarter it was looking like San Diego State was going to need a miracle, and that's when Kaehler and running back Donel Pumphrey went to work. Pumphrey scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the first one a 20-yard reception from Kaehler, and rushing for the game-winning score from 10 yards out with 1:39 left in the fourth quarter.
Ever since starting the season 0-3 the Aztecs have been able to successfully blend Pumphrey and Adam Muema's talents on the ground with the arm of Quinn Kaehler to win three straight games. Now Rocky Long and his team will have a week off to prepare for a MWC showdown with Fresno State.
California (1-5), LOSS at #11 UCLA (37-10), NEXT GAME: vs. Oregon State, Saturday 10:30 PM
If you don't count the Oregon game, when he only threw seven passes, this was the first game of quarterback Jared Goff's young career in which he didn't throw for over 300 yards. While Goff completed 26 of his 43 passes, the UCLA defense didn't give him much, as Goff only was able to amass 215 yards through the air. The Golden Bears fell into a 17-0 hole early in the second quarter and weren't able to do much of anything to make UCLA sweat. The Bruins were led by Brett Hundley and his 410 yards passing, as they secured an easy victory before they take on Stanford this week.
California is still winless on the season against FBS teams, and that might not change anytime soon. Sonny Dykes' team faces a tough task this Saturday when Oregon State comes into Berkeley. The Beavers currently sit at 5-1 on the season and are tied at the top of the Pac-12 North standings with Oregon at 3-0 in conference play.
#25 Wisconsin (4-2), WIN vs. #19 Northwestern (35-6), NEXT GAME: at Illinois, Saturday 8:00 PM
The Badgers took full advantage of their week off, having little trouble with a Northwestern squad that almost upset Ohio State the week before. Wisconsin controlled the clock, hold on to the football for just over 38 minutes in the game. A week after Carlos Hyde had his way with the Northwestern defense, Melvin Gordon and James White combined for 283 yards on the ground, each tallying a rushing touchdown. The only thing that went wrong for Wisconsin was when wide receiver Jared Abbrederis left with a head injury, but not before he hauled in a 63-yard touchdown pass to give Wisconsin a 7-3 lead. The good news for the Badgers is that head coach Gary Andersen expects Abbrederis to be able to play this week.
Now that Wisconsin has returned to the rankings, their next task will be to try and navigate a night game on the road in conference play. Wisconsin has already played one Big Ten night game on the road, but this week they won't have to deal with the environment of an place like Ohio Stadium. A win against Illinois will help Wisconsin to keep a firm lock on 2nd place in the Leaders division behind Ohio State.
Northwestern (4-2), LOSS vs. Wisconsin (35-6), NEXT GAME: vs. Minnesota, Saturday 12:00 PM
After nearly pulling the upset over Ohio State last week, Northwestern showed that they were still reeling from the tough loss when they were beaten soundly by Wisconsin in Madison. The Wildcats jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the first quarter, but it was all downhill from there, as they were only able to gain 241 total yards on the day. The biggest problem is that the Wisconsin rushing attack helped to keep the ball out of Northwestern's hands. The Wildcats only possessed the ball for just over 21 minutes on the game. After the opening field goal, Wisconsin put up the next 21 points, and that really limited what Northwestern was able to do on offense. The deficit meant Northwestern had to pass the ball to try and get back in it, and that didn't work too well for the Wildcats. Trevor Siemian only completed 13 of the 34 passes that he attempted in the game.
Northwestern will have to put the last two weeks behind them quickly if they have any designs at trying to make some noise in the Legends division. The Wildcats will welcome Minnesota into Evanston on Saturday, as the loser will sit alone at the bottom of the Legends division. With games still left against all their division foes, Northwestern isn't out of the race to head to Indianapolis, but they'll need to win out and hope for some help to get back in the race.
Iowa (4-2), Bye week, NEXT GAME: at #4 Ohio State, Saturday 3:30 PM
Iowa had the weekend off to try and recover from the loss they suffered last weekend to Michigan State. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak that Iowa had going coming into the game against Michigan State. Now the Hawkeyes will face the challenge of heading into Ohio Stadium and trying to pull the upset against the Buckeyes. This will be the first time since 2010 that these two schools have faced off.
Penn State (4-2), WIN vs. #18 Michigan (43-40, 4OT), NEXT GAME: at #4 Ohio State, October 26th 8:00 PM
Michigan and Penn State played a Big Ten classic on Saturday night in Happy Valley, needing four overtimes before the Nittany Lions finally pulled the victory out. After storming out to a 21-10 lead at halftime, Penn State was in serious trouble after Michigan had outscored them 24-3 in the second half to take a 34-24 lead early in the fourth quarter. A 43-yard field goal by Sam Ficken pulled the Nittany Lions to 34-27 before quarterback Christian Hackenberg engineered a five-play, 80 yard drive in just 23 seconds to tie the game at 34. The big play on the drive was a Hackenberg hail mary, that leaping Allen Robinson pulled down at the Michigan one-yard line. On the next play Hackenberg barely snuck the football into the end zone to force overtime. Hackenberg threw for 305 yards in the game and three touchdowns, hitting Robinson five times for 84 yards.
Penn State was on the verge of losing twice in overtime, but Michigan had their first field goal attempt at victory blocked, while the second turned out to be a missed field goal from 33 yards away. While Penn State did commit four turnovers in the game, including a nearly fatal fumble in overtime, they showed tremendous heart in coming back multiple times to upset the Wolverines.
Now Penn State will have a bye week before they try and pull another upset. The Nittany Lions will head into Columbus next Saturday to square off with the Buckeyes in a night game at Ohio Stadium. The good news for Penn State is the last time they were in Columbus for a 8 pm kickoff, they squeaked out a 13-6 win in 2008.
Purdue (1-5), LOSS vs. Nebraska (44-7), NEXT GAME: at Michigan State, Saturday 12:00 PM
The debut of freshman Danny Etling as a starter was a rough one, as the Cornhuskers ran all over the Boilermakers in West Lafayette. Etling, in his first game as starter after taking over for Rob Henry, only completed 14 of his 35 passes on the day, as Purdue could only muster 216 yards of total offense. Nebraska scored 44 unanswered points before Etling was able to ruin the shutout with a 55-yard touchdown pass to DeAngelo Yancey with under a minute left in the fourth quarter. Nebraska was able to rush for 251 yards in the game, which helped them to hold a nearly 15 minute advantage in time of possession on Purdue. In comparison, Purdue was only able to rush for 32 yards on the ground, as getting behind so early forced them to rely on the pass to try and stay in the game.
Next up for Purdue is a trip to East Lansing for a tilt against Michigan State on Saturday. The Boilermakers will have to try and find a way to crack the Michigan State defense, but based on the results so far this season, it could be a very long day for the Boilermakers.
Illinois (3-2), Bye week, NEXT GAME: vs. #25 Wisconsin, Saturday 8:00 PM
Illinois had their second bye week of the season last week, which gave them some time to figure out what went wrong the previous week against Nebraska. The Fighting Illini will have to tighten up their run defense if they want to have any shot at defeated the Badgers on Saturday night in Champaign. Illinois allowed the Cornhuskers to run for 335 yards last Saturday, and now they'll have to deal with the Badgers rushing combo of Melvin Gordon and James White.
Indiana (3-3), LOSS at Michigan State (42-28), NEXT GAME: at Michigan, Saturday 3:30 PM
The Hoosiers got off to a strong start on Saturday after Tevin Campbell rushed for a 64-yard touchdown to put Indiana up 7-0 just a minute into the game, but the Spartans were just too much to handle. Michigan State's Jeremy Langford ran for three touchdowns and caught another to spearhead the Spartans offensive attack. The nation's top ranked defense held the Big Ten's top ranked offense in check for pretty much the whole game, only allowing the Hoosiers to gain 351 yards of total offense on the day. After Coleman's long TD run early in the game, he was only able to gain 15 more yards on the ground on 14 other carries he had during the game. The Spartans were able to find holes both through the air as well as on the ground against the Hoosiers defense, rushing for 238 yards and passing for 235 yards in the game.
Indiana will again be in Michigan this coming weekend, this time squaring off with the Wolverines in Ann Arbor on Saturday afternoon. The Hoosiers have alternated wins and losses this season, so the good news for Indiana is if the trend holds they're in line for a victory at Michigan Stadium.
Michigan (5-1), LOSS at Penn State (43-40, 4 OT), NEXT GAME: vs. Indiana, Saturday 3:30 PM
Michigan had multiple chances to secure a victory Saturday night at Beaver Stadium, but they let all those chances slip through their fingers and were handed their first loss on the season. The Wolverines looked to be in control early in the fourth quarter when Devin Funchess pulled in a 37-yard touchdown pass to give Michigan a 34-24 lead. Had Michigan been able to get more out of Fitz Toussaint they might have been able to use up some clock and put the game away, but Toussaint was only able to manage 27 yards rushing on his 27 carries for the Wolverines. Michigan had a couple chances to win in overtime, but kicker Brendan Gibbons had one of his field goals blocked and missed another one from 33 yards out to keep Penn State in the game. Michigan did linebacker Jake Ryan back for the game, after missing the first five games of the season as he recovered from a torn ACL he suffered last season, but they did end up losing offensive lineman Taylor Lewan to injury in the second half. After the game Brady Hoke said that Lewan "Should be all right", but no official word has come out yet as to Lewan's status for this week's game.
Michigan will have to put this loss behind them quickly as they'll have to welcome Indiana into Michigan Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Wolverines will need a win Saturday to keep pace with Michigan State and Nebraska in the race for the Legends Division title. Should Michigan win on Saturday, they'll have a week off before facing Michigan State and Nebraska in back-to-back weeks.