While Buffalo earned their sixth win of the season to become bowl eligible, there was only one other 2013 opponent of the Buckeyes that showed up in the victory column this week. Iowa needed overtime to down Northwestern, while San Diego State also went to extra time, but they didn't have quite as much good luck as the Hawkeyes did.
Buffalo (6-2), WIN at Kent State (41-21), NEXT GAME: vs. Ohio, 11/5 8:00 PM EST
Joe Licata and Branden Oliver spearheaded a balanced attack that allowed Buffalo to easily dispose of Kent State, and become bowl eligible. Licata tied his career high with 285 yards passing, while Oliver went for 185 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. With Buffalo down 7-6 early in the second quarter, Oliver scored the next four touchdowns in the game, which gave the Bulls an insurmountable 34-7 lead. Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack grabbed his third interception on the season and hit double digits in tackles for the second time this year.
The Bulls will now have a little extra time off before they begin a stretch of three straight Tuesday games. Next Buffalo will take on Ohio, who sits a game behind the Bulls in the MAC East standings. Buffalo, Ohio, and Bowling Green (who Buffalo plays the day after Thanksgiving) are the only teams above .500 in the MAC East. Should the Bulls defeat Ohio, their only real hurdle to a berth in the MAC Championship game is regular season finale against Bowling Green, which is a home game for the Bulls.
San Diego State (3-4), LOSS vs. #17 Fresno State (35-28 OT), NEXT GAME: vs. New Mexico, Saturday 8:00 PM EST
San Diego State pushed Fresno State to the limit, but couldn't quite end the perfect season of the Bulldogs. Fresno State looked to be in control early in the fourth quarter, but the Aztecs scored with just under nine minutes left, and successfully recovered an onside kick to set up a Chad Young 27-yard TD run that tied the game at 28 with just over six minutes left in the game. San Diego State had a chance to win the game with a Seamus McMorrow 37-yard field goal at the end of regulation, but Fresno State blocked the attempt and sent the game to overtime. Fresno State scored first in overtime on a Marteze Waller one-yard touchdown run and San Diego State wasn't able to respond. The Aztecs held Fresno State QB Derek Carr in check for the most part, as Carr completed 35 passes, but those passes only ended up gaining 298 yards. Aztec quarterback Quinn Kaehler threw for 337 yards, but he didn't throw for any touchdown passes while Carr threw for two.
San Diego State will need three wins in their last five games to become bowl eligible. Next up for the Aztecs is a home matchup against New Mexico on Saturday night. With games against San Jose State, Boise State, and UNLV left, this is a must-win game for San Diego State if they have any designs on going bowling this year.
California (1-7), LOSS at Washington (41-17), NEXT GAME: vs. Arizona, Saturday 3:30 PM EST
California had no answer for Washington's combination of Keith Price and Bishop Sankey, losing their sixth straight game in the process. Sankey ran for a career-high 241 yards and put two touchdowns on the board, while Price threw for 376 yards and added two passing touchdowns. The Huskies went up 17-0 in the first quarter, with the closing touchdown of the quarter being a 68-yard strike from Price to Jaydon Mickens. In the third quarter Mickens would add a 47-yard touchdown catch. On a night when Washington paid tribute to former coach Don James, who passed away last Sunday, California was no match for the Huskies. Freshman QB Jared Goff went over 300 yards passing for the fifth time this season, but there wasn't much else that went right for the Golden Bears.
The only win for the season for California came at the expense of FCS opponent Portland State, and even that was only a seven point win for the Golden Bears. In the seven losses that California has suffered this year, the closest that Cal has kept the final score was the 14 point margin against Northwestern in the season opener. That might not change this week with Arizona and running back Ka'Deem Carey heading to Berkeley.
#24 Wisconsin (5-2), Bye week, NEXT GAME: at Iowa, Saturday 12:00 PM EST
The Heartland Trophy will be up for grabs in Iowa City on Saturday afternoon, as these two teams meet for the first time since 2010. Wisconsin won the last meeting in the series 31-30 to bring the overall series record between to 42-42-2. The Badgers will be looking to test the Iowa rushing defense with the combination of Melvin Gordon and James White. The Hawkeyes have only allowed two rushing touchdowns on the year (both to Ohio State), but it's hard to imagine them being able to keep Gordon or White from hitting the endzone at least once in the game.
Northwestern (4-4), LOSS at Iowa (17-10 OT), NEXT GAME: at Nebraska, Saturday 3:30 PM EST
Northwestern's slide continued on Saturday, as they fell to Iowa in overtime. After scoring 30 points in a loss to Ohio State at the beginning of the month, the Wildcats have only scored 33 points in their last three games, all losses to complete a winless October. Northwestern fell behind 10-0 at half, but tied the score at 10 early in the fourth quarter on a Jeff Budzien 29-yard field goal. Those were the last points that Northwestern was able to muster, as Iowa made a touchdown on their first possession in overtime stand up. The Wildcats did get quarterback Kain Colter back after Colter missed the Minnesota game, but they were still missing running back Venric Mark.
Northwestern is one of only three Big Ten teams without a conference win, and the only team in the Legends Division that is still winless. The Wildcats will be looking to play spoiler on Saturday when they head into Lincoln to take on the Cornhuskers. With home games against Michigan and Michigan State following the Nebraska game, Northwestern can play a significant role in the Legends Division race without actually contending for the division title.
Iowa (5-3), WON vs. Northwestern (17-10 OT), NEXT GAME: vs. #24 Wisconsin, Saturday 12:00 PM EST
It took a little extra time, but Iowa rebounded from their loss to the Buckeyes last week and sent Northwestern to their fourth straight loss. The Hawkeyes used a three-yard Damon Bullock touchdown run in the first quarter and a Mike Meyer field goal to take a 10-0 lead into halftime. Iowa couldn't make that lead standup as Northwestern added a touchdown and field goal of their own to send this game to overtime tied at 10. The Hawkeyes took the first possession of overtime and went ahead on a eight-yard Jake Rudock touchdown to C.J. Fiedorowicz, and the defensive held true on Northwestern's attempt to respond. After allowing 273 yards rushing to the Buckeyes last week, Northwestern found some holes on the ground and rolled up 225 rushing yards. Unlike last week, the problems that Iowa had stopping the run didn't cost the Hawkeyes a victory.
A season after only winning four games, the next win that Iowa earns this season will result in the Hawkeyes becoming bowl eligible. The first shot that Iowa will have at notching their sixth win will come on Saturday when they welcome Wisconsin into Iowa City. After two straight games of allowing opponents to rush for 200+ yards on the ground. Iowa will have a tough chore in trying to stop the Wisconsin rushing attack.
Penn State (4-3), LOSS at #4 Ohio State (63-14), NEXT GAME: vs. Illinois, Saturday 12:00 PM EST
After beating Michigan under the lights in Happy Valley a couple weeks ago, Penn State didn't have nearly as much success when they ventured into Columbus to play in primetime. Matt broke down the Buckeyes' destruction of Penn State, while Luke recapped all the best GIFs of the night from the game. Freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg got his first taste of a true hostile environment, and didn't find it much to his liking. A couple of early interceptions by the much maligned Buckeye secondary set the table for Ohio State to jump out to a 21-0 lead, and the game was never any closer than that. The lone bright spot for the Nittany Lions was wide receiver Allen Robinson, who hauled in 12 catches for 173 yards, but a lot of that yardage came on a 65-yard touchdown catch late in the blowout.
Penn State can't let the loss eat at them too long with Illinois visiting Beaver Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Fighting Illini could be just what Penn State needs after the crushing loss by the Buckeyes, as Illinois has lost three straight games to open up their Big Ten schedule.
Purdue (1-6), Bye week, NEXT GAME: vs. #4 Ohio State, Saturday 12:00 PM EST
The last two times that the Buckeyes have played in West Lafayette, they have left with a loss. This year looks like it will be different with the growing pains that the Boilermakers are trying to work through. Vegas seems to think the same, as the Buckeyes opened as 31-point favorites over the Boilermakers. Purdue has yet to beat a FBS team, and have lost five straight games after defeating Indiana State 20-14 in week two. Saturday will see freshman QB Danny Etling start his third straight game after taking over for the ineffective Rob Henry. The Boilermakers are coming off a bye, so Etling will have had some more time to try and sync up with the offense, but it will be a real uphill battle against the Buckeyes.
Illinois (3-4), LOSS vs. Michigan State (42-3), NEXT GAME at Penn State, Saturday 12:00 PM EST
After entering conference play at 3-1, the slide of Illinois continued with a blowout loss on Saturday at the hands of Michigan State. The Fighting Illini have now lost three straight games this season in the Big Ten, and have lost 17 straight conference games dating back to 2011. Illinois actually took a 3-0 lead into the second quarter after a Taylor Zalewski 31-yard field goal, but those were the only points that Illinois scored on the day. The Spartans scored 42 unanswered points on their way to victory, and only gave up 128 yards of total offense to Illinois. Michigan State ran for 269 yards on the ground against Illinois, which allowed the Spartans to hold a nearly two-to-one advantage in time of possession. After a Jeremy Langford one-yard touchdown run gave the Spartans a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter, the Spartans went on a 15-play, 99 yard drive in 8:08 to give them a 14-3 lead going into the halftime. That drive really broke the spirit of Illinois, as they were knocking on the door to score to make it a 10-7 game, but the Spartans stopped them twice at the 1-yard line.
The Fighting Illini will have to regroup quickly if they have any designs on breaking their losing streak in the conference. Illinois will hope they can take advantage of a possible hangover the Penn State will be facing after the Nittany Lions took a beating from the Buckeyes. Illinois will have to find an answer on defense, as since entering Big Ten play they have allowed 39, 56, and now 42 points.
Indiana (3-4), Bye week, NEXT GAME: vs. Minnesota, Saturday 3:30 PM EST
A week after giving up of 700 yards of offense to Michigan, the Hoosiers had a week off to try and find some answers on the defensive side of the ball. Minnesota will head into Bloomington this week, looking to become bowl eligible for the second straight season. A win for the Hoosiers would go a long way in their own hopes of reaching the six wins needed to become eligible for a bowl game. The rushing attack of the Golden Gophers should cause problems for the Hoosiers, but Indiana has shown they have enough offense to be able to keep pace, they just need a few stops from their defense.
#21 Michigan (6-1), Bye week, NEXT GAME: at #22 Michigan State, Saturday 3:30 PM EST
The bye week couldn't have come at a better time for the Wolverines, with their in-state rival looming on the schedule. The offense set some school records against Indiana, but the Wolverine defense has really been struggling the last few games. After giving up 43 points in a four-overtime loss to Penn State, Michigan allowed Indiana to score 47 points in a win over Indiana. While Michigan State might not possess quite as much offensive firepower as Indiana or Penn State, they are gaining confidence, so the Wolverines can't take them lightly. Michigan State currently sits at the top of the Legends Division standings, but a Michigan win would erase any lead that the Spartans would have.