The Spartans will be trying pull the upset in a couple weeks against the Buckeyes, but they still have some work left on Saturday when they host Minnesota. The Buckeyes can't look ahead to December 7th either, but Ohio State fans shouldn't be too worried about that happening with the respect that Urban Meyer has for the rivalry against That Team Up North.
Buffalo (8-3), WIN at Miami (OH) (44-7), NEXT GAME: vs. Bowling Green, Friday 1:30 PM EST
The Bulls rebounded after last week's loss to Toledo with a domination of the winless Redhawks in Oxford on Tuesday night. Against the Rockets, quarterback Joe Licata passed for a career-high 497 yards, but didn't have to do nearly as much as he did against Miami. For the Redhawks game, Licata threw for 172 yards and a touchdown, but it was the running game and the defense that did most of what was needed by the Bulls. Branden Oliver rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns, but leading rusher honors went to Anthone Taylor, who gained 154 yards on 17 carries. The big star of the evening for Buffalo was senior linebacker Khalil Mack. The small crowd in Oxford saw history made with the three fumbles that Mack forced in the game. All three forced fumbles were in the first half, with the first one tying the previous record of fourteen, the second breaking the record, and the third extending the record to 16. The third forced fumble by Mack was scooped up by teammate Okoye Houston and returned 60 yards for a score to give Buffalo a 28-0 lead before half. Now Mack will set his sights on the record for most tackles for loss in a career, currently held at 75 by Western Michigan's Jason Babin. Mack currently has 72.5 tackles for loss in his career.
Buffalo will now host Bowling Green at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Friday afternoon, with a spot against Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship Game next Friday on the line. The Bulls have one previous appearance in the MAC Championship Game, where they ended the hopes for an undefeated season of Brady Hoke's Ball State squad back in 2008.
San Diego State (7-4), WIN vs. Boise State (34-31 OT), NEXT GAME: at UNLV, Saturday 10:30 PM EST
San Diego State tied a NCAA record on Saturday night when they went to overtime for the fourth time this season. Luckily for the Aztecs, they have been pretty comfortable in the extra session this season, going 3-1 in their four overtime games. The game was a back-and-forth affair, with San Diego State taking a 14-7 lead into halftime before Boise State was able to take both 21-14 and 28-21 leads in the game, but weren't able to make those leads stick. The first San Diego State punt return for a touchdown, since 2002, allowed the Aztecs to tie the game at 28 with four minutes to go. The Broncos had a shot to win the game at the end of regulation, but kicker Dan Goodale missed a 43-yard field goal as time expired. Goodale recovered quickly to hit a 35-yarder in the first overtime to give Boise a brief 31-28 lead, but Quinn Kaehler hit Colin Lockett for a 10-yard game-winning touchdown pass to let San Diego State become the first team to beat Boise State in consecutive seasons since Washington State did it back in 2000-01. Kaehler finished with 288 yards and two touchdowns through the air, making up for a Aztec running game that was only able to muster 61 yards on the ground.
While San Diego State doesn't have a shot to go to the Mountain West Conference title game (yes, that's a thing now), the Aztecs have sewn up second place in the West Division. The final game of the regular season for San Diego State will be against a UNLV squad that is bowl-eligible on the season with a 6-5 record. Should the Aztecs win on Saturday night, they will have gone 8-1 after a 0-3 start to the season, including a loss to Eastern Illinois in the season opener.
California (1-11), LOSS at #9 Stanford (63-13), NEXT GAME: Season completed
Sonny Dykes' first year as California head coach came to an end on Saturday with the worst loss in "Big Game" history for the Golden Bears. The Cal defense had no answer for the combination of Kevin Hogan and Ty Montgomery for Stanford, as Hogan threw for a career-high 329 yards and five touchdowns, and Montgomery scored the first four times he touched the football. For the game Montgomery had five catches for 160 yards and four touchdowns, and he added another touchdown on a 31-yard run early in the first quarter to open up the scoring in the game. About the only bright spot for the Golden Bears was freshman quarterback Jared Goff breaking the freshman quarterback passing record previously set in 1996 by Pat Nelson. Goff finished the season with 3,508 yards, breaking Nelson's record by nine yards, but it really could have been more had Goff not exited the game after taking a hit from Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov with 7:06 left in the second quarter.
California will have many areas to address in the offseason after the first year under Dykes only ended with one victory, and that came at the expense of a FCS team. The defense was a major problem for California during the year, as now they have allowed 30+ points in 14 straight games, which is the longest streak ever by a power conference team. Dating back to last year, California has now lost 16 straight games to FBS opponents, and will open the 2014 season at Northwestern.
#14 Wisconsin (9-2), WIN at #25 Minnesota (20-7), NEXT GAME: vs. Penn State, Saturday 3:30 PM EST
Much like last week, running back James White broke off a big run early for the Badgers, rushing for 49 yards on the opening handoff. Minnesota was able to deal with the big early run better than Indiana was though, only allowing the Badgers to rush for 197 yards in the game after Wisconsin put up 554 the previous week. White led the way with 125 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries, while Melvin Gordon chipped in with 12 carries and 69 yards. While Minnesota was able to slow down the Badger rushing attack and stay close, they just couldn't get any offense going against the Badger defense. The Golden Gophers offense was only able to gain 186 total yards in the game, and the only points for Minnesota came on a 39-yard interception return by Aaron Hill off Joel Stave. About the most excitement from the game came in a skirmish that happened after Wisconsin had claimed their 10th straight win in the Battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe. The Badgers pretended to "chop down" one of the goal posts at TCF Bank Stadium, and were heading to do the same to the other goal post but were met by Minnesota players and the student section. That just shows there is still some heat left in college football's most played rivalry, which has been decidedly one-sided lately.
With Ohio State's win on Saturday, Wisconsin saw any hopes of possibly sneaking into the Big Ten Championship Game officially be erased. The Badgers still have a very respectable season going, which could be even better had there not been referee shenanigans in Tempe. A win on Saturday and some teams in front of them losing could make Wisconsin a candidate to sneak into the BCS. Even if they don't end up being chosen for a BCS game, the Badgers look like a lock to be playing in a New Year's Day bowl.
Northwestern (4-7), LOSS vs. #13 Michigan State (30-6), NEXT GAME: at Illinois, Saturday 3:30 PM EST
The ugly Big Ten season for Northwestern got even worse early on in Evanston on Saturday, when Kain Colter left the game in the first quarter after being hit by Michigan State's Isaiah Lewis when trying to catch a pass. Lewis was ejected from the game for targeting, and Colter later returned to the Northwestern sideline in street clothes. At least the Wildcats didn't have to worry about finding a way to blow another game late, as they were thoroughly dominated by the Spartans in this game. The only points that Northwestern could scrape together during the game came via two field goals from kicker Jeff Budzien.
After a season that started off 4-0 heading into conference play, Northwestern is now forced to win at Illinois on Saturday if they want to avoid going winless in the Big Ten this year. Injuries and late-game failures have hampered Northwestern throughout their Big Ten schedule, and they figure to be tested against a Illinois team that just ended a 20-game Big Ten losing streak.
Iowa (7-4), WIN vs. Michigan (24-21), NEXT GAME: at Nebraska, Friday 12:00 PM EST
After falling behind 21-7 at halftime, Iowa came up with a big response in the second half, scoring 17 unanswered points to come from behind and defeat Michigan on Senior Day in Iowa City. A Tevaun Smith 55-yard touchdown pass from Jake Rudock pulled Iowa to within 21-14 with only 1:25 gone in the third quarter, and the Hawkeyes tied in at 21 on a Mark Weisman 9-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. Mike Meyer's 34-yard field goal with just over six minutes left in the game proved to be the game-winner and was clinched when Anthony Hitchens caused and recovered a Devin Gardner fumble on the Iowa 31-yard line with 2:12 left in the game. While Jake Rudock did have two touchdown passes in the game, he also did throw three interceptions, with Brennan Beyer returning a pick 7 yards for a touchdown just under two minutes into the game. The Iowa defense was what kept the Hawkeyes in the game even with all the turnovers, only allowing Michigan 158 total yards in the game.
Iowa will now finish the regular season on the road on Friday, trying to go 8-4 this year after finishing 2012 with a 4-8 record. While the Hawkeyes have four losses this season, the list of teams that have been Iowa is pretty impressive. Northern Illinois, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin have been the teams to defeat the Hawkeyes, with only Wisconsin sporting more than one loss on the season.
Penn State (6-5), LOSS vs. Nebraska (23-20 OT), NEXT GAME: at #15 Wisconsin, Saturday 3:30 PM EST
Penn State played their third overtime game of the year against Nebraska on Saturday, but didn't have quite as much luck as the previous two games they played that went beyond regulation. A 46-yard touchdown pass from Christian Hackenberg to Jesse James gave Penn State a 20-17 lead early in the fourth quarter, but the Nittany Lions weren't able to make that lead stand up. Nebraska kicker Pat Smith hit a 19-yard field goal with less than five minutes to go to tie the game. In overtime Penn State kicker Sam Ficken missed a 37-yarder which gave Nebraska a chance at the win. The Cornhuskers capitalized and Smith kicked a 42-yard field goal to give Nebraska a victory on Senior Day at Beaver Stadium. Zach Zwinak was the workhorse for the Nittany Lion offense in his final home game, rushing 35 times for 149 yards. In what might have been his final home game, junior Allen Robinson caught eight passes for 106 yards.
Now Penn State will head to Madison and try to spring an upset on the Badgers Saturday afternoon. Over the last 10 games in 2013, Penn State has alternated wins and losses, with the first game of that stretch being a win. The streak will be put the test with Penn State having lost the game to the Cornhuskers.
Purdue (1-10), LOSS vs. Illinois (20-16), NEXT GAME: at Indiana, Saturday 3:30 PM EST
It wasn't pretty, but Purdue had a shot to win late, something they haven't been able to say a lot in the 2013 season. Quarterback Danny Etling had the Boilermakers driving and down to the Illinois 30-yard line down 20-14 with under a minute to play, but a Etling interception to Illinois' V'Angelo Bentley ended any hopes Purdue had of winning their first game against a FBS team this year. Akeem Hunt opened up the scoring for Purdue less than two minutes into the game with a 62-yard run to put the Boilers up 7-0 early. Hunt finished the game with a career-high 102 yards rushing on 18 carries. Purdue's defense was able to forced Illinois into turning the football over four times in the game, but they couldn't turn those turnovers into any points during the game.
Now Purdue will make the trip down to Bloomington on Saturday afternoon to square off against Indiana. The Boilermakers might not be very good, but they look to be working hard for head coach Darrell Hazell. Last week, the Boilers held tough for most of the game against Penn State, and with the effort against Illinois it shows that Purdue is doing their best to get their second win of the season.
Illinois (4-7), WIN at Purdue (20-16), NEXT GAME: vs. Northwestern, Saturday 3:30 PM EST
Illinois head coach Tim Beckman finally knows what it feels like to have won a Big Ten game after his team defeated Purdue on Saturday. Illinois snapped a 20-game losing streak in the Big Ten, which dated back to 2011 when Ron Zook was still head coach of Illinois. Running back Josh Ferguson was able to rush for a career-high 115 yards in the game, and wide receiver Steve Hull was able to set his own personal best with 10 catches in the game. Two of Hull's catches went for touchdowns and he ended with 169 total receiving yards in the game. Hull's second touchdown catch tied the game at 14 before halftime, and Illinois added two field goals in the fourth quarter to put them ahead for good during the game.
Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase will end his Illinois career at home on Saturday afternoon against Northwestern. While the record isn't pretty during his career in Champaign (19-28 as a starter heading into the season finale), Scheelhaase has been one of the most prolific passers that the university has seen statistically during his career.
Indiana (4-7), LOSS at #3 Ohio State (42-14), NEXT GAME: vs. Purdue, Saturday 3:30 PM EST
The Hoosiers weren't able to spoil Senior Day for the Buckeyes, not posing too much of a challenge as Urban Meyer's team won their 23rd straight game. Matt wrote a more in-depth recap following Saturday's game, while Luke collected the most GIFable moments from snowy Ohio Stadium. While the 311 yards rushing that the Hoosiers gave up in the game may seem like a lot, it was actually a pretty good effort when considering they gave up 554 yards last week to Wisconsin. The Buckeye had more of a bend but don't break defense for most of the game, as Indiana made numerous trips into Buckeye territory, but weren't able to score points until a couple of late TDs put them on the board.
Now Indiana will close out their season at home when they battle Purdue for the Old Oaken Bucket. Indiana had bowl hopes coming into the season, but a three-game losing streak in the middle of the season pretty much put the nail in the coffin of any bowl hopes that Indiana had. Still, a win to close out the season against their rival could give head coach Kevin Wilson's team some momentum heading into next year.
Michigan (7-4), LOSS at Iowa (24-21), NEXT GAME vs. #3 Ohio State, Saturday 12:00 PM EST
Going into halftime, Michigan held a 21-7 lead on Iowa, but they wouldn't score the rest of the game and weren't able to stop the Hawkeyes from making a comeback. While Devin Gardner threw two touchdown passes on the day, Michigan's offense seemed non-existent for a lot of the game. The Wolverines were only able to chalk up 158 yards of total offense in the game, and still weren't able to find victory even with the four turnovers that the Hawkeyes committed. Gardner was stripped off the football with 2:12 left in the game and that ended any hopes that the Wolverines had of winning the football game. With as many problems as Michigan has had running the ball lately, things didn't get much better against the Hawkeyes, as the Wolverines were only able to total 60 yards rushing in the game.
Now Michigan will close out their regular season against Ohio State on Saturday. The odds seemed stacked against a Michigan team that has lost three of their last four games, while struggling to find anything on offense. Stay with LGHL during the week for all the coverage that you'll need on Beat Michigan Week.
#11 Michigan State (10-1), WIN at Northwestern (30-6), NEXT GAME: vs Minnesota, Saturday 12:00 PM EST
With a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis on the line, Michigan State was able to avoid any of their patented "SPARTY, NO!" moments and easily took care of a banged up Northwestern team. Quarterback Connor Cook passed for a career-high 293 yards in the game, including hitting Bennie Fowler for a 87-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Running back Jeremy Langford was able to supplement Cook's passing with some hard running. Langford carried 25 times for 150 yards and two touchdowns against the Wildcats. The Michigan State defense continued their domination of opponents, only allowing Northwestern to put up two field goals in the game.
The Spartans will finish up their home schedule on Saturday when Minnesota comes into East Lansing. At the same time as the Spartans are playing the Golden Gophers, northeast of East Lansing the Spartans' opponent in the Big Ten Championship Game will be squaring off against Michigan. The Michigan State defense will provide the Ohio State offense with the toughest task they have faced all year, and it should be quite a game when the two teams square off a couple Saturdays from now.