With the Buckeyes seemingly needing all the help they can get right now, some strong performances will be needed by some of their opponents this season to try and make the schedule look a little stronger. While the win against Wisconsin continues to look better, the win against Northwestern isn't looking nearly as strong as a couple weeks ago. The non-conference schedule could be boosted if Buffalo and San Diego State do gain bowl eligibility during the season.
Buffalo (5-2), WIN vs. Massachusetts (32-3), NEXT GAME: at Kent State, Saturday 3:30 PM
Brendan Oliver powered Buffalo to their fifth straight win on Saturday, as he rushed for 216 yards and a touchdown against Massachusetts. Oliver now has 3,203 rushing yards in his four-year career at Buffalo, which breaks the mark that James Starks previously held with 3,140 rushing yards. Linebacker Khalil Mack had his second interception return for a touchdown, putting Buffalo up 10-0 with a 35-yard return. The interception was one of three turnovers that the Bulls defense forced Massachusetts to commit in the game.
The Bulls currently sit tied for first place in the MAC's East division with Bowling Green and will face the struggling Kent State team to try and stay at the top. The game against Kent State will be the last regular season game that the Bulls play on Saturday this year. The magic of #MACTION has the Bulls playing their next three games on Tuesday nights, followed by the regular season finale the day after Thanksgiving against Bowling Green.
San Diego State (3-3), Bye week, NEXT GAME: vs. #17 Fresno State, Saturday 10:30 PM
San Diego State had a bye week last week, as they ride a three-game winning streak into the showdown against Fresno State on Saturday night. After losing to Eastern Illinois to start the season, an upset of the Bulldogs could go a long way to help the Aztecs save their season. Also, a win against Fresno State would help to make Ohio State's non-conference schedule look a little bit better, should the Aztecs be able to burst the Bulldogs' BCS bubble.
California (1-6), LOSS vs. Oregon State (49-17), NEXT GAME: at Washington, Saturday 11:00 PM
California's struggles continued as they lost their 11th straight game to an FBS opponent, which is the longest streak currently in the country among teams in a FBS conference. Oregon State's Sean Mannion tore apart the California defense, passing for 481 yards and four touchdowns. Mannion's main target was Brandin Cooks, who pulled in 13 passes for 232 yards and a touchdown. Cooks also added a 14-yard rushing touchdown. The turnovers woes continued for Cal, as they committed four turnovers in the game.
Things won't get any easier for Cal when they head to Seattle on Saturday night to take on Washington. The Huskies are sure to be angry having lost their last three games, and the Golden Bears might be the recipient of Washington's frustrations.
#24 Wisconsin (5-2), WIN at Illinois (56-32), NEXT GAME: at Iowa, November 2nd
The Badgers played their second night game in the Big Ten this year on the road, but this one turned out a lot better than when Wisconsin played in Columbus last month. Wisconsin put the game to bed within the first 10 minutes of the game, jumping out to a 21-0 lead on Illinois to quiet the home crowd. Running back Melvin Gordon went over 1,000 rushing yards on the season, as he racked up 142 yards on 17 carries and scored three touchdowns in the game. James White added 98 yards rushing and two touchdowns for Wisconsin. Wisconsin rushed for 289 yards in the game, which allowed them to hold on to the football for nearly 35 minutes.
While the Badgers did roll in the game, there is some concern as they lost linebacker Chris Borland to a hamstring injury when he was covering a punt in the first quarter. The good news for Wisconsin is that Borland will have a little extra time to recover from the injury with a bye week on tap for the Badgers. Next up for Wisconsin will be a game at Iowa the first Saturday of November.
Northwestern (4-3), LOSS vs. Minnesota (20-17), NEXT GAME: at Iowa, Saturday 12:00 PM
More and more it is looking like Northwestern might have spent everything they had in the close loss they suffered to Ohio State in Evanston earlier this month. The Wildcats were without running back Venric Mark and quarterback Kain Colter on Saturday, while Minnesota could have gotten a boost from coach Jerry Kill watching from the press box and addressing the Gophers at halftime. Stephen Buckley's three-yard touchdown run in the first quarter gave Northwestern a 7-0 lead, but that was the only lead the Wildcats would hold on the day. Turnovers were what did Northwestern in, with a 24-yard interception return by James Manuel gave the Gophers a 14-7 lead late in the third quarter, Northwestern committed three turnovers in the game while Minnesota didn't commit any.
Breaking their three-game losing streak won't be easy, as Northwestern will have to travel to Iowa this Saturday. Northwestern will be hoping Iowa suffers some of the same fate, with the Hawkeyes suffering a losing streak after dropping a close game to the Buckeyes. Should Northwestern fail to win on Saturday, they could be looking at a possible five-game losing streak with a trip to Lincoln following the game against the Hawkeyes.
Iowa (4-3), LOSS vs. #4 Ohio State (34-24), NEXT GAME: vs. Northwestern, Saturday 12:00 PM
The Hawkeyes put forth a game effort, but fell just a little bit short of pulling the upset of the Buckeyes on Saturday afternoon. Chris wrote a more in-depth recap of the tilt in Columbus, while Luke created a recap of all your favorite GIFs from the game. Jake Rudock threw for 245 yards and three touchdowns, including a 85-yarder to Jake Duzey to tie the game at 24 late in the third quarter. Those were the last points that Iowa would put on the board though, as Carlos Hyde's beastly 19-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter put the game away for the Buckeyes. Hyde was able to put the first two rushing touchdowns on the board against the Iowa defense this season. Coming into the game Iowa was only allowing 88 yards/game on the ground, but Ohio State was able to find holes and rack up 273 rushing yards. The Hawkeys weren't able to get much on the ground going in the game, only rushing for 130 yards in the game.
Now the Hawkeyes will have to turn their attention to a reeling Northwestern team when the Wildcats come to Iowa City on Saturday afternoon. A win on Saturday against Northwestern could go a long way to help Iowa's bowl hopes. The Hawkeyes are two wins away from bowl eligibilty, and while they still play Purdue, their other remaning games are against Wisconsin, Michigan, and Nebraska.
Penn State (4-2), Bye week, NEXT GAME: at #4 Ohio State, Saturday 8:00 PM
After the grueling thriller against Michigan last Saturday, Penn State enjoyed a well deserved bye week. The Nittany Lions will be in Columbus on Saturday night trying to win their second straight game against a ranked team. Things won't be easy for the Nittany Lions, but Christian Hackenberg and Allen Robinson have to be looking forward to possibly exploiting the Buckeyes' struggling pass defense. Penn State was the last team to win a night game in Columbus, as they beat the Buckeyes 13-6 back in 2008.
Purdue (1-6), LOSS vs. Michigan State (14-0), NEXT GAME: vs. #4 Ohio State, November 2nd
The season of horrors continued for Purdue with a 14-0 loss to Michigan State on Saturday, but the game was a lot closer than many around the country thought it would be. The Boilermakers entered the game as nearly a 28-point underdog, but they were able to keep the game within a touchdown for most of the game. The first score by Michigan State was via a Danny Etling fumble that Denicos Allen returned 45 yards early in the second quarter. The only points that the Purdue gave up came in the middle of the fourth when the Spartans ran a trick play that resulted in a Andrew Gleichert five-yard touchdownn reception. Michigan State's defense has held a lot of the teams they've played this year down so far this season, so it's no surprise that the Boilermakers couldn't get a lot going on offense. Still, it is a good sign for Purdue that they showed some fight and kept things close for most of the day.
Now Purdue will have a week to prepare for Ohio State, but I'm sure they are hoping they had even more time. The Boilermakers do have some history of Ohio State struggling in West Lafayette, but with the way the Boilermakers have played so far this season it's looking like even that mystique won't help them.
Illinois (3-3), LOSS vs. #25 Wisconsin (56-32), NEXT GAME: vs. Michigan State, Saturday 3:30 PM
Almost before the Fighting Illini could blink they were already down 21-0 to the Badgers on Saturday night in Champaign. Illnois showed some fight in closing the score to 28-17 by halftime, but that was as close as Illinois would get to Wisconsin in the game. Tim Beckman's team wasn't able to get much going on the ground, rushing for only 72 yards on 29 carries, but the early deficit meant that they had to rely heavily on the pass. Nathan Scheelhaase was efficient, completing 20 of his 27 passes. The problem was Illinois couldn't get a big hitter, as those completions only ended up totaling 249 yards and no passing touchdowns for Scheelhaase.
Illinois has now lost 16 consecutive Big Ten games, and now after facing the Badgers' rushing attack they'll be tasked with trying to figure out the Michigan State defense. That losing streak might grow before it ends with matchups against Penn State, Indiana, and Ohio State before they face off against Purdue.
Indiana (3-4), LOSS vs. Michigan (63-47), NEXT GAME: vs. Minnesota, November 2nd
Indiana must have left any defense that they had in Bloomington, as Michigan pretty much scored at will against the Hoosiers. Michigan accumulated 751 yards of offense and had possession of the football for over 38 minutes on Saturday afternoon. The Hoosiers kept pace with the Wolverines for most of the day, but couldn't match the last two touchdowns that Michigan put on the board. The Indiana offense put up 572 yards of offense, including 410 yards passing and four touchdown passes between quarterbacks Tre' Roberson and Nate Sudfeld. The defensive failings for the Hoosiers were just too much for the offense to try and make up for.
Now Indiana will have a bye week to try and tighten up the defense before they welcome Minnesota into Bloomington next Saturday. A win against the Golden Gophers is critical if the Hoosiers have any hopes of keeping their hopes of becoming bowl eligibility alive. Indiana has games against Illinois and Purdue left on the schedule, but they also have trips to Wisconsin and Ohio State to play as well.
#23 Michigan (6-1), WIN vs. Indiana (63-47), NEXT GAME: at #25 Michigan State, November 2nd
Michigan offensive school records were under attack in Ann Arbor on Saturday afternoon, as Devin Gardner passed for 503 yards against the Hoosiers. Much of that passing total went to Jeremy Gallon, who accounted for 369 receiving yards and two touchdowns. The receiving yards by Gallon was the second most in FBS history, only bettered by the 405 that Louisiana Tech's Troy Edwards put up in 1998. The Michigan offense put up a total of 751 yards in the game. After only rushing for 27 yards on 27 carries against Penn State, Fitz Toussaint found a little bit more room to run, carrying 32 times for 151 yards and four touchdowns.
After giving up 43 points to Penn State (in four overtimes) the previous week, and 572 yards and 47 points to Indiana, there has to be a major concern about the Michigan defense. The good news for the Wolverines is they have a week off to assess the problems and try to make adjustments. The next time Michigan will take the field it will be in East Lansing against in-state rival Michigan State the first Saturday of November. Michigan's next two games will go a long way in determining where they stand in the Legends division, with a game against Nebraska following the Michigan State game.