Ohio State is coming off its bye week and is focused on playing Maryland next week in a game that will air on Fox at 12 noon ET. However, there was plenty of Big Ten action to keep up on this weekend, giving me a ton of opportunities to formulate some thoughts on the other teams vying for the conference crown.
Thought No. 1
Penn State defeated Northwestern, 41-13, at Ryan Field in a 12 noon ET game televised by The Big Ten Network. Penn State was tied 10-10 with Northwestern at the half, and the Nittany Lions turned it on in the second half. Penn State has an upcoming bye weekend, then play UMass at home before the heavily anticipated game against the Buckeyes on Oct. 21.
While it is not yet official, look for the Penn State game to be a Big Noon Kickoff game on FOX — I know that a lot of Ohio State fans are not happy about the idea of such a big game not being a night game, but FOX has determined that they will play their perceived best game for a given weekend at 12pm ET. The B1G and FOX are in the first year of a seven-year contract, so this is how it will be for the next several seasons — get used to seeing Ohio State at noon on a frequent basis.
Thought No. 2
Minnesota ended a two-game losing streak, defeating the visiting Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, 35-24. The Golden Gophers actually trailed 17-14 at the half, then took the lead in the second half, outscoring Louisiana 21-7. Minnesota now sits at 3-2 overall and will be hosting the Michigan Wolverines in a 7:30 p.m. ET night game on NBC on Oct. 7.
Thought No. 3
Speaking of “That Team Up North”, the Wolverines took the hosting Nebraska Cornhuskers behind the proverbial woodshed, winning 45-7. This was Michigan’s first road game of the year, and the Wolverines had no problem in this one.
For Nebraska, this is the kind of game that should serve as a stark reminder to the coaches, players, and fan base of how far this program needs to go to be able to compete with the upper-echelon teams within The B1G. Nebraska averted a shutout late in the fourth quarter, and has an upcoming 8 p.m. Friday night game at Illinois on Oct. 6. Nebraska now sits at 2-3, and needs to figure out a way to get to the magical number of six wins, in order to get a bowl bid.
Thought No. 4
As for Nebraska’s next opponent, the Illinois Fighting Illini went on the road to West Lafayette, Indiana, and were handled by the Boilermakers, 44-19. Purdue head coach Ryan Walters — Illinois’ former defensive coordinator — had to revel in the Purdue scoring explosion that took place in the third quarter, as Purdue scored 21 unanswered points that led to the Boilermakers’ victory. Illinois and Purdue are both now 2-3 overall. Ohio State will travel to Purdue on Oct. 13, and the kickoff time has not yet been established.
Thought No. 5
Rutgers had no trouble with Wagner, winning 52-3. The Scarlet Knights now are at 4-1, and now the challenge begins for Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano and his team, as they enter into B1G conference play, needing at least two more wins this season to get to six and a bowl bid.
Thought No. 6
Michigan State went on the road at Iowa in a 7:30 p.m. ET NBC game, and the Spartans nearly pulled off the win, as the Spartans were tied with the Hawkeyes 16-16 late into the fourth quarter. Iowa’s Cooper DeJean’s 70-yard punt return for a touchdown, along with an Iowa field goal, helped to seal the deal for Iowa.
The Hawkeyes now are 4-1 overall, with a 3:30 p.m. ET game versus Purdue that will be available on Peacock, while Michigan State has lost three in a row and have a bye week, before they travel to Rutgers on Oct. 14.
Thought No. 7
Last, and certainly not least, Maryland handled the visiting Indiana Hoosiers, 44-17. I will have plenty more to write about Maryland this upcoming week, but as for Indiana, the Hoosiers are looking like a team that will be eager for the 2023 season to conclude.
Indiana is now 2-3, and is going into a bye week, before traveling to Ann Arbor to take on the undefeated Michigan Wolverines on Oct. 14.