Tom put it very well in his recap yesterday, the Illini had a reality check game. Talks of going to a bowl game were premature. This team needs to focus on finally winning a Big Ten game. Wisconsin is up next, so it doesn't get easier.
The Illini lost, what happened in the rest of the conference in the first weekend of conference play for everyone?
Indiana (3-2) 44 Penn State (3-2) 24
All four of our writers picked Penn State to win, so of course Indiana won the game easily.
Indiana used their passing and rushing game to explode for 23 fourth quarter points on their way to their first ever win against Penn State. They lost all previous 16 meetings.
Michigan State (4-1) 26 Iowa (4-2) 14
Iowa entered the locker room after the first half up 14-10. The Spartans' defense didn't allow the Hawkeyes to score another point, and Connor Cook and the offense took care of business in the second half for Michigan State.
The Spartans' special teams also came up big in the game. If Michigan State can find a way to score 20-24 points a game, they should have a great season. That defense is just too good.
Michigan (5-0) 42 Minnesota (4-2) 13
Michigan finally solved its turnover problems, and the rest of the conference was able to see how good of a team they actually are. They routed the Gophers in Devin Garder's first turnover free game of his career. Michigan ran the ball, and only had Garder throw it 17 times. Using Garder as a game manager might be the best way for Michigan to win games moving forward.
Ohio State (6-0) 40 Northwestern (4-1) 30
In the third quarter the Wildcats were up 10. All seven Northwestern fans were ready to celebrate the biggest win in program history, but then Ohio State realized they were Ohio State and came back to win.
Carlos Hyde was unstoppable, running for a career high 168 yards and three scores.
It was 34-30, and the Wildcats had the ball at the Ohio State 34, 4th and 1 with 2:42 left on the clock. Kain Colter fumbled the ball and was stopped. That was all she wrote. Northwestern has come a long way, but one has to wonder if they will ever be able to take the next step and compete for a Big Ten title. I, for one, think they have reached their full potential.