Rapid recap of the Halloween week that was: Wisconsin beat Illinois 24-10 without Badgers star running back Jonathan Taylor playing in the second half. Michigan appears to have found itself a new starting quarterback in a home win over Rutgers. Penn State lost its first game of the season to Ohio State in Columbus. Northwestern toppled Michigan State in 3OTs, the ‘Cats’ third win in a row. Maryland upset Indiana in a shootout. Iowa won its third-straight Floyd of Rosedale trophy game against Minnesota. Nebraska needed a late comeback in the fourth quarter to beat next week’s Illini opponent, the Purdue Boilermakers.
Big Ten Top Performers
Wisconsin left tackle Michael Dieter
Behold, an offensive lineman is a Big Ten Top Performer! In what was an ugly game for both sides statistically, Wisconsin left tackle Michael Dieter scored a Fat Guy Touchdown late in the fourth quarter to seal the deal for the Badgers.
Wisconsin, a school not particularly known for its trickery, pulled a smooth one on Illinois — hats off to them.
The Illinois offense struggled against a Wisconsin team that ranks first in the conference against the run. Big Ten leading rusher Jonathan Taylor appeared to suffer a minor injury in the second quarter and sat the entire second half as a precaution.
Illinois has now lost to Wisconsin for the eighth straight time, the longest streak for either team in this series’ history.
Michigan quarterback Brandon Peters
The Michigan Wolverines got back on track thanks in large part to redshirt freshman quarterback Brandon Peters. Peters made his second career appearance in relief of the shaky John O’Korn who was benched in the second quarter. On the day, Peters was 10 for 14 for 124 yards, one touchdown pass and no interceptions.
This offense had been putrid pretty much all season, particularly since starter Wilton Speight broke some vertebrae against Purdue a few weeks ago. Brandon Peters brought a much needed jolt to a team that was blown out by Penn State a week ago.
A comprehensive look at each drive since Brandon Peters entered the game:— Scott Bell (@sbell021) October 28, 2017
Drive one: Touchdown
Drive two: Touchdown
Drive three: Touchdown
There was a lot to like from this game if you are a Michigan fan. The run game was solid with Karan Higdon looking dominant. The defense was (mostly) back to its usual Don Brown-coached self. Peters’ accuracy was icing on the cake en route to a 35-14 victory over Rutgers.
Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett
The Ohio State Buckeyes continue to roll since their prime time debacle against Oklahoma seven weeks ago. J.T. Barrett put himself squarely back in the Heisman Trophy conversation after leading the Scarlet & Grey from behind to take down the No. 2 Penn State Nittany Lions.
The game winning touchdown pass from J.T. Barrett to Marcus Baugh. What a masterpiece of a 4th quarter from J.T. pic.twitter.com/iWYNHNF7Ap— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) October 28, 2017
Credit to Ohio State’s mettle. They were down 11 points with five minutes left in the game. J.T Barrett was wizardly, completing his final 16 pass attempts to guide the Buckeyes to the win. Barrett finished with 423 total yards, four touchdown passes and no interceptions.
There hasn’t been a Big Ten Heisman Trophy winner since 2006 when Ohio State’s Troy Smith won the award. Could Barrett be next after a performance like this? With games against Michigan State, Michigan and potentially Wisconsin still on the schedule, Ohio State controls their Big Ten title destiny.
Iowa tight end Noah Fant
Iowa has earned the right to keep the infamous Floyd of Rosedale pig trophy after defeating the Minnesota Golden Gophers last night for the third-straight season. Nebraska native Noah Fant was un-guardable for much of the game from the tight end spot.
His highlight touchdown catch came early on in the third quarter to put the Hawkeyes up two scores. Fant’s row-the-boat celebration afterwards set the Kinnick Stadium crowd into a frenzy:
The sophomore is one of the best tight ends in the Big Ten and does a nice job sealing the edge too for some of Akrum Wadley’s runs.
Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee
Tanner Lee has caught a lot of flack this season at Nebraska; understandably so and the overall numbers don’t lie. The Tulane transfer had his best game in a Cornhuskers uniform, tossing the game winning touchdown pass to Stanley Morgan Jr. with just 14 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Tanner Lee was efficient and did not turn the ball over against Purdue. Nebraska has won four of the last five against the Boilermakers. They host Northwestern next week.