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Jonathan Taylor shows out in Wisconsin’s win at Nebraska

Find out the top performers in the Big Ten this week.

Wisconsin v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Rapid recap of the week that was: Rutgers was off this week, getting extra work in preparing for the game of the season against Illinois in Week 7. The Illini held tough with Iowa for the first two and a half quarters. Penn State had no problems against Northwestern on the road. Indiana beat FCS Charleston Southern easily. Ohio State had its way with Maryland in a matchup of Big Ten East teams. Purdue shut the door on Minnesota in a rain delayed game. Michigan State outlasted Michigan in monsoon conditions at The Big House. Wisconsin ran all over Nebraska in Lincoln for the fifth time in a row to close out Big Ten play in Week 6.

Top Performers

Iowa running back Akrum Wadley

The story from this game from The Champaign Room’s perspective will be about the Illini offense and how the unit was able to move the ball down the field with Jeff George Jr. at quarterback, despite his three interceptions, one of which went for six the other way early in the second half.

Credit has to go to Iowa’s senior running back Akrum Wadley. Wadley scored two touchdowns; one through the air and one on the ground. He is Iowa’s workhorse back having carried the ball 23 times for 115 yards against Illinois. Iowa’s running game had been less than stellar its previous two games against Michigan State and Penn State (both losses). On Saturday, Wadley and the Hawkeyes’ offensive line got the job done.

Penn State’s defense

The Penn State defense came to play at Northwestern. The Nittany Lions offense led by Saquon Barkley usually gets most of the credit. On a windy day in Evanston, the defense stifled Northwestern’s star running back Justin Jackson, holding him to 16 carries and just 66 yards. Chalk this up to two weeks in a row of dominant defensive performances by coordinator Brent Pry and his Penn State staff.

Penn State is rolling into their bye week before playing Michigan at home in two weeks.

Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett

J.T. Barrett’s been a player who has had more than his fair share of criticism go his way this season. With great performances (and some not so great performances) in the past on some big stages, much is expected of the Ohio State quarterback.

Saturday against Big Ten East opponent Maryland at home, Barrett was accurate. With some help from the Buckeyes D, Barrett was able to control the clock and do what Ohio State does best — the zone read option with an emphasis on running the football.

Maryland was atrocious offensively, especially in the opening half. The Buckeyes were winning the game 41-7 at halftime. ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg tweeted this with four minutes left to go in the second quarter.

Purdue linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley

In a battle of first-year Big Ten head coaches, Jeff Brohm led his Purdue Boilermakers to its first conference win of the season against Minnesota. Linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley scored a pick-six in one of the final plays of the game on fourth down with 10 seconds left on the clock.

Minnesota v Purdue Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

This game was in a rain delay for over an hour. An important win for Purdue at home in the Big Ten West is a positive step for a program looking to turn things around. Purdue travels to Madison next week to play Wisconsin. Badgers will be big-time favorites.

Paul Bunyan’s monsoon game for the ages (Michigan State at Michigan)

This entire game deserves a spot on this list. For the neutral fan, the scenes of water down pouring on the fans of both teams in Ann Arbor was priceless and amusing to watch.

The Wolverines were favored by 10.5 points in this home game against their in-state rivals. Sparty didn’t care. Michigan State came into the Big House, forced five Wolverines turnovers and dominated the line of scrimmage.

John O’Korn was rattled and once the rain came roaring in, both offenses were unable to do much of anything. No points were scored in the fourth quarter of a 14-10 game. Big Ten football at its best.

Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor

The next great Wisconsin running back is here. True freshman Jonathan Taylor ran for 249 yards on 25 carries, including a 75-yard touchdown run in the second quarter in a win against Nebraska.

Former Badgers head coach and current AD Barry Alvarez was pleased.

Wisconsin was able to control the clock and get first downs when they needed them most. The Badgers have now beaten Nebraska five straight times and six of seven times since Nebraska joined the Big Ten.