Rapid recap of the Week 11 that was: Illinois lost its eighth game in a row to the Indiana Hoosiers. Minnesota is just one victory away from becoming bowl eligible with a win over Nebraska in the battle for the “$5 Bits of Broken Chair Trophy” — yes, that’s a real thing. Ohio State showed no mercy in a surprising 48-3 beatdown of Sparty at the ‘Shoe. Penn State erased a two-game losing streak to rally past Rutgers. Michigan used a strong first half to glide past Maryland. Wisconsin remains undefeated after thrashing Iowa at home. Northwestern defended its Ryan Field home turf, knocking off Purdue in the Evanston night.
Big Ten Top Performers
Illinois tight end Louis Dorsey
This is the first time this season a player on a losing team has made the Big Ten Top Performers list. The Illinois Fighting Illini true freshman earned it with his sensational play against the Indiana Hoosiers.
Illinois’ best offensive play of the year came on a Louis Dorsey 77-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter:
In what has been a pretty bleak Illini season, especially on the offensive side of the ball, Louis Dorsey (and fellow freshman Ricky Smalling) have played extremely well in their first seasons in Champaign.
Illinois was without its top two receiving threats in Malik Turner and Mike Dudek. Dorsey stepped up in a big way and had a career game against the Indiana Hoosiers.
Ohio State’s rushing offense
The Ohio State Buckeyes looked like the meaner, stronger team from the get go against the Michigan State Spartans in a battle of Big Ten East foes. Ohio State was able to run all over the No. 1 rush defense in the conference behind star quarterback J.T. Barrett and running backs Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins.
Iowa beat Ohio State 55-24— Troy Machir (@TroyMachir) November 11, 2017
Ohio State beat Michigan State 48-3.
Michigan State beat Iowa 17-10.
B1G makes no sense.
Ohio State scored four rushing touchdowns and accumulated 335 rushing yards against a defense that stifled Penn State running back Saquon Barkley last week.
Minnesota kick returner/running back Rodney Smith and quarterback Demry Croft
The Bits of Broken Chair Trophy belongs to the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Junior Rodney Smith can do a little bit of everything and he went off in the opening seconds of Minnesota’s trumph over Nebraska.
Minnesota had tremendous success running the ball in this game, outgaining the Cornhuskers 409 to 69 yards on the ground.
Starting quarterback Demry Croft had three rushing touchdowns and 288 yards from scrimmage. Minnesota’s best performance of the season against Nebraska was surprising considering how bad the Gophers’ offense had been playing leading up to this game.
Wisconsin linebacker Leon Jacobs
This was the Wisconsin Badgers’ first win over the Iowa Hawkeyes in Madison since 2007 in the battle for the Heartland Trophy. Billed as one of the critical games of the Big Ten season for undefeated Wisconsin because of Iowa’s rise, the Badgers continued to roll in what was one of the most impressive defensive performances of the entire season.
Wisconsin was able to force turnover after turnover, including this scoop-n-score touchdown by senior linebacker Leon Jacobs in the third quarter to put the Badgers up two scores.
The Badgers lead the Big Ten conference in interceptions. They’ll need to maintain that defensive intensity as they get set to host Michigan next week at Camp Randall.
Northwestern wide receiver Bennett Skowronek
The Northwestern Wildcats beat the Purdue Boilermakers and are now winners of their last five in a row. Sophomore wide receiver and Indiana native Bennett Skowronek was Northwestern’s top player on the day with seven receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown.
He used every inch of his large frame to catch his touchdown pass just before halftime:
Bennett Skowronek held a scholarship offer from Purdue out of high school, but opted to sign with Northwestern instead. The Wildcats trail only the undefeated Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten West with two games (vs Minnesota, at Illinois) left.