BIG Ten Week 12
Week 12… in a word W-O-W!
November 22, 2015
Michigan State 17, Ohio State 14
THIS IS SPARTA!!!!
Going into this game, it wasn’t a secret: Ohio State had this one circled on its calendars as the one that truly mattered.
But so did Michigan State, as they knocked off top ranked conference foe, 17-14, Saturday afternoon.
As expected, things came down to one play a the end of the game… kicker Michael Geiger with 3 seconds remaining, the score tied and the early winter wind whipping and from 41-yards out… it’s G-O-O-D!!!
This win was even more unlikely than the stirring finish at Michigan last month, considering the Spartans survived without their best player — quarterback Connor Cook, who sat out the game with a shoulder injury.
Dantonio rotated backups Tyler O’Connor and Damion Terry with an offensive play-calling strategy borrowed from 1973. No mystery. No deception. Just simple, physical football with the tougher team at the point of attack persevering.
Ohio State’s offense only managed a meager 132 yards and five first downs Saturday. A refusal to open the playbook and take some shots down the field prevented Ezekiel Elliott, a Heisman contender, and quarterback J.T. Barrett much room to run all afternoon.
A driving rainstorm coupled with dropping temperatures didn’t help either, but once the heavens closed and the precipitation halted, nothing changed.
“I think people are still unsure of what we got and this is a statement game,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said Wednesday after practice. “It’s a game we’ve been waiting for all season and it’s a game against what other people will recognize as good competition.”
Michigan State is now one victory next Saturday against Penn State away from winning its third Big Ten divisional title in the last five seasons.
But the probable elimination of Ohio State from defending its championship might also put the Big Ten at risk of not getting its champion in the playoff — if the choice is between the Spartans or Iowa, and a potential one-loss Notre Dame or one-loss Oklahoma.
“I’ve been down this road before, where you do good,” Urban Meyer said. “I just love the group of guys down there. And we have to do better.”
Big props to Michigan State. The Spartans deserved this win. No flukes. No controversies. Just an old-fashioned physical whipping that went against common sense.
Iowa 40, Purdue 20
The Hawkeyes topped the Boilermakers on Saturday and, more importantly, locked up the Big Ten West and a spot in the conference title game.
C.J. Beathard had an efficient outing, going 12 of 20 for 213 yards and three scores. Senior tight end Henry Krieger Coble was his favorite target, hauling in four passes for 76 yards and a score. Jordan Canzeri rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown while LeShun Daniels added two scores of his own.
Boilermaker quarterback Austin Appleby threw for 259 yards and a touchdown. Tailback Markell Jones added 87 yards and a score. DeAngelo Yancey led all receivers with nine receptions for 117 yards.
The Hawkeyes will travel to Lincoln and square off against the Huskers on Black Friday. On Saturday they’ll get to see how things transpire in the East as they wait to find out who their opponent will be in Indy.
Michigan 28, Penn State 16
The Wolverines were able to find the endzone in each of the game’s four quarters as Jim Harbaugh handed James Franklin his fourth loss of the season. Penn State’s offense barely surpassed the 200 total-yard mark and they could only manage six second-half points as they fell short in Happy Valley.
Jake Rudock completed 25 of 38 passes and connected with Jake Butt and Amara Darboh for touchdowns through the air. Jehu Chesson led the Wolverines pass-catchers with 69 receiving yards on the day. Tight end Jake Butt added 66 yards and a score. De’Veon Smith led the Michigan ground attack, though he could only manage 39 yards on 13 carries. Smith also added a fourth-quarter touchdown that would end up being the nail in the coffin for the Nits.
Jim Harbaugh wasn’t happy with the officiating; ripping his jacket off as if he were preparing for a Monday Night Raw appearance.
It was another typical performance for Christian Hackenberg. The junior continues to hold onto the football too long and and constantly misses wide open receivers. The Nittany Lion offensive line was awful yet again, so that certainly didn’t help things. Hackenberg ended the day 13 of 31 for 137 yards and a score. Freshman tailback Saquon Barkley got off to a good start with a 56-yard scamper on the second play of the game. Things didn’t go so well from there, as he could only manage 68 yards in the game.
The Badgers thought they had scored the game-winning touchdown with just seconds left on the clock, but the officials reviewed the play and ruled that Wisconsin wideout Jazz Peavy didn’t have possession; a call that many are questioning. The Badgers were then unable to find the endzone thanks in part to a Wildcat sack.
There wasn’t a lot of offense in this one. Wildcat quarterback Clayton Thorson threw for just 60 yards on 9 of 20 passing. Tailback Justin Jackson was the lone bright spot for the Northwestern offense, rushing for 139 yards and a touchdown. For the Badgers, Joel Stave threw for 229 yards but also tossed a couple of costly interceptions. Wisconsin turned the ball over five times on the day and the Badgers’ running game had one of their worst outings ever.
Minnesota 32, Illinois 23
The Minnesota ground game was too much for Illinois on Saturday. Gopher quarterback Mitch Leidner only threw for 88 yards, but the rushing attack accounted for 255 yards and three scores. Freshman Shannon Brooks continued his solid season as he ran for 174 yards and all three of those scores, all the while averaging over 10 yards per carry. Leidner added another 64 on the ground.
Wes Lunt tossed two touchdown passes for the Illini and Josh Ferguson led the way with 105 yards rushing. Malik Turner led all pass-catchers with eleven receptions for 126 yards and a score.
Indiana 47, Maryland 28
The Hoosiers got off to a sluggish start in College Park as they went down 21-3 in the first quarter. Kevin Wilson’s offense then went on to score three touchdowns in less than five minutes as the Hoosiers went into the half with a 30-21 lead. The IU defense buckled down in the second half, allowing a single touchdown to the Terps’ offense.
Nate Sudfeld and Simmie Cobbs Jr. were electric in the passing game. Sudfeld threw for 385 yards and four touchdowns while Cobbs caught nine passes for 192 yards. Sophomore tailback Devine Redding added 130 yards on the ground.
Maryland running back Brandon Ross entered the game with less than 300 yards rushing on the season, but the senior made the most of his last game in front of the Terps’ crowd. Ross rushed for 250 yards and three touchdowns on just 19 carries.
Rutgers 31, Army 21
Welp, there’s certainly a very large elephant in the room as things did not go as planned this weekend. The East will be decided next Saturday as the Buckeyes, Spartans, and Wolverines all remain in the hunt with Michigan State controlling its own destiny. Iowa now sits atop the conference power rankings as they’ve already punched their ticket for the December 5th championship game in Indy.
Next week we will all be watching The Game as it goes down in Ann Arbor, the Spartans host Penn State, and the Hawkeyes travel to Lincoln to face the Huskers.
Let’s dust ourselves off. It’s rivalry week.
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