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COLUMBUS, Ohio- Conference play is now in full swing in Big Ten play. All three ranked teams, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Penn State, won its games, furthering their placement in the top spots in the AP Poll. Heading into Week 6, the Big Ten has four teams in the Top 25, all four placing in the Top 10. Now, heading into Week 6, we look back at a weekend’s worth of football and look forward to which games you should be watching next weekend.
B1Ggest Game of the Week: Maryland 31, Minnesota 24
Down to its third-string quarterback after losing both the starting and backup quarterbacks to season-ending injuries, Maryland did not even miss a beat. Quarterback Max Bortenschlager had three touchdowns on the day; two through the air and one on the ground, in the seven-point win over the Golden Gophers.
The running game was what helped the Terrapin offense move though. After rushing for only 25 yards against UCF the week before, Ty Johnson got back to his ways, rushing for 130 yards on 18 carries. Lorenzo Harrison III also brought in 75 yards on the ground.
With the game all tied up at 24 with 3:54 left, Johnson secured the Maryland victory with a 34-yard touchdown run with 1:10 left in the game.
After an early season win against No. 23 Texas, Maryland has the winning momentum with a game against No. 10 Ohio State at Ohio Stadium next weekend.
Runner Up: Michigan State 17, Iowa 10
This was a typical Iowa game. Trailing by 10 just coming out of halftime, the Hawkeyes looked to be in prime position to put the score to within one possession at the beginning of the second half. However, that was not the way things went.
On a 3rd and goal at the Michigan State five-yard line, Iowa quarterback Nathan Stanley fumbled the ball to give the Spartans possession.
That was not it though for the Hawkeyes. Iowa seemed to be driving again on its next offensive possession, when Brandon Smith fumbled after completing a three-yard pass from Stanley. Iowa eventually recorded a field goal in the fourth quarter, but could not overcome the deficit.
The Spartan defense did very well after falling to Notre Dame the weekend before. Michigan State limited the Hawkeye offense to only 226 yards of offense, giving up only 19 yards rushing on 25 carries.
Hawkeye back Akrum Wadley struggled, averaging a season-low 1.8 yards per rush, while scoring his third touchdown of the year.
Michigan State may have a chance next week to continue that momentum in a very familiar place for upsets.
Worst Game of the Week: No. 10 Ohio State 56, Rutgers 0
Everyone knew how this game was going to go when it came up on the schedule.
Ohio State recorded 628 yards of offense compared to Rutgers’ 209. The Buckeyes racked up 24 first downs compared to the Scarlet Knights 13. Ohio State had eight touchdowns, four on the ground and four through the air, while Rutgers put up a goose egg.
Really, the point that really defined this game was with 43 seconds left. Already down by 56 points, the Scarlet Knights tried their best to put some points on the board, attempting a field goal from 32 yards out. However, when Rutgers kicker Andrew Harte hit the right upright, the Ohio State sideline celebrated like it had won the national championship.
This game was very good for momentum heading further into Big Ten play for the Buckeyes, but was very, very hard for fans to sit through.
Stat of the Week: 181 catches
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Penn State wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton knew that he was going to break the record at some point. Coming into the game with 172 career catches, the record for career receptions for the Nittany Lions was 179. It seemed as though quarterback Trace McSorley wanted him to break the record that day.
Hamilton was the leading receiver in Penn State’s 45-14 win over Indiana, recording a season-high 122 yards on nine receptions. For a receiver who had never brought in more than one touchdown catch in one game, Hamilton connected with McSorley for three against the Hoosiers.
Hamilron, who had only had 11 receptions in the 2017 season through four games, had three catches in the first quarter, including his first touchdown grab.
With a historically good game, Hamilton placed himself in the Penn State record books, passing Deon Butler for the most career catches in Nitanny Lions history.
One to Look Forward To: Michigan State at No. 7 Michigan
Let’s go back to 2015 when Michigan State last played Michigan at Michigan Stadium. Wolverine punter Blake O’Neill tried to run the ball out with 10 seconds left on the clock to secure the 23-21 victory. Instead, he fumbled and Jalen Watts-Jackson returned the fumble for a touchdown in one of the biggest plays in Spartan football history.
After losing to Michigan last year 32-23, the Spartans are looking to upset again, facing a No. 7 Wolverines team.
This may be a very close and low scoring game, with both the Spartans and the Wolverines near the top of the Big Ten conference in total defense, giving up less than 250 yards of offense per game. Michigan and Michigan State ate No. 1 and No. 2 respectively when it comes to pass defense, allowing a total fo four passing touchdowns compared to five total interceptions.
This may be a running affair Saturday night. The Spartans currently have the edge in that front, averaging 187.5 yards per game with Michigan not far behind at 184.3.
All of this is to say that this game Saturday night will not be one to miss.
Big Ten Schedule- Week 6
Saturday, October 7th
No. 4 Penn State at Northwestern- 12 pm ET on ABC
Illinois at Iowa- 12 pm ET on BTN
Charleston Southern at Indiana- 3:30 pm ET on BTN
Minnesota at Purdue- 3:30 pm ET on ESPN2
Maryland at No. 10 Ohio State- 4 pm ET on FOX
Michigan State at No. 7 Michigan- 7:30 pm ET on ABC
No. 9 Wisconsin at Nebraska- 8 pm ET on BTN