Spartan Nation Big Ten Wrap-Up, Week 5

Michael Alan Smith


OSU had a tougher time with Illinois than expected, but is still the cream of the crop.  Photo courtesy of Bill Marklevits.
OSU had a tougher time with Illinois than expected, but is still the cream of the crop. Photo courtesy of Bill Marklevits.

Ohio State(5-0) v  Illinois(2-2)

(2) Ohio State 24   Illinois 13

The Buckeye faithful were given ample reason for pause in Champaign on Saturday with a forgettable performance against the Illini for the Illibuck Trophy. Ohio State QB Terelle Pryor was knocked out of the game with a leg injury and was seen soon-after taking to the tunnel for further evaluation. With the Heisman trophy candidate’s future in doubt and the present game yet unsecured, the Buckeye’s hopes for an undefeated season, and a National Championship, seemed to hang in the balance. In the end though the Buckeyes survived and Terelle Pryor returned to limited action from a painful quadriceps injury. However, it wasn’t until a Dan Herron six yard TD run orchestrated by a banged-up Pryor with a mere 1:49 remaining in the game, that the squeaking victory was assured for the number two ranked college football team. The last time the Illini pulled off a victory against the Buckeyes was in 2007 against the then number one ranked Buckeyes. The recurring disaster was averted…for now, anyways. Pryor’s replacement during injury was Joe Bauserman, who promptly threw an interception to Illini safety Trulon Henry, increasing Buckeye upset-anxiety. The Illini could not capitalize however after going for a quick three and out. Illinois head coach Ron Zook’s decision to kick a field goal with 4:16 left to play in the game while trailing 17-10, would later be questioned as lacking in needed aggression. The 30 yarder by Dereke Dimke was good, but left the margin at 4 points, and the lead would only swell before the clock ran out. On the day Illini QB Nathan Scheelhaase went 12 of 22 passing for 109 yards with one interception. The injured Pryor had a lowly 9 of 16 passing day with only 76 yards and an interception. Pryor lead the rushing attack himself with 104 yards. Buckeye RB Dan Herron had 23 carries for 95 yards. The Illini’s Mikel Leshoure had a difficult but decent day with 19 carries for 80 yards against the traditionally stout Buckeye defense.

Scoring Summary:

FIRST QUARTER: TD 08:29 Nathan Scheelhaase 3 Yd Run (Derek Dimke Kick). 0-7 ILL lead. TD 06:17 Brandon Saine 8 Yd Pass From Terrelle Pryor (Devin Barclay Kick). 7-7 tie.

SECOND QUARTER: FG 01:50 Derek Dimke 27 Yd. (7-10).TD 00:45 Dane Sanzenbacher 11 Yd Pass From Terrelle Pryor (Devin Barclay Kick). 14-10 ILL lead.

FOURTH QUARTER: FG 08:27 Devin Barclay 32 Yd. 17-10 OSU lead. FG 04:36 Derek Dimke 30 Yd. 17-13 OSU Lead. TD 01:49 Dan Herron 6 Yd Run (Devin Barclay Kick). 24-13 OSU wins.


Parting Impressions:

The Buckeyes will need a healthy Pryor and more intensity in the coming weeks if it is to survive the rigors of the Big Ten Conference unscathed. The Illini however, may be a tougher win than many had previously thought.




Northwestern(5-0) v Minnesota(1-4)

Northwestern 29  Minnesota 28

Behind another exciting performance by QB Dan Persa, the Wildcats survived a close one in Minneapolis on Saturday to remain undefeated on the season, while Tim Brewster’s struggling Gophers fell to an uninspiring 1-4. While Persa had an exceptional 309 yards passing on the day, his performance was not without error. Two turnovers in the red-zone, one a first quarter fumble on the six yard line, the other an interception on the eleven, kept this one a nail biter. Persa was 23 of 30 passing and again led the Wildcat rushing game himself with 18 keeps for 99 yards. Gopher QB Adam Weber completed 14 of 23 passes for 194 yards as his team amassed 367 yards of offense to the Wildcats 486 yards. Northwestern’s Stefan Demos’ field goal with 2:07 remaining in the game proved to be the game clinching score. With the win the Wildcats improved to 10-3 in road games since the beginning of the 2008 season and in so doing established themselves as a very dangerous visiting opponent for any team. The Gophers in their new digs, TCF Bank Stadium, have proven just the opposite this season at home, dropping all four contests. Not exactly a recipe for endearing your squad to the local fan-base. Although of all the contests this season, this was the most complete Gopher performance, despite the eventual loss.

Scoring Summary:

FIRST QUARTER: TD 12:11 Tony Jones 45 Yd Pass From Dan Persa (Stefan Demos Kick) 7-0 NU lead. TD 09:31 Duane Bennett 38 Yd Pass From Adam Weber (Eric Ellestad Kick). 7-7 tie. TD 07:49 Mike Trumpy 12 Yd Run (Stefan Demos Kick). 14-7 NU lead.

SECOND QUARTER: TD 07:30 Eric Lair 8 Yd Pass From Duane Bennett (Eric Ellestad Kick).14-14 tie.TD 00:59 DeLeon Eskridge 4 Yd Run (Eric Ellestad Kick). 14-21 MINN lead.

THIRD QUARTER: TD 11:14 Jacob Schmidt 1 Yd Run (Pat Failed).  20-21 MINN lead.

FOURTH QUARTER: TD 12:15 Eric Lair 25 Yd Pass From Adam Weber (Eric Ellestad Kick). 20-28 MINN lead. TD 08:17 Jeremy Ebert 25 Yd Pass From Dan Persa (Two-Point Conversion Failed). 26-28 MINN lead. FG 02:07 Stefan Demos 27 Yd. 29-28 NU win.


Parting Impressions:

The Wildcats are a scrappy and tough opponent when they go on the road (10-3), and could do some serious damage to anyone unwise enough to overlook them. Wildcat QB, Dan Persa is a pleasant surprise for the Wildcats, and has proven he can beat you on the ground or through the air. As for the Gophers, their woes continue, but they gave a solid performance and the effort seemed to be there, which could have been an issue with the waning morale in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, effort isn’t enough in this game, and Brewster’s seat is about to catch fire.




Iowa(4-1) v Penn St(3-2)

(17) Iowa 24 v (22) Penn State 3

In this night-time battle of ranked Big Ten teams the home team had the decided advantage, as the Hawkeyes out muscled Joe Patero’s young Nittany Lion squad in Iowa City. Penn State’s Freshman QB Rob Boulden and RB Evan Royster could do little of importance against the potent Iowa defense. Boulden was 20 for 37 passing on the day with 212 yards and one interception. Royster, the Nittany’s premier running back who came into the season, over-weight according to Coach Paterno, continued to struggle yet again, going for only 56 yards on ten carries. Hawkeye QB Ricky Stanzi, while not giving a career performance, struck while the iron was hot, going 16 for 22 passing for 227 yards with one TD and one interception. Leading Receiving yards for the Hawkeye’s were Marvin McNutt with 93 yards on 5 receptions, followed by the dangerous Darrell Johnson-Koulianos’ 4 catch, 64 yard performance. Nittany receiver Brett Brackett provided some big gains on his two receptions for a total of 63 yards; one a 49 yarder which brought his team all the way down to the two yard line. Red zone inefficiency doomed the Nittany Lions eventually however, as they were ultimately held to a single field goal by the stingy Hawkeye defense.

Scoring Summary:

FIRST QUARTER: IOWA FG 09:21 Michael Meyer 20 Yd. 0-3. TD 01:00 Derrell Johnson-Koulianos 9 Yd Pass From Ricky Stanzi (Michael Meyer Kick). 0-10.

SECOND QUARTER: IOWA TD 01:41 Ricky Stanzi 1 Yd Run (Michael Meyer Kick).0-17. PSU FG 00:00 Collin Wagner 25 Yd. 3-17 IOWA.

FOURTH QUARTER: IOWA TD 01:27 Shaun Prater 33 Yd Interception Return (Michael Meyer Kick). 3-24 IOWA.


Parting Impressions:

The Hawkeye faithful with their alternating school color display in the various pre-planned sections of the stadium Saturday, was a visual testament to what makes the Hawks’ so tough to play in Iowa City: focused attention to detail and spirit. Impressive. As for Penn State, the lumps their taking as a result of their youth is inevitable but not altogether a bad thing. Paterno’s squad is talented they’re just not ready to put it all together… yet.




Michigan(5-0) v Indiana(3-1)

(19) Michigan 42 v Indiana 35

Wolverine starting QB, and top rusher in the nation, proved too much for the Hoosiers to handle in Bloomington over the weekend. He’s had a way of doing that all season. Robinson himself account to 277 yards through the air on 10 of 16 passing, and rushed for another 217 yards in the victory. In so doing, Robinson became the first player ever, in the FBS, to break the 200 yard mark in both passing and rushing in a single game, twice in their regular season career. Robinson acted quickly busting a 72 yard TD run on the Wolverines second offensive play of the day. Michigan tallied a grand total of 574 yards of offense in the game. Indiana was not far behind however, in what was a remarkable passing attack for the Hoosier’s who mustered a scant 88 yards on the ground. Hoosier Senior QB, Ben Chappell, took to the air for a remarkable 45 for 64 passing performance which accounted for 480 yards, 3 TD’s and one interception. He simply shredded the suspect Wolverine secondary with crisp passes.  Indiana WR Tandon Doss grabbed fifteen passes for 221 yards, while Damarlo Belcher had 10 catches for 91 yards. The game was close throughout, with a 21-21 halftime tie, and a 35-35 dead-heat after a 19 yard Darius Willis TD pass from the Hoosiers Chappell. Once again Denard came through in the clutch to ice the game, scoring on a 4 yard keeper with 17 seconds left. Though Robinson again stole the show as one of the most exciting college players in the game, Michigan’s gaping defensive secondary and the Hoosiers passing prowess, were the other hallmarks of the day.

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTER: IND TD 09:14 Duwyce Wilson 5 Yd Pass From Ben Chappell (Mitch Ewald Kick).0-7 IND leads. UM TD 08:28 Denard Robinson 72 Yd Run (Seth Broekhuizen Kick). 7-7 tie.

UM TD 05:21 Roy Roundtree 32 Yd Pass From Denard Robinson (Seth Broekhuizen Kick). 14-7 UM lead.

SECOND QUARTER: IND TD 11:30 Darius Willis 22 Yd Run (Mitch Ewald Kick).14-14 tie. UM TD 02:43 Kevin Koger 3 Yd Pass From Denard Robinson (Seth Broekhuizen Kick). 21-14 UM lead. IND TD 00:00 Damarlo Belcher 2 Yd Pass From Ben Chappell (Mitch Ewald Kick). 21-21 tie.

THIRD QUARTER: UM TD 14:10 Junior Hemingway 70 Yd Pass From Denard Robinson (Seth Broekhuizen Kick).28-21 UM leads.IND TD 06:55 Darius Willis 4 Yd Run (Mitch Ewald Kick). 28-28 tie. UM TD 06:10 Vincent Smith 56 Yd Run (Seth Broekhuizen Kick). 35-28 UM lead.

FOURTH QUARTER: IND TD 01:15 Darius Willis 19 Yd Pass From Ben Chappell (Mitch Ewald Kick). 35-35 tie. UM TD 00:17 Denard Robinson 4 Yd Run (Seth Broekhuizen Kick). 42-35 FINAL UM wins.


Parting Impressions:

Indiana has a potent offense and if a defense is ill-prepared and decides to simply phone-it-in, the Hoosiers could steal a couple upsets this year. The Ben Chappell- Tandon Doss combo is a dangerous one that could break for a big gain from one moment to the next. As for Michigan, their offense and defense will get the test of the season this coming week against the Spartans. MSU QB Kirk Cousins and Co should, on paper at least, slice the defensive secondary easily, as well as establish a decent ground attack with their BBC trio. Additionally, Denard will face the best Line-backing Corp in the conference in Greg Jones and Eric Gordon. This should be an electrifying offensive game against two hated, ranked, and undefeated, rivals.