Quarterback Craig Krenzel proved all the doubters wrong as the Buckeyes knocked Michigan State out of the Big Ten title hunt with a 33-23 win this past Saturday.
OHIO STATE: Krenzel was in danger of losing his starting job after Coach Jim Tressel stated during the week that he would not hesitate to use backup Scott McMullen, who engineered a come from behind win over Penn State the previous week.
The embattled QB, recovering from a concussion he received against the Nittany Lions, completed 12 of 23 passes for 213 yards and three touchdowns. The Buckeyes were helped by a strong rushing day from Lydell Ross, who gained 125 yards on 24 attempts.
The Buckeyes rallied for a 17-10 halftime lead after trailing 10-0. Kicker Mike Nugent kicked three field goals in the second half. Purdue visits Columbus this week.
MICHIGAN ST: The Spartans could only manage a late touchdown against OSU when the game was already well in hand. One bright spot was QB Jeff Smoker broke school records with 35 completions in 55 attempts for 351 yards and two touchdowns. Smoker did throw a pair of interceptions. Michigan State’s leading rusher managed just 14 yards. The Spartans head to Wisconsin this weekend..
PURDUE: The Boilermakers stayed on top of the conference and helped win our Big Ten Game of the Year with a 27-14 win over Iowa. I believed that the Hawkeyes were the most overrated team in the conference. RB Jerod Void was the main man for Purdue as he gained 120 yards on 34 carries - both career highs. He also added two touchdowns, which was all the entire Iowa offense could manage the whole game.
IOWA: The Hawkeyes had some chances to score in the first half, but wound up being shut out. WR Maurice Brown was a bright spot for Iowa as he gained 127 receiving yards on eight catches. Iowa will be heading home for a game against the Golden Gophers.
MINNESOTA: The Golden Gophers reclaimed Bunyan’s Axe, defeating Wisconsin at home, 37-34, on a 35-yard field goal by Rhys Lloyd with the final seconds ticking off the clock. The Gophers gained 336 yards rushing behind the duo of Marion Barber III and Laurence Maroney. Barber finished with 139 yards on 27 attempts and one touchdown and Maroney added 135 on only 15 attempts with one TD. The Gophers conclude their regular season this Saturday against Iowa.
WISCONSIN: QB Jim Sorgi threw for 305 yards and four TDs on 23 of 34 passing in defeat. The Badgers rallied to tie the game in the fourth quarter, but were unable to get the ball back in the final minutes as Minnesota booted the game-winning field goal.
PENN STATE: The Nittany Lions saw their losing streak extend to six as the negative talk involving Coach Joe Paterno continued following a 17-7 defeat at Northwestern. It’s the worst decline under Paterno and for the school since 1931. The Nittany Lions were in control for most of the game, holding a 7-0 lead going into the fourth quarter. Penn State will have a good chance to end its losing streak as it hosts Indiana.
NORTHWESTERN: RB Noah Herron was the star of the game, rushing for 180 yards on 35 attempts. A trick play, along with a 41-yard TD pass from QB Brett Basanez to WR Brandon Horn, off a Penn State defender’s hands, contributed to a fourth quarter comeback. The Wildcats will have a tough task next week, hosting Michigan.
INDIANA: The Hoosiers stayed out of the Big Ten basement and ended their 11-game losing streak in the Big Ten with a 17-14 win over Illinois. The game came down to the final seconds as QB Matt LoVecchio scored on an eight-yard run with 24 seconds left that lifted his team to victory. It was the Hoosiers first win in the Big Ten since it defeated Wisconsin on Oct. 12, 2002.
ILLINOIS: The Illini got two touchdowns passes from QB, Dustin Ward, who threw for 163 yards in completing 15 of 21 passes. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was the top rusher for the Hoosiers as he gained 98 yards on 25 attempts. Illinois has a bye this week and will try to get its first Big Ten win in two Saturdays at home against the resurgent Wildcats.
As I take an early look at the board for this weekend, a few games catch my eye:
Duke (+13Â½) at Clemson: The Blue Devils finally got a win in the ACC - their first since 1999 - as they blew out Georgia Tech. They seem to have a new attitude under interim coach Ted Roof. RB Chris Douglas looked real good in the win, rushing for more than 200 yards and two TDs. Clemson will be emotionally down after big win over Florida State. DUKE.
Kentucky (—7) at Vandy: This Vanderbilt team is very young and has a great attitude. The Commodores have played some very good teams close this season. This is another case where they may be catching a team at the right time. Kentucky is still probably reeling from its 7 OT loss to Arkansas. VANDY.
Mich St (+2) at Wisconsin: Both teams lost on Saturday, but the Badgers definitely played the better game. They will have the home crowd behind them and Sorgi looked excellent against the Golden Gophers. I think Wisconsin’s running game will shine here. WISCONSIN.
Last week: 2-1 Season: 19-11