Purdue — If you’re a top-3 team, don’t mess with the Boilermakers

Purdue is absolutely devastating if you’re trying to make the College Football Playoff. The Boilermakers stunned No. 3 Michigan State 40-29 for their second win over a top-3 team this season, and just like the 24-7 win over No. 2 Iowa last month and the 2018 game against No. 2 Ohio State, this one wasn’t really close or flukey. Purdue (6-3, 4-2) led by 14 in the first half and by 16 in the second half.

There were all sorts of fun stats after this one.

  • Aidan O’Connell threw for 536 yards and 3 TDs, hooking up with David Bell 11 times for 217 yards.
  • Per the AP’s Josh Dubow: Purdue is the 12th team since 2000 to beat 2 top 5 teams by 11+ points in the same season. Eight of the other 12 won the national championship, 2 lost in the title game and the only one who didn’t make it that far was 2017 Auburn.
  • Per The Athletic’s Matt Brown: Purdue became the fourth team in the past 50 years to beat 2 top-5 teams in the same season while unranked, joining 2007 Illinois, 1983 Penn State and 1978 Missouri. Purdue also did it in 1960.

Purdue is part of a 4-way tie atop the West now along with Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin. Also, was this the best play of the season?

Michigan State — Still controls own destiny

While Michigan State fans may not want to watch the CFP show on Tuesday night to see the drop in the rankings, the Spartans (8-1, 5-1) are very much still in the CFP discussion. This wasn’t do-or-die by any means. They were always going to have to beat Ohio State, and if they do that, they’ll probably be going to the Big Ten Championship Game with a shot at the CFP. But still, that’s 2 games in a row the Spartans have gotten shredded in the secondary. They allowed Purdue to throw for 536 yards. They didn’t cover David Bell (11 catches for 217 yards). They are in need of some big adjustments.

Ohio State — Not exactly convincing

While it felt as if No. 5 Ohio State was the clear front-runner in the Big Ten, the last 2 weeks would suggest otherwise. The Buckeyes (8-1, 6-0) have won by just 9 points the last 2 weeks, with the latest being a 26-17 win over Nebraska in which they very easily could’ve lost. CJ Stroud threw 2 interceptions and nearly cost Ohio State the game by holding onto the ball too long in the final minutes and fumbling.

Nebraska — Another season without a bowl

The first team to be eliminated from bowl contention in the Big Ten was Nebraska. And for a fourth-year head coach on the hot seat, that’s unacceptable. The Huskers (3-7, 1-6) were close again in only losing 26-17 to No. 5 Ohio State, but Nebraska fans are sick of being close. All 7 losses have been by single digits. Nebraska hasn’t made a bowl game since 2016; the only B1G team with a longer drought is Rutgers (2014).

Penn State — Jahan Dotson is the entire offense

Penn State avoided a fourth straight loss thanks to Jahan Dotson, who once again went nuts with 11 catches for 242 yards and 3 TDs. No other Nittany Lion had more than 50 yards from scrimmage. It’s baffling how Maryland allowed this to happen. I know the guy hadn’t scored in the previous 3 games, but he has 9 TD catches this season. Penn State will look to play spoiler against Michigan and Michigan State in the final 3 weeks.

Maryland — Missed opportunity

No one was expecting Maryland to win this game, even after beating Penn State last year, but the Terrapins were right there. They tied the game at 14 in the fourth quarter, then proceeded to allow an 86-yard TD to Dotson 2 plays later. Maryland (5-4, 2-4) has 3 more chances to get bowl eligible, though 2 of those games are against current top-10 teams.

Minnesota — Passing game issues limit what Golden Gophers can do

Minnesota has really struggled to throw the ball this year, despite having a third-year starter at QB in Tanner Morgan. The game script has to be perfect for the No. 20 Golden Gophers, so once they fell behind by double digits at the start of the second quarter, this game was effectively over. Even with Morgan throwing a season-high 28 times, he managed only 180 yards and threw 2 INTs. Minnesota took nearly 55 minutes to score a point and finished with only 289 yards.

Illinois — Not a surprise to see Illini play well

The Illini (4-6, 3-4) have some really good wins this year. They beat Nebraska at home and now have road wins over Penn State and first-place Minnesota. There’s a lot to build on there. And they won despite attempting only 10 passes. Chase Brown (33 carries, 150 yards) now has 150 or more yards in 3 of the last 5 games.

Wisconsin — A big confidence booster for Graham Mertz

Mertz needed this badly. I’m not going to say the Badgers’ offensive issues are cured, but Wisconsin (6-3, 4-2) has to feel great that it won this way, with Mertz completing 11 of 16 passes for 240 yards and 3 TDs in the 52-3 win over Rutgers. The Badgers are finally starting to look like the team everyone thought they’d be.

Rutgers — A change is needed offensively

The Scarlet Knights (4-5, 1-5) played 3 QBs in the 52-3 loss to Wisconsin. They combined to go 13 of 26 for 110 yards and 3 INTs. Rutgers hasn’t scored more than 20 points in 7 games against Power 5 opponents.

Michigan — Hassan Haskins carries the load, but can he do that moving forward?

Blake Corum left the 29-7 win over Indiana with an injury and only carried the ball once, which meant Hassan Haskins had the backfield to himself. He ripped off 168 yards and a TD in tying a season high of 27 carries. Michigan (8-1, 5-1) needs Corum back for the final quarter of the season that includes games against Penn State and Ohio State. It sounds like Corum won’t miss much time, if any, but it was weird not seeing him get double-digit carries like he did every game this season.

Indiana — Officially eliminated from bowl contention

It is surprising that Indiana, which started the season ranked 18th in the country, is eliminated from bowl contention with 3 weeks left in the season. Even the worst possible version of this season for Indiana wouldn’t have had Indiana at 2-7 and 0-6 in the Big Ten. But that’s the reality after a 29-7 loss at Michigan. This season can’t end soon enough.

Iowa — Offense was better with Alex Padilla… but by how much?

The Hawkeyes ended their 2-game losing streak with a 17-12 win at Northwestern, but the headline is that Kirk Ferentz benched QB Spencer Petras for Padilla, who had 16 career pass attempts entering Saturday before going 18 for 28 for 172 yards. Petras played the first 3 drives, and Iowa (7-2, 4-2) managed only 26 yards and 1 first down. Padilla came in and led the offense to 2 TD drives, but Iowa only scored 3 points in the last 41 points.

Northwestern — Ugly games are Wildcats’ only chance

This is the only type of game Northwestern (3-6, 1-5) can win. It hasn’t scored more than 21 points in a B1G game this season, and it probably won’t with Wisconsin, Purdue and Illinois left on the schedule.