Michigan: Should’ve kept the ball in Cade McNamara’s hands

I believe Jim Harbaugh has pushed all the right buttons this year with his QBs, like finding a way to get JJ McCarthy involved while also putting Cade McNamara in the best possible situations. But Harbaugh should not have had McCarthy in the game for that costly fourth-quarter fumble that led to the go-ahead TD in Michigan’s 37-33 loss. McCarthy fumbled on the previous possession, and it was nearly recovered in bounds. With how well McNamara was playing (28 of 44 for 383 yards and 2 TDs), Harbaugh should’ve stuck with him and kept the true freshman on the bench after the first fumble.

Michigan State: Kenneth Walker’s ticket to New York is assured

In the biggest game of his career, Walker delivered a legendary performance, putting up 197 yards and 5 TDs in the 37-33 win over Michigan. If there was any doubt, Walker should most certainly be in New York as a Heisman Trophy finalist. Without a true elite QB this year, Walker should be the frontrunner right now. This was his all-important Heisman moment, too, with a national audience tuning in for a top-10 matchup. It’s amazing to think how much Walker has transformed this offense since coming over from Wake Forest. There just aren’t enough superlatives to describe Walker.

Ohio State: Even on an off night, still so tough to beat

Ohio State made 6 trips to the red zone and scored just 1 TD, but it didn’t matter in the 33-24 win over Penn State. TreVeyon Henderson was bottled up in the first half, but it didn’t matter. To beat Ohio State, you’re going to have to play your best game of the season. Even on an off night, the Buckeyes finished with 466 yards of offense, 152 of which came on the ground via Henderson.

Penn State: Why can’t Nittany Lions always play to this level?

If there’s one team that has proven over and over that it can play with Ohio State, it’s Penn State. And the Nittany Lions showed that again in the 33-24 loss. The last 6 meetings with Ohio State have all been within 2 scores, and this would’ve been a 1-possession game if not for a missed field goal late. So how does Penn State lose to Illinois at home but then come a few plays away from winning at Ohio State? It’s a big issue for the Nittany Lions, who certainly could compete for B1G titles if not for those odd slip-ups. NIghts like this show it.

Wisconsin: Braelon Allen is the Badgers’ best back

This is a stunning rise for a true freshman who was recruited more as a safety than a running back and began . But he has taken over as the No. 1 running back for a Wisconsin attack that leans on the ground game. He had his fourth straight 100-yard game in the 27-7 win over Iowa, leading Wisconsin in carries (20) and yards (104). Chez Mellusi has had 4 games averaging under 4 yards per carry, while Allen has only had 1.

Iowa: It’s time for change offensively

Iowa simply cannot continue to roll this offense out there every week. The Hawkeyes didn’t get a first down until the final 2 minutes of the first half in the 27-7 loss to Wisconsin. By then, they trailed by 20 points. Midway through the second quarter, Iowa had minus-2 yards. I’m not sure this is all on Spencer Petras, offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz, the offensive line or some combination of all 3. But the Hawkeyes have to switch it up. Maybe Alex Padilla, who came in for the final 2 drives, needs a chance. I’m not sure of the solution, but Iowa is wasting an elite defense.

Nebraska: Bowl possibility takes a huge hit

Nebraska is all but assured to not be going to a bowl after losing to Purdue 28-23. And once again, Scott Frost’s offense was pitiful. Adrian Martinez threw 4 interceptions (and it should’ve been at least 5). With Ohio State up next week and Iowa and Wisconsin still to go, a 3-9 season is much more likely than finishing 6-6.

Purdue: Using the RBs pays off

Nothing has come easy for Purdue offensively this year, but the Boilermakers may have turned a corner against a very good Nebraska defense. In the 28-23 win, they stayed committed to the run, giving both King Doerue and Zander Horvath double-digit carries. Getting Horvath back in the lineup should help in the coming weeks, as he was able to punch one in the end zone after missing 5 games. And I love how they used Jackson Anthrop in the run game and pass game. The Boilermakers are like a lot of teams in the West; the defense is very good, but the offense isn’t there on a weekly basis. If that changes, Purdue could be a factor in the West race.

Maryland: It’s all on Taulia Tagovailoa

The Terrapins couldn’t do anything on the ground in the 38-35 win over Indiana, managing just 84 yards on 43 attempts, which is less than 2 yards per carry. That means Taulia Tagovailoa has to do it all through the air, and he did just that with 419 passing yards and 2 TDs. Maryland is going to have to score 35-plus points to win each week, it appears, as its defense gave up 35 points to a team that was averaging 7 points per game in conference play.

Indiana: Donaven McCulley is a player

I’ll admit, I didn’t think much of McCulley after he went 1 of 6 passing against Ohio State last week, but he looked so much better in the 38-35 loss to Maryland. He went 14 of 25 for 242 yards and 2 TDs. Considering Indiana had 28 points total in its 4 B1G games entering Saturday, this was a major step in the right direction. Even better, McCulley was able to connect with his top guys, Peyton Hendershot and Ty Fryfogle. This is something to build on for an offense that has been awful this season no matter who has been at QB.

Minnesota: PJ Fleck has it figured out

I thought this was a trap game for Minnesota, but it turned out to be nothing of the sort. The 41-14 win at Northwestern solidifies the Golden Gophers (6-2, 4-1) as West contenders. It seems like every team in the B1G besides Michigan and Michigan State has lost a game it shouldn’t have this season, and fortunately for Minnesota, that game occurred in non-conference play against Bowling Green. Minnesota has been extremely consistent during this 4-game winning streak, and it hasn’t allowed more than 23 points in 6 straight games.

Northwestern: Passing remains a challenge

Northwestern’s pass game is an abomination. Andrew Marty and Ryan Hilinski combined to go 11 of 22 for 98 yards in the 41-14 loss to Minnesota. And most all of those yards were after the game was well in hand. It’s just not realistic to win games with those kinds of numbers. Evan Hull has been a bright spot in the ground game, but this is the third straight year that the Wildcats have really struggled in the pass game. Something to fix this offseason, for sure.

Rutgers: The door is open for a bowl game

This 20-14 triumph at Illinois was a gritty road win for Rutgers, which seemed to be fading fast after 4 straight losses and 3 straight discouraging performances. But now at 4-4, Rutgers can get to a bowl game with winnable games at Indiana and at home against Maryland, even if it can’t beat Wisconsin or Penn State. The Scarlet Knights were able to run the ball (230 yards) much better than Penn State (62 yards) did last week against the Illini.

Illinois: Where’s the consistency?

I was expecting so much more from Illinois coming off a win at Penn State and facing a Rutgers team that had lost 4 straight. But Chase Brown and Josh McCray combined for just 73 yards after combining for 365 last week. Brandon Peters played well and finally hit Isaiah Williams for a long pass, so that’s something positive to take away. But overall, what a letdown after last week.