A record on the line in every B1G bowl game
Records were made to be broken, and bowl season is a perfect time to finish off some big marks. Here’s a record each bowl-bound Big Ten squad might break this season.
Iowa: turnover title
As Iowa prepares for a Citrus Bowl matchup with Kentucky, the Hawkeyes could yet take the national top spot in turnover margin. All season long, Iowa has grabbed interceptions at a historic rate. They’ve already set a team record on that front. Right now, Iowa is +14 in turnovers heading into the matchup with Kentucky, which posted one of the worst turnover margins in the sport (-13). Nevada’s +16 leads the nation, but the Hawkeyes can wrap up the top spot in the nation if UK quarterback Will Levis gets careless against them.
Maryland: passing TDs
The class of Maryland’s season has been transfer QB Taulia Tagovailoa. He’s already set the Maryland record for passing yards in a season, and he heads into the Terps’ Pinstripe Bowl matchup with Virginia Tech just 2 passing scores shy of of Scott Milanovich’s 1993 mark for passing TDs in a season (26). Capping the season with a trio of touchdown passes would rewrite another Maryland record for Tagovailoa.
Michigan: total scoring
Michigan’s return to college football relevancy has ridden on a very efficient offense. It might be the top scoring one since 1904. In the modern era, Michigan’s top scoring offense was the 2016 team, which put up 524 points. This season, the Wolverines are sitting at 490 points, so the Wolverines have a solid shot at a school record, particularly if the can win their CFB semifinal matchup with Georgia and move on to the national title game.
Michigan State: passing TDs
QB Payton Thorne could be chasing some history in the Spartans’ Peach Bowl matchup with Pittsburgh. Thorne comes into the game just a single TD pass shy of Kirk Cousins’ school record of 25 passing TDs in a season. A much longer shot would be passing yards, where Thorne is 516 yards away from the school record. TDs looks like a safe bet in this game, though.
Minnesota: B1G’s longest bowl winning streak
Coming into Minnesota’s appearance in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl against West Virginia, the Gophers have won 4 bowls in a row. That’s already a program record, but if Minnesota can win again and stretch that mark to 5, they’d take the conference lead in that department. Currently, Northwestern is also riding a 4-bowl winning streak, but of course, the Wildcats aren’t in a bowl this year. Minnesota thus has a shot to overtake them against the Mountaineers.
Ohio State: 3 x 1,000 receivers
The Buckeyes have had explosive offenses before, but few times have a trio of receivers been better than OSU’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. The Rose Bowl against Utah will give Olave a chance to make some OSU history, assuming he doesn’t opt out. Never have the Buckeyes had a trio of 1,000-yard receivers, but with Smith-Njigba and Wilson already having reached that mark, Olave needs just 64 receiving yards to join the club. A season with 3 1,000-yard receivers would be quite an accomplishment for the Buckeyes offense.
Penn State: catches and receiving TDs
The status of Penn State receiver Jahan Dotson for the Outback Bowl against Arkansas remains uncertain. But if Dotson plays, he can set some PSU marks. He is 6 catches behind Allen Robinson’s school record of 97 in a single season. He’s also a single receiving TD behind Bobby Engram’s mark of 13 receiving TDs in a season. If Dotson plays, he’s got a great shot at setting both records.
Purdue: field goals
Receiver David Bell could have set some marks in the Music City Bowl against Tennessee, but he’s sitting the game out. Shift the story to kicker Mitchell Fineran, who is 20-for-25 on field goals this season. It’s a long shot, but if Fineran can go 5-for-5, he’ll tie the school’s field goals in a season mark (25 by Ben Jones in 2003) and the field goal accuracy mark (83.3%, again by Jones, in the same season). The Boilermakers would doubtlessly rather score touchdowns, but Tennessee wouldn’t mind keeping Fineran with a shot at the record books.
Wisconsin: < 2.0 yards per carry allowed
Wisconsin is always something of a throw-back program. But when the Badgers meet Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl, they have a chance to do something downright insane. To say that running on Wisconsin is hard is an understatement. Nobody has been able to do it all season. Not only are the Badgers giving up just 61 rushing yards per game, but opponents are averaging 2.01 yards per carry. How good is that? Second in the nation is Alabama at 2.51 yards per carry allowed. With a big game, Wisconsin could push that number under 2. How long has it been since anyone did that? Good question, but it’s certainly not happened since 2008. From 2009 to the present, Alabama gave up 2.01 yards per carry in 2016, and nobody else has approached Wisconsin’s mark. If they can finish under 2.0 yards per carry allowed, the Badgers might be the last team for many decades to do so.