Looking back on five years, sometimes it’s difficult to pick out a team’s best regular season wins. Not all important wins have long-term implications. Not all important wins are against ranked foes. Not all important wins end with fans rushing the field.

Every impact is different. In these games, the impact was great enough to solidify a place on this list. Here are Big Ten teams’ best regular season win in the last five years.



Sept. 20, 2014

Indiana 31, No. 18 Missouri 27

A ranked SEC opponent on the road? From Indiana? Yes, that certainly tops the list. I wonder how many times Kevin Wilson brought up that game in living rooms across the country.


Nov. 27, 2010 

Maryland 38, No. 23 NC State 31

Offensive coordinator James Franklin led the Terps to a regular season finale victory over Russell Wilson and NC State. The Wolfpack missed out on an ACC Championship thanks to Torrey Smith and the Terps.


Nov. 26, 2011 

Michigan 40, Ohio State 34

The only time the Wolverines beat the team in Ohio in the last 11 meetings was the result of a five-touchdown day from Denard Robinson. Other than that, it’s been tough sledding for the maize and blue against their rivals.

Michigan State

Oct. 10, 2010 

No. 17 Michigan State 34, No. 18 Michigan 17

For as many quality wins Sparty has in the last five years, perhaps none made the statement like the 2010 showdown in Ann Arbor. That was the beginning of the emergence of the No Fly Zone and helped the program further squash Mike Hart’s infamous “little brother” claim.

Ohio State

Nov. 9, 2014 

No. 14 Ohio State 49, No. 8 Michigan State 37

It took arguably the best game of J.T. Barrett’s young career for Ohio State to keep its national title hopes alive. At the time, the No. 14 Buckeyes weren’t even on the national title radar. That is, until their biggest road win of the year.

Penn State

Nov. 30, 2013

Penn State 31, No. 15 Wisconsin 24

Nobody wins at Camp Randall, much less a freshman quarterback. Christian Hackenberg turned in the most clutch performance of his first year and led the Lions to a win in Madison, which prevented the Badgers from a possible BCS National Championship game.


Nov. 17, 2012

No. 22 Rutgers 10, Cincinnati 3

At the time, the Scarlet Knights’ defensive struggle in Cincy kept it in control of a possible Big East title. That, unfortunately for Rutgers, was the high point of the season.



Nov. 29, 2014

Illinois 47, Northwestern 33

The Illini needed a road win against intrastate rival Northwestern in the regular season finale to gain bowl eligibility. Fortunately for Tim Beckman, that’s what Illinois got.


Oct. 30, 2010

No. 18 Michigan State 37, No. 5 Michigan State 6

Sparty had hopes of a Rose Bowl when it came into Iowa City 8-0. Sixty minutes of Iowa’s defensive dominance turned that around real quickly.


Nov. 22, 2014

No. 25 Minnesota 28, No. 23 Nebraska 24

In order to keep the Big Ten Championship dream alive, the Gophers needed road wins in Lincoln and Madison to close the season. With David Cobb hobbled, Mitch Leidner stepped up and scored the go-ahead touchdown to stun the sellout Nebraska crowd.


Oct. 30, 2010

No. 14 Nebraska 31, No. 6 Missouri 17

Just when Mizzou was starting to gain national relevance, Nebraska’s Roy Helu ripped off a school-record 307 yards and ended the Tigers’ hopes of an undefeated season. Unfortunately for Bo Pelini, the Huskers haven’t had a top-10 win since.


Nov. 15, 2014

Northwestern 43, No. 18 Notre Dame 40

Ok, so the Wildcats weren’t bowl eligible last year. Pat Fitzgerald can’t do a lot to sway a midwest kid to Northwestern from Notre Dame, but he can always point to that historic overtime victory in South Bend.


Nov. 24, 2012

Purdue 56, Indiana 35

The Boilermakers needed three victories to close the regular season to gain bowl eligibility, ending with a Bucket Game win. A 42-point second half did more than enough for the Boilermakers to quiet their rivals.


Oct. 17, 2010

No. 18 Wisconsin 31, No. 1 Ohio State 18

The Buckeyes’ dreams of a national title ended in Madison when John Clay steamrolled the Badgers to an upset of the nation’s top team. That also served as the launching point for a season that ended in the Rose Bowl.