We’ve already hit the final month of the season. With October in the books, there are just four more weeks left on the schedule until conference championship games commence.

Wild, I know.

The ninth week in the B1G was wild, too. Northwestern pulled off an upset win over Wisconsin, taking a stranglehold on the West division. Penn State pulled off a thrilling win over Iowa and Minnesota got its first conference win of the season over Indiana.

We’re setting up to have an entertaining finish in the B1G. Before we hit November, let’s take a look at the weekly grades.

B1G East

Maryland: A+

Racking up 712 yards and 63 points against a B1G opponent will get you the highest grade in the class every time. Javon Leake was the superstar of the show, scoring four touchdowns and averaging over 34 yards per touch. Heading into November, Maryland is just one win away from bowl eligibility.

Penn State: A-

That same nervous feeling returned late in the game against Iowa, but this time, Penn State was able to close the deal. Barely. The Nittany Lions scored 30 points on an outstanding Iowa defense. This win was important for James Franklin and Co., as they still have matchups against No. 5 Michigan and Wisconsin upcoming. They have to win out in order to hit that 10-win mark in the regular season again.

Michigan State: B+

Even as the favorite, nobody seemed to be picking Michigan State this weekend. But the Spartans shut down Purdue star receiver Rondale Moore and Jeff Brohm’s explosive offense. Backup quarterback Rocky Lombardi was outstanding as well, filling in for the injured Brian Lewerke. Lombardi threw for 318 yards and two touchdowns in the victory.

Indiana: D+

What has happened to the Hoosiers? After starting 4-1, Indiana has dropped four straight games and hasn’t provided the same consistency on a week-to-week basis. The offense finally woke up in the fourth quarter, scoring 22 unanswered points to tie the game after trailing 31-9. It wasn’t enough though. The Hoosiers had to beat Minnesota to compete for bowl eligibility. Now, they’ll have to win two of three against Michigan, Maryland and Purdue.

Ohio State: Incomplete

The Buckeyes were on a bye.

Michigan: Incomplete

The Wolverines were on a bye.

Rutgers: Incomplete

The Scarlet Knights were on a bye.

B1G West

Northwestern: A+

Your B1G West leaders headed into November. Who saw that one coming? Northwestern did everything right against Wisconsin on Saturday. The Wildcats finished drives offensively and shut down star running back Jonathan Taylor defensively. It was a sound effort in all facets to take a one-game lead in the division. Northwestern steps out of conference play to take on Notre Dame before rounding out the year with games against No. 19 Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois.

Nebraska: A

Beating Bethune-Cookman was a given, it was just a matter of how Nebraska looked in the win. The Huskers looked fine in the 45-9 victory. It’s always difficult to gauge a team’s performance in these games this late in the year. We’ll learn a little more next Saturday when the Huskers travel to Columbus to take on Ohio State.

Minnesota: B+

For three quarters, Minnesota dominated Indiana. Then the fourth quarter happened. The Gophers squandered a 31-9 lead in 15 minutes and the game appeared to be headed to overtime after the Hoosiers knotted things at 31-31. But Tanner Morgan made a big-time throw and Rashod Bateman made a big-time catch. The last quarter wasn’t pretty, but Minnesota got the job done and got its first B1G win of the year.

Iowa: B-

Iowa had opportunities, but a late-game interception in the end zone proved to be too costly. This wasn’t a terrible performance from the Hawkeyes, though the offense could’ve played a little better. This was a game that could’ve gone either way, Penn State just made more plays. Unfortunately, the loss cost Iowa a shot at the College Football Playoff and it now needs help to win the B1G West.

Wisconsin: D+

Too many turnovers, not enough stops and just an overall bad performance out of the Badgers. Give Northwestern credit for taking it to Wisconsin, but this was another lousy outing for the preseason West favorite. It’s hard to believe this is being written, but this team isn’t a contender in the division.

Purdue: D

After an impressive outing against Ohio State last weekend, you’d have though Purdue would’ve been prepared to follow up. Instead, the Boilermakers offense was stifled for most of the afternoon. There were just 13 rushing attempts and David Blough threw three interceptions. Saturday marked the return of the September Boilers, the group that lost the first three games of the year. We’ll see if that gets corrected.

Illinois: F

The Illini seem to get worse and worse every week. It’s one thing to surrender 60-plus points to Penn State, but Maryland? The Terrapins have some athletes, for sure, but they are a week removed from being shutout by Iowa. There was absolutely nothing to like about this performance except Reggie Corbin. Props to him for eclipsing the 100-yard mark and continued to play hard despite the blowout loss.

Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Hall Passes

Michigan State defense: The Spartans kept Rondale Moore in check and held Purdue to 62 rushing yards. The defense was well-prepared for the Boilermakers.

Northwestern defense: Three forced fumbles and Jonathan Taylor had just 46 rushing yards. Really nothing else to say. Incredible effort.

Maryland offense: Putting up 700 yards and 63 points isn’t an easy thing to do. Heck of a job from Matt Canada and the Maryland offense.

Minnesota offense: Everyone from Tanner Morgan to Rashod Bateman, Tyler Johnson and Shannon Brooks. The Gophers had one of their best offensive outings of the season. It translated to a win.


Purdue offense: For some reason, Purdue seemed hesitant to run the football. Three turnovers weren’t good and 13 points was even worse. A disappointing effort after dropping 49 on the Buckeyes.

Wisconsin offense: The Badgers turned the ball over too much and only converted on 4-of-12 third down attempts. It wasn’t nearly good enough to get the job done.

Illinois defense: You can see Maryland’s stats above. That’s why Illinois is in detention.

Indiana defense: Indiana had no answer for Minnesota through the first three quarters. And in the biggest moment of the game, the Hoosiers had a bad breakdown. Not a great effort from Tom Allen’s defense.