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Around the B1G: Football Week 5 Recap, Week 6 Preview

The East looks like it’s already down to the obvious two contenders, while the West has a third different favorite in three weeks.

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Week 5 Results

Indiana 24, Michigan State 21 (OT)

This came down to which team could finally manage not to screw up a field goal. The first five attempts (two for MSU, three for Indiana) all failed, but Indiana got a second chance in OT thanks to a penalty and took advantage. (Somehow neither team managed to have the worst kicking game of the day; that dubious honor belongs to Texas, who managed an astounding -1 net point on four PAT kicks thanks to having three of them blocked, one run back for 2 and another coming close.) Realistically, MSU is nearly out of the division title hunt already; the most realistic scenario is for OSU to lose to Wisconsin but beat Michigan and MSU wins out (and even that requires a little more help from Indiana and Maryland falling off the pace, though those are both fairly likely).

Northwestern 38, Iowa 31

There was a lot of scoring for a fairly low-yardage game (the Wildcats won the yardage battle 362-283 with just one turnover each). That’s partly because of big punt returns - each team’s first touchdown drive went for just five yards. Northwestern got out to a 17-7 lead early in the second quarter, but Iowa scored twice (aided by a Wildcat fumble) in the final five minutes of the half to take a 21-17 lead into the break. Another big punt return set up a field goal for the Hawkeyes, but Northwestern responded with three consecutive touchdown drives to go in front. Iowa was able to cut the deficit back down to 7 with eight minutes to go, but the last-ditch drive ended with an interception just beyond midfield.

Ohio State 58, Rutgers 0

Somehow the score seems to understate the magnitude of this win. OSU only failed to reach the end zone three times (an interception on the first drive, a field goal on the third, and a turnover on downs while chewing up clock late) and outgained the Scarlet Knights 669-116 (!). The slow start meant that the lead was just 9-0 (missed PAT on the first touchdown) 24 minutes into the game, but three touchdowns in the final six minutes of the half put an end to any thoughts of a surprise here.

Maryland 50, Purdue 7

Is Maryland actually good this year, or is Purdue just comically bad? This was a worse beatdown than the Terps have put on any of their other three opponents this year, which is saying something when Howard and Florida International are on that list. The Boilers had four drives start in Maryland territory through the early part of the third quarter but couldn’t cash in on any of them (missed FG, two three-and-out punts from around the 45, and a turnover on downs); by the time they did get on the board early in the fourth, it was already 36-0.

Michigan 14, Wisconsin 7

The Badgers’ offense was completely stifled in this game, picking up only 159 yards and giving up three turnovers. But Michigan had trouble taking advantage, missing two field goals in the second quarter that could have extended their lead beyond 7-0 and a third in the third quarter that would have given them the lead back after Wisconsin tied it. Eventually, though, midway through the fourth quarter Wilton Speight found Amara Darboh for a 46-yard touchdown pass to retake the lead, and the Badgers’ final three drives went three-and-out, interception, interception.

Penn State 29, Minnesota 26 (OT)

For a brief moment, it appeared that James Franklin’s cowardice early in the second quarter in taking a 19-yard field goal would be justly punished. The Gophers scored twice in the final 2:06 of the first half to go up 13-3, but Penn State rattled off 17 straight in the third quarter to take the lead. Minnesota answered immediately and then got out in front with a 37-yard field goal with just 54 seconds left in regulation, but that was just enough time for Penn State to force OT with a 40-yard field goal of their own. The Gophers were forced to settle for a 46-yard field goal to open OT, and one play was all it took for the Nittany Lions’ Saquon Barkley to punch it in for the win.

Nebraska 31, Illinois 16

The two teams traded scores early, with the Huskers scoring first and Illinois answering twice. A turnover just before halftime gave the Illini the chance for another field goal and a 13-10 lead at the break. Early in the third quarter, a big punt return by De’Mornay Pierson-El set up Nebraska in prime field position, but the Huskers fumbled and Illinois drove down the field to extend their lead to 16-10. Then Nebraska went on an epic drive lasting 18 plays and nearly 11 minutes, ending with a Terrell Newby touchdown run to take the lead. Another six-minute touchdown drive pushed the lead out to 8, and after an Illinois three-and-out Newby broke a long touchdown run to ice the game.

Week 6 Games

All times ET. Odds are per my margin-aware ratings. Carryover from last season still exists but is gradually being removed as more games are played.

BYU at Michigan State (3:30, ABC/ESPN2)

The final non-conference foe for the Big Ten this season, BYU started off in a bunch of low-scoring games against the Pac-12, beating Arizona 18-16 before losing to Utah 20-19 and UCLA 17-14. The last two games, however, have been entirely different: a 35-32 loss to West Virginia and a ludicrous 55-53 shootout win over Toledo (in which Jamaal Williams ran for 286 yards and the lead changed hands five times in the fourth quarter). While BYU’s run game is a little scary, their pass defense seems vulnerable; Toledo’s quarterback went 30/38 for 505 yards and 5 TDs (albeit with two interceptions).

Odds: MSU 70% (projected margin: +5.5)

Iowa at Minnesota (Noon, ESPN2)

The battle for Floyd of Rosedale ought to be an interesting one. Minnesota has looked decent (if unspectacular) for most of the season so far, while Iowa has been up and down.

Odds: Minnesota 63% (+3.5)

Maryland at Penn State (Noon, BTN)

The Terps find themselves closing in on unfamiliar territory, being third among “others receiving votes” in the coaches’ poll. The Nittany Lions haven’t been hugely impressive so far (taking one particularly ugly loss, the blowout against Michigan), but they’re a big step up in competition for Maryland.

Odds: Penn State 57% (+2)

Purdue at Illinois (3:30, BTN)

Not much to say about this one except that the loser has the inside track to last place in the West.

Odds: Illinois 69% (+5.5)

Indiana at Ohio State (3:30, ESPN)

Last year, #CHAOSTEAM threatened just about everybody but couldn’t get over the hump. With one victory over a team rated highly in the preseason (although it’s starting to look like that rating was a mirage) already in the books, can they do it again? Survey says ... probably not. But logic has no place in trying to predict the outcome of Hoosier football games.

Odds: Ohio State 96.2% (+22)

Michigan at Rutgers (7:00, ESPN2)

Ouch. Ohio State and Michigan back to back? At least the Badgers get a bye week between those two. This is not going to be pretty.

Odds: Michigan 90.9% (+16)


Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Northwestern have the week off.

Conference Projections

Projected records are based on game-by-game odds (bowl odds assume a 6-6 record is the cutoff). Division title chances (outright or shared) are based on 100,000 season simulations; tiebreakers are not considered.

East Division

Team Avg wins 0-9 1-8 2-7 3-6 4-5 5-4 6-3 7-2 8-1 9-0 Bowl Outright Shared
Ohio State 7.76 1 in 21.5M 1 in 255k 0.01% 0.20% 1.72% 8.71% 25.39% 39.26% 24.71% >99.99% 45.36% 71.26%
Michigan 7.49 1 in 2.29M 1 in 24,300 0.12% 1.64% 10.85% 34.04% 43.11% 10.23% >99.99% 26.85% 52.75%
Maryland 4.71 0.15% 2.36% 12.22% 28.37% 32.22% 18.59% 5.35% 0.72% 0.03% 97.49% 0.41% 2.18%
Penn State 4.65 0.36% 3.46% 13.45% 27.32% 30.81% 18.74% 5.37% 0.49% 82.73% 0.22% 1.65%
Indiana 4.50 0.27% 3.71% 15.60% 30.28% 30.39% 15.72% 3.74% 0.28% 1 in 16,100 80.42% 0.14% 1.10%
Michigan State 3.54 0.19% 2.81% 14.27% 31.63% 31.84% 15.46% 3.51% 0.29% 73.18% 0.02% 0.26%
Rutgers 2.09 5.08% 24.57% 36.83% 24.32% 7.81% 1.28% 0.10% 1 in 31,300 9.20% <0.01% <0.01%

Well, that got ugly in a hurry. Michigan has crept up to within about 14 game of Ohio State’s projected record, and the next three are nearly three games back. MSU slips all the way to sixth and suddenly looks like they might be fighting for bowl eligibility instead of the hoped-for division title.

West Division

Team Avg wins 0-9 1-8 2-7 3-6 4-5 5-4 6-3 7-2 8-1 9-0 Bowl Outright Shared
Nebraska 6.31 1 in 11,700 0.35% 3.83% 17.17% 34.88% 31.83% 10.99% 0.94% 99.99% 37.82% 63.92%
Wisconsin 6.01 1 in 60,800 0.07% 1.05% 6.88% 22.17% 35.93% 27.05% 6.84% 99.93% 28.17% 53.12%
Minnesota 4.12 0.06% 1.02% 6.72% 21.07% 33.71% 26.71% 9.27% 1.37% 0.07% 92.20% 1.43% 6.17%
Iowa 4.03 1.31% 8.97% 23.75% 31.49% 22.98% 9.35% 1.98% 0.17% 65.97% 2.03% 7.70%
Northwestern 4.02 0.68% 7.18% 24.07% 35.19% 24.08% 7.76% 1.02% 0.03% 32.89% 0.85% 4.87%
Illinois 2.14 5.57% 23.98% 34.94% 24.45% 9.09% 1.79% 0.17% 1 in 16,000 1 in 1.47M 1.97% 0.01% 0.14%
Purdue 1.63 14.98% 33.61% 31.06% 15.27% 4.31% 0.71% 0.06% 1 in 33,100 1 in 1.93M 5.08% 0.01% 0.10%

The wild West sees its third leader in as many weeks, with Nebraska edging out Wisconsin for the top spot. Behind them is a tightly packed trio (albeit with wildly different bowl chances due to different non-conference records) with Illinois and Purdue bringing up the rear.