Big Ten Football 2012
Big Ten Football Weekly Recap - Week 11
Big Ten Football Scores – Week 11
Minnesota 17, Illinois 3
Nebraska 32, Penn State 23
Wisconsin 62, Indiana 14
Purdue 27, Iowa 24
Michigan 38, Northwestern 31
It was a remarkable week in the Big Ten Conference… no, not because new and unprecedented events occurred, but because familiar events occurred yet again, spitting in the face of all sorts of odds and percentages.
It's not supposed to be the case that one team should blow double-digit second-half leads at least three times in a season. It's not supposed to be the case that one team should come back from double-digit second-half deficits at least three times in one season. Yet, those realities are very much in evidence in this year's Big Ten. Northwestern is the team that so regularly squanders a big advantage in crunch time, and Nebraska is the team that always escapes in 2012. It's uncanny the way these two teams' seasons have evolved.
Northwestern was feeling that it had finally conquered its demons. The Wildcats intercepted Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner inside the four-minute mark of a game they led, 31-28. Northwestern then pounded out a key first down. It was able to run the clock down to under 30 seconds before punting to Michigan, a team that was out of timeouts. When the Wildcats gave the ball to the Wolverines with 18 seconds left, Michigan was inside its own 35-yard line. The Maize and Blue seemingly had no hope. However, Northwestern's secondary somehow found a way to gack away another game.
A 53-yard pass from Gardner to Roy Roundtree, which was caught on a bobble, put Michigan in chip-shot field goal range inside the 10-second mark. Michigan's Brendan Gibbons kicked the tying three-pointer, and the teams went into overtime. Sure enough, with momentum entirely in Michigan's favor, the Wolverines rolled over the stunned Wildcats and remained in the Legends division title hunt.
Nebraska, though, is likely going to hold off Michigan, because it keeps escaping from big deficits. The Huskers were down 17 to Wisconsin and won. They trailed Michigan State by 10 points in the fourth quarter and won. This past Saturday, they were down 20-6 to Penn State in the third quarter, but once again, they won. Quarterback Taylor Martinez led Big Red back from the brink, and the Huskers were helped by an incorrect replay review that denied Penn State a go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Nebraska is the clear favorite to make the Big Ten Championship Game from the Legends side.
Wisconsin is going to be the opponent from the Leaders division. The Badgers crushed Indiana to knock off the last remaining contender among eligible teams for the other postseason ticket in the conference. The Badgers' offense – specifically their offensive line – found the form and polish that had been missing earlier in the year.
Minnesota clinched a bowl bid by beating Illinois. Iowa might have played its way out of a bowl by losing at home to Purdue.
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