Big Ten Football 2012
Big Ten Football Weekly Recap - Week 12
Big Ten Football Scores – Week 12
Ne braska 38, Minnesota 14
Ohio State 21, Wisconsin 14 (OT)
Penn State 45, Indiana 22
Purdue 20, Illinois 17
Michigan 42, Iowa 17
Northwestern 23, Michigan State 20
The Big Ten Conference, for all of its struggles this year, could have placed a team in the BCS National Championship Game now that Kansas State and Oregon have lost. The Big Ten could have gained a measure of lost prestige thanks to head coach Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes. With only Notre Dame joining Ohio State as an unbeaten team of appreciable stature, the stage could have been set for a Notre Dame-Ohio State national title tilt on Jan. 7 in Miami.
Unfortunately for the league and for Ohio State, that scenario won't happen. It's a shame, because the Buckeyes showed the grit of a national champion on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis.
Ohio State got outplayed by the homestanding Badgers in the second half. Wisconsin played almost all 30 post-halftime minutes in Ohio State's end of the field. The Badgers couldn't finish drives because of their limited passing attack, but running back Montee Ball looked closer to the 2011 version than at any earlier point in the 2012 season. Last year's Heisman Trophy finalist darted around, over, and under Ohio State defenders for 191 yards on 39 carries, an impressive figure especially in light of Wisconsin's not-very-imposing passing attack. Ohio State knew it had to stop ball; it game planned to take away the run. Yet, Ball was still able to deliver the goods. It was impressive that Ohio State even got to overtime and survived that long, even though it was Wisconsin which tied the score in the final stages of regulation, scoring a death-denying touchdown with eight ticks left on the clock. When overtime began, the Badgers owned all the momentum, and it seemed that Ohio State's 10-0 season was going to become a 10-1 campaign.
Instead, the Buckeyes – showing the same resilience that marked their late comeback from an eight-point deficit against Purdue – were able to flip the script. An easy touchdown on their first overtime possession, followed by a four-play stop of Wisconsin just minutes later, abruptly ended the extra period and propelled OSU to an 11-0 mark. One more win – against Michigan – will give Ohio State the kind of achievement that will make a bowl-free season a little easier to take: a perfect record.
Elsewhere in the league, the Big Ten has not yet crowned the Legends division champion, but it's now one step closer to doing so. While Ohio State is the Leaders champion and Wisconsin is the division's representative, Nebraska is now one win (or one Michigan loss) from punching its ticket to Indianapolis on Dec. 1. The Cornhuskers didn't fall behind by 10 or 14 points this time. The Big Red blasted Minnesota by 24 points to move near the Big Ten trophy case. Michigan beat Iowa to stay in the hunt, but the Wolverines know that they have to win on Nov. 24 and have Nebraska lose to Iowa on Nov. 23 if they want to win the Legends title.
Purdue stayed alive for a bowl bid by topping Illinois. Michigan State is not yet eligible for a bowl after losing to Northwestern.
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