The college football regular season is coming to an end next week, and Ohio State has clinched the Big Ten East. In the West, both Minnesota and Wisconsin won their Week 12 games to set up a division-clinching showdown between the two teams to see who will challenge the undefeated Buckeyes in the Big Ten Championship.
1. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0, 8-0 Big Ten)
The Buckeyes got off to a quick start in a top-10 matchup against Penn State, taking a 21-0 lead early in the third quarter behind junior running back J.K. Dobbins’ two rushing touchdowns. Penn State rallied back, scoring 17 unanswered points after quarterback Sean Clifford got hurt. Ohio State stopped the Nittany Lions’ momentum with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Justin Fields, stretching the lead to 28-17. The Buckeye defense stopped Penn State’s final three drives, forcing an interception and two turnovers on downs. The Buckeyes face Michigan on the road next.
2. Minnesota Golden Gophers (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten)
Minnesota was able to bounce back from its loss at Iowa with a 38-22 win against Northwestern. The Golden Gophers scored touchdowns on their first three possessions, taking a 21-0 lead which Northwestern could not come back from. Sophomore quarterback Tanner Morgan was terrific for Minnesota, throwing four touchdowns in the win. The Golden Gophers will look to clinch the Big Ten West against Wisconsin on Saturday.
3. Penn State Nittany Lions (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten)
The Nittany Lions held the Buckeyes to their lowest point total this season, but the offense struggled against the Ohio State defense. Clifford struggled before his injury, as he was held to 71 yards passing. Backup quarterback Will Levis got Penn State back into it with a touchdown run and led drives for 10 more points to cut the lead to four. Penn State could not finish the rally, with its last four drives ending without points. The Nittany Lions host Rutgers next.
4. Wisconsin Badgers (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten)
Wisconsin was locked in a tight battle against Purdue for most of the third quarter until it pulled away late. The Badgers trailed 17-14 in the second quarter, but they went on a 31-7 run from that point on. Junior running back Jonathan Taylor led the way for Wisconsin, rushing for 222 yards and a touchdown, while quarterback Jack Coan added two touchdown passes. Wisconsin plays Minnesota for the Big Ten West title on Saturday.
5. Michigan Wolverines (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten)
The Wolverines played a scrappy Indiana team looking for an upset, but 32 unanswered points sealed their 39-14 win. Indiana was up 14-7 early in the second quarter, but it was shut out after that by the Michigan defense. Quarterback Shea Patterson led the Wolverine offense, torching the Hoosier defense for 366 passing yards and five touchdowns. Michigan will need a similar performance from Patterson against Ohio State on Saturday.
6. Iowa Hawkeyes (8-3, 5-3 Big Ten)
The Hawkeyes used their stout defense to defeat an upset-minded Illinois team in a 19-10 win. Iowa forced three Illinois turnovers, including a critical interception in the end zone. Quarterback Nate Stanley threw for 308 yards, while placekicker Keith Duncan hit four field goals. Iowa plays rival Nebraska on Black Friday.
7. Indiana Hoosiers (7-4, 4-4 Big Ten)
The Hoosiers got off to a quick start against Michigan, but they could not keep up with the Wolverines. After a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Peyton Ramsey in the second quarter, Indiana did not put up a single point. Ramsey struggled for the Hoosiers, not registering a touchdown pass and turning it over twice. Indiana faces Purdue on the road next.
8. Illinois Fighting Illini (6-5, 4-4 Big Ten)
Illinois had its chances to pull off an upset at Iowa, but it failed in a nine-point defeat. The Fighting Illini had three consecutive drives in Iowa territory in the second half, but they only earned three points. Quarterback Brandon Peters also threw two interceptions — one on their first possession and one in the end zone — and he lost a fumble in the fourth quarter. Illinois will look to bounce back at Northwestern next.
9. Michigan State Spartans (5-6, 3-5 Big Ten)
Michigan State was able to keep its postseason hopes alive with a 27-0 win at Rutgers. The Spartans held Rutgers to 140 total yards and forced two turnovers in a dominating performance. Quarterback Brian Lewerke bounced back from a rough stretch of games to throw three touchdown passes. The Spartans will look to get to .500 with a win over Maryland Saturday.
10. Nebraska Huskers (5-6, 3-5 Big Ten)
The Huskers played their best game of the season in a 54-7 rout over Maryland. Sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez rushed for a touchdown and tossed two more in the first half, leading the Huskers to 34-0 advantage at halftime. The Husker defense also forced four Maryland turnovers and held the Terrapins to 57 passing yards. Nebraska will look to become bowl eligible with a win over rival Iowa on Saturday.