Monday, October 27, 2008

Week Nine Big Ten Wrap-up

Before the season, no one knew who the starting quarterback for Penn State would be. When Anthony Morelli, one of the worst multi-season starters ever, graduated, most knew the job would fall to either Daryll Clark or Pat Devlin. But hardly anyone knew what to expect from either player. Clark won the job early in fall practice and led the Nittany Lions to eight straight wins to start the year. It was Devlin though who led Penn State to its best win of the year. Early in the fourth quarter with Ohio State up three, Terrelle Pryor fumbled and Penn State recovered. In came Devlin, leading Penn State down to the one, where he plunged in for a 10-6 lead. PSU would add a field goal and secure its first win at Ohio Stadium as a member of the Big Ten. Only a major stumble against a lesser opponent can stop Penn State from the conference title and a likely shot at a national championship.

Wisconsin finally tallied in the win column this week as the Badgers beat Illinois in Madison. Dustin Sherer made his first second start at quarterback, throwing for two scores and running for a third. Turnovers hurt the Illini, especially Juice Williams' three interceptions. Wisconsin took a 20-17 lead early in the fourth quarter after one of Juice's interceptions and added an insurance touchdown late.

Michigan State came into Ann Arbor as the favorite on Saturday and lived up to it. The Spartans won 35-21, getting the program's first win in Ann Arbor since 1990 and first against Michigan since 2001. Javon Ringer carried 37 times for 194 yards and two scores. Ringer broke a 21-all tie in the fourth quarter and Brian Hoyer threw his third touchdown pass later to seal the win.

Northwestern overlooked Indiana and paid for it. Indiana had two big scores through the air. One was a play-action fake of a reverse and the other an actual reverse with receiver Mitchell Evans throwing for the touchdown. Even with Kellen Lewis out with an ankle injury, the Wildcats couldn't overcome five turnovers.

Minnesota continued its improbable turnaround with a 17-6 win. That's five straight losses for Purdue and in three of the last four games the Boilermakers have scored six points or less.

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