Big Ten Quick Thoughts, Takes On Every Game: Week 12

Big Ten Quick Thoughts, Takes On Every Game: Week 12

Big Ten

Big Ten Quick Thoughts, Takes On Every Game: Week 12


Michigan 44, Michigan State 10

What happened to the Michigan State defense? The offense has been a problem all year, and the defense loaded up to stall the Michigan running game, but there weren’t any answers for a sharp Shea Patterson.

It’s not like he had all day to throw. Patterson had to move a little bit, and MSU was able to get into the backfield once in a while – it came up with four sacks – but he still threw for 384 yards and four scores. He got the O out of bad situations, and he was throwing darts at times. Ronnie Bell caught nine passes for 150 yards for a receiving corps that came up with deep play after deep play.

Michigan State went on a strong scoring drive in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead. It managed one 35-yard field goal the rest of the way. Michigan’s offense took full control, owned third downs, came up with third down stops, and won a big, big game.

That’s a rivalry game. It’s not going to be counted as a big game win for Jim Harbaugh, but it absolutely was one.

Michigan still has a real shot at a New Year’s Six game. It has to beat Indiana on the road next week, and then it gets Ohio State at home. Pull that off, and there’s a chance at the Rose Bowl. More realistically, Michigan will close the regular season 9-3 with a shot at a tenth-win in the bowl.

Michigan State is on a five-game losing streak, but it has at Rutgers and Maryland to close, it needs to win both games to go bowling. Yay.

Penn State 34, Indiana 27

It wasn’t a perfect day for Penn State, but it was the answer the team needed after last week’s loss to Minnesota. Sean Clifford only completed 11-of-23 passes for 179 yards with a score, but he ran for 55 yards and two touchdowns. There was just enough explosion – Journey Brown ran for 100 yards and a score – to survive.

Indiana is probably past moral victories at this point, but it was a good loss on the road against a team that needed the win. Peyton Ramsey threw for 371 yards – Penn State’s secondary has been roasted over the last few weeks – but the running game didn’t go anywhere. It was a good effort with no real pressure considering the team is already bowl eligible.

Now Indiana can try to screw up Michigan. If it plays like this in the secondary, and if Ramsey can come close to being 31-of-41 again, there’s a chance to pull it off before closing out at Purdue.

And now it’s Game On for Penn State. It survived Indiana, and now it has the showdown at Ohio State for the East title – the regular season finale is against Rutgers. The Nittany Lions aren’t playing well enough at the moment to beat the Buckeyes – Clifford has to be a whole lot sharper, and again, the secondary has to be better – but they’ve got their shot. Win that, beat Rutgers, beat Wisconsin or Minnesota … College Football Playoff. It’s that easy.

COMING: Ohio State 56, Rutgers 21; Iowa, 23, Minnesota 19


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