Quick thoughts and takes on every Week 13 Big Ten game.
Michigan State 27, Rutgers 0
It was only a win over Rutgers, but Michigan State really, really, really, really needed that. It wasn’t perfect, the running game was stuffed a bit too much and the offense stalled a bit, but Cody White went off for 11 catches for 136 yards and three scores, and it was a shutout over a team that was supposed to be shutout. The program can exhale for a moment – it hit the putt.
Rutgers just doesn’t have the offensive talent. Johnny Langan completed 8-of-20 passes for 57 yards with a pick, led the team with 49 rushing yards, and Isaiah Pacheco was held to 36 yards. It didn’t help that the Scarlet Knights were playing a team that cared.
The Spartans owned this game by more than the final score. They didn’t allow a third down conversion and held the ball for almost 38 minutes. There wasn’t any drama whatsoever.
Michigan State did what it needed to do, and now it closes out with Maryland for a shot at a sixth win and bowl eligibility. Rutgers’ season will come to a brutal but merciful end at Penn State.
Iowa 19, Illinois 10
Iowa played a typical Iowa game. It battled hard, played good run defense, and did enough to keep things moving through the air. It wasn’t easy, and it was a grind to do anything on the ground, but it was the eighth win of the season with just Nebraska to go. A shot at a ten-win campaign is still there.
The Hawkeyes couldn’t get any push up front – the Illinois D line did a nice job. Iowa ended up with just 79 rushing yards, and Nate Stanley wasn’t all that sharp, but he connected on a few bit pass plays with Ihmir Smith-Marsette catching four passes for 121 yards.
Illinois played relatively well despite only scoring ten points. The running backs didn’t get the ball enough – QB Brandon Peters led the team with 76 rushing yards – but the O averaged close to five yards per carry. The passing game didn’t cluck – Peters threw two picks – but it was an okay performance despite the final score.
It was a good fight, and now Illinois gets to go for a seventh win when it finishes up against Northwestern. If a 19-10 loss on the road to Iowa was okay, a loss of any sort to this Wildcat team would be totally unacceptable.