- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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We're continuing our countdown of the Top 10 games from the Big Ten in 2013. Remember that we're taking into account the stakes in the game, the excitement level, the quality of the performances and the atmosphere.
Up next on our list is a "GameDay" special ...
No. 7: Ohio State 40, Northwestern 30, Oct. 5
How it went down: It was billed as one of the biggest games in Ryan Field history, and the event didn't disappoint. Northwestern controlled most of the first half in front of its jazzed-up home crowd but missed out on several opportunities to really put Ohio State in a hole. The Buckeyes did not score an offensive touchdown in the first two quarters but still trailed only 20-13 at the break thanks to Bradley Roby recovering a blocked punt in the Wildcats' end zone for a score.
Northwestern grabbed a 10-point lead early in the third quarter. But then Carlos Hyde took over. The Buckeyes' bruising back rumbled for three second-half touchdowns, making up for an off day from quarterback Braxton Miller.
The Wildcats trailed by four points and had the ball at the Ohio State 34-yard line with 2:43 left, but Kain Colter was stuffed on a fourth-and-1 play. A Joey Bosa fumble recovery for a touchdown with no time left accounted for the 10-point final margin, but it was a tight one throughout.
Ohio State pretty much sailed through the rest of its schedule with only a few minor bumps until Thanksgiving weekend. Meanwhile, Northwestern never recovered; this loss was the first of seven straight for the Wildcats, who had started the season 4-0.
Player of the game: After being suspended for the first three games of the year, Hyde had his first real breakout performance of 2013 against the Wildcats. He finished with 26 carries for 168 rushing yards and those three touchdowns. He ran for at least 100 yards in every game the rest of the season.
Stat of the game: Ohio State ran for 248 yards while holding Northwestern to just 94 yards on the ground.
They said it: "Any time you go a 15-round fight with someone and you come out the other end, it just builds toughness," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. "We're a tough team. We toughed out a win."
No. 10: Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 24
No. 9: Michigan 41, Notre Dame 30
No. 8: Arizona State 32, Wisconsin 30