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Monday, November 8, 2010
Big Ten Week 10 rewind/Week 11 preview

By Adam Rittenberg

It's time to take a look back at Week 10 before peeking ahead to Week 11.

Team of the week: Michigan. The Wolverines are at least the Big Ten's "one-third of a team of the week" after a historic offensive performance against Illinois. Rich Rodriguez's crew racked up 67 points, 676 offensive yards and 33 first downs Saturday, and it needed all of it to outlast Illinois 67-65 in three overtimes. More amazing is the fact that Michigan overcame five turnovers and a minus-4 turnover ratio to snap its three-game losing streak. Penn State also deserves some love after rattling off 35 unanswered points to record the biggest home comeback under coach Joe Paterno and give the 83-year-old his 400th coaching victory.

Best game: Illinois at Michigan. This likely will be the game of the year in the Big Ten when all is said and done. The Big Ten doesn't see many offensive shootouts like this, and some folks say it was the most exciting Big Ten regular-season game since Northwestern and Michigan combined for 105 points in 2000 (a 54-51 Northwestern win in regulation). The 132 combined points were the most ever scored in a game involving Michigan. The teams also combined for 1,237 offensive yards. The game featured two 100-yard rushers, two 100-yard receivers and a 300-yard passer.

Henignway
Junior Hemingway's touchdown in the second overtime kept Michigan in the game.
Biggest play: Junior Hemingway's juggling catch on a pass nearly picked off by Illinois helped Michigan tie the score in the second overtime. If Illinois intercepts the ball, the game ends and Michigan's season teeters. Hemingway also wrong-footed several Illinois defenders on an electrifying 45-yard touchdown in the second quarter. The single best catch of the day came from Northwestern's Drake Dunsmore, who made a one-handed grab at full extension and managed to get his foot down in the back of the end zone for a touchdown at Beaver Stadium. Marvin McNutt's 52-yard touchdown reception late in the Indiana game gave Iowa the lead for good, while Brett Brackett's leaping touchdown catch with three seconds left in the first half gave Penn State a huge lift against Northwestern.

Specialist spotlight: Not a ton to choose from this week, but Iowa freshman Michael Meyer connected on four field-goal attempts in the win against Indiana. Meyer hit two 27-yarders and a 23-yarder in the first half before converting a career-long 42-yarder in the fourth quarter to cut Iowa's deficit to one. Illinois punter Anthony Santella continued his stellar season, averaging 47 yards on six attempts at Michigan. Punters Brad Nortman of Wisconsin and Cody Webster of Purdue both had nice games at Ross-Ade Stadium.

Most memorable moment: Easy one here. I'll never forget being on the field at Beaver Stadium when Paterno recorded his 400th career victory. Penn State players carried Paterno on their shoulders to midfield, a gesture he surprisingly enjoyed. The school then held a short ceremony that included a video montage of Paterno through the years and a crystal football presented to JoePa to commemorate No. 400. Paterno briefly addressed the crowd of 104,147, all of whom stayed to witness history. "People ask me why I've stayed here so long," the 83-year-old said. "Look around!" Just an amazing moment.

Game balls (given to players on winning or losing teams who didn't receive helmet stickers)
Deep breath. Now let's take a look ahead at Week 11.

No. 13 Iowa (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten) at Northwestern (6-3, 2-3): The Hawkeyes' late-game fortunes turned in Bloomington, as Damarlo Belcher's drop in the end zone kept Iowa alive for the Big Ten title. Only one hurdle remains between Iowa and its Nov. 20 showdown against Ohio State, but this is always a tricky game. Northwestern has won four of the teams' past five meetings, although just one of those has come in Evanston.

Indiana (4-5, 0-5) at No. 7 Wisconsin (8-1, 4-1): After a mini scare at Purdue, Wisconsin returns to Camp Randall Stadium, where it is 41-4 since the start of the 2004 season. The Badgers should have running backs John Clay and James White healthy for an Indiana defense that allows 166.1 rush yards a game. Indiana still needs two wins to get bowl eligible but gave Wisconsin a tough game last year, mounting a late before falling 31-28.

Michigan (6-3, 2-3) at Purdue (4-5, 2-3): Rodriguez and the Wolverines finally are bowl eligible, and a win Saturday at Ross-Ade Stadium likely ensures the coach will return for a fourth season in 2011. Robinson is expected to return after injuring his head against Illinois, while Purdue's quarterback situation remains fluid with Sean Robinson, Rob Henry and possibly Justin Siller, who led the Boilers to a win against Michigan in 2008.

Minnesota (1-9, 0-6) at Illinois (5-4, 3-3): The Illini take a second stab at becoming bowl eligible against last-place Minnesota. Watch out for Scheelhaase, Leshoure, Ford and the Illinois rushing attack to have a big day against a Minnesota defense that has slipped to 106th nationally against the run. MarQueis Gray finally got a shot at quarterback for the Gophers on Saturday, and it'll be interesting to see how many snaps he takes against an angry Illinois defense.

Penn State (6-3, 3-2) at No. 9 Ohio State (8-1, 4-1): This year's matchup lacks the hype of the previous two meetings, but Penn State's recent surge has added some intrigue to the rivalry. The Nittany Lions come in on a three-game win streak and are getting better play from an offense led by quarterback Matt McGloin and Royster. Ohio State is rested after an open week and begins its quest for another Big Ten title in its signature month under coach Jim Tressel.

Bye: No. 11 Michigan State (9-1, 5-1)