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Weekend rewind: Big Ten

11/3/2014

The Big Ten slate wasn't filled with all that much excitement this past weekend -- with one notable exception.

Four conference games were decided by three touchdowns or more, but the renewal of the Maryland-Penn State rivalry almost made up for the humdrum afternoon. Heck, memorable moments in that game started even before the opening kickoff, from a brief pregame scuffle to the no-handshake coin toss seen around the country.

The other four B1G games were all basically over by halftime, and the average margin of victory was 32.8 points. That made for plenty of individual standout performances, and it also made Maryland’s 20-19 win stick out a bit more.

On to the Week 10 rewind:

Team of the week: Maryland. Apologies to Iowa, but the Terps made history Saturday -- so that takes precedence over a dominating win against an inconsistent team. Maryland had never won in Beaver Stadium and hadn’t beaten Penn State since 1961. Before this past Saturday’s contest, PSU even held the 35-1-1 series advantage. Maryland’s defense ended up finishing with nine stops in the backfield, and kicker Brad Craddock nailed a game-winning 43-yard field goal with under a minute left. Said head coach Randy Edsall: “You don’t know what this means to our program.”

Biggest play: The team of the week might not have earned that honor if it wasn’t for a key fumble recovery Saturday afternoon. In the fourth quarter, immediately following a Terps field goal, Penn State freshman Grant Haley fumbled on the ensuing kick return after a nice hit by linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr. Alex Twine recovered the ball, and Maryland scored a touchdown four plays later to take a 17-16 lead. That play set the stage for the game-winning kick later in the final quarter.

Big Man on Campus (offense): Wisconsin RB Corey Clement. Step aside, Melvin Gordon, it’s time for another Wisconsin back to bask in the spotlight. Gordon did just fine against Rutgers, to the tune of 128 yards and two TDs -- but Clement did even better. The No. 2 running back finished with 131 rushing yards and two scores, and his rushing average was markedly higher than his Heisman hopeful teammate. Clement averaged 9.4 yards a carry; Gordon averaged 6.7 yards a carry. The pair once again carried their team to a win, but Clement’s production inched out Gordon’s this time around.

Big Man on Campus (defense): Iowa S John Lowdermilk. He was all over the field Saturday and finished with a dozen tackles, a pass breakup and a forced fumble. Iowa allowed just 74 passing yards -- the eighth-lowest total during the Kirk Ferentz era -- and he was terrific in run support, too, as the Wildcats wound up with 2.4 yards per carry. There were plenty of good defensive performances for Iowa, but Lowdermilk set the tone.

Big Man on Campus (special teams): Maryland kicker Brad Craddock. He hasn’t missed a kick all season, and he nailed a game-winning, 43-yard field goal with 51 seconds left against Penn State. Does anything else really need to be said? Craddock was clutch at the most important time, so it's difficult to argue anyone else is more deserving. He was 2-of-2 on field goals. Penn State's Sam Ficken likely would've taken Craddock's spot here had the game ended differently.

Biggest face plant: Northwestern. If there was a “Most inconsistent team” trophy, the Wildcats would win that season award, too. Trevor Siemian finished with his worst game yet -- posting a QBR of 3.3 (on a scale of 100) -- as the Wildcats faced a 31-point halftime deficit, their biggest halftime deficit in four years. After surprising wins against Penn State and Wisconsin earlier in the season, it looked as if Northwestern would rebound its way to a bowl game. But after dropping its third straight, the Cats are down for the count.

Facts and numbers to know: Iowa RB Akrum Wadley recorded his first carry Saturday and also finished with 100-plus rushing yards, the first time that’s happened to a Hawkeye since Brandon Wegher in 2009. … Ohio State tied its own Big Ten record with 20 straight Big Ten regular-season wins; previous record was Ohio State’s run in 2005-2007. … OSU has outscored opponents 189-39 in the first half this season. … Nebraska blocked two punts against Purdue, the first time it’s done that since Oct. 25, 2003, when it played Iowa State. … Wisconsin is bowl eligible now for the 13th straight season, the longest streak in the conference. … Wisconsin shut out Rutgers, 37-0, its first shutout on the road since a 31-0 win over Iowa on Oct. 24, 1998. … For the first time in 128 seasons, Penn State played in an overtime game and a one-point game in consecutive contests.