Big Ten Weekly Football Release
Oct. 30, 2017


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• Five Big Ten schools — Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin — have clinched bowl berths by reaching six victories on the season. Iowa and Northwestern can join that group with their next win. The Big Ten continues to feature the largest bowl lineup in conference history, and the full list of Big Ten postseason destinations can be found on page four of the PDF version of this notes package.

• Ohio State stands atop the East Division standings with a 5-0 record, with Michigan State and Penn State close behind at 4-1 in conference play. The Buckeyes travel to Iowa on Saturday, while the Spartans play host to the Nittany Lions.

• Wisconsin continues to lead the West Division with a 5-0 Big Ten record, followed by Nebraska and Northwestern at 3-2. The Badgers are on the road at Indiana on Saturday.

• At 8-0 this season, Wisconsin is also one of five remaining undefeated schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The Badgers are off to their best start since 2004, when they won their first nine games, and they have extended their school record with 11 consecutive Big Ten wins, surpassing their previous record of nine across the 2006-07 and 2010-11 seasons.

• Last weekend’s Big Ten slate produced several thrilling fourth-quarter performances. Ohio State rallied from two separate 18-point deficits (the largest comeback ever for an Urban Meyer-coached team) to defeat Penn State, with J.T. Barrett completing all 13 of his passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Nebraska tied the largest fourth-quarter comeback in school history, erasing a 24-12 deficit at Purdue behind quarterback Tanner Lee, who threw for 192 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, and completed 7-of-7 passes for 70 yards on the Cornhuskers’ game-winning drive in the final minute. Michigan State had its own fourth-quarter rally at Northwestern, as quarterback Brian Lewerke completed 10-of-11 passes for 88 yards on the Spartans’ game-tying drive that forced the first of three overtimes.

• Northwestern linebacker Paddy Fisher had 17 tackles, including 14 solo stops, in the Wildcats’ triple-overtime win over Michigan State, the most solo tackles by an FBS player this year and the second-most in school history behind Tim McGarigle’s 15 against Wisconsin in 2005. Fisher, who had a career-high 18 tackles on Sept. 9 at Duke, is also one of three FBS players with multiple 17-tackle games this season, along with Buffalo’s Khalil Hodge and San Jose State’s Frank Ginda.

• Iowa’s Josey Jewell and Joshua Jackson, Michigan’s Maurice Hurst and Ohio State’s Nick Bosa are among 18 semifinalists for the Bednarik Award (presented to the college defensive player of the year) this week, while OSU’s J.T. Barrett, Penn State’s Saquon Barkley and Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor highlight 18 semifinalists for the Maxwell Award (honoring the nation’s top collegiate player). Jewell, Michigan’s Devin Bush, Ohio State’s Jerome Baker and Wisconsin’s T.J. Edwards are part of 15 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top linebacker.