Big Ten Winners and Losers: Buckeyes, Illini Shine as Wisconsin, Nebraska Falter in Week 2

The schedule makers largely smiled upon the Big Ten in Week 2 of the regular season, but a couple of upsets were in the cards for previously-unbeaten teams defending their home turf on Saturday.

The Wisconsin Badgers, ranked No. 19 in the country, fell at Camp Randall to the Washington State Cougars, while a late game-tying field goal missed the mark for the Iowa Hawkeyes as they lost the Cy-Hawk Trophy to the Iowa State Cyclones.

Late in the day, Nebraska also fell at home in Lincoln, with Georgia Southern scoring a late win after collecting a check worth nearly $1.5 million from the Cornhuskers.

Here are the winners and losers from a busy day in the Big Ten.


Illinois’ Defense

It would have been easy for the Illini to get into a dogfight with the Cavaliers, but if there is a unit that deserves credit for avenging last season’s loss, it’s the defense, who held Virginia to just 222 yards and forced them into an atrocious 1-for-16 conversion rate on third downs. They also forced three turnovers.

Taulia Tagovailoa

The only Big Ten team faced with a road game on Saturday, Maryland didn’t seem to mind as they cruised to a 56-21 win over Charlotte. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa had his second straight strong game for the Terrapins, with 391 yards and four touchdowns as he completed 87% of his passes.  

Jalen Berger

The Michigan State Spartans cruised to an easy 52-0 win over Akron on Saturday, and Berger had his second consecutive 100-yard game, with 107 yards and three touchdowns on his ledger for the 2-0 squad from East Lansing.

Mohamed Ibrahim

PJ Fleck’s Minnesota Golden Gophers scored early and often against Western Illinois, and Ibrahim was a big part of the reason why, as he rushed for 130 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He’s now found the end zone four times in two games so far this season.

Nicholas Singleton

After a season-opening win over Purdue, Penn State’s offense continued to excel in a win over Ohio on Saturday. Singleton was a big part of the reason why, reeling off touchdown runs of 70 and 44 yards as he tallied 179 yards on the ground.

CJ Stroud

A week after dispatching Notre Dame in the Horseshoe, Stroud and company had an easy day at the office Saturday against Arkansas State. The quarterback threw for 351 yards and four touchdowns in the game, giving him a total of six passing touchdowns in two games so far this season.

Aidan O’Connell

The Purdue quarterback threw the ball 60 times a week ago in a loss to Penn State, but thanks to a great connection with Charlie Jones, he completed 17-of-19 passes for 211 yards and four scores against the Indiana State Sycamores in a shutout win.

Rutgers’ Offense

The Scarlet Knights raced out to a 28-0 lead after one quarter of play and never looked back, notching a 66-7 victory. The 2-0 Knights combined for 575 all-purpose yards, with 313 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.


Spencer Petras

Iowa has now scored one touchdown in two games so far this season, and they have gotten minimal production out of their quarterback spot. In Spencer Petras’ last eight games for the Hawkeyes, he has one touchdown and nine interceptions, and he completed just 12 passes for a total of 92 yards Saturday. To be fair, he was robbed of a touchdown pass by Arland Bruce IV tripping over his own feet short of the goal line, but overall it was another day to forget for the quarterback as Iowa State captured a rivalry win.

Nebraska's Close-Game Woes Continue

With their loss to Georgia Southern on Saturday, Nebraska has now lost 10 consecutive one-score games and 11 of their last 12. In addition, Nebraska managed to do something that they have never done before: lose a game in Lincoln when scoring 35 or more points, as their record in those contests now stands at 214-1, according to Fox Sports.

Northwestern’s Defense

It’s never good when the offense turns the ball over three times, as the Wildcats did in their loss to Duke on Saturday, but giving up 461 yards, nearly evenly split on the ground and in the air, is never a recipe for success. Northwestern gave up 465 yards to Nebraska in Week 0, so they have a lot of work if they hope to make strides in 2022.

Wisconsin Badgers

Washington State struggled to put away Idaho a week ago, but they ultimately prevailed in Madison on Saturday thanks to some undisciplined play by a Wisconsin club that committed 11 penalties for 106 yards, its worst showing in four seasons. Kicker Vito Calvaruso also missed a pair of field goals, and Jay Shaw’s interception in the fourth quarter turned into disaster as Washington State wide receiver Lincoln Victor knocked the ball away from him, leading to a recovered fumble by the Cougars.

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