Not much changed in the Big Ten blogger predictions race for Week 5. We both went 4-1, splitting the two games on which we differed (Northwestern-Penn State and Nebraska-Ohio State). Brian Bennett did throw the first bull's-eye of the 2012 season, on the Illinois-Wisconsin game, but alas, he doesn't get bonus points in the league race.
Speaking of that, I maintained my three-game lead against BB, who needs to start closing the gap in a hurry. Like every Cardinals fan, he has Sam Holbrook on speed dial, so I'm not getting too comfortable.
In case you missed them, the full Week 6 predictions.
WEEK 6/SEASON RECORDS
Adam Rittenberg: 4-1, 45-12 (.789)
Brian Bennett: 4-1, 41-16 (.719)
It's rewind time:
Michigan State at Indiana
Bennett's pick: Michigan State 28, Indiana 13
Rittenberg's pick: Michigan State 34, Indiana 20
Actual score: Michigan State 31, Indiana 27
20-20 hindsight: We both came close on Michigan State's score, but we didn't see Indiana dominating the first half and forcing the Spartans to scramble back. Bennett's prediction of two Andrew Maxwell touchdown passes came true. Spartans RB Le'Veon Bell came 79 yards shy of my rushing yards prediction (200) and one touchdown shy of my touchdown forecast (3). Freshman WR Aaron Burbridge didn't have a touchdown catch, as I thought he would, but he sparked Michigan State's pass game with team highs in both catches (8) and receiving yards (134).
Northwestern at Penn State
Bennett's pick: Northwestern 23, Penn State 17
Rittenberg's pick: Penn State 28, Northwestern 24
Actual score: Penn State 39, Northwestern 28
20-20 hindsight: Bennett correctly pegged another big game for Northwestern's Venric Mark (72 rush yards, TD, 75-yard punt return TD), but the Wildcats' defense, despite some chances, never got the interception it needed against Penn State QB Matt McGloin. I correctly pegged McGloin, a Wildcat killer, for another big fourth quarter. He only found one receiver (Allen Robinson) in the end zone, not the three I had predicted, but he rallied Penn State from an 11-point deficit in the final 15 minutes.
Illinois at Wisconsin
Bennett's pick: Wisconsin 31, Illinois 14
Rittenberg's pick: Wisconsin 28, Illinois 17
Actual score: Wisconsin 31, Illinois 14
20-20 hindsight: By far the best prediction of the week, as Bennett nailed the score, thanks to three Wisconsin touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Badgers RB Montee Ball came through for me with two rushing touchdowns, while WR Jared Abbrederis had one scoring reception, not the two Bennett had predicted. Joel Stave had a solid day passing the ball, although he didn't get TE Jacob Pedersen (1 catch, 16 yards) as involved as I thought he would.
Michigan at Purdue
Bennett's pick: Michigan 35, Purdue 28
Rittenberg's pick: Michigan 27, Purdue 24
Actual score: Michigan 44, Purdue 13
20-20 hindsight: Like many folks, we both expected a lot more from Purdue, and aside from getting the winning team right, these picks were duds. At least Bennett came fairly close (175 yards) on Denard Robinson's rushing total (225). Purdue QB Caleb TerBush fell one touchdown shy of my prediction, and his costly interception came in the first quarter, not the fourth.
Nebraska at Ohio State
Bennett's pick: Ohio State 31, Nebraska 30
Rittenberg's pick: Nebraska 30, Ohio State 28
Actual score: Ohio State 63, Nebraska 38
20-20 hindsight: We both came fairly close on Nebraska's score, but neither of us saw Ohio State toy with Bo Pelini's defense like it did for the final three quarters. Buckeyes QB Braxton Miller (313 yards) came fairly close to Bennett's total yards prediction (350), although RB Carlos Hyde accounted for the four touchdowns, not Miller. Nebraska's Taylor Martinez rebounded from an early turnover, as I had predicted, but then he proceeded to commit three more and didn't come close to my rushing yards forecast.