Week 11 in the Big Ten was sailing along in a pretty normal fashion for most of Saturday. There were a few blowouts and a couple of close calls for teams that were favored. And then came the last game of the night.
Iowa's 14-13 upset of Michigan carried implications far and wide, and assured that the last two weeks in the Big Ten regular season are going to be wild. But before we get to that, let's review a busy Saturday in the league:
Team of the week: Iowa fans everywhere had to feel like Michael Corleone on Saturday night. "Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in!" The Hawkeyes looked headed for a miserable follow-up to last year's Rose Bowl season after they had fallen to 5-4 after a 41-14 blowout loss at Penn State in Week 10. But somehow Kirk Ferentz got his team off the mat to beat what had been the most dominant team in the Big Ten, if not the country, with a bit of Kinnick Stadium magic.
Iowa still can't finish any better than 8-4, yet it likely upgraded its bowl destination and at least provided an indelible memory for the season.
Big Man on Campus (offense): Penn State QB Trace McSorley took a beating against Indiana, as a banged-up offensive line had trouble keeping defenders off him. But McSorley stood in and made big-time throws while getting hit, ending up with 332 passing yards and three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) in a win the Nittany Lions needed to keep their Big Ten title hopes alive.
Big Man on Campus (defense): Iowa defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson had one of the biggest plays of the game with his first-half safety against De'Veon Smith. He was a force all night, with a team-high nine tackles and a sack, to help ground Michigan's offense.
Big Man on Campus (special teams): Few punters have ever had a more interesting game than Iowa's Ron Coluzzi. He somehow drew a targeting penalty after falling to the turf. ("I showed some really poor athleticism," he said. "Are you kidding me? A somersault?”) His 54-yard punt that was downed at the 2-yard line set up Johnson's safety. He also was the holder on the winning field goal.
Best moment (tie): A pair of players were carried off the field on Saturday, for different but inspirational reasons.
One day after Veterans Day, Northwestern lifted Tom Hruby onto their shoulders following a 45-17 win at Purdue. Hruby is a retired Navy SEAL. Pat Fitzgerald tried to get Hruby a touchdown run late in the game, but Hruby fumbled near the goal line. We'll forgive him.
And Nebraska offensive linemen Jerald Foster and Tanner Farmer did the same for quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. after he scored the winning touchdown against Minnesota. Armstrong missed the whole week of practice following his scary concussion at Ohio State last week, had to leave Saturday's game earlier in the second half because of an ankle problem and then tweaked his hamstring on that touchdown. Armstrong isn't always perfect, but there are few tougher competitors out there.
Worst sequence: Down 21-0 at Michigan State, Rutgers faced a third-and-8 at the Spartans' 27-yard line. The Scarlet Knights called for an inside run, losing three yards. Then coach Chris Ash elected to punt from the 30-yard line. It's not like Rutgers had anything to lose, but Ash said he didn't have confidence in his passing game or field goal unit. Other than that, you know, everything's fine. The Scarlet Knights were shut out for the third time in Big Ten play, and they've scored more than seven points only twice in seven league contests.
Extra points: Nebraska's Caleb Lightbourne had a minus-2-yard punt that wasn't blocked. We're still not sure how. ... Ohio State's 6-foot-5, 258-pound tight end Marcus Baugh hurdled Maryland defensive back J.C. Jackson after a catch in the Buckeyes' 62-3 blowout. Baugh also hurdled a would-be tackler earlier this year against Bowling Green. ... Wisconsin's Corey Clement and Dare Ogunbowale both went over 100 yards in the Badgers' win over Illinois. That was the first time the Badgers had two 100-yard rushers in the same game since Melvin Gordon and Clement did it in the 2015 Outback Bowl. Bradrick Shaw added 80 more yards on the ground. Wisconsin's 363 rushing yards were the most in the Paul Chryst era.