Most of the results from the Big Ten's games on Saturday went as many expected. But the way several of those games reached their conclusion was surprising nonetheless.
Northwestern held off Penn State 23-21 when kicker Jack Mitchell drilled a 35-yard field goal with nine seconds remaining. Wisconsin needed to recover an onside kick in the final minutes to keep Maryland at bay. Iowa remained locked in a dogfight with Indiana the entire game. And even Ohio State didn't officially put away Minnesota until late in the fourth quarter.
The one game most fans will be talking about is Nebraska's upset of Michigan State, proving that nothing is decided until the final second ticks off. Now, let's dive into the week that was:
Team of the week: For one week, at least, we can say something good about Nebraska. After experiencing so many gut-wrenching losses, the players, coaches and fans deserved a reason to celebrate, and Nebraska's 39-38 comeback victory against Michigan State left Lincoln joyous. The way that game ended will be the subject of debate for some time. Nebraska's Brandon Reilly certainly looked as though he ran out of bounds without being pushed, but referees ruled in the Cornhuskers' favor, which meant he could return to the field of play and catch the game-winning pass. Whatever side of the debate you're on won't change the outcome. After a surprising loss to Purdue, Nebraska (4-6) rallied and now has a chance to become bowl eligible with games against Rutgers and Iowa.
Big man on campus (offense): Illinois freshman running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn was sensational during his team's 48-14 victory against Purdue. He rushed 16 times for a career-high 180 yards with two touchdowns and formed a stellar 1-2 tandem with Josh Ferguson (133 yards rushing, one touchdown catch). Vaughn handled almost every carry for Illinois while Ferguson missed nearly four full games with a shoulder injury. But before Saturday, Vaughn had yet to rush for 100 yards. He has a bright future ahead of him in Champaign.
Big man on campus (defense): Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell was everywhere during the Hawkeyes' 35-27 victory against Indiana. He recorded seven tackles in the first quarter alone and finished with a career-best 15 tackles -- including 11 solo tackles. Jewell has amassed double-digit tackles in three of his last five games. But he had not registered more than five solo tackles in any other game this season. Despite Iowa surrendering a season high for points, the Hawkeyes rolled on and continued to state their case as a legitimate college football power this season.
Big man on campus (special teams): Wisconsin earns this honor based on two separate plays that helped the Badgers escape Maryland with a 31-24 victory. First, Wisconsin sophomore Natrell Jamerson took a kickoff down the right sideline for a 98-yard touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 in the first quarter. It marked the longest kickoff return by a Badgers player since Aaron Stecker brought one back 100 yards for a touchdown against Minnesota on Nov. 11, 1995. Later, linebacker Joe Schobert ran a fake punt 57 yards, which helped Wisconsin take a 14-7 lead. Somehow, Schobert led the Badgers in rushing yards for the entire game.
Biggest faceplant: Is it fair to call what happened to Michigan State a faceplant if most believe the referees cost the Spartans the game on a phantom push out of bounds? Either way, Michigan State lost to Nebraska in a game it really had no business losing. It led 38-26 with less than two minutes remaining and still couldn't find a way to win. Let's remember that after Tommy Armstrong Jr. cut the deficit to 38-33 with a 1-yard touchdown run, the Spartans had a chance to salt the game away simply by gaining a first down or two. It didn't happen. Michigan State went three-and-out and punted back to Nebraska with 55 seconds left. Now, the Spartans' dream season is in peril.
Biggest faceplant, take two: How could we not mention Purdue at least somewhere in this space? One week after Purdue defeated Nebraska 55-45 and seemed to be building some positive momentum, the Boilermakers were embarrassed in a 48-14 loss against Illinois. Purdue was out-gained 595-263 in a game that was basically over by halftime. All this came in the same week that school officials reportedly opted to retain head coach Darrell Hazell next season. Purdue is 2-7 this season, and with road games against Northwestern and Iowa in the next two weeks, things could only get worse.
Numbers to know: Illinois rushed for 382 yard against Purdue, which is significant because the Illini entered the weekend ranked dead last in the Big Ten in rushing offense (114.6 yards per game). On the strength of one game alone, they moved up to 11th (144.3 yards per game). … Iowa cornerback Desmond King recorded his eighth interception this season on Saturday against Indiana, tying the school's single-season record with Lou King (1981) and Nile Kinnick (1939). … Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook threw his 67th career touchdown pass, moving him ahead of Kirk Cousins for the most in school history. … Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis tallied two pass breakups against Rutgers and leads the country in that category with 19. That mark is also a single-season school record.