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Big Ten football roundup: Week 8

(We know you can go anywhere to find your typical game recap, so we’re changing things up a bit here at talking10. Each week we will give you a look at the best, the worst and of course the most viral moments of the Big Ten. So let’s take a look at the biggest talking points coming out of each weekend.)

Biggest Winner: Minnesota Gophers

You’ll see part of the reason why they are the biggest winner a bit later, but let’s put it this way…the Gophers are becoming a complete team right before our eyes.

Before Saturday there were plenty of questions over Minnesota’s ability to win the Big Ten without a passing game. Some of those questions got answered against Purdue, as quarterback Mitch Leidner proved he has the arm to help stretch a defense if need be. Sure, he was only 9-of-18 on the day, but he had 165 yards and most importantly two touchdowns. Add in his 84 yards on the ground and that’s how you win with a big dual-threat quarterback like Leidner.

While we must keep in mind that their opponent was Purdue, it’s important to note that they completed a pretty huge second half comeback to win this one. It’s also important to note that this game was a complete team effort, as the defense got two timely interceptions, special teams came up big with the game winning 52-yard field goal and of course David Cobb went off per usual (194 yards).

No matter the teams or the results, Minnesota is the only West division team to be undefeated and that’s all that matters. The Gophers now control their own destiny in hopes of heading to Indianapolis.

Biggest Loser: Iowa Hawkeyes

When you’re one of just two unbeaten teams in your division, winning is paramount and Iowa went to College Park and failed to get the needed W to keep pace with rival Minnesota. It wasn’t just that the Hawkeyes lost, it was how it went down that makes them the biggest loser this week.

After going up 14-0 early on in the contest, Iowa decided to allow 24 unanswered points to the Terps to go down 24-14 and despite a touchdown near the end of the third quarter it wasn’t going to be enough. That’s because Hawkeyes QB Jake Ruddock decided testing cornerback Will Likely was a wise decision.

Of course, it ended badly for the Iowa QB, as Likely took his pass 45 yards for a pick six.

It was that kind of day for Kirk Ferentz’s Hawkeyes, and given everything that happened around them in the West division, the Hawkeyes squandered a great chance to keep pace as the big games are still to come. No longer being in complete control of your own destiny is never a good thing, but that’s the fate the Hawkeyes now face.

Game of the Week: Minnesota 39-38 over Purdue

This game was entertaining from start to finish and had one of the most exciting finishes of Week 8. If you weren’t paying attention to the first game in the Big Ten to go final, here are the highlights courtesy of BTN:

Standout Player: Stefon Diggs, Maryland WR

Usually this isn’t an easy choice, but despite the crazy numbers from a few QB’s in the conference, there wasn’t a more impressive individual performance than what Terps wide receiver Stefon Diggs put up on Saturday.

He had nine receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown in Maryland’s second Big Ten win of the year. He also had a 21-yard kick return and was a general pain the side of the Hawkeyes on the edge all game long. Diggs put on a master class in speed, crazy moves and toughness too.

Saturday was a special day for the Terps and for the star receiver too.

Best Tweet:

Biggest Surprise:

Quotable Coach: Randy Edsall, Maryland

On Will Likely’s interception return for a touchdown:

“To me, that was the biggest play in the ballgame. We did not have a lot of momentum at that point in time and I was on the sideline hoping we would get a defensive score or a turnover. Will is lovable because he plays and competes. He does not look for the limelight, he did his job and the guy threw it to him and he ran with it.”

Best TD: There’s no denying the deadly and oh so commonplace…read-option reverse for a 75 yard touchdown. Yes, we’re talking about Shane Wynn and his 75-yard touchdown run against Michigan State.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball


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