Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 10/22/12
Week 8 in Big Ten football brought us plenty of headlines to choose from. We had classic rivalry games, unfortunate injuries, tremendous comebacks and timely last second wins. After dissecting each conference game: here are the winners and losers from week 8.The Winners Penn State Quarterback Matthew McGloinPenn State Quarterback Matthew McGloin has been a polarizing figure all throughout his senior season, as he was a lightning rod once again for another Nittany Lions one-sided road victory in Week 8.McGloin threw for 289 yards and 2 touchdown passes in a 38-14 win over the Iowa Hawkeyes. He cemented his lead in the Big Ten for quarterback passing yardage with his fifth straight 200-yard performance. In the past, McGloin was often criticized for his inconsistent play, but now he's having a career year in a season where McGloin was considered nothing more than a supporting cast member in an offense that was searching for an identity.Now, he’s on pace to break all of his school’s passing records this season.Nebraska Quarterback Taylor MartinezAt times, Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Taylor Martinez can play like a viable candidate for the Heisman Trophy, and at other times, he looks completely lost on a football field.Case in point was Martinez’s performance against the Northwestern Wildcats on Saturday night. The Cornhuskers trailed by 12 points heading into the fourth quarter, as their season seemed to be heading in a downward spiral.Suddenly, Martinez got on track throwing the football and led Nebraska to their largest fourth quarter comeback win in the school’s history. He threw for 342 yards with 3 TD passes and rushed for 65 yards with one rushing TD in the 29-28 victory.The Wisconsin Badgers Are Your Unofficial Leaders Division Champs The Big Ten conference season is half way over, and the Wisconsin Badgers control their own destiny in the Leaders division. Their 38-13 win over the Minnesota Gophers unofficially sealed their fate as the division representative in the conference championship game.Keep in mind that the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Penn State Nittany Lions are ahead of the Badgers in the division standings, but neither is eligible to compete in the championship game this season.Wisconsin’s running game is coming together at the right time of the season, as the duo of James White (15-175 yards, 3 TDs) and Montee Ball (24-166 yards, 2 TDs) combined for 341 rushing yards and aggressively challenged the edge of the Gopher defense all game long.The LosersThe Ohio State Injury WoesIts funny how one play can spoil a thrilling come-from-behind victory, as Ohio State Buckeye fans should be rejoicing over a 29-22 overtime win against the Purdue Boilermakers. Instead, the fan base is mourning the possible loss of Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Braxton Miller from the starting lineup, who was carted off the field in the third quarter.The infamous play began with Miller coming out of the pocket on a 37-yard run when he was tackled from behind by Boilermaker cornerback Josh Johnson. Miller landed on his non-throwing left shoulder before hitting his head on the turf.The initial reports after a medical examination revealed that Miller had showed no signs of sustaining a concussion on the play, but no guarantees were given that he will be in the starting lineup next weekend. The Buckeyes will need him in a tough road matchup against Penn State.Northwestern’s Troubling OffenseThe Northwestern Wildcats are very hard to figure out this season, as their spread offense should pose a threat to any defense in the Big Ten conference.Instead of talking about a resounding home win against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, we are lamenting about their miss opportunities of converting turnovers into points and squandering a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter.You expected this contest to be a back-and-forth offensive affair, as both teams can score points. The Wildcats needed to sustain time-consuming drives to keep the Cornhuskers offense off the field. In years past, Northwestern was a pass-happy team, but now their strength is in the running game and they failed to use it against Nebraska.The Continued Struggles of Indiana FootballHow bad is Indiana football?Well, the Hoosiers have only won six Big Ten conference games since 2006. Their fan base is wondering if progress has been made under second-year head coach Kevin Wilson.Unfortunately, Indiana is traveling an uphill climb on a very slippery course. The football program desperately needs a significant win that grabs the attention of a top recruit. The Hoosiers cannot afford to lose games to Navy and expect to generate any support for the program.Somehow, Indiana must create their own momentum to further advance themselves in Big Ten football.
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