The Big Ten had a big day on its hands Saturday, featuring two top 25 matchups.
And while the Ohio State Buckeyes were fortunate to come out with a victory against Indiana, No. 19 Northwestern was fully in control against No. 10 Wisconsin, steamrolling to a decisive victory.
And that wasn’t the only matchup worth keeping an eye on in the middle slate of games across this college football Saturday, with the No. 11 Oregon Ducks battling a game UCLA Bruins squad and No. 1 Alabama setting records against the Kentucky Wildcats.
Here are the takeaways from all three matchups.
Northwestern’s stingy defense badgers the Badgers
The Wisconsin Badgers entered their Saturday afternoon matchup against the Northwestern Wildcats as 8.5-point favorites, via FOX Bet, and as obviously the higher ranked team.
But Northwestern’s defense held Wisconsin’s offense to one score and proved they are a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten, winning 17-7.
The Northwestern defense recorded three interceptions, two of which came from freshman defensive back Brandon Joseph.
Northwestern’s performance on the defensive side of the ball was so dominant that they accomplished feats the program hasn’t seen in more than 50 years.
The Wildcats’ offense needed every bit of the dominant performance from their defense as well, only generating 263 total yards themselves, including an almost unbelievable 24 rushing yards on 23 attempts, or 1.04 yards per rush.
The win over the Badgers makes Northwestern 5-0 for the first time since 2015 and has them in firm control of the Big Ten West division.
Oregon holds on against UCLA
A week after having to overcome a double digit deficit to defeat Washington State, No. 11 ranked Oregon had to hold on for dear life against UCLA to secure their third victory of the season.
UCLA was without their starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, as well as nine other players due to COVID-19 contact and tracing issues.
Without their QB, the Bruins still managed to make the Ducks defense work behind a 167-yard, two rushing touchdown performance from running back Demetric Felton.
But at the end of the day, Oregon made the plays needed to come out victorious.
Starting safety Verone McKinley III recorded a fumble recovery and an interception to help provide the Ducks defense two neccessary stops.
On the offensive side of the ball, quarterback Tyler Shough was efficient enough, completing 19-of-30 passes for 334 yards and three touchdowns.
The sophomore quarterback now has eight passing touchdowns through three games, guiding the Ducks offense to 38.6 points per game.
While Northwestern and Oregon both faced challenges in their matchups, it was business as usual for Alabama against Kentucky, with the Crimson Tide winning 63-3.
The Crimson Tide offense clicked on all cylinders with quarterback Mack Jones passing for 230 yards and two touchdowns and wide receiver DeVonta Smith catching nine passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns.
Smith’s two touchdown performance put him alone atop the SEC record books for most receiving touchdowns in SEC history.
And while the passing game was dominant, Alabama also recorded 226 yards rushing, led by Jase McClellan’s 99 yard and one touchdown performance.
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