Big Ten sees a host of last minute wins

Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster has said several times this year that he believes the Big Ten is the most competitive conference top-to-bottom in college football. If he ever has to argue his case, Nov. 3 will probably be exhibit A. Four conference games were played Saturday; all were decided with less than 30 seconds remaining in the contest. Gophers fans donâÄôt need to be reminded of Northwestern safety Brendan SmithâÄôs 48-yard interception return for a score with 12 ticks left on the clock, but that was just the start to an afternoon of fireworks. Purdue did its best impression of Boise State circa 2005 with a 32-yard hook-and-ladder that went for a touchdown with 26 seconds left and propelled the Boilermakers to a 48-42 victory over a reeling Michigan team. Michigan StateâÄôs Brett Swenson booted a 44-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining in the game to squeak out a one-point win against Wisconsin. A few hours later, Illinois squandered a 24-9 fourth quarter lead before Matt Eller kicked a winning field goal of his own with 24 seconds remaining. Say what you will about the strength of the Big Ten compared to the Big 12 and SEC, Saturday was a good day to be tuned in to a Big Ten game. Player of Week all NU Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald has used the phrase âÄúflush itâÄù all season to encourage his team to have a short memory when it comes to adversity âÄî as in, if you miss a coverage assignment or a block, âÄúflush itâÄù and move on. He probably wonâÄôt be telling his Wildcats to flush anything about the week they just had. A closing-moments win on the road against 20th ranked Minnesota Saturday, a No. 25 ranking in the USA Today poll and the 24 spot in the Bowl Championship Series Sunday , a pair of players garnering Big Ten Player of the Week honors Monday: Not a bad three days. Quarterback Mike Kafka, filling in for the injured C.J. Bacher, earned co-Big Ten Offensive honors along with fellow former backup Justin Siller of Purdue. Kafka was generally unwilling to be tackled, racking up 217 rushing yards on 27 carries. He passed for 143 yards and a pair of scores, as well. Joining Kafka in conference recognition was Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Smith with his pick-six-to-complement-six tackles. Instead of flushing, Northwestern might want to remember all of it and do everything possible to repeat last SaturdayâÄôs outcome this weekend when No. 11 Ohio State comes to visit.