What’s it like to own a decade-long winning streak over another opponent? Or, how does it feel to be on the other side of the coin? Those type of circumstances don’t seem to arise with much frequency, especially among opponents in the same conference. The Big Ten, however, still has a wealth of teams capable of dominating another program for a significant amount of time.
For this week’s Big Ten Flashback Friday, we’re taking a brief look at teams who have dominated – or have been dominated – by a conference foe for the past decade. Sometimes longer.
But, what are the credentials for this list?
For a team to be qualified, winning streaks must be current, must date no later than 2007 and must come against Big Ten competition. Nebraska, Maryland and Rutgers were not inserted into this list because of the late addition into the conference.
As you might expect, Ohio State has the most winning streaks against a single opponent with four, while Indiana has suffered through the most losing skids, also with four.
Some of these streaks may surprise you and others may not. Either way, it’s an opportunity to flash back in time to revel in your team’s triumphs or sulk in the misfortunes.
Here are the longest current winning (and losing) streaks in the Big Ten:
Michigan State over Illinois
Fighting Illini most recent win: 2006
This season marks ten years since the Illini last beat Michigan State. Though several years have passed since Illinois’ 23-20 win over the Spartans in 2006, the two teams have only squared off three times.
On Nov. 5, Illinois will get a crack at the reigning Big Ten champions for the first time since 2013.
Michigan State over Indiana
Hoosiers most recent win: 2006
Seven straight wins the Spartans have notched over the Hoosiers, most coming in convincing fashion.
Indiana did score the first 17 points of the contest and took a 27-17 lead into the fourth quarter in the 2012 meeting between the two programs, but a late rally led Michigan State to a 31-27 victory.
The Spartans have scored 42 points or more in each of the other six contests, winning all of those games by at least two touchdowns.
Ohio State over Iowa
Hawkeyes most recent win: 2004
Despite some big seasons in Iowa City, including an 11-2 year in 2009 and last season’s 12-2 mark, it’s still been some time since the Hawkeyes have stymied Ohio State.
These two squads have also only faced off five times since 2004, with Iowa coming up on the wrong side of a few close ones.
In 2009, the Buckeyes won in overtime after Devin Barclay knocked in a 39-yard field goal to notch a 27-24 victory over Iowa. A year later, Ohio State scored a go-ahead touchdown with 1:47 left in the fourth quarter to hang on for a 20-17 win.
Iowa has been close, but it hasn’t cracked the Buckeyes in five-straight meetings.
Penn State over Purdue
Boilermakers most recent win: 2004
The Boilermakers weren’t able to salvage a recipe that helped them defeat the Nittany Lions in 2004, a year in which Purdue began the year 5-0.
Penn State hasn’t dominated this series but they’ve won several games by two or more touchdowns. The real salute should be to the Lion defense, which has only allowed 12.6 per meeting against Purdue’s offense.
Three times in this seven-game win streak Penn State has held Purdue to single digits.
Ohio State over Northwestern
Wildcats most recent win: 2004
Only five head-to-head matchups have occurred between the two programs in the past 12 seasons, but the Buckeyes have still dominated.
The last clash was highly competitive, with Northwestern taking a three-point lead into the fourth quarter, but 20 points in the final period catapulted Ohio State to a 40-30 win in 2013. Other than that, it’s been one-sided.
In the four games from 2005 to 2008, Ohio State averaged more rushing yards per game against the Wildcats (258 per game) than the Wildcats averaged in total offense (240.5 per game).
Wisconsin over Purdue
Boilermakers most recent win: 2003
Ever since Kyle Orton fumbled away a game-winning touchdown in 2004, turnovers have been Purdue’s demise when playing the Badgers.
In 10 Big Ten meetings over the last 12 years, the Boilermakers have committed 25 turnovers and are minus-13 in the category against Wisconsin. It’s issue hanging onto the football has hindered any chance of breaking the streak.
Just once in those 10 meetings has Purdue been within a touchdown of beating the Badgers, and that was the 20-17 loss in 2004.
Wisconsin over Minnesota
Golden Gophers most recent win: 2003
Wisconsin hasn’t relinquished Paul Bunyan’s Axe in over a decade, winning 12 straight against rival Minnesota.
The Gophers haven’t had an answer for the Badgers offense lately, allowing 30 or more points in 11 of the last 12 match-ups. On a few occasions, Minnesota has had the opportunity to end its losing streak, but hasn’t been able to get over the hump.
Four times, the Gophers have been within a touchdown of taking the Axe back to Minneapolis but haven’t been able to convert.
The last time Minnesota claimed the prized rivalry trophy, Marion Barber and Laurence Maroney were in the backfield and the Gophers needed a last-second kick to pull of a 37-34 win.
Wisconsin over Indiana
Hoosiers most recent win: 2002
Simply put, the Badgers have recorded some dominating wins over the Hoosiers since 2002.
Wisconsin has scored 50-plus points in six of the nine victories over the past 13 seasons, averaging 51.9 points per game against Indiana. In 2010, the Badgers torched the Cream and Crimson, 83-20.
Indiana has had one close outing during this stretch, a 31-28 loss in 2009. In the other eight contests, the average margin of victory for the Badgers is 41 points.
Ohio State over Minnesota
Golden Gophers most recent win: 2000
Before the Golden Gophers defeated Ohio State in 2000, the Buckeyes had won 16 straight against their conference foes. Since that game, another streak has been ongoing.
The Buckeyes have beaten Minnesota 10 consecutive times over the past 15 years, most of those coming without much doubt.
In those 10 games, Ohio State has shut down Minnesota’s offense, limiting it to just 14.5 points per contest and holding it under double-digits on six different occasions.
Ohio State over Indiana
Hoosiers most recent win: 1988
That’s not a typo. It’s been close to 30 years since the Hoosiers have beaten the Buckeyes on the gridiron.
Indiana’s last win was a 41-7 thrashing of the Buckeyes, thanks to 192 yards and four touchdowns from Hoosiers running back Anthony Thompson.
Ohio State has gotten its revenge.
Since that time, Ohio State has beaten Indiana 19 times and by an average of 22.1 points per game. The 34-27 win by the Buckeyes last year was the slimmest margin of victory against the Hoosiers since a 23-17 win in 1993.
The Hoosiers and Buckeyes did end the 1990 meeting in a 27-27 tie, leaving Ohio State one win away from 20 straight over the conference foe.
Michigan over Indiana
Hoosiers most recent win: 1987
As if the OSU dominance over Indiana wasn’t bad enough, the Maize and Blue take it a step further.
Michigan has won the last 20 contests between the two programs, but this one has been a little more hard-fought, if that’s considered a thing in this situation.
Recently, the Hoosiers have come extremely close to ending this embarrassing skid but haven’t been able to break the spell.
A controversial interception call ended Indiana’s hopes at an upset bid in the Big House in 2009, as Michigan went on to win, 36-33.
In 2010 with the game tied at 35, a 42-yard pass from Denard Robinson to Junior Hemingway got the Wolverines inside the Indiana 5-yard line with :21 seconds left. Robinson ran for a touchdown on the next play and lifted Michigan to a 42-35 win.
Last year, it took a touchdown pass on the final play of regulation and double overtime before Michigan was able tally another victory against the Hoosiers, winning 48-41 in Memorial Stadium.
Indiana has gotten close but hasn’t been able to snap the Big Ten’s longest losing streak against a single opponent.