Despite three turnovers, Braxton Miller guided the Buckeyes to a 17-16 victory in East Lansing on Saturday. (US Presswire)

1. Ohio State , the best team in the Big Ten, is far from flawless. The Buckeyes' defense looked stout on Saturday in the 17-16 victory over Michigan State, limiting Le’Veon Bell to just 45 yards rushing. Their defensive front line got a huge push upfront from defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins, who seemed to be constantly in the backfield creating pressure on Andrew Maxwell.

Six Spartans drives were kept under 20 yards and aside from awful tackling on Keith Mumphery’s 30-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter, the defense did what it was supposed to do. No one ever questioned its defense but the offense is another story.

Braxton Miller may be the most electric player in the country and even a fringe Heisman candidate, but he needs to take care of the ball better when scrambling. Had the referees not ruled that Miller’s knee was down on a fourth-quarter scramble that saw Miller lose the football and instead allowed Kurtis Drummond to return the fumble, who knows what the outcome would’ve been.

The Spartans settled for a field goal after the ensuing drive instead of what potentially could’ve been a game-altering touchdown. In total, Miller had three turnovers but in a mediocre conference, Ohio State can live with that. 

2. Purdue has a legitimate shot to go to the Big Ten championship game. Who cares if the current standings show postseason ineligible Ohio State and Penn State atop the Leaders Division? The Boilermakers have allowed fewer than half as many points as they’ve scored  (170 to 83) and have a favorable home division schedule. The real test is going to come on Oct. 13 when Purdue hosts Wisconsin, in what could determine the Leaders Division’s representative in Indianapolis.

The Boilermakers have a daunting three weeks ahead of them with games against Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio State but have five winnable games to end the season. Caleb TerBush has the fourth-highest quarterback rating (138.4) in the conference among QBs and wideout Antavian Edison is tied for the league-lead with five touchdown catches. 

3. What to make of Northwestern? The Wildcats are undefeated for the third time in five years, have a number of explosive offensive players, and have more versatility than most teams in the conference. Coach Pat Fitzgerald could use either Trevor Siemian or Kain Colter at quarterback, but as we said earlier this season, the Wildcats are best served with Colter in a hybrid role. Throw in Venric Mark at tailback and it’s easy to see why the Wildcats are the ninth-best rushing team in the country, averaging 255 yards per game on the ground.

The key for the Wildcats will be limiting comebacks. They typically build huge leads, shift down to cruise control, and eek out fourth-quarter victories. Yes, Northwestern has won four games against BCS-level opponents, but until it wins on the road in Happy Valley next weekend, it’s tough to consider the Wildcats a legitimate contender in the Legends Division. 

For more Big Ten coverage, follow Mike Singer and Dave Carey @CBSSportsBigTen.