Big Ten Report - Week 7
October 12, 2012
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Wisconsin and Purdue match-up this week in the Big Ten's marquee game. Surprisingly this meeting between the Badgers and the Boilers could decide the Leaders division representative in the Big Ten title game. ASA has the full preview for that game, as well as every other match-up (includes Michigan State-Iowa & Minnesota-Northwestern). Get all the answers inside! Michigan State hasn't had a complete performance since a September 8th win over Central Michigan. Since then they scored three points in a loss to Notre Dame, struggled to beat a bad Eastern Michigan team, lost to Ohio State at home, and barely beat Indiana on the road last week. Sparty was down 14-27 at Indiana last week. The defense shut down the Hoosiers in the 2nd half and MSU survived a four-point victory. Offensively the Spartans rank 100th in points per game and things won't get any easier against this Hawkeye defense that seems to be improving every week.
Purdue (-2.5) vs. Wisconsin - (Big Ten Network, 12:00 p.m. ET)
PU: Last week vs. Michigan: L 13-44
UW: Last week vs. Illinois: W 31-14
With Penn State and Ohio State ineligible for the postseason, and Illinois and Indiana not showing many signs of life, this game could decide the Leaders Division representative for the Big Ten championship. Motivation shouldn't be a factor here as both coaches know how big this game is. Wisconsin's win over Illinois looked to be a cakewalk by the look of the final score (31-14), but it definitely wasn't. It was 7-7 at halftime and Wisconsin put a couple of late touchdowns on the board to pull away. The defense put in another solid performance, holding the Illini to just 284 yards and 15 first downs. Offensively the Badgers still can't seem to find their rhythm as this unit ranks 107th in yards per game and 91st in points per game.
No Big Ten team disappointed more in week six than Danny Hope's Boilers. Purdue spotted Michigan a 25-point lead midway through the 2nd quarter and never really challenged the Wolverines. The Boilers managed just 213 yards on offense while turning the ball over four times. The defense has taken significant steps backward the past two weeks, allowing 41 points to Marshall and 44 points to Michigan in two home games. There's a bit of a quarterback controversy as Caleb TerBush has struggled recently. Robert Marve may be the better option, despite a torn ACL. Coach Hope stated that TerBush will remain the starter, but coaches will decide later in the week how to integrate Marve into the game.
Recent history: Wisconsin is 6-0 SU & ATS in the last six straight meetings, winning by an average of 23 points per game (average score of 35-12). Last year the Badgers piled on 605 yards and 62 points in a blowout at home. Montee Ball rushed for 223 yards and three scores.
Trends: The Badgers are 5-1 ATS in their last six games as an underdog. Purdue is 1-5 ATS in its last six Big Ten games.
Injury report: Purdue RB Ralph Bolden finally could return this week. After rushing for 935 yards and tallying 11 total touchdowns in 2009, Bolden didn't play in 2010, played sparingly in 2011 before another knee injury, and hasn't played at all this year yet.
Michigan State (-10) vs. Iowa - (ESPN, 12:00 p.m. ET)
MSU: Last week at Indiana: W 31-27
UI: Last week: BYE
It's ridiculously early, but the Hawkeyes are tied for the Legends Division lead. A win here over the sporadic Spartans could further shake up the division race. Iowa had a week off to prepare for this road trip to East Lansing. The Hawks had a morale boosting win over rival Minnesota two weeks ago. Offensively the Hawks got another strong performance from walk-on RB Mark Weisman, who now has now rushed for 507 yards (7.0 YPC) and seven touchdowns the last three games. QB Vandenberg continues to struggle, however, as he's completing less than 59% of his passes with just two touchdowns and two interceptions (threw for 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions last season). This offense will face their stiffest test of the season against this Spartans defense that ranks 11th against the run and 25th against the pass.
Recent history: Iowa is 4-2 SU over the last six meetings and & 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings, including a win & cover the last time here in East Lansing. MSU took a 31-7 lead into halftime of last year's meeting at Iowa. The Spartans cruised to a 37-21 win.
Trends: Iowa is 1-9 ATS in its last 10 road games and 1-11 ATS in its last 12 following a straight up win. Michigan State is 9-17-1 ATS its last 27 Big Ten home games.
Injury report: Michigan State tight end Dion Sims will miss Saturday's game against Iowa, leaving the Spartans without their leading receiver (24 receptions, 313 yards). Iowa will have top cornerback Micah Hyde on the field at Michigan State. Hyde was arrested during the weekend for public intoxication and interfering with official acts. Because he's a first-time offender, Iowa's student-athlete conduct policy doesn't require him to miss a game.
Minnesota (+3.5) vs. Northwestern - (ESPN2, 12:00 p.m. ET)
UM: Last week: BYE
NU: Last week at Penn State: L 28-39
Another virtual division elimination game as the winner will stay alive in the Legends race, while the loser is probably done. Both squads are off of their first loss of the season; Northwestern at Penn State last week and Minnesota at Iowa two weeks ago. Minnesota QB Max Shortell struggled under center against the Hawkeyes, throwing for just 197 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. As coach Jerry Kill said, the Gophers really need top quarterback MarQueis Gray to get healthy. Also unsettling was the play of Minnesota's defense, which couldn't stop Iowa's rushing attack Weisman. Northwestern brings one of the top rushing offenses in the nation here, averaging 232 yards per game (17th nationally).
Despite a sluggish offensive day overall (247 total yards), Northwestern put itself in position for a win at Penn State last week. The Wildcats led 28-17 midway through the 4th quarter before allowing 22 unanswered points to the Nittany Lions. The Wildcats couldn't get any pressure on PSU QB McGloin and he threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns while they notched 161 rush yards. That's not promising considering that the PSU offense ranks in the bottom half of all major defensive categories. Minnesota ranks similar offensively to Penn State, so this will be an interesting matchup if Northwestern can bounce back.
Recent history: Northwestern has won four of the last five overall, but Minnesota has covered seven of the last nine overall. The Wildcats jumped out to a 21-7 first quarter lead last season and not much happened after that. Northwestern won 28-13 but failed to cover as the 16-point favorite.
Trends: Minnesota is 6-0 ATS in its last six home games and 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games overall. The Wildcats are 5-13 ATS in the last 18 conference games.
Injury report: Minnesota quarterback MarQueis Gray participated in Sunday's light practice and will be on the field this week when the team begins its prep for Northwestern. Coach Jerry Kill is "cautiously optimistic" Gray has a chance to play against the Wildcats.
Michigan (-23.5) vs. Illinois - (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET)
UM: Last week at Purdue: W 44-13
UI: Last week at Wisconsin: L 14-31
Illinois is struggling in all facets. It ranks 102nd in yards per game and 104th in points per game. Their QB Scheelhaase has three touchdowns and five interceptions this season while their leading rusher has just 227 yards. Defensively the Illini are allowing more than 40 points per game against its past four FBS opponents. They have had particular trouble slowing down spread teams, which is evident in the 45 points allowed to Arizona State and the 52 allowed to Louisiana Tech. That could mean a big day for Denard Robinson and this Michigan offense that put up 44 points at Purdue a week ago.
Off it its bye week, Michigan got its best performance of the season against Purdue. The defense recorded four takeaways (returned one for a score) and allowed just 213 yards. QB Denard Robinson rebounded well after his disastrous game against Notre Dame. He tallied 235 rush yards and one passing touchdown and didn't throw any interceptions. Overall they ran for 304 yards and that allowed Michigan to hold the ball for +12.5 minutes time of possession. Michigan can't afford a letdown here by looking ahead to its home showdown against Michigan State next week.
Recent history: Michigan is 8-2 SU the last 10 meetings, but Illinois is 4-2 ATS in the previous six meetings. Last season Michigan held Illinois to just 214 total yards, including 37 rush yards on 33 carries. It was an ugly game that featured six total turnovers and Michigan won and covered, 31-14.
Trends: Illinois is 1-4 ATS in its last five conference games and 1-4 ATS in its last five road games. The Illinis are also 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games as a 20+ point underdog (5-0 ATS run). Michigan is 8-24 ATS in its last 32 conference games.
Injury report: Illinois cornerback Terry Hawthorne, who left the field last Saturday at Wisconsin in an ambulance, has recovered well but still must pass a concussion test before playing again. Redshirt freshman Eaton Spence will start in Hawthorne's place if he can't play.
Indiana (+17) vs. Ohio State - (Big Ten Network, 8:00 p.m. ET)
UI: Last week vs. Michigan State: L 27-31
OSU: Last week vs. Nebraska: W 63-38
Ohio State has to avoid a letdown here on the road at Indiana after its big win against Nebraska last week. The Buckeyes saw what almost happened to MSU in Bloomington a week ago so they won't be taking the Hoosiers lightly. OSU put on a scoring clinic last week against the Huskers. The Bucks tallied 371 rush yards (7.7 YPC average) and six touchdowns, Braxton Miller threw for one touchdown, and they scored on an interception return and a punt return. Defensively the Bucks allowed a lot of yards and 38 points, but they forced four turnovers and were able to get constant pressure on the quarterback. Expect more big numbers for the offense this week against Indiana's 95th ranked defensive unit.
Indiana is much improved from a year ago, though its progress has merely translated into agonizing losses against Ball State, Northwestern and Michigan State. Still, it's a promising development that the Hoosiers are actually competitive this season. It looked as though they would record their first signature win of the Kevin Wilson era last week. They dominated the first half against Michigan State and sliced through the Big Ten's top defense with their up-tempo attack. They led 27-14 at halftime but didn't record another point. QB Coffman threw for 282 yards and three touchdowns, but he will likely split time with QB Sudfeld this week - according to coach Wilson.
Recent history: Ohio State has won 17 straight games over Indiana and they are 11-4-2 ATS over that span (average win margin of 22.2 points per game). The Hoosiers hung with the Buckeyes in Columbus last year, trailing 20-27 heading into the 4th quarter. OSU tallied 346 rush yards with three players recording over 100 yards each.
Trends: Ohio State is 20-6-1 ATS in its last 27 Big Ten road games. OSU is also 12-6 ATS its last 18 road games as a double-digit favorite.
Injury report: Indiana coach Kevin Wilson expects to play both of his top quarterbacks -- Cameron Coffman and Nate Sudfeld -- Saturday. Coffman made his third consecutive start last week against Michigan State and played brilliantly in the first half. Sudfeld has practiced a bit better than Coffman this week and both will see the field.
Nebraska - BYE
UN: Last week at Ohio State: L 38-63
After a strong first quarter against OSU, Nebraska's defense fell apart. The Huskers allowed six consecutive touchdown drives and 371 rush yards. They were killed by the big play as OSU scored six touchdowns of 16 yards or more. QB Taylor Martinez committed four turnovers, including an interception returned for a touchdown. Nebraska still has a shot at the division title, but it will need to fix a lot of problems this off week as it prepares for a key three game stretch against Northwestern, Michigan, and Michigan State.
Injury report: RB Rex Burkhead should be fine for the team's next game at Northwestern, coach Bo Pelini said. Burkhead injured his left knee in the third quarter against Ohio State and didn't return.
Penn State - BYE
PSU: Last week vs. Northwestern: W 39-28
Penn State has bounced back after an 0-2 start to win four straight games. The Lions rallied to beat Northwestern after an 11-point fourth quarter deficit. Quarterback Matt McGloin continues his strong play with two more touchdowns and no picks. He now has 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions this season. The defense has been very opportunistic and seems to get better and better every week. Last week they allowed just 247 yards to one of the better offenses in the Big Ten. They have a ton of momentum heading forward as they prepare for a road game at Iowa on October 20th.