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Big Ten Report - Week 5

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Big Ten · ACC · Pac-12
In Week 4, the 12 schools in the Big Ten went 8-3 straight up and 5-5-1 against the spread. Wisconsin took care of Purdue in the first conference game of the season while Ohio State, Nebraska, Penn State, and Iowa all cruised to non-conference home blowout. The 'over' went 5-5 last weekend.

2013 BIG TEN STANDINGS
Team SU Conference  ATS Over/Under
Illinois 2-1 0-0 2-1 2-1
Indiana 2-2 0-0 2-2 3-1
Iowa 3-1 0-0 2-2 3-1
Michigan 4-0 0-0 2-2 2-2
Michigan State 3-1 0-0 1-2-1 1-3
Minnesota 4-0 0-0 3-1 3-1
Nebraska 3-1 0-0 2-2 3-1
Northwestern 4-0 0-0 2-2 2-2
Ohio State 4-0 0-0 3-1 3-1
Penn State 3-1 0-0 2-2 2-2
Purdue 1-3 0-1 1-3 2-2
Wisconsin 3-1 1-0 4-0 2-2


Ohio State (-7, 54.5) vs. Wisconsin - 8:00 PM EST
With Penn State banned and Illinois, Indiana, and Purdue looking like also-rans in the Big Ten, this is arguably the Leaders Division championship between the Buckeyes and Badgers. Ohio State will get QB Braxton Miller back for its Big Ten opener against Wisconsin, but we're not so sure they aren't better off starting backup Kenny Guiton, who has 664 passing yards and 13 TD in Millers absence in less than three full games. If anything it proves that OSU's offense is much more than a one-man show this year as there its lots of talent at the RB & WR spots to help lead the team this season. Defensively the Buckeyes have been great (13th in total "D"), but they will face its toughest test this week. More specifically, that 9th ranked rush defense will be tested against Wisconsin's 3rd ranked rushing offense. The Badgers average 349.8 rush yards per game this season and UW RB Gordon leads the nation with 624 yards on a ridiculous 11.8 YPC average. Wisconsin notched 206 rushing yards against the Bucks last year and has averaged 155.6 YPG over the last five meetings (only once were they held below 118 yards). Wisconsin bounced back nicely last week against Purdue after that controversial loss at Arizona State the week prior. The Badgers had +366 yards and +10 first downs over the Boilers. They rushed for 388 yards (8.1 YPC) and five touchdowns in the 31-point victory. Defensively UW is playing at a high level. The Badgers rank 6th in total defense, 6th against the rush, and 10th in points allowed. The most concerning aspect for the Badgers heading into Ohio State is QB Stave, who has been suspect at best this season. UW has always favored rushing over passing and that's no different this season (174 rush attempts to 99 pass attempts). But if the Badgers rushing attack is stifled, Stave hasn't proven that he can be depended on. Stave has had four uneven performances with 63.2% completions and 6 TD & 3 INT through four games. OSU is 5-1 SU & ATS in the last six meetings with Wisconsin and they are 3-0 SU & ATS the last three games at the Horseshoe.

Minnesota (+1, 47) vs. Iowa - 3:30 PM EST
Minnesota had its biggest win of the year to date in a 43-24 win over a quality San Jose State squad. Credit the Gophers for overcoming a big game from SJSU's QB and NFL prospect Fales. Fales had 439 passing yards and three scores, but the Goph's were able to pick him off twice and limit the Spartans to just 11% conversions on 3rd down. Minnesota used its running game to keep Fales off the field. The Gophers only passed the ball 12 times compared to 67 rush attempts. QB Leidner and RB Cobb combined to rush for 276 yards and six touchdowns. That helped Minny hold onto the ball for 41 minutes (compared to just 19 for SJSU). Minnesota opens Big Ten play this week as Iowa travels to Minneapolis for the Floyd of Rosedale trophy. Kirk Ferentz's team is on the rise after its most complete performance of the season. Iowa had four offensive touchdowns, two defensive touchdowns, and two special teams' touchdowns in its 59-3 blowout over Western Michigan. The Hawks "D" held WMU to just 209 total yards and nine first downs while forcing four turnovers. Many were skeptical that Iowa would have a letdown game after its win over in-state rival Iowa State, but the Hawks silenced critics with a momentum building win. Iowa is 9-3 SU in the last 12 meetings with the Gophers, but Minnesota is 5-2 ATS in the last seven and that includes a 3-1 ATS mark at home.

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Illinois (-24.5, 50.5) vs. Miami (OH) - 12:00 PM EST

The Illini host Miami of Ohio this Saturday in their final non-conference game. Illinois will be playing its fourth straight home game (September 14th game was at Soldier Field in Chicago against Washington, so basically a home game). They are off of a bye and hungry for redemption after suffering their first loss of the season in their last game. Illinois has been much better offensively this season than they were a year ago. QB Scheelhaase is finally starting to realize his potential and is completing 64% of his passes with 7 TD and just 2 INT. They've already scored 111 points this season, more than half of what they scored through 12 games a season ago. Defensively they still need work, but Miami won't present much of a challenge here. The Redhawks had just 87 total yards in last week's loss to Cincinnati. They've scored just 21 points through three games and rank near the bottom in every major offensive statistical category. They're getting outgained by an average of 395 yards per game and outscored by 28 points per game this season. QB Boucher is completing just 40.4% and their leading rusher has 59 yards. This offense is on pace to be historically bad. Illinois is 0-9 SU following its bye since 2004 and they are just 3-8 ATS over the previous 11 as a 20+ point favorite.

Purdue (+3.5, 58) vs. Northern Illinois - 12:00 PM EST
Road trips to Madison to take on Wisconsin have not been kind to Purdue recently, and last week was no exception. The Boilers gained just 180 yards and tallied 12 first downs offensively. QB Henry completed just 18-of-36 attempts with 1 INT and they notched just 45 rushing yards on 2.1 YPC. The defense was arguably worse. PU allowed 546 total yards, including 388 on the ground en route to a 41-point output from Wisconsin. It was a discouraging result after such an encouraging performance against Notre Dame the week before. Purdue has problems across the board right now as they rank 123rd nationally in total offense (out of 126 teams) and 80th in total defense. The schedule doesn't do the Boilers any favors as 2012 BCS Busters Northern Illinois and star QB Jordan Lynch come to town. NIU is 3-0 and has already beaten Big Ten Iowa. QB Lynch has 662 passing yards, 404 rushing yards, and 9 total touchdowns. The Huskies have scored 30 points or more in each of their three games while the Boilers have yet to surpass 24 points. If anything the Boilers should see some success against this NIU "D" that ranks 115th in total defense and 101st in scoring defense. This is only the fifth time since 1997 that the Boilers are home 'dogs against a non-conference opponent. They are 3-1 ATS in the previous four occurrences.

Northwestern - BYE
Northwestern seemed to sleepwalk through its game against FCS Maine last week. The Wildcats of last week did not resemble the same squad that dominated Cal, Syracuse, and Western Michigan the prior three games. Against Maine they were outgained and had fewer first downs. They were never in serious danger of losing the game, but it was an odd sight to see Northwestern look so mediocre. Maybe they were flat or maybe coaches were limiting the playbook as they have a big game against Ohio State on deck. When OSU comes to town it will be a ruckus crowd that greets them for an early season statement game. RB Venric Mark is expected back for that contest.

Michigan - BYE
Almost losing to Akron at home could've been dismissed as a letdown from a big win over Notre Dame the week prior. A near defeat at UConn last week is cause for concern for the Wolverines. Michigan won't stay perfect much longer if QB Gardner keeps turning over the ball (he leads the nation with 10 turnovers). Last week he completed just 11-of-23 passes for 97 yards with 2 INT. The defense is there, but Coach Brady Hoke and his staff have plenty of issues to address this week before the Jug game against Minnesota.

Nebraska - BYE
Following a turbulent week that featured a bad home loss to UCLA and release of a recording of coach Pelini blasting the Husker faithful, Nebraska got a much needed blowout victory over FCS South Dakota State. QB Martinez did not play but the offense still racked up 645 yards and 59 points - eclipsing 300 pass yards and 300 rush yards. The defense still needs a lot of improvement. This unit surrendered 465 yards and 25 first downs to the Jackrabbits. The sample size is large enough now to show that this defense hasn't improved from a year ago. Illinois visits Lincoln next week.

Michigan State - BYE
The Spartans suffered their first defeat of the season at Notre Dame last week. They arguably outplayed the Irish, but couldn't put points on the board when it mattered in the 13-17 loss. Defensively there aren't many teams stronger than MSU. Sparty held ND to just 220 yards and 14 first downs and now ranks 1st in total defense, 3rd against the pass, and 2nd against the rush. The Big Ten legends race is wide-open, but MSU won't make much noise until they get consistent QB play and results from the offense. Next up is a road trip to Iowa.

Penn State - BYE
After suffering a home defeat vs. Central Florida two weeks ago, Coach Obrien had his troops ready for redemption against Kent State last week. Penn State shut out KSU and held them to 190 yards and nine first downs. Offensively this was one of the first full games that QB Hackenberg really looked like a true freshman. He completed just 13-of-35 passes for 176 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. The offense rode the running game that tallied 287 yards on 5.4 YPC. Next up for the Nittany Lions is a road trip to Indiana.

Indiana - BYE
Indiana was abysmal in last week's 17-point loss to Missouri. The Hoosiers fell behind early and never really got things going on offense or defense. QB Sudfeld threw three interceptions and IU mustered just 98 rushing yards on 3.8 YPC. Defensively they allowed Mizzou to gain 623 total yards and 33 first downs (the 623 yards was a record for opponent yards given up at Memorial Stadiium). There's a lot to fix in the open week before Penn State comes to town for the Big Ten opener.

  
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