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Big Ten Report - Week 10

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Big Ten · ACC
Week 8 in the Big Ten watched the favorites go 3-1 both straight up and against the spread, two of those margins decided by double digits. The lone underdog to cash tickets was Minnesota (+10 ½), who knocked off Nebraska 34-23 at home. It was the second consecutive win for the Golden Gophers as double-digit ‘dogs. Total bettors watched ‘over/under’ go 2-2.

2013 BIG TEN STANDINGS
Team SU Conference  ATS Over/Under
Illinois 3-4 0-3 3-4 4-3
Indiana 3-4 1-2 3-4 6-1
Iowa 5-3 2-2 5-3 5-3
Michigan 6-1 2-1 4-3 5-2
Michigan State 7-1 3-0 4-3-1 3-5
Minnesota 6-2 2-2 5-3 5-3
Nebraska 5-2 2-1 4-3 4-3
Northwestern 4-4 0-4 2-6 3-5
Ohio State 8-0 4-0 5-2-1 6-2
Penn State 4-3 1-2 3-4 5-2
Purdue 1-6 0-3 2-5 3-4
Wisconsin 5-2 3-1 6-0-1 3-4


Michigan State (-6, 46) vs. Michigan (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET)
Michigan State is currently in first place in the Big Ten Legends division with a perfect 4-0 conference mark. The schedule heats up in November and the Spartans can take a huge step toward Indianapolis by beating rival Michigan this week. QB Cook and the offense got on track against Illinois, racking up 42 points and 477 total yards. That’s a big weight off the shoulders after MSU managed just one offensive score against Purdue in the prior game. The defense was again fantastic. MSU suffocated the Illini’s offense and allowed just 128 total yards, 8 first downs, and 3 points. As always, MSU will only go as far as its offense takes them, because the defense has proved time and time again that it will be outstanding (1st in yards allowed, 3rd in points allowed). The offense will have an opportunity at home against a Michigan defense that has allowed 40+ points in back-to-back games. Michigan is off of an open week. The Wolverines’ offense was utterly unstoppable against Indiana in their last game. The Wolverines totaled 751 total yards of offense and 35 first downs. QB Gardner threw for 503 yards and rushed for 81 more and accounted for five total touchdowns. WR Gallon set a school record with 369 receiving yards and RB Toussaint had 151 rush yards and four scores. Michigan needed every single one of those yards as Indiana wasn’t rolling over in defeat. The Wolves defense allowed 572 yards and 28 first downs and Indiana trailed by just two points with 6:00 remaining. Gardner has been a turnover machine at times this season (6th nationally with 10 INT) and he’ll have to control the ball better if he wants a shot at winning as he faces the toughest defense in the B1G. Michigan is 1-4 SU & 0-5 ATS in its last five games against MSU. The lone SU win was last year at home in a 12-10 win. Michigan has lost the last two trips to East Lansing by an average score of 27-17. Michigan State is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games as a six point or more favorite.

Wisconsin (-9 ½, 48 ½) at Iowa (ABC, 12:00 p.m. ET)
Wisconsin's second open week came at a good time as star linebacker Chris Borland had some extra time to heal from a hamstring injury suffered at Illinois in the last game. Borland should be good to go for this week's trip to Iowa, as Wisconsin reunites with its longtime rival for the first time since 2010. In the last game at Illinois, the Badgers jumped out to a 21-0 lead just 10 minutes into the game. The Illini cut the deficit to 11 points at halftime, but UW scored 28 2nd half points to put the game out of reach. The Badgers tallied 478 yards and 25 first downs while only seeing 8 third down opportunities. RB’s Gordon & White combined for 240 rush yards (6.5 YPC) and six total touchdowns. The most promising performance was an efficient game by QB Stave. Stave completed 16-of-21 passes for 189 yards with 2 TD and 0 INT and coach Anderson has praised the maturation of his starting QB. Yards and points won’t come as easy as they did against Illinois when the Badgers travel to face Iowa and the nation’s 12th ranked defense. That “D” is off of an impressive performance in an overtime win over Northwestern. The Hawkeyes shut out Northwestern in the 1st half, recorded six sacks, and allowed just 10 points. QB Rudock wasn't great but made the big throw when it counted to C.J. Fiedorowicz in overtime. Motivation won’t be lacking for Iowa as the Hawks are a win away from becoming bowl eligible and they could get there by beating rival Wisconsin and bringing back the Heartland Trophy for the first time since 2009. Wisconsin won the last meeting in 2010 in a thrilling last-minute victory. The Badgers are 2-1 SU & ATS in the last three trips to Kinnick Stadium, but Iowa is 6-3 SU & 7-2 ATS in the last nine meetings overall. Wisconsin is just 9-18 ATS in its last 27 games as a 7-point or more road favorite.

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Ohio State (31 ½, 56 ½) at Purdue (Big Ten, 12:00 p.m. ET)
Ohio State quickly put to rest any worries of a Penn State upset by jumping out to a 42-7 halftime lead. The Buckeyes led by as much as 56-points before officially calling off the dogs. Braxton Miller has performed like a Heisman Trophy candidate, picking apart Penn State's defense for 252 passing yards and three touchdowns on 18-of-24 passing while also added 68 rush yards and 2 TD. Ohio State racked up its highest-ever yardage total (686) against a Big Ten foe. The Buckeyes' defense performed admirably after a couple of shaky outings, recording three takeaways and holding PSU to just 357 yards – much of which came in the 2nd half when OSU had the game in hand. The Bucks now make a trip to Purdue, which has a recent trouble spot for them, but don’t expect any surprises from the Boilers this weekend. The Boilers are 31.5 point underdogs at home – the most since they were 32-point underdogs at home against Notre Dame in 1989. The Boilers entered their bye week feeling as good as a team could despite a 1-6 record. They haven’t had a lot to be excited about but holding Michigan State to just one offensive touchdown and 294 yards is a “win” in their books this year. They’ll get another test from a scorching OSU offense this week and it’ll be an ugly outcome if Purdue can’t put some sort of offense together. Purdue has scored just seven points the last two weeks and ranks 122nd in yards per game and 121st in points per game. Freshman QB Etling is taking too many sacks behind this offensive line and he’s completing just 47.5% with 3 TD and 4 INT this year. The Buckeyes are just 3-8 ATS in the last nine meetings with Purdue. The Boilers are 3-1 SU & ATS in the last four home meetings with OSU.

Indiana (-9 ½, 66) vs. Minnesota (Big Ten, 3:30 p.m. ET)
Indiana spent its bye week trying to fix its defensive issues. Indiana’s offense is pretty close to unstoppable, but the Hoosiers won’t win many games as long as the defense continues to play like it is. IU ranks 9th in total offense and 11th in points per game. QB’s Sudfeld & Roberson have combined for 22 TD passes and RB Coleman has 9 rush TD. They’ve scored 35+ points in five of seven games this season. Defensively the Hoosiers rank at or near the bottom in every major statistical category. They allowed 751 yards and 63 points to Michigan in their last game. Indiana sits at 3-4 on the season, needing three more victories to become bowl-eligible. The Hoosiers have five games remaining, two of which are road trips to Wisconsin and Ohio State – likely losses. That means the three home games against Minnesota, Illinois, and Purdue are all “must-wins.” They’ll get their first opportunity against a Minnesota squad off of back-to-back huge victories against Northwestern and Nebraska. The Gophers dominated the Huskers to the tune of +102 yards and +6 first downs. Defensively this was one of the best performances from the Gophers that we can remember. They held Nebraska to just 328 total yards and 23 points while forcing a pair of turnovers. Minny won the game in the trenches with RB Cobb (138 yards) and the offensive line. That will be the key against Indiana. The Goph’s will want to control the ball as much as possible and keep Indiana’s high-powered offense off the field at all costs. Minnesota is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 meetings with the Hoosiers, but IU won the last meeting at home by 20 points.

Nebraska (-7, 58 ½) vs. Northwestern (Big Ten, 3:30 p.m. ET)
Here we have a matchup of two of the most disappointing teams in the Big Ten this year. Nebraska quashed any perceived progress since the UCLA game by struggling in all three phases in a loss at Minnesota last week. The Huskers built a 10-0 lead at Minnesota, but after that the wheels came off. QB Martinez looked lost in the offense as Nebraska failed to get anything going against a penetrating Minnesota defense. Defensively the “Blackshirts” couldn’t get off the field. Minnesota ran it at will against this Nebraska front (271 yards on 5.0 YPC) and that helped the Gophers control the ball for +11 minutes TOP. They’ll try to right the ship as they return home to face Northwestern. It seems like forever ago that 15th ranked Northwestern held a 4th quarter lead at home against Ohio State. The Wildcats lost that game and the subsequent three after that to give them a four-game losing streak heading into Saturday. The Wildcats have a brutal three game stretch coming up and it’s no certainty that they’ll be going bowling if they don’t break their funk. QB Colter returned from injury last week but couldn’t get much going on offense. He tossed for 104 yards and rushed for 60 yards but the offense managed just one total touchdown in the overtime loss to Iowa. The defense has performed admirably over the last two weeks, allowing just 302 YPG and 18.5 PPG to Minnesota and Iowa. It was all for naught as Northwestern’s offense continues to struggle. Star RB Mark will not be in the lineup this week and the Wildcats will have to find other answers against this struggling Nebraska defense. This has been one of the more closely contested matchup of the past two years. Northwestern won in 2011 by three points in Lincoln. Nebraska won by one-point last year in Evanston. The Wildcats covered both meetings as the underdog.

Penn State (-10, 56) vs. Illinois (ESPN, 12:00 p.m. ET)
Nothing went right for the Nittany Lions last week in Ohio State. Freshman QB Hackenberg looked overmatched in the road night game in the first real hostile environment of his young career. He completed just 12-of-23 passes for 112 yards with 1 TD and 2 INT and was replaced by QB Ferguson early in the 3rd quarter. OSU gained 410 yards in the first half alone en route to a 42-7 halftime lead. It was the ugliest loss of the Bill O’Brien era and the largest margin of defeat for Penn State in the last 114 years. Penn State's defensive issues are real as the Lions have allowed more than 40 points in three consecutive games. PSU is 5-0 ATS off of a loss in the Bill O’Brien era and they get a home game against Illinois to continue that streak this weekend. The Illini's fast start seems like a distant memory now as they've been swallowed up in Big Ten play. Illinois was blown out at home last weekend and has now lost back-to-back home games by a combined score of 98-35. QB Scheelhaase started the season hot (12 TD & 3 INT through the first four games) but has cooled off considerably over the last three weeks. Scheelhaase has 0 TD passes and 2 INT over the last three weeks and the Illini have dropped those three by an average of 27.6 PPG. The defense has been seriously exposed by strong rushing teams. Over the last three, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Michigan State have averaged 297 rush YPG (5.9 YPC) with 12 rush TD against the Illini. Penn State is 5-2 SU but just 2-5 ATS in the last seven meetings with Illinois. The Nittany Lions are 0-4 ATS in the last four home meetings with the Illini.

  
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