Big Ten Week 9 Preview
This week arguably provides the best match-ups in the Big Ten thus far this season as all twelve teams are in a action. Buckle up, things are going to be exciting.
Iowa (4-3, 2-1) at Northwestern (6-2, 2-2), 12pm: Both teams are coming off difficult loses, more so Northwestern as they gave up another 4th quarter double-digit lead to Nebraska. Mark Weisman should be healthy to receive more carries this week and will test the Wildcats defensive front. Northwestern needs to improve in the passing game and get Kain Colter more involved. Versatile RB Venric Mark needs a big game for the new blackshirts to get the lead and keep the lead.
Indiana (2-5, 0-3) at Illinois (2-5, 0-3), 12pm: Both squads are winless in the conference this season and the seat has gotten a little hotter for Tim Beckman at Illinois. Indiana will move the ball well against the Illini if the defense doesn’t start picking things up. Beckman and co. haven’t been close to beating an FCS team this season and this could be their best chance at getting a league win this year.
Michigan State (4-4, 1-3) at No. 25 Wisconsin (6-2, 3-1), 3:30pm: The Badgers are back in the top 25 and are starting to pick up steam just at the right time. MSU might be the most disappointing team in the country and haven’t played near their capability on the offensive of the ball. Montee Ball has rushed for 529 yards and 7 touchdowns in the past three games, putting himself back at the top of the conference in rushing. MSU’s defense will give them a chance Saturday but will only be able to contain Ball and that plethora of running backs.
Purdue (3-4, 0-3) at Minnesota (4-3, 0-3), 3:30pm: There’s two big stories in this game people may not realize yet. Purdue head coach Jerry Kill has gave the reigns to young true freshman Philip Nelson at quarterback, and MarQueis Gray has moved to receiver for the Gophers. The Boilers near beat OSU last weekend while Minnesota gotta pounded by the Badgers. Both still have a chance to get to bowl eligible but know this game is critical with the loser moving to 0-4 in league play.
Ohio State (8-0, 4-0) at Penn State (5-2, 3-0), 5:30pm: How about Bill O’Brien for coach of the year? PSU destroyed Iowa last week and have a stifling defense ready to shut down OSU’s Braxton Miller if he’s healthy enough to play. Matt McGloin has been throwing the ball as well as anyone in the conference and he’ll have the home crowd behind him. The Buckeye defense isn’t very good and they could suffer their first loss of the season at Happy Valley Saturday.
No. 22 Michigan (5-2, 3-0( at Nebraska (5-2, 2-1), 8pm: The winner will grab hold of the Legends Division with a few games left to play this season. Michigan is coming off an emotional win against MSU and Denard Robinson has been throwing the ball more accurately as of lately. Taylor Martinez has the highest passer rating in the Big Ten and will challenge the Wolverines defense at night in Memorial Stadium.
Will Wilson is a writer for Rant Sports covering College Football and the Big Ten Conference.
Follow Will on Twitter: @GoPackGo1