Buckeyes followed up their trounc- ... bus, Ohio. TV: ABC. Notes: Ohio State leads series. 68-30-4 and has claimed eight
THIS wEEk IN THE INSIDE ONE OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL’S PREMIER CONFERENCES | COmPILED BY PaTRICk STEVENS, SPECIaL TO GaTEHOUSE mEDIa
GamE OF THE wEEk NO. 19 MICHIGAN (8-2, 5-2 BIG TEN) AT NO. 5 WISCONSIN (10-0, 7-0)
BY THE NUmBERS STANDINgS (Through Nov. 11)
POwER RaNkINGS Breaking down the Big Ten
When: Noon EST Saturday Where: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wis. TV: Fox
EAST Team Ohio State Michigan State Penn State Michigan Rutgers Maryland Indiana
Conf. 6-1 5-2 5-2 5-2 3-4 2-5 1-6
All 8-2 7-3 8-2 8-2 4-6 4-6 4-6
T25 2-2 3-2 2-2 0-2 0-4 0-4 0-5
WEST Team Wisconsin Northwestern Nebraska Iowa Purdue Minnesota Illinois
Conf. 7-0 5-2 3-4 3-4 2-5 2-5 0-7
All 10-0 7-3 4-6 6-4 4-6 5-5 2-8
T25 1-0 2-2 0-2 2-3 0-2 0-3 0-3
Michigan linebacker Josh Uche (right) tackles Maryland quarterback Ryan Brand Nov. 11 in College Park, Md. [PATRICk SEMANSky/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS]
2. Ohio State (8-2): Buckeyes followed up their trouncing at Iowa with a beatdown of Michigan State. (LW: 3)
3. Penn State (8-2): The Nittany Lions got back in the win column, but Saquon Barkley’s Heisman hopes are essentially toast. (LW: 4)
(Through Nov. 11) PASSING YARDS Player 1. Trace McSorley, PSU 2. Clayton Thorson, NW 3. J.T. Barrett, OSU 4. Tanner Lee, NEB 5. Brian Lewerke, MSU
Yds. 2,666 2,583 2,557 2,539 2,338
PASSING TOUCHDOWNS Player 1. J.T. Barrett, OSU 2. Nathan Stanley, IOWA 3. Trace McSorley, PSU 4. Tanner Lee, NEB 5. Alex Hornibrook, WIS
No. 30 22 21 18 17
RUSHING YARDS Player 1. Jonathan Taylor, WIS 2. J.K. Dobbins, OSU 3. Saquon Barkley, PSU 4. Karan Higdon, MICH 5. Justin Jackson, NW
Yds. 1,525 1,038 899 854 844
RECEIVING YARDS Player 1. D.J. Moore, MD 2. JD Spielman, NEB 3. Stanley Morgan Jr., NEB 4. Simmie Cobbs Jr., IND 5. Tyler Johnson, MINN
Yds. 857 734 727 716 677
SCORING Player 1. Saquon Barkley, RB, PSU 2. Sean Nuernberger, PK, OSU 3. Rafael Gaglianone, PK, WIS 4. Several tied at ...
Pts. 96 90 77 73
TEAM STATISTICS (Through Nov. 11) TOTAL OFFENSE Team Ohio State Wisconsin Penn State Northwestern Purdue Nebraska Michigan State Indiana Michigan Minnesota Maryland Iowa Illinois Rutgers
Yds./G 547 433 430 405 394 389 382 375 373 339 337 332 302 285
Pts./G 44.2 36.3 37.7 27.5 23.5 25.1 22.0 25.7 27.9 26.5 27.9 26.9 16.4 20.9
PASSING OFFENSE LEADERS Team Yds. Ohio State 3,012 Penn State 2,836 Nebraska 2,731 Northwestern 2,705 Indiana 2,579
Yds./G 301.2 283.6 273.1 270.5 257.9
RUSHING OFFENSE LEADERS Team Yds. Ohio State 2,453 Wisconsin 2,450 Michigan 2,078 Minnesota 1,955 Maryland 1,733
Yds./G 245.3 245.0 207.8 195.5 173.3
STaRS OF THE wEEk
• QB Demry Croft, Minnesota: Set the Gophers’ record for rushing yards by a quarterback (183) while rumbling for three TDs in a rout of Nebraska. • DB Josh Jackson, Iowa: Returned two interceptions for touchdowns to account for the Hawkeyes’ scoring in a loss at Wisconsin. • TB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin: Cruised for 159 yards on 29 carries to help the Badgers hammer Iowa and clinch the Big Ten West.
STaT OF THE wEEk
Point margin of victory for Ohio State in its 48-3 bludgeoning of Michigan State, tied for its third most lopsided triumph over a ranked team in school history.
1. Wisconsin (100): The Badgers are off to the Big Ten title game for the ﬁfth time in its seven-year existence. (Last week: 1)
4. Michigan State (7-3): Dates with Maryland and Rutgers to close the regular season should ease pain of OSU smackdown. (LW: 2)
A SHOT AT WISKY
WOLVERINES CAN PUT STAKE THROUGH BADGERS’ CFP HOPES WITH UPSET AT CAMP RANDALL KEYS FOR MICHIgAN Win the turnover battle. While the Wolverines have the running game needed to do some damage against Wisconsin, their chances of effectiveness are diminished by a limited passing game. Michigan is probably going to need some takeaways to flip the field if it is to keep things interesting. Of course, Wisconsin allowed two pick-sixes last week to Iowa and still won by 24, so it’s not a perfect strategy. Improve on third down. Jim Harbaugh’s team is converting only 33.1 percent of its third down tries, and it hasn’t mattered whether Wilton Speight, John O’Korn or Brandon Peters has been taking the snaps. Michigan is simply not well-equipped to deal with third-and-long
against most teams, particularly a miserly defense such as Wisconsin’s. KEYS FOR WISCONSIN Badger Peters. Michigan’s third starting quarterback of the season is a combined 27 of 45 for 325 yards and four TDs in starts against Rutgers, Minnesota and Maryland. He’s provided stability, albeit against teams with little hope of scoring much on the Wolverines’ defense. Against a better opponent, he’ll need to do more, and it is the Badgers’ task to give him his greatest challenge of his young career. Strength vs. strength. The game may well come down to whether TB Jonathan Taylor and the Wisconsin running game can be effective against LB Devin
Bush and Michigan. The Badgers are averaging 245 yards per game, 18th in the country. Michigan is yielding just 110.3 yards per game on the ground, the ninth-best total in the FBS. PREDICTION Wisconsin 24-13. Forget the polls and the committee rankings and everything else. If Wisconsin wins its next three games — against Michigan, Minnesota and the Big Ten East champion — it will be in the playoff at 13-0. This is easily the biggest challenge the Badgers have faced this season, and it will be curious to see how they handle Michigan coordinator Don Brown’s defense. Still, Michigan’s on the road and can’t entirely fix its offense.
BEST OF THE REST THIS WEEK’S OTHER TOP gAMES
MINNESOTA (5-5, 2-5) at NORTHWESTERN (7-3, 5-2)
ILLINOIS (2-8, 0-7) at No. 8 OHIO STATE (8-2, 6-1)
NEBRASKA(4-6,3-4) at No.13 PENN STATE (8-2,5-2)
When: Noon EST Saturday Where: Ryan Field, Evanston, Ill. TV: BTN Notes: Minnesota leads series 53-34-5 and has won three of the last four against the Wildcats. The Golden Gophers just authored one of the season’s most Fleck eye-popping numbers — 409 rushing yards against Nebraska in a blowout victory that ended a slide of ﬁve losses in six games. P.J. Fleck’s team is within one win of securing a sixth consecutive bowl bid, but it will have to come against a Northwestern bunch that has won ﬁve in a row.
When: 3:30 p.m. EST Saturday Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio TV: ABC Notes: Ohio State leads series 68-30-4 and has claimed eight games in a row since falling to the Rose Bowlbound Illini in 2007. The BuckBarrett eyes can clinch the Big Ten East with a victory coupled by a Michigan loss to Wisconsin, and their ﬂickering playoff hopes serve as assurance QB J.T. Barrett and his teammates will be trying to make an impression as the regular season nears its end. Illinois has lost eight in a row.
When: 4 p.m. EST Saturday Where: Beaver Stadium, University Park, Pa. TV: Fox Sports 1 Notes: Nebraska leads series 9-7 and has taken all three meetings from the Nittany Lions since joining the Big Ten. If Minnesota could Barkley ﬂatten Nebraska for more than 400 rushing yards, what exactly is Penn State going to do? TB Saquon Barkley had an off day last week against Rutgers, rushing 14 times for 35 yards, but he could be in a huge for day in what will likely be the junior’s ﬁnal home game in Happy Valley.
ROUNDING IT OUT THE REST OF THE MATCHUPS
Time (EST) SATURDAY Noon 3:30 p.m. 4 p.m.
Matchup Rutgers at Indiana Purdue at Iowa Maryland at No. 22 Mich. St.
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TV BTN BTN Fox
5. Michigan (8-2): The Wolverines have won three in a row since turning to Brandon Peters at quarterback. (LW: 6) 6. Northwestern (7-3): The Wildcats continue rolling along as the second-best team in the West Division. (LW: 7) 7. Iowa (6-4): The Hawkeyes simply couldn’t match the level of play at Wisconsin they had against Ohio State. (LW: 5) 8. Minnesota (5-5): After steamrolling Nebraska, the Gophers get two chances to become bowl eligible. (LW: 12) 9. Indiana (4-6): The Hoosiers are a third of the way from exploiting a soft closing stretch to earn a postseason trip. (LW: 13) 10. Rutgers (4-6): Did a commendable job defending Penn State for much of Saturday’s loss. (LW: 10) 11. Purdue (4-6): The Boilermakers had a chance to keep things interesting until David Blough’s injury. (LW: 9) 12. Maryland (4-6): Only the Terrapins could be forced to turn to a walk-on quarterback who began camp as a ﬁfth-stringer. (LW: 11) 13. Nebraska (4-6): The Cornhuskers just gave up 409 rushing yards to Minnesota. Let that reality sink in for a moment. (LW: 8) 14. Illinois (2-8): With Ohio State and Northwestern left, a 2-10 ﬁnish will be tough for Lovie Smith’s team to avoid. (LW: 14)