Nov 16, 2018

Big Ten & SEC Week 12 Preview: Road traps for Citrus Bowl contenders

In the 12th week of the college football season, members of the Florida Citrus Sports Team Selection Committee are making visits throughout Big Ten and SEC country, meeting with fans across both conferences in advance of the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day.

Here’s a look at some of the most highly-anticipated games on the schedule this week:

No. 22 Northwestern (6-4, 6-1 Big Ten) at Minnesota (5-5, 2-5 Big Ten) – 12 p.m. on BTN

The Gophers welcome Northwestern to TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday. The Wildcats are coming off a 14-10 win against Iowa that secured the Big Ten West and a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game.

The Wildcats have allowed fewer than 20 points in four of their past seven contests and have played clean football all year, with only 31 penalties for 285 yards and just lost two fumbles. The ‘Cats have also won seven straight road games — a program record — and have 10 straight wins against Big Ten West foes. They are 6-1 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1996.

The Gophers lead the all-time series against the Wildcats 53-35-5 and have won three of the last five meetings between the schools. The Gophers will look to take down a ranked opponent with one of the youngest rosters in the nation. Minnesota has 112 players on the roster and 58 of those players (51.7 percent) are freshmen. That’s the highest percentage in the nation.

No. 14 Penn State (7-3, 4-3 Big Ten) at Rutgers (1-9, 0-7 Big Ten) – 12 p.m. on BTN

Rutgers and Penn State will meet for the 29th time this Saturday. The Scarlet Knights have face the Nittany Lions more times in program history than any other Big Ten opponent.

Penn State will look to remain undefeated in Piscataway as it enters the game with a 5-0 record, and will also look to extend an impressive winning streak against schools located within 250 miles of State College, as the Nittany Lions have won their last nine games against their neighbors.

Rutgers will look to take down a ranked opponent for the 10th time in program history. The Scarlett Knights’ last win over a ranked opponent was a 31-0 victory over No. 23 USF in 2009. The highest ranked opponent defeated was No. 2 USF, 30-27, in 2007.

Iowa (6-4, 3-4 Big Ten) at Illinois (4-6, 2-5 Big Ten) – 3:30 p.m. on BTN

Saturday will be the 74th meeting between Illinois and Iowa in a series that dates back to 1899. The Illini lead the all-time series 38-33-2, but the Hawkeyes have won five straight meetings dating back to 2008.

On Saturday, Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz will look to become the fifth coach in conference history to win 150 games as a member of the Big Ten Conference. The top five includes Woody Hayes (202), Amos Alonza Stagg (199), Bo Schembechler (194), Joe Paterno (162), and Ferentz (149). Ferentz is the longest tenured active head coach in college football.

The Hawkeyes defense has been incredible this year and ranks second in the Big Ten in scoring defense (18.1), rushing defense (96.0), and total defense (285.9). Iowa’s rushing defense ranks sixth in the country while its total defense ranks 10th.

The Iowa defense will have its hands full, however, against an Illini offense that is red hot. For the month of November, the Illini lead the nation in rushing yards (813), rushing yards per carry (9.68) and rushing touchdowns (10). The offense also ranks fourth in yards per play (8.62) and sixth total yards (1,155), while punting just six times.

Wisconsin (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten) at Purdue (5-5, 4-3 Big Ten) – 3:30 p.m. on BTN

Purdue hosts Wisconsin on Saturday as the Boilermakers will look to avoid a 12th straight loss to the Badgers. The Badgers’ 11 game win streak over the Boilermakers dates back to 2004 and is the longest by either team in a series that began in 1892.

Wisconsin will rely heavily on its run game which ranks sixth nationally and second among Power Five conference teams in rushing, averaging 266.6 yards per game. The Badgers’ potent run game is led by Maxwell Award semifinalist Jonathan Taylor, who is the nation’s leading rusher, averaging 154.8 yards per game. Taylor has topped the 100-yard mark in 9 games — the most 100-yard outings by any player in the nation— and has scored 12 touchdowns.

Wisconsin will have to be at its best when visiting Purdue, as the Boilermakers have hosted and defeated three Top-25 teams this season — No. 23 Boston College 30-13 on Sept. 22, No. 2 Ohio State 49-20 on Oct. 20 and No. 19 Iowa 38-36 on Nov. 3. This season marks the first that the Boilermakers have knocked off three top 25 opponents in the same year since 2003.

Here are some other games across the Big Ten and SEC this week:

The Citadel (4-5, 4-4 Southern) at No. 1 Alabama (10-0, 7-0 SEC) – 12 p.m. on SEC
Idaho (4-6, 3-5 SEC) at No. 13 Florida (7-3, 5-3 SEC) – 12 p.m. on ESPNU
Middle Tennessee (7-3, 6-1 C-USA) at No. 17 Kentucky (7-3, 5-3 SEC) – 12 p.m. on SEC
Arkansas (2-8, 0-6 SEC) at No. 21 Mississippi State (6-4, 2-4 SEC) – 12 p.m. on ESPN
Michigan State (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten) at Nebraska (3-7, 2-5 Big Ten) – 12 p.m. on FOX
No. 10 Ohio State (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten) at Maryland (5-5, 3-4 Big Ten) – 12 p.m. on ABC
Missouri (6-4, 2-4 SEC) at Tennessee (5-5, 2-4 SEC) – 3:30 p.m. on CBS
UMass (4-7) at No. 5 Georgia (8-1, 6-1 SEC) – 4 p.m. on SEC
Indiana (5-5, 2-5 Big Ten) at No. 4 Michigan (7-0, 9-1 Big Ten) – 4 p.m. on FS1
Liberty (4-5) at Auburn (6-4, 3-4 SEC) – 4 p.m. on SEC
UAB (9-1, 7-0 C-USA) at Texas A&M (5-4, 3-3 SEC) –7 p.m. on ESPN2
Rice (1-10, 0-7 C-USA) at No. 7 LSU (8-2, 5-2 SEC) – 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU
Ole Miss (5-5, 1-5 SEC) at Vanderbilt (4-6, 1-5 SEC) – 7:30 p.m. on SEC
Chattanooga (6-4, 4-4 Southern) at South Carolina (5-4, 4-4 SEC) – 7:30 p.m. on SEC

 Click here to check out previews of games from earlier this season.

For a breakdown of the latest CFP poll and what it means for the Citrus Bowl and Camping World Bowl, click here.

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