Big Ten Week Twelve Previews
No. 3 Ohio State (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten) travels to Illinois (3-6, 0-5 Big Ten), seeking to extend its nation-leading winning streak to 22 games. The Buckeyes have rolled in their past two wins, outscoring Penn State and Purdue by a combined score of 119-14. Ohio State ranks in the top 10 nationally in scoring offense, scoring defense and rushing yards. Illinois still remains without a conference victory, but has been competitive in recent weeks, falling in overtime at Penn State and dropping a high-scoring contest, 52-35, at Indiana. The Buckeyes have won eight of the last nine meetings against Illinois.
No. 16 Michigan State (8-1, 5-0 Big Ten) travels to Nebraska (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten) for a matchup between the top two teams in the Legends Division. The Spartans are far and away the best defensive team in the Big Ten, holding opponents to 210 yards per game, more than 80 yards better than the second-best team, Wisconsin. Nebraska features one of the better offenses in the Big Ten, averaging 446 yards per contest, including 247 yards on the ground. The Huskers have defeated the Spartans both times since joining the Big Ten, although Michigan State did go on to win the division two years ago, while Nebraska represented the Legends division last season.
No. 22 Wisconsin (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten) welcomes Indiana (4-5, 2-3 Big Ten) to Madison. The Badgers have blown past Indiana in the last three meetings, scoring an average of 68 points per game, including 83 points in 2010. This year’s squad ranks third in the Big Ten with 37 points per game, led by a rushing game that averages more than 280 yards per contest. Indiana snapped a three-game skid with a 52-35 win over Illinois last weekend. Wide receiver Cody Latimer caught 11 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns in the win.
Michigan (6-2, 2-3 Big Ten) and Northwestern (4-5, 0-5 Big Ten) seek to snap losing skids as the teams meet in Evanston. The Wolverines have lost three of four games since starting 5-0, while Northwestern has dropped five-straight after a 4-0 start. Extra points should be no problem for either team as Michigan kicker Brendan Gibbons has converted 136 consecutive extra points, while Northwestern kicker Jeff Budzien has succeeded on 127 straight PATs. Michigan defeated Northwestern in an overtime thriller last season.
Penn State (5-4, 2-3 Big Ten) returns home to face Purdue (1-8, 0-5 Big Ten). The Nittany Lions have alternated wins and losses over the last eight games, most recently falling at Minnesota, 24-10. Freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg has been solid, tossing for 2,187 yards and 13 touchdowns, including over 1,000 passing yards to WR Allen Robinson. Penn State seeks its seventh-straight win over Purdue which would be the longest stretch in school history.