Around the Big Ten: Week 11

posted November 7, 2014 in Sports, CommRadio by Kris Rogers

Penn State Nittany Lions vs Indiana Hoosiers 12:00 ET
After a 4-0 start, the wheels have come off for the Nittany Lions’ (4-4, 1-4 B1G) offense. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg has regressed in his sophomore season, throwing for 2,038 yards at a 57.5% completion percentage, seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions behind a porous offensive line and weak run game.

The lone team in the Big Ten without a conference win, the Hoosiers (3-5, 0-4 B1G) will rely heavily on running back Tevin Coleman. The junior running back has rushed for 1,300 yards on 162 carries at an average of 8.0 yards per carry.

Indiana will need Coleman to have a big game because of their current situation at quarterback. Due to injuries and transfers, the Hoosiers are starting freshman Zander Diamont, who was the fifth string quarterback entering preseason camp. In two games, Diamont has completed 10 of 23 passes for 35 yards, and has also run for a touchdown.

Luckily for the Nittany Lions, they boast the best rush defense in the NCAA, holding opponents to only 76.9 yards per game on the ground.

Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers 12:00 ET

The Iowa Hawkeyes (6-2, 3-1 B1G) and Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-2, 3-1 B1G) face off in a game with Big Ten title implications. The winner will pull into a tie with the Nebraska Cornhuskers atop the western division.

The winner of the game also gets the Floyd of Rosedale trophy, denoting the rivalry between the two schools dating back to 1935. Iowa has held the trophy for the past two seasons.
Hawkeyes running back Mark Weisman is on a bit of a hot streak. In each of his last five games, the senior has found the end zone at least twice, including a 94-yard, three-touchdown performance in Iowa’s 48-7 rout of Northwestern last week.

The Golden Gophers were on a bye last week, and had a four-game win streak snapped the week before at the hands of the Illinois Fighting Illini. Running back David Cobb has broken the century mark five times this season and is averaging 141 rushing yards per game in his senior year.

#25 Wisconsin Badgers vs. Purdue Boilermakers 12:00 ET

Wisconsin rolled out the welcome mat the past two weeks to the newbies of the Big Ten. The Badgers (6-2, 3-1 B1G) beat Rutgers and Maryland by a combined score of 89-7 and have found themselves ranked by the College Football Selection Committee once again.

The Badgers are third in the nation with 333.4 rushing yards per game. Junior Melvin Gordon has thrived in the feature back role with 1,296 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns, and sophomore backup Corey Clement is on pace for a thousand-yard season.

The Boilermakers (3-6, 1-4 B1G) need to win out to keep their bowl hopes alive. Their offense has gotten a spark ever since sophomore quarterback Austin Appleby began playing with the first-team. In his past four games, Appleby has thrown for six touchdowns and the Boilermakers are averaging more than 30 points per game.

Michigan Wolverines vs. Northwestern Wildcats 3:30 ET

A defensive struggle is expected when Michigan (4-5, 2-3 B1G) travels to Evanston, Illinois to take on the Northwestern Wildcats (3-5, 2-3 B1G). Both teams are tied for last in the Big Ten with 330 yards per game on offense.

The Michigan defense is led by linebacker Jake Ryan, who currently has 79 tackles on the season. Ryan was also named a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, which goes to college football’s top linebacker.

For the Wildcats, the key will be to limit mistakes on offense and force them on defense. In Northwestern’s first eight games, they have only won one game with a negative turnover differential.

#14 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan State Spartans 8:00 ET

Ohio State’s visit to East Lansing to face the Michigan State Spartans will not only have an impact on the Big Ten, but will also have National Title implications. With both teams at 7-1, and 4-0 in the Big Ten, the winner will almost certainly go on to win the eastern division and keep their national title hopes alive.

After a near stumble at Beaver Stadium, the Ohio State offense kept rolling. In five of their last six games, the Buckeyes have scored at least 50 points and 500 yards of total offense.
For the Spartans, they will need to shut down running back Ezekiel Elliott and dual threat quarterback J.T. Barrett to have success on defense. Senior linebacker Taiwan Jones will be key to that effort, recording 38 tackles and three sacks on the season.

Byes: Rutgers, Maryland, Nebraska, Illinois

Kristopher Rogers is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email klr5374@psu.edu.