Around the Big Ten: Week 3
Western Michigan (1-1) at Minnesota (2-0)
Minnesota Gophers dual threat quarterback MarQueis Grey leads the Big Ten in passing efficiency through the first two weeks of action. Grey, along with his Minnesota team, invite the Broncos from Western Michigan into the Gophers brand new home, TCF Bank Stadium. If MarQueis Grey can do what his coaches ask of him and move the ball effectively, Minnesota could possibly end up 3-0.
Arkansas State (1-1) at Nebraska (1-1)
The Cornhuskers of Nebraska shouldn’t have a difficult time dismantling the Red Wolves of Arkansas State at home. Cornhusker Quarterback Taylor Martinez should flourish against Arkansas State's 94th-ranked defense, led by senior linebacker Nathan Herrold. After a tough 36-30 loss last week at UCLA, Nebraska is looking for a strong rebound coming into Saturday's game. The 16th- ranked rushing attack, led by Martinez and sophomore running back Ameer Abdullah, should have no problem with Arkansas State.
Charleston Southern (0-2) at Illinois (1-1)
Illinois certainly missed 6-foot-3, 200-pound Nathan Scheelhaase last week as the Illini took a 45-14 beating from the Arizona State Sun Devils. With or without Scheelhaase, Charleston Southern shouldn't pose much of a threat for the Fighting Illini. The winless Buccaneers are hoping to turn their early season struggles around at Memorial Stadium. If Illinois can avoid penalties, Scheelhaase or backup Reilly O'Toole should have no problem getting the job done against a vulnerable Bucs secondary.
Eastern Michigan (0-2) at Purdue (1-1)
Eastern Michigan will be tested by a Purdue squad that almost upset 20th-ranked Notre Dame last week. Former Miami Hurricane and current Boilermaker quarterback Robert Marve will miss the game with an ACL injury, making competition more bearable for Eastern Michigan players. In the end, though, it should prove to be too much offensive firepower for the Eagles to contain as the Boilermakers collect a hard earned 2-1 record through three games of action.
California (1-1) at No. 12 Ohio State (2-0)
Cal travels to Ohio Stadium this weekend to face 12th-ranked Ohio State. Buckeye quarterback Braxton Miller, who leads his team in passing and rushing, was relied upon heavily last week after his team committed ten penalties against UCF. Head coach Urban Myer has a track record for correcting past week's mistakes, so don’t be surprised if the Buckeyes show a huge improvement in performance this upcoming week. In the end the Buckeyes 14th-ranked rushing attack, led by Miller, should wear down the Golden Bears’ 76th-ranked defense and remain undefeated.
Boston College (1-1) at Northwestern (2-0)
Northwestern welcomes ACC contender Boston College as the two teams meet for the fifth time in their respected history. Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Chi Chi Ariguzo can spark that fire for the Wildcats by applying consistent pressure to the Eagles Junior quarterback Chase Rettig. Sophomore wide-receiver Spiffy Evans is certainly a dynamic playmaker who will keep this game entertaining for spectators, yet frustrating for the Wildcats defense.
Northern Iowa (2-0) at Iowa (1-1)
These in-state rivals are scheduled to compete for the first since time 2009. Iowa currently holds a 14-1 record over Northern Iowa. Do not be alarmed if by Saturday night that record changes to 14-2. The Northern Iowa Panthers are one of the better .500 opponents Big Ten football will face this week. The Panthers gave Wisconsin an early season scare in a 26-21 loss two weeks ago, then shut down Central State University last weekend, 59-0. Iowa, who just two years ago was in the BCS FedEx Orange Bowl, has played poorly so far, with a one point win over Northern Illinois in week one, followed by a three point loss to Iowa State. If the Panthers can handle the home crowd for the Hawkeye’s and continue to play Panther football, we could have a upset here.
Massachusetts (0-2) at No. 17 Michigan (1-1)
The match up Saturday afternoon should be a cruise for the young men in Ann Arbor, hosting UMass in the Big House. Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson (along with Ohio State’s Braxton Miller) leads his team in passing and rushing yards. The Wolverines double the Minutemen in total yards with an accumulated 345.5 per game average. Most of that was accumulated by the quick footed Robinson. The Minutemen of Massachusetts, led by former Notre Dame offensive coordinator Charley Molnar, will likely remain winless since joining the MAC this year.
Ball State (1-1) at Indiana (2-0)
Indiana embarrassed UMass last week 45-6. The Hoosiers now prepare for Ball State at home in Bloomington Saturday night. The showdown features two teams not shy of running, however, what sets them apart, is the scrambling quarterback Tre Robinson of Indiana. He’s been a major factor in the IU offense the last two weeks, while successfully leading his team to two victories. Keep an eye on him throwing and running the football for many yards this week.
Utah State (2-0) at Wisconsin (1-1)
Wisconsin’s 10-7 loss to Oregon State Beavers last week sure was a wakeup call. Former Maryland University transfer Danny O’Brien and Heisman hopeful Monte Ball look to bounce back and get the job done this weekend for the Badgers against the Aggies -- don’t count this an easy win for Wisconsin. Utah State sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton has 520 passing yards, 129 more yards than Wisconsin’s O’Brien who has 391 on the season. The Aggies' defense has one interception and five sacks thus far, compared to Wisconsin’s mere two sacks zero interceptions. A close, gritty battle here with Wisconsin coming out on top, assuming that the Badgers feed Ball the ball.
No. 20 Notre Dame (2-0) at No. 10 Michigan State (2-0)
Everett Golson, Tommy Rees and the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame gear up for what should be a great battle against young gunslinger Andrew Maxell and the Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing. Cierre Wood returns this week after serving a two game suspension for violating teams rules a week before the season opener, so expect the fighting Irish to implement the run game early against a greedy 8th-ranked Michigan State defense, who have only let up two touchdown thus far. On the offensive side, La’Veon Bell will look to improve against Irish Defenders that held him to a mere 27 yards from seven carries in last year loss in South Bend, but the Spartans of this year are looking for a much better performance. This game will be won by the team that establishes the run game early. In the end, expect Notre Dame to pull this one out.
Chris Woods is a junior majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.