Around the Big Ten: Week 9
Iowa (4-3, 2-1 Big Ten) at Northwestern (6-2, 2-2 Big Ten)
After getting mauled by the Nittany Lions, the Hawkeyes travel to Northwestern for a must-win game. Iowa has all sorts of injury problems, most notably on their offensive line. Northwestern, coming of a heartbreaking loss to Nebraska, will be fired up, wanting to prove they belong with the conference’s best. Hawkeye quarterback James Vandenberg will have to play like he has in season’s past if he wants to take down the Wildcats. Northwestern’s quarterbacks have to get better in the passing game if the Wildcats intend to stay relevant in the Big Ten.
Indiana (2-5, 0-3 Big Ten) at Illinois (2-5, 0-3 Big Ten)
The Big Ten’s bottom feeders face off this Saturday in what should the battle for last place. Indiana has been somewhat competitive in most of their games this season, losing by a combined four points in their last two games against Ohio State and Navy. Illinois is coming off a bye, so Nathan Scheelhaase and the Illini should be ready to take on the Hoosiers. Something has got to give for one of these two teams.
Purdue (3-4, 0-3 Big Ten) at Minnesota (4-3, 0-3 Big Ten)
The Boilermakers have to be sick knowing they had the Buckeyes right where they wanted them, just to give up the lead and lose in overtime. However, Minnesota has lost three straight games after starting the season 4 – 0. The Gophers have switched to true freshman quarterback Philip Nelson as well. With only a handful of games left in the season, a loss to any team will be a devastating blow. Minnesota has aspirations of a bowl game, while Purdue hopes they’ll be on the W side of the win-loss column for once.
Michigan State (4-4, 1-3 Big Ten) at No. 25 Wisconsin (6-2, 3-1 Big Ten)
Remember a few weeks ago, when Michigan State was one of the Big Ten’s best and the Badgers looked like their season was about to fall apart? Now the Spartans are hoping that they can find a way to win against a red hot Wisconsin team. Andrew Maxwell was supposed to be the next great Michigan State quarterback, but as of right now it doesn’t seem that way. Montee Ball has returned to form, rushing for over 100 yards in his last three games. Can the Spartans find a way to slow down Ball and the Wisconsin rushing attack?
No. 22 Michigan (5-2, 3-0 Big Ten) at Nebraska (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten)
Michigan travels to Nebraska on Saturday night, in what might be the best game of the weekend that actually counts. Quarterback Denard Robinson has been a streaky player, to say the least. He hasn’t played to the level fans are used too. On the other hand, Taylor Martinez has been one of the conference’s biggest surprises. It’s the top-ranked defense against the top-ranked offense, and it should come down to the quarterback play. If the Cornhuskers contain Robinson, and the Michigan defense slows down Nebraska’s offense, we could be in store for defensive struggle.
Logan Godfrey is a junior majoring in Journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.