Around the Big Ten: Week 8
Purdue (3-3, 0-2 Big Ten) at No. 7 Ohio State (7-0, 3-0 Big Ten)
Led by sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller, the Buckeyes will try to remain the lone unbeaten team in the Big Ten, hosting Purdue on Saturday. Miller has recently emerged as a mid-season Heisman Trophy candidate with 1,271 passing yards and 912 rushing yards. After a 3-1 start, the Boilermakers have dropped their first two Big Ten games. Caleb TerBush has received the bulk of the snaps at quarterback for Purdue, though he has split time with Robert Marve and Rob Henry. TerBush has completed 61 percent of his passes this season, throwing for 716 yards and eight touchdowns in five games. Even with a perfect record, the Buckeyes will try to improve on their performance from last week, especially their defense after nearly blowing an 18-point lead last week against Indiana.
Minnesota (4-2, 0-2 Big Ten) at Wisconsin (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten)
After a slow start through the first five games of the season, Wisconsin has put up 30 or more points in each of their last two games and may be back in the hunt for a Leaders Division title. Since starting the season as Wisconsin’s starting quarterback, junior Maryland transfer Danny O’Brien has lost the job to freshman Joel Stave. In five games this season, Stave has completed 58 percent for 871 yards and five touchdowns. This weekend in Madison, they will face a Minnesota team who has dropped their first two Big Ten games after a 4-0 start. The Gophers have put just 13 points on the board in their last two, which is just over 11 points less than their average season output at 24.2.
Nebraska (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten) at Northwestern (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten)
After suffering their first loss of the season two weeks ago at Penn State, Northwestern got back in the win column last weekend against Minnesota. Led by Venric Mark’s 182 rushing yards, the Wildcats have momentum heading back home. Nebraska, on the other hand, got run out of Columbus two weeks ago heading into their bye. Taylor Martinez is having a fantastic season for the Huskers, completing 66 percent of his passes for 1,273 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Cornhuskers will also look to get production out of sophomore running back Ameer Abdullah who has rushed for 514 yards, averaging 6 yards per carry this season.
Michigan St. (4-3, 1-2 Big Ten) at No. 23 Michigan (4-2, 2-0 Big Ten)
With the exception of losses to top ranked Alabama and unbeaten Notre Dame, Michigan has been terrorizing the opposition. With three wins of 31 points or more, Denard Robinson and the Wolverines have their sights set on a division title. They look to keep rolling this weekend against rival Michigan State. The Spartans, on the other hand, have had a see-saw season. With first-year starter Andrew Maxwell leading the offense, the Spartans will try to get back on track after suffering a 19-16 double-overtime loss last week to Iowa. Spartans’ running back Le’Veon Bell, just midway through the season, is on the cusp of 1,000 yards and needs only 84 yards this weekend to eclipse that milestone.
Indiana (2-4, 0-3 Big Ten) at Navy (3-3)
Indiana will take a break from conference play this weekend and will travel to Annapolis to play Navy. Despite a four game losing streak, Indiana’s offense hasn’t been lacking production, putting up at least 27 points in each loss. Sophomore Cameron Coffman is having a phenomenal season for the Hoosiers, throwing for 1,076 yards, seven touchdowns and only one interception. Rather, it is the Indiana defense will have to step up for the Hoosiers to get the win.
Jason Shawley is a junior majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.