Around the BigTen: Week Two

Story posted September 8, 2011 in Sports, CommRadio by Dan Cronin

Iowa at Iowa State

This is certainly a big weekend for football in the state of Iowa. In-state rivals Iowa and Iowa State square off with bragging rights on the line. The Hawkeyes have taken six of the last eight matchups and lead the all time series 39-19. Iowa is coming off of a relatively easy win over Tennessee Tech while Iowa State won a squeaker on a last second touchdown over FCS foe Northern Iowa. Iowa running back Marcus Coker did not have a great game last week, but should expect a big game running the football on the Cyclones defense. Last week Iowa State allowed 204 rushing yards against Northern Iowa.

Michigan vs. Notre Dame

The Michigan Wolverines have played over 500 games in historic Michigan Stadium. This Saturday the Wolverines will host a night game for the first time in program history. The men from Ann Arbor have won four of the last five meetings with the Irish and lead the all-time series 22-15-1. Rain affected both teams’ games last week; Michigan was forced to end their game early and Notre Dame waited through a pair of delays before finishing. Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson gained national attention with his dazzling performance in South Bend against the Irish last year where he passed for 244 yards and rushed for 258 en route to a 28-24 win.

No. 17 Michigan State vs. Florida Atlantic

Michigan State struggled to put points on the board last Friday in their contest with Youngstown State, ultimately prevailing 28-6. The Spartans will look for more offensive consistency this weekend against FAU. The Owls dropped their opener to the Florida Gators by a score of 41-3. Michigan State’s B.J Cunningham was the star of the offense week one catching nine passes and picking up 130 yards receiving. Cunningham needs just one more reception to become Michigan State’s all-time leading pass catcher.

Minnesota vs. New Mexico State

Minnesota looks for their first win of the season in their home opener against New Mexico State. The Gophers had a terrific four-quarter effort on the road against heavily favored USC that ultimately fell short in a 19-17 heartbreaker. New Mexico State doesn’t bring much to the table on the defensive side of the ball so look for Minnesota quarterback MarQueis Gray to have an easy time finding his wide receivers, especially Da’Jon McKnight.

No. 10 Nebraska vs. Fresno State

It’s no secret that Nebraska has one of the nation’s best defenses. The Husker’s week two opponent Fresno State struggles offensively. This week the Bulldogs can expect the yards to be extremely hard to come by when they take the field in Lincoln. Nebraska defensive tackle Jared Crick and linebacker Lavonte David will make things miserable all afternoon for the Fresno State attack. Offensively the Huskers have some questions, but the answers won’t come until they hit the meat of their conference schedule.

Northwestern vs. Eastern Illinois

Head coach Pat Fitzgerald got his team started off on the right foot week one with a win over Boston College. Most important of all was that he was able to rally his team despite the fact that they were without star quarterback Dan Persa. Filling in nicely was backup Kain Colter who will likely be in at quarterback again this weekend for the Wildcats. Fitzgerald will hope his team continues to build on its strong performance running the football on Saturday. Northwestern has been a team that relies heavily on the pass in recent years and could become more dangerous if they can get more balanced offensively.

Illinois vs. South Dakota State

The Fighting Illini responded to the heat on their coach by winning against Arkansas State in their opener. Week two should not present much of a challenge with the South Dakota State Jackrabbits of the FCS coming to visit the Illini in Champagne. Despite winning the opener comfortably, Illinois trailed Arkansas State late in the first half. Illini fans hope their team can get off to a better start this week. The real challenges for Illinois start September 17th when Arizona State comes up on the schedule.

Indiana vs. Virginia

Last Saturday’s meeting with Ball State was not the opener new Indiana coach Kevin Wilson was hoping for. Hoosier fans optimistic about the new era of football in Bloomington were sent back to reality after seeing their team get pushed around by Ball State in a 27-20 loss. Things won’t any easier for Wilson’s team as they face Virginia this weekend. Despite struggling in recent years Virginia is a program moving in the right direction and will be a tough opponent for the Hoosiers to deal with.

No. 15 Ohio State vs. Toledo

Following a tumultuous offseason the Buckeyes got back onto the field and won easily against Akron in Luke Fickell’s coaching debut. The story of the game was quarterback Joe Bauserman solidifying himself as the starter. Games against Akron and Toledo won’t tell a whole lot however and Bauserman will have to prove he has what it takes to beat the Big Ten’s best come October. Should Bauserman run into trouble look for hotshot freshman Braxton Miller to be given a shot under center.

Purdue at Rice

It took a touchdown with under a minute to play for Purdue to avoid an embarrassing home loss to Middle Tennessee State. The Purdue defense was incapable of stopping the Middle Tennessee offense, allowing 460 yards of total offense and 330 passing yards. Rice was not able to muster much offense in their opener against Texas losing by a score of 34-9. This Saturday will tell just how bad Purdue’s defensive struggles are.

No. 8 Wisconsin vs. Oregon State

New Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson wowed the crowd at Camp Randle Stadium with his performance against UNLV to open up the season. Wilson was able to create big plays through the air and on the ground. Oregon State travels to Madison coming off of a stunning overtime loss to Sacramento State. If Russell Wilson continues to play at the level he’s at right now Wisconsin may very well be heading back to the Rose Bowl.

Dan Cronin is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism he can be reached at