Around the Big Ten: Football - Week 10

Audio/Story posted October 31, 2019 in Sports, CommRadio by Josh Portney

Host Logan Bourandas and analysts Ben Geller and Josh Portney look back on some of the best games last week in the Big Ten and give some hot takes that could have impacts on the rest of the season:

Another explosive week in the books for Big Ten football. Minnesota won again to solidify their lead atop the Big Ten West, as Wisconsin suffered another in-conference loss on the road against Ohio State. In the East, Michigan shocked Notre Dame with an impressive 45-14 win, while Penn State took care of business in East Lansing. With all of the ranked Big Ten teams (except Michigan) and unranked Michigan State on their bye week, there isn’t much action this week. But, here goes.

No. 14 Michigan (6-2, 3-2) at Maryland (3-5, 1-4)

Last week, Michigan launched itself back into the conversation and became bowl eligible with a win over Notre Dame. This game reignited the Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines, who desperately needed a signature win and who will now travel to Maryland to face Mike Locksley’s Terrapins. The Terps have had no luck this season after flirting with a top 25 ranking early on in Week 3. Following their upset of then-No. 21 Syracuse, Maryland dropped five of the next six games, as their quarterback circus continued with starter Josh Jackson’s injury and backup Tyrrell Pigrome’s ankle concerns. On the other hand, the Wolverines come into this game stronger than ever, especially after the Notre Dame game where Shea Patterson had a poorer performance, but the offense was still able to rush 57 times for a total of 303 rushing yards and 3 TDs. Think about how it will look with Shea Patterson performing against Maryland’s weak defense. Expect a blowout; Michigan should easily cover the spread of 18.5 points.

Northwestern (1-6, 0-5) at Indiana (6-2, 3-2)

Indiana is on the AP Top 25 radar and is bowl eligible for the first time in 25 years. It’s because they legitimately have a good football team this year. Indiana has the fifth-highest scoring offense in the conference, despite their quarterback drama. Both of their quarterbacks, who have totaled 1200 passing yards each, are very capable and they have star running back Stevie Scott, who has rushed for 621 yards, to work with. On the other hand, the Northwestern Wildcats, still without a clear starting QB, have had no luck this season, losing games by huge margins with no real offensive effort. However, they have the sixth-best defense in the Big Ten, so this should be more interesting than what it says on paper. Indiana will win, but watch out for the Hoosiers, because while this game might not boost them into the top 25, a potential win at home against Michigan in late November just might.

Rutgers (2-6, 0-5) at Illinois (4-4, 2-3)

Wow, we’ve arrived at the bottom of the Big Ten standings. The Scarlet Knights, winless in Big Ten Conference play, travel to Memorial Stadium in Champlain, Illinois to face a surprisingly impressive Illinois team. If you remember, Illinois exposed Wisconsin’s weaknesses in front of the entire country a few weeks ago, as the then-No. 6 Badgers were simply outplayed by this unranked Fighting Inni team. This wasn’t a fluke; Wisconsin got severely embarrassed by Ohio State in the following week, which again showed the country that the team that was once a heartbeat away from a playoff spot was indeed overrated. Now, a question surfaces around that same Illinois team: are they ready for the Top 25? Illinois haven’t received any votes from the AP yet, but they should. Unfortunately, this week’s opponent won’t put them in, because they play Rutgers. Rutgers has scored only 14 points in five Bg Ten games, and can get absolutely nothing going on offense. Expect nothing less than an Illinois win, but keep an eye on the Fighting Illini, because they face some real tough Big Ten opponents, such as Iowa and Michigan State in November. If Illinois wins out, expect them to make a strong case for a somewhat prominent bowl game.

Nebraska (4-4, 2-3) at Purdue (2-6, 1-4)

If you followed college football in the 1990s, you remember a dominant Nebraska football team that was consistently in the top 5 with many undefeated seasons and a few national championships. Well, it’s 2019 and the program is not what it used to be. The Cornhuskers’ defensive unit can’t seem to stop the ball very well, letting up an average of 415 yards per game. However, Nebraska’s offensive team tries to make up the difference with returning quarterback Adrian Martinez, whose 140.9 QB rating was sorely missed in the Cornhuskers 38-31 loss last week against Indiana. Their opponent this week isn’t much better though. Purdue will host this meeting and home field advantage will surely play a role in this one. The Boilermakers’ quarterback Jack Plummer had a terrible outing in very poor weather conditions last week against Illinois, but before that, he passed for 420 yards against Maryland and 327 against Iowa. On the other side of the ball, Purdue allows about 400 yards per game on offense, so their defense is easily penetrable. These teams are essentially on the same level and both defenses aren’t great, so this could be an ugly, turnover-filled shootout. Purdue’s “12th man” and home field advantage may give them the win in this one; so pick underdog Purdue to barely win and shake up the bottom of the standings in the West.

 

 

Josh Portney is a freshman majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email jxp776@psu.edu.