Around the Big Ten: Week 14 (Football)

Audio/Story posted December 3, 2020 in Sports, CommRadio by Alex Rocco

Host Jacob Cheris and analysts Alex Rocco, Jonathan Draeger and Adam Sheetz preview the biggest games in Big Ten football.

As we near the college football playoffs, the Big Ten was hit hard by COVID-19.

Last week two matchups were canceled; Ohio State vs. Illinois and Minnesota vs. Wisconsin. This week, Northwestern vs. Minnesota and Maryland vs. Michigan games have been canceled.

No. 4 Ohio State (4-0) vs. Michigan State (2-3)

After not playing last week, the Buckeyes are well rested for their matchup against the Spartans. The team will be without head coach Ryan Day who will be unable to coach as he tested positive for COVID-19.

Justin Fields has been masterful this season, completing 80% of his passes and tossing 13 touchdowns. Expect wide receivers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave to have huge games against a weak Spartan secondary.

Last week, the Spartans upset the No. 8 ranked Northwestern Wildcats 29-20. The defense played outstanding, holding the Wildcats to just 65 rushing yards. Rocky Lombardi made timely throws in the victory.

No. 12 Indiana (5-1) vs. No. 16 Wisconsin (2-1)

Last week, Indiana came away with a 27-11 win over Maryland. However in the process, star quarterback Michael Penix Jr. tore his ACL and is out for the season.

The offense now falls on the shoulders of Jack Tuttle. Tuttle will look to attack through the air as Wisconsin has a great run defense.

Wisconsin has only played three games and have suffered a slew of injuries. Graham Mertz has had to improvise as he has been without most of his receivers all year. Despite all of this, the Badgers defense is solid and will look to attack the Hoosiers backup quarterback.

No. 19 Iowa (4-2) vs. Illinois (2-3)

After losing two heartbreakers to open its season against Purdue and Northwestern, Iowa has bounced back and the Hawkeyes have won their last four.

The Hawkeyes have an outstanding offensive line which buys more time for receivers to get open and creates more running lanes for the backs. The defense continues to mount pressure and force many turnovers.

Illinois has gone on the road in its last two games and pounded the rock. Sophomore Chase Brown has been great, tearing off 131 yards against Rutgers and 110 yards and two scores against Nebraska. Quarterback Brandon Peters is back from injury.

Penn State (1-5) vs. Rutgers (2-4)

Penn State is back in the win column after defeating Michigan 27-17.

The Nittany Lions focused on pounding the rock as freshman Keyvone Lee led the way with 134 yards and a touchdown. Another good sign was freshman receiver Parker Washington racking up 93 yards on 9 catches. Look for Lee to have another big game if the Nittany Lions want to come away with a victory.

Rutgers snapped a four game losing streak last week defeating Purdue 37-30. Third-string quarterback Johnny Langan was dominant going  4-4 for 95 yards with a touchdown and also totaling 95 rushing yards. With Noah Vedral coming back this week, it will be interesting to see who gets the starting nod.

Nebraska (1-4) vs. Purdue (2-3)

Despite the 26-20 loss last week to Iowa, Nebraska showed signs of improvement.

Quarterback Adrian Martinez was 18-20 for 174 yards to go along with with 28 rushing yards and a touchdown. If Martinez can play well again this week, the Cornhuskers have a good chance of winning.

After starting the season 2-0, Purdue has lost its last three and will be looking to bounce back against a struggling Nebraska. The Boilermakers’ passing attack leads the Big Ten posting over 300 yards per game. While the team has lost its last three games, there hasn’t been a whole lot of luck on their side as every loss has been by one score or less.

 

Alex Rocco is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, please email afr5646@psu.edu.