Jim Rossow's Big Ten report: Hoosiers might spoil party
Sports editor Jim Rossow's weekly look around the league:
TEAM LEAGUE PF PA OVERALL PF PG
Ohio State 4 0 161 125 8 0 312 194
Penn State 3 0 112 49 5 2 200 110
Wisconsin 3 1 134 71 6 2 220 142
Purdue 0 3 49 111 3 4 219 194
Illinois 0 3 21 111 2 5 127 215
Indiana 0 3 105 127 2 5 243 222
Michigan 3 0 101 23 5 2 215 115
Nebraska 2 1 97 118 5 2 291 194
Iowa 2 1 64 67 4 3 146 141
Northwestern 2 2 121 110 6 2 246 184
Michigan State 1 3 73 75 4 4 157 122
Minnesota 0 3 39 90 4 3 158 157
Want to know which of Saturday’s games are worth your time? Here’s the dirt from sports editor Jim Rossow, who is slipping in the polls after going 4-2 last week:
Indiana at Illinois
11 a.m., BTN
Best coordinator on the field? Probably Seth Littrell, who has the Hoosiers scoring like Tom Crean’s crew. The Big Ten’s best passing team runs a play every 20.5 seconds. Nineteen of the last 24 scoring drives have taken three minutes or less.
Rossow’s pick: Indiana, 35-21
Iowa at Northwestern
11 a.m., ESPN2
It’s the second trip to the Chicago area for N-G All-Stater John Wienke, who is keeping busy on special teams. The former Tuscola quarterback holds on kicks and is used on short-field punts (seven of his nine boots have been downed inside the 20, including two on the 1-yard line).
Rossow’s pick: Northwestern, 24-6
Michigan State at Wisconsin
2:30 p.m., WICD (ABC)
Montee Ball and James White have combined to average 356.0 yards rushing in Wisconsin’s last two games and are the only Division I-A teammates to rush for 150-plus yards in the same game. But Sparty leads the Big Ten in rush defense.
Rossow’s pick: Michigan State, 10-7
Purdue at Minnesota
2:30 p.m., BTN
Gophers win even if they lose. On Monday, more than 60 players will have their heads shaved to raise funds and awareness for pediatric cancer research. Minnesota receiver Connor Cosgrove, who is battling leukemia, is behind the idea.
Rossow’s pick: Minnesota, 21-17
No. 9 Ohio State at Penn State
4:30 p.m., ESPN
It might be dark before the Buckeyes break through. Penn State has outscored opponents 66-0 in the first quarter this season (best in the nation) and 100-23 in the first half (only Boise State, which has allowed 19 points, has done better).
Rossow’s pick: Ohio State, 24-14
No. 20 Michigan at Nebraska
7 p.m., ESPN2
You know they can run. But Denard Robinson and Taylor Martinez can pass a bit, too. Robinson is first among active QBs in career yards per completion (14.71). Martinez is one of four QBs in school history to reach 5,000 yards passing (he has 5,335).
Rossow’s pick: Michigan, 31-30
Coaches like to take it one game at a time. Not us (game times will be determined by ABC/ESPN no later than Monday):
Iowa at Indiana TBD
Michigan at Minnesota TBD
Nebraska at Michigan State TBD
Illinois at Ohio State TBD
Penn State at Purdue TBD
Bye: Northwestern, Wisconsin
IN THE PENTHOUSE
(Big Ten MVP)
PLAYER, SCHOOL PREVIOUS
Matt McGloin, Penn State 3
Braxton Miller, Ohio State 1
Taylor Martinez, Nebraska —
Montee Ball, Wisconsin 2
Michael Mauti, Penn State —
Rossow’s take: Miller and Michigan’s Denard Robinson are among 16 semifinalists for the Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback). The Big 12 has the most candi-dates: Texas Tech’s Seth Doege, Baylor’s Nick Florence, Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, Kansas State’s Collin Klein and West Virginia’s Geno Smith.
IN THE DOGHOUSE: QB EDITION
James Vandenberg Iowa
Andrew Maxwell Michigan State
All of ‘em Purdue
MarQueis Gray Minnesota
Trevor Siemian Northwestern
Rossow’s take: Gray’s inability to stay in the lineup forced the Gophers to turn to Philip Nelson, who last week became the third true freshman to start at quarterback in school history (Max Shortell in 2011, Rickey Foggie in ‘84).
Justin DuVernois 1
Nathan Scheelhaase 2
Mason Monheim 3
Ashante Williams 4
Homecoming court —
Rossow’s take: Scheelhaase loves playing Indiana. In two games — both wins — he is averaging 233 yards of offense with six touchdowns.
COACH OF THE YEAR
COACH, SCHOOL PREVIOUS
Bill O’Brien, Penn State 1
Urban Meyer, Ohio State 2
Bo Pelini, Nebraska —
Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern 3
Greg Mattison, Michigan —
Rossow’s take: Brady Hoke’s best move when he took the job was luring defensive guru Mattison from the NFL’s Ravens. The 12-10 slugfest against Michigan State marked the first time the Wolverines won without scoring a touchdown since 1995 (5-0 vs. Purdue). In its last five games, Michigan allowed 9.8 points on average.
Michigan Capital One
Rossow’s take: The Big Ten isn’t very good in football this season. Just don’t blame the fans. For the first time this fall, every home game was sold out as Michigan, Ohio State, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Iowa drew a combined 417,625 fans for a season-high average of 83,525.