Jim Rossow's Big Ten report: Hoosiers might spoil party

Sports editor Jim Rossow's weekly look around the league:

THE STANDINGS
LEADERS DIVISION
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
LEGENDS DIVISION
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

THE SCHEDULE
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

LOOKING AHEAD

Coaches like to take it one game at a time. Not us (game times will be determined by ABC/ESPN no later than Monday):
NOV. 3
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

THE LISTS
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                       

GOAT    AFFILIATION
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).

ILLINOIS MVP

ILLINI    PREVIOUS
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.

BOWL LINEUP

TEAM    BOWL
Wisconsin    BCS
Michigan    Capital One
Nebraska    Outback
Northwestern    Gator
Iowa    TicketCity
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.
 

Categories (3):Illini Sports, Football, Sports

Comments

News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments