Saturday, October 5, 2013
Big Ten Week 6 primer
By Brian Bennett
It's the first Saturday of October, so that means conference play is in full swing. Today brings five interesting Big Ten games, and we're here to get you ready for them ...
Penn State (3-1) at Indiana (2-2), Big Ten Network: The Nittany Lions try to improve to 17-0 all time against the Hoosiers, but their pass defense -- which was shredded by UCF -- will get a workout in Bloomington. Indiana's bowl hopes would take another major hit if it cannot pull off the upset.
Illinois (3-1) at Nebraska (3-1), ESPNU: On paper in the offseason, this didn't look like much of a game. Thanks to the Illini's surprising offensive resurgence, however, this now seems like a potentially dangerous one for Nebraska and its shaky defense. Taylor Martinez is questionable because of a lingering case of turf toe. If he can't go, Illinois has a big experience edge at quarterback with Natahan Scheelhaase, but Tim Beckman's team will still be the underdog on the road.
RB Mark Weisman leads Iowa against Michigan State's stout run defense.
Michigan State (3-1) at Iowa (4-1), ESPN2: The punters had better get ready, because this could become a defensive struggle. Something's got to give between Iowa's rushing attack, which is averaging 244.4 yards per game led by Mark Weisman and a stout offensive line, and Michigan State's defense, which ranks No. 2 in the FBS in rushing yards allowed at 58.3 per game.
3:30 p.m. ET
Minnesota (4-1) at No. 19 Michigan (4-0), ABC/ESPN2: The Wolverines are the most questioned undefeated team in the land after escapes against Akron and UConn. Michigan had a bye week to figure some things out and will likely shake up its offensive line. Minnesota looks to bounce back after a disappointing performance against Iowa. The Gophers have won the Little Brown Jug only three times since 1968.
8 p.m. ET
No. 4 Ohio State (5-0) at No. 16 Northwestern (4-0), ABC: The headliner of the day's games and the site of ESPN's "College GameDay." Venric Mark returns from injury for Northwestern, which will look to beat Ohio State for just the second time in the last 30 tries. The Buckeyes begin life without injured senior safety and captain Christian Bryant. If Urban Meyer's team survives, it will be halfway to another undefeated regular season with two of its main hurdles cleared.
Bye weeks: Purdue, Wisconsin
Rain, wind and maybe even some thunderstorms could be a factor in today's games.
The National Weather Service is calling for a 70 percent chance of rain in Evanston tonight with likely thunderstorms. Meanwhile, there's a 40 percent chance of precipitation in Iowa City, Bloomington and Ann Arbor, with storms also possible in each place.
Nebraska should avoid the rain, but wind gusts of up to 30 mph are possible, and that could affect the passing games of both teams.