Saturday, September 28, 2013
Big Ten Week 5 primer
By Josh Moyer
Quality over quantity, right? After a relatively uninteresting slate of games last weekend, there are two very telling conference matchups this weekend. Iowa-Minnesota and Ohio State-Wisconsin are must-watch games for any Big Ten fan. Here's everything you need to know to be ready, starting with the schedule (all times ET):
Miami (Ohio) (0-3) at Illinois (2-1), Big Ten Network: Illini quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase leads the Big Ten in passing yards per game (294.7) and is squaring off against one of the worst pass defenses in the country. Another telling fact? The Redhawks have been outscored 107-21 in three games. A victory would allow Illinois to already surpass last season's win total.
Northern Illinois (3-0) at Purdue (1-3), ESPN2: DT Bruce Gaston said the Boilermakers are trying to find an identity -- but it appears as if the same could be said of Northern Illinois. The Huskies are coming off an unconvincing 43-39 win over Eastern Illinois; Purdue is trying to notch its first victory over an FBS team. The Boilermakers' 80th-ranked defense has a tough test ahead with dual-threat NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch.
Iowa (3-1) at Minnesota (4-0), ABC/ESPN2: Either Mitch Leidner or Philip Nelson could start, according to the depth chart released Thursday night, but Nelson is coming off a hamstring injury and Leidner is expected to see some work, regardless. These teams are pretty evenly matched, and Minnesota's rushing offense vs. Iowa's rushing defense should be a great battle. The Golden Gophers are No. 13 in the country in rushing; the Hawkeyes are No. 12 in the country in stopping the rush.
Wisconsin (3-1) at Ohio State (4-0), ABC: Here's where Badgers coach Gary Andersen can separate himself from Bret Bielema. And here's where Ohio State can start to convince people it's worthy of a spot in the national title game. The Buckeyes haven't been tested yet with a cupcake nonconference schedule, and the Badgers boast the best Big Ten rushing attack. It goes without saying that this is the best conference game of the week and should reveal a lot about both teams.
Bye weeks: Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Penn State
It should be nice and warm for three out of the four games this week. But here's one place where weather could be a factor on Saturday: There's a 51 percent chance of showers in Minneapolis right before kickoff for the Iowa-Minnesota game. Wind gusts are expected to reach up to 19 mph.
And, finally, some of our top posts from the past week: