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November 2, 2012

Around the Big Ten: Week 10 Notes

Game of the Week: Nebraska at Michigan State

This Legends Division matchup is huge for both teams, but for wildly different reasons.

After a 23-9 victory over Michigan a week ago, the Huskers own the road to the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis, and a victory in East Lansing would go a long way in clinching a trip.

On the other hand, the disappointing Spartans are fighting for their bowl lives. If they win out, there is the potential for a New Year's Day bowl game - most likely the Gator Bowl - but if they struggle down the stretch, could miss the postseason all together.

Aside from the huge bowl implications, this is a matchup of an elite rushing offense against an elite rush defense. NU leads the conference in points per game (39.2), total yards per game (489.1) and rushing yards per game (264.1).

MSU, on the contrary, has been dominating foes defensively, leading the conference in points allowed per game (15.0 points) and rushing yards yielded per game (91.2 yards).

Led by junior defensive end William Gholston, Michigan State's defense held an explosive Wisconsin run game to only 19 yards a week ago while making an eye-popping 12 tackles for loss.

Something has to give at Spartan Stadium.

News and Notes

  • With his 134 rushing yards last week against Penn State, sophomore Braxton Miller became the first quarterback in Ohio State history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season, and just the third in the history of the Big Ten.

    A legitimate Heisman candidate, Miller has scrambled for 1,093 yards and 12 touchdowns this year on 166 attempts (6.6 yards per carry) and also completed 112-of-198 passes (56.6 percent) for 1,527 yards and 12 scores against six interceptions.

  • Sophomore running back Mark Weisman, who leads Iowa with 661 yards and eight touchdowns despite not seeing meaningful action in the first two games of the season, is doubtful for the Hawkeyes' matchup with Indiana because of a lower leg injury.

    Weisman has only carried the ball 14 times in the past two games due to the injury, but bowled his way for 623 yards and eight scores in the previous four games.

    Sophomore Damon Bullock, who saw the bulk of UI's action out of the backfield before being injured in the third week of the season, was effective in his return last week. He rushed for 107 yards on 22 carries (4.9 yards per carry), and caught five passes for 41 yards (8.2 yards per reception) in the Hawkeyes 28-17 loss to Northwestern.

  • Penn State is exploring future scheduling locations in warm weather climates, including an overseas venture, in order to make-up for an NCAA-sanctioned postseason ban, according to head coach Bill O'Brien on his weekly radio show.

    "Hopefully we can do something in the near future," he said.

    Of the possible locations, an end of the year contest against Hawaii appears to be one of the more feasible ones, according to O'Brien.


  • As odd as it sounds, Indiana - sitting at 1-3 in the conference - still has a legitimate shot at a spot in the Big Ten title game. Because both Ohio State and Penn State are ineligible for postseason play, the Hoosiers sit just a game-and-a-half back of Wisconsin (3-2) for the bid.

    With a win over Iowa this week, the Nov. 10 matchup with Wisconsin could be an unlikely big-time matchup between two average teams.

    With a win, the Hoosiers would hold the tiebreaker, and IU closes out the season against Penn State and Purdue while Wisconsin would conclude with the gauntlet of Ohio State and Penn State.


  • Purdue has officially named senior quarterback Robert Marve its man under center in place of long-time starter Caleb TerBush for its upcoming clash with Penn State.

    Marve and TerBush have been engaged in quarterback competition before, but a torn ACL in week two against Notre Dame temporarily took Marve, who transferred from Miami in 2008, out of contention.

    Marve has completed 60-of-92 passes (65.2 percent) for 597 yards and six touchdowns against only two interception this year, while TerBush has been good on 98-of-169 attempts (58.0 percent) for 11 touchdowns against eight interceptions.

    TerBush started all 13 of the Boilermakers' games a year ago.


  • Former Penn State University president Graham Spanier is being hit with 'conspiracy of silence' charges in relation to the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case, according to charges filed by a Harrisburg district judge.

    Spanier headed the university for 16 years prior to his departure in the midst of one of the worst scandals in college football history.


  • Schedule for Nov. 3

    Michigan at Minnesota, Noon, Big Ten Network
    Illinois at Ohio State, 3:30 p.m., ESPN
    Iowa at Indiana, 3:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
    Nebraska at Michigan State, 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2
    Penn State at Purdue, 3:30 p.m., ESPNU
    BYE: Northwestern, Wisconsin

    Big Ten teams in the AP Top 25

    Ohio State (6), Nebraska (21)


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