By JOHN SEARS - BIG TEN INSIDER
USC @ Ohio St. -
Notre Dame @ Michigan - Click to Read Preview
Central Michigan at Michigan State: Quarterback Dan LeFevour (18-for-31, 108 yards, one interception) was abysmal as the Chippewas lost to Arizona, 19-6. Watch him try to get back to potential while he squares off against the Spartans’ quarterbacking duo, Keith Nichol and Kirk Cousins. This will be a better barometer of the Spartans’ defense as well.
MSU 31, CMU 9
Syracuse at Penn State: Constant disrupter defensive tackle Jared Odrick was certainly the standout last week for Penn State, with the silver going to Daryll Clark (29-for-40, 355 yards, three touchdowns, one interception) and the bronze to Derick Moye, who stepped up big in the receiving corps (6 catches, 138 yards, touchdown). Look for much-improved run blocking this week (they better!) and the front seven forcing Syracuse’s Greg Paulus to make bounce passes through his earhole.
Penn State 37, Syracuse 9
Iowa at Iowa State: Which is worse: last week against FCS Northern Iowa, the Hawkeyes 1) were outgained 354 to 329 in total yards, 2) gave up 270 yards passing, 3) managed only 87 yards rushing, or 4) needed two blocked field goals to steal the win at home? That defense better more inspired, and the Hawkeyes must find a patchwork solution to their vacant rushing attack.
(Only because Iowa can’t start with an almost loss and then a loss)
Iowa 20, Iowa State 17
Purdue at Oregon: Do I dare set-up for the upset of the week? Disarray in Eugene, the loss of their starting running back for the season, and Purdue looking very strong out of the gate (52-31 over Toledo)? No. Purdue will not have an answer for quarterback Jeremiah Masoli in front of the Duck faithful.
Oregon 27, Purdue 14
Fresno State at Wisconsin: The home-and-home series returns to Camp Randall, where Northern Illinois almost stole one late from the Badgers. Call this one the Battle of the Bulge as Fresno State pounded the ball for 310 yards rushing and a 7.9 average versus the Zach Brown/John Clay tank brigade. If Clay healed this week, the Badgers will out-bruise in a close one.
Wisconsin 21, Fresno State 16
Air Force at Minnesota: The good–Adam Weber to Eric Decker looks like the passer-receiver combo of the conference. The bad–besides dedicating themselves to a physical rushing attack, the Gophers mustered only 112 yards rushing. The ugly–they almost lost to a team (Syracuse) with a point guard starting at quarterback and face an Air Force squad that put up 474 yards rushing last week. Home/Stadium-opening delight as Minnesota plays host outdoors to Air Force and squeaks by.
Minnesota 21, Air Force 20
Western Michigan at Indiana: Will the real Tim Hiller please stand up? Hopefully for the Hoosiers, he won’t do so this week. Will the real Ben Chappell please stand up? The Indiana quarterback threw for 326 yards on 27-for-36 passing and one touchdown. If that’s for real, then Indiana might be OK in the pistol.
Indiana 24, Western Michigan 21
Eastern Michigan at Northwestern: Coach Pat Fitzgerald has his team off to a good start as they easily handled Towson last week, 47-14. Eastern Michigan brings former Michigan defensive coordinator Ron English back to the conference. English’s debut wasn’t pretty, as his squad dropped a 27-14 decision to Army. Pssst–Coach Fitz…run-the-football. Central Michigan’s defense gave away real estate in fire-sale fashion, giving up 300 yards to the Black Knights.
Northwestern 33, Eastern Michigan 10
Illinois St at Illinois: As I picked Illinois as a potential contender for the Big Ten title (which of course is still in hand notwithstanding the drubbing handed out by Missouri last week in St. Louis), I now stand on shaky ground in understanding what to expect this week. It’s against Illinois State, who gave up almost 400 yards to Eastern Illinois last week and managed 20 yards rushing? Oh…
Illinois 56, Illinois State 3
Photos Courtesy of Robert Barclay/Central Michigan, University of Minnesota Athletic Communications
Friday, September 11, 2009
By JOHN SEARS - BIG TEN INSIDER