We take a look around the Big Ten for the biggest news and storylines.
Between games every week, we’ll get you caught up on what’s happening in the Big Ten. Here are five storylines from across the conference to keep an eye on heading into Saturday’s contests.
Illinois (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten)/Purdue (2-3, 1-1 Big Ten):
Saturday’s clash between the Illini and Boilermakers is also a battle between opposing coaching philosophies. Illinois head coach Lovie Smith is playing the long game with his young team while Purdue’s Jeff Brohm is focused on getting results now. Matt Stevens of rivals.com wrote a piece detailing the approach both coaches are taking and explaining how this game demonstrates the different ways programs operate.
Maryland (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten):
Interim head coach Matt Canada confirmed quarterback Kasim Hill will remain the starter against Rutgers this week and brushed off concerns about his team’s passing game, according to 247 Sports. The Terrapins currently rank 123rd in the country in passing yards per game and Hill only completed five passes for 62 yards in their loss to Michigan. In his press confidence on Tuesday, Canada discussed his decision to stick with Hill and why he’s confident the offense can become more balanced.
Michigan (5-1, 3-0 Big Ten)/Wisconsin (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten)
Bill Bender of sportingnews.com argued this week that the Wolverines and Badgers are in almost identical positions heading into their meeting in Ann Arbor. The winner is arguably the best one-loss team in college football. If Michigan prevails, Jim Harbaugh gets the signature victory he’s criticized so often for not having. Should Wisconsin come out on top, Paul Chryst and his team have the win over an elite East division foe that has eluded them. In the article, Bender explains what’s at stake for both teams in this game.
Michigan State (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten)/Penn State (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten)
Pennlive.com complied quotes from head coaches Mark Dantonio and James Franklin, as well as Penn State wideout Juwan Johnson, on a variety of topics regarding Saturday’s contest. Dantonio discussed what it’s like playing in such a hostile environment and why quarterback Trace McSorley is so hard to prepare for. Franklin addressed Michigan State’s top-ranked rush defense and the challenges Michigan State signal caller Brian Lewerke presents.
Minnesota (3-2, 0-2 Big Ten):
Through two conference games, the Gophers’ defense is conceding an average of 426 yards and 45 points. Despite their recent struggles, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer described the unit as “outstanding” on Monday. The Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Randy Johnson presented a theory on the cause of the sudden decline for a defense that is still ranked 21st in total defense. Johnson also provided updates on quarterback Zach Annexstad’s ankle injury and the right tackle situation.