Things to watch during the third week of play in the Big Ten Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 23 Michigan at No. 13 Indiana
The Hoosiers are looking to beat Michigan for the first time since 1987 and go 3-0 in Big Ten play for the first time since 1988. Indiana’s playmaking quarterback, Michael Penix, will be going against a secondary short on experience, and it showed last week in the loss to Michigan State. The Wolverines allowed five pass plays of 30 yards or longer. Lose here and coach Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines are staring at a possible 1-3 start with No. 10 Wisconsin up next, assuming the Badgers get over their COVID-19 issues.
Nebraska offense vs. Northwestern defense. The quarterback tandem of Adrian Martinez and Luke McCaffrey combined for 164 of the Cornhuskers’ 210 yards rushing against Ohio State two weeks ago. Northwestern has given up an average of 70.5 yards on the ground in its first two games. If the Wildcats load up to stop the run, look for the Huskers to take some shots downfield.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Penn State goes into its home game against Maryland having outscored the Terrapins 163-6 over the last three meetings. The Terps show up three times on Penn State’s chart of top-10 fewest points allowed under seventh-year coach James Franklin. The Nittany Lions are 25-point favorites Saturday.
Illinois is a seven-point home underdog to Minnesota. The Illini will again be without starting quarterback Brandon Peters, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week. No. 4 QB Coran Taylor was pressed into action in a loss to Purdue last week and was better than expected. The Gophers’ defense has shown no ability to stop anyone.
Michigan State quarterback Rocky Lombardi. The Spartans’ first-year starter returns to his home state to face Iowa. He’s coming off a 300-yard, three-touchdown passing day against Michigan, and the Spartans have an emerging star in freshman receiver Ricky White. Lombardi will be going against a secondary that has given up just three passes of 20 yards or more.
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