The Illini have a much needed bye week in week 4, so I can’t do my regular post for Wednesdays. So here is a preview of the Big 10 games this weekend.
1. #4 Penn State @ Iowa
Location: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa
Time: 6:30 PM CT
Pink Locker Room. Iowa City. Night Game. These three variables haven’t gone well for opponents since 2010. The Hawkeyes are 7-2 in night games at Kinnick and in 2016, #3 Michigan went down, ending the Wolverine’s playoff hopes. Penn State comes into Iowa City this week ranked number 4 in the country. QB Trace McSorely and RB Saquan Barkley have shined on offense. The Nittany Lion defense has also helped by only allowing 4.7 points a game this year. But you can never count the Hawkeyes out in a home night game. This year’s Hawkeye squad has the potential to matchup with Penn State. QB Nate Stanley and RB Akrum Wadley are a force to be reckoned with. The Iowa offense will be the first test for the the Penn State defense. If anything this will be a defensive standoff at Kinnick and Iowa should be able to keep it close. This will be a very exciting game to watch prime time Saturday.
2. #8 Michigan at Purdue
Location: Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Indiana
Time: 3 PM CT
The Purdue Boilermakers are rolling. That feels weird coming from an Illini fan. There is no denying the new coach, Jeff Brohm, has ignited a spark in West Lafayette. This should be a great game in the afternoon. Purdue kept it close with #16 Louisville to start off the season and just steamrolled their next 2 opponents. Out of nowhere, the Boilermaker defense has matured and can actually stop the ball. Michigan hasnt been very dominant this season. Yes they are a top 10 team, but they really havent shined. QB Wilton Speight has completed just over 50% of his passes and has thrown for only 3 TD’s. The ineffectiveness of a Michigan offensive unit is key for a Boilermaker defense that was able to contain Lamar Jackson, albiet only for the first half. This could turn into a fun game, with the Boilmakers looking to make a statement at home.
3. Rutgers at Nebraska
Location: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
Time: 2:30 CT
Nebraska fans are not used to seeing their Cornhuskers embarrased by NIU at home. As usual, they are already calling for Mike Riley’s head. But this game should be a good buffer for Nebraska before Illinois next week. Rutgers has yet to win a Big 10 game in the Chris Ash era. Don’t expect that to change against Nebraska at home. Easy win for the Cornhuskers. This game can be skipped.
4. Notre Dame at Michigan State (Megaphone Trophy)
Location: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Michigan
Time: 7 PM CT
This is a big game. Michigan State went 3-9 last year and needs a hallmark victory before entering the Big 10 schedule in Week 5. This will be a character defining game aginst the Fighting Irish. The Spartans NEED to stop a lethal Notre Dame rushing attack that ran for 597 yards against Boston College last week. The rivalry between the two schools can make this into a really good game.
Other Big 10 games:
- UNLV @ #10 Ohio State
- UCF @ Maryland
- Georgia Southern @ Indiana
Edit: It was previously said Rutgers was winless in the Big 10. That was wrong. Rutgers has won 4 Big 10 conference games in the last three seasons, but none under current Head Coach Chris Ash.