A few Big Ten notes and nuggets to hopefully make you smarter as you head out to the games this weekend. Thanks to ESPN's Stats & Info crew for many of these.
Ohio State has won 13 straight road games when being ranked No. 1. The Buckeyes' last road loss as the top-ranked team came on Nov. 9, 1974, at unranked Michigan State. While this is impressive, it pales in comparison to USC’s all-time streak of 25 straight road wins as No. 1 from 1968-2007. The Buckeyes have lost two straight games when ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll (both in the 2007 season). In 78 previous games as the top-ranked team, the Buckeyes have never lost three straight games.
Both Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor and Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien have been cool under added pressure this season. Pryor is completing 75.7 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and one interception against the blitz this season, while Tolzien is completing 77.4 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and no interceptions against the blitz. Tolzien is completing a higher percentage of passes 15 yards or longer than Pryor -- 56.3 percent vs. 44.1 percent -- but Pryor has thrown six touchdown passes of 15 yards or longer, while Tolzien has thrown none.
This marks the first time that Wisconsin has hosted a No. 1 ranked team since Nov. 15, 1997, when Michigan came to town. The last time the Badgers knocked off a top-ranked team in Madison was Sept. 12, 1981, against Michigan. That is also the last time they beat a top-ranked team anywhere. In their history, the Badgers are 3-16 all-time vs. No. 1.
Michigan State has not started 7-0 or better since 1966. The Spartans have started 7-0 five times in school history (1966, 1965, 1952, 1951 and 1913). Michigan State has won 10 of its past 11 games against Illinois with the only Illini win coming in 2006. The Spartans have outscored the Illini by nearly 200 points in the 11 meetings (370-171).
With a deep and talented crop of receivers at his disposal, Indiana senior quarterback Ben Chappell has been spreading the ball around this season. In each of IU's five games, at least six Hoosiers have caught a pass and in four of the five, at least two different receivers have found the end zone.
Through the first five games of last season, Purdue coughed up the ball 14 times, leading to 10 fumbles lost. This season, the Boilermakers have fumbled merely five times in five games and lost only two -- one when Robert Marve suffered a season-ending knee injury on a noncontact play against Toledo. Purdue is tied for 29th nationally in turnovers lost with eight.
Iowa enters this game riding a streak of 21 straight quarters without allowing a Rush TD, dating back to the Orange Bowl vs. Georgia Tech. But last year, Iowa entered the Michigan game riding a streak of 33 straight quarters without allowing a rushing touchdown. The Wolverines promptly broke that streak in the first quarter, then tacked on two more rushing touchdowns later in the game.
Both quarterbacks in the Michigan-Iowa game have handled the blitz well this season. Iowa's Ricky Stanzi has completed 78.8 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and no interceptions against the blitz, while Michigan's Denard Robinson has completed 69.4 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and no picks against the blitz.
Purdue ranks No. 4 in the nation in sacks, wrapping up the quarterback in the backfield an average of eight times per game. Meanwhile, Minnesota's offensive line has only allowed 1.17 sacks per game to rank No. 28 in the nation.
Illinois is one of only three teams in the nation to score on all of its red zone drives this season. In 16 trips inside the 20, the Illini have scored nine touchdowns and seven field goals. East Carolina (18-18) and Memphis (8-8) are the only other teams with a perfect red zone scoring percentage.