- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Some notes and nuggets to hopefully make you smarter as you watch Big Ten football on Saturday. Thanks to the fine folks at ESPN Stats & Information for some of these.
Michigan State is looking to defeat three ranked opponents in consecutive games for the first time in school history. The Spartans have beaten three ranked opponents in one season six times in program history (last time: 2001).
Since the start of last season, Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez has 18 rushes of 25-plus yards, including nine touchdowns. Both numbers rank in the top three of the FBS during that period. The Cornhuskers are 9-0 when Martinez has at least one run of 25-plus yards.
Purdue's ground game has been a true team effort as seven different players have double-digit carries, four have rushed for more than 100 yards for the year and six different rushers have scored touchdowns.
Iowa has been solid in the red zone on both sides of the ball this season. The Hawkeyes are tied for third nationally in red zone offense (96 percent scoring conversions) and tied for ninth nationally in red zone defense (71 percent scoring allowed).
Running back Duane Bennett has cracked Minnesota’s top 20 list for career rushing yardage (1,792). Last week’s total of 55 yards pushed him to the No. 18 spot on the chart. At his current pace, Bennett would finish his career with 2,010 yards and would rank No. 13 in school history.
Since the beginning of the 2005 season, the Ohio State defense has allowed only 13 100-yard rushers during a span of 85 games and only nine since the start of the 2007 season. Both of those marks are the third best among FBS schools during those spans (behind Alabama and Boston College).
Northwestern has converted 23 of 37 third-down chances in the last two games to bring its season rate to 48.5 percent (49-of-101), tied for 19th nationally. Northwestern has finished in the top 20 nationally in third-down conversion percentage in each of the last two years.
Illinois WR A.J. Jenkins has 12 catches of 25-plus yards, tied for second most in the FBS. Jenkins has 34 catches for 622 yards and five touchdowns in four Big Ten games. His 155.5 yards-per-game average during conference games is more than 40 yards per game better than his closest competitor (Iowa's Marvin McNutt, 114.7 ypg).
Michigan QB Denard Robinson has completed 31.8 percent (7-22) of his passes from outside the pocket, and completed 58 percent from inside the pocket. Robinson leads the FBS with 81 rushes of 10-plus yards since the start of last season. Robinson has had at least one such run every game over the past two seasons.
Penn State is 5-0 in games decided by 10 points or less this year, its most wins in such games since going 5-1 during the 2005 season.
Indiana true freshmen quarterback Tre Roberson and cornerback Michael Hunter made their first career starts at Iowa. Indiana has started nine true freshmen and played 16 overall, which is tied for the third most nationally. Roberson became the first true freshman quarterback in IU history to start a game.
Wisconsin Junior RB Montee Ball leads the nation with 19 touchdowns. That is eight more than any other Big Ten player. Only two players in school history have scored more than 19 touchdowns in a season. Ron Dayne scored 21 in 1996 and 20 in 1999. Brian Calhoun holds the school record with 24 TDs in 2005.
8hJosh Moyer and Mitch Sherman