- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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Let's take a quick look at what's on tap for the four Big Ten noon games:
Western Michigan (1-1) at Minnesota (2-0): The Gophers are gunning for their first 3-0 start since 2008. To do so, they'll have to slow down Alex Carder and the Broncos, who lost 24-7 at Illinois in the opener. Minnesota quarterback MarQueis Gray is fourth in the Big Ten in total offense, and the Gophers' defensive line has shown vast improvement over last year, led by Ra'Shede Hageman and D.L. Wilhite. But this will be the best team they've faced yet, after beating UNLV and New Hampshire.
Arkansas State (1-1) at Nebraska (1-1): The Cornhuskers look to rebound after a dismal defensive performance in a 36-30 loss at UCLA last week. Head coach Bo Pelini has hinted at lineup changes on that side of the ball, and we could see new starters at linebacker and on the defensive front. Rex Burkhead could be back this week, though it's more likely that Ameer Abdullah gets the most carries. Arkansas State is coached by former Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn and will give the Nebraska defense another strong test.
Eastern Michigan (0-2) at Purdue (1-1): The Boilermakers could use a big game from Caleb TerBush after the disappointing news this week that Robert Marve suffered another ACL injury. Purdue will have to shake off the disappointment of last week's loss at Notre Dame but should overwhelm Eastern Michigan from a talent standpoint before heading into next week's bye.
Charleston Southern (0-2) at Illinois (1-1): This one looks like the biggest snoozer of the day, as Charleston Southern is a bad FCS team that hasn't won a game since 2010. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase (ankle) is hoping to return after missing last week's 45-14 loss at Arizona State. Expect the Illini defense to dominate.
California (1-1) at No. 12 Ohio State (2-0), ABC: A struggling Cal program flies across the country for a 9 a.m. Pacific time kickoff. Will Jordan Hall play for the Buckeyes, who have some issues at running back? I'll have more preview information on this game live from the 'Shoe coming up in just a bit, so stay tuned.
1dJosh Moyer and Dan Murphy