- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Brian is in West Lafayette and will break down Wisconsin-Purdue in a bit.
Here's a quick look at the other two Big Ten games on tap at noon ET:
Iowa (3-2, 1-0 Big Ten) at Michigan State (4-2, 1-1), ESPN2: Turn back the clocks a bit for this one as Iowa and Michigan State both play a classic brand of Big Ten football, complete with bruising running backs, stout linebackers and physical play. Running backs Le'Veon Bell (MSU) and Mark Weisman (Iowa) take center stage, as no Big Ten players have rushed for more yards since Sept. 15. The teams played a classic three years ago at Spartan Stadium, as Iowa won on the final play on a touchdown catch by Marvin McNutt. Iowa aims for the upset in its first true road game of the season after playing three straight at home and a neutral-site opener against Northern Illinois in Chicago. Michigan State will be without its top receiver, junior tight end Dion Sims, who is out with an ankle injury. The Spartans will lean more on freshman receiver Aaron Burbridge, who set a team single-game freshman record with 134 receiving yards in his first start last week against Indiana. Iowa adds an offensive weapon as running back Damon Bullock returns to ease some of the carries burden on Weisman. Coach Kirk Ferentz aims for his 100th victory at Iowa. The teams have split their past four meetings.
Northwestern (5-1, 1-1 Big Ten) at Minnesota (4-1, 0-1), ESPN2: Both of these teams aim for better results than the last time out as Minnesota returns from a week off to face a Northwestern squad that has won back-to-back games in Minneapolis, both by single digits. The Gophers hope to regain the services of top quarterback MarQueis Gray, who has missed the past two and a half games with a high-ankle sprain. Sophomore Max Shortell performed well in Gray's absence until a three-interception outing against Iowa on Sept. 29. Both of these teams have made similar improvements from 2011, as both are rushing the ball better and defending the run better than they did last fall. Minnesota's past eight victories have come on its home field, where it tries to improve to 4-0 this season. The Gophers lead the Big Ten and rank 11th nationally in pass efficiency defense (98.04 rating) and will put pressure on Northwestern to establish the run. After running just 61 plays last week at Penn State, Northwestern's offense tries to regain its tempo and feed playmakers Venric Mark and Kain Colter more often.
4dBrian Bennett and Josh Moyer