A look ahead at Week 6

September, 30, 2008
9/30/08
8:37
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

No nonconference games this week. It's all Big Ten, all the time.

Here's what's on tap Saturday.

Iowa (3-2, 0-1) at Michigan State (4-1, 1-0), ESPN2, noon ET

The Hawkeyes really need this one after dropping consecutive games by a combined six points. The game features the Big Ten's top two running backs in Michigan State's Javon Ringer (179.4 rush yards per game) and Iowa's Shonn Greene (133 rush yards per game). Iowa's defensive front seven likely will be the best group Ringer has faced this season. The Hawkeyes rank fourth nationally in scoring and 28th against the run. The home team has won the last eight meetings in the series.

Indiana (2-2, 0-1) at Minnesota (4-1, 0-1), noon ET

After a reality check in Columbus, Minnesota tries to validate its hot start and win its first Big Ten game since Nov. 18, 2006. The Gophers likely will try to exploit a banged-up Indiana secondary that played without three starters last week against Michigan State. Indiana needs continued production from featured back Marcus Thigpen and reserve Bryan Payton, who rushed for three touchdowns last year against Minnesota. Indiana hits the road for the first time this season and tries to win at the Metrodome for the first time since 1993.

No. 6 Penn State (5-0, 1-0) at Purdue (2-2, 0-0), ESPN, noon ET

Could this be a trap game for Penn State? The Boilermakers hope so. Purdue ranks last in the Big Ten in both total defense (439.2 ypg) and rush defense (194.5 ypg), which doesn't bode well against the explosive Spread HD offense. It will be interesting to see how Lions quarterback Daryll Clark performs in a legitimate road setting (sorry, Syracuse), and Purdue has played well at Ross-Ade Stadium this year. Penn State's overlooked defense will pressure Curtis Painter. The Lions are tied for 11th nationally in sacks (3 per game).

Illinois (2-2, 0-1) at Michigan (2-2, 1-0), ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET

The Wolverines come in with momentum after completing the biggest comeback in Michigan Stadium history last week, but Illinois might have more urgency. The Illini have two respectable losses (Missouri and Penn State) and need a solid road victory to reestablish themselves among the Big Ten's top tier. Illinois hasn't beaten Michigan since 1999, and the Wolverines' veteran defensive line will test quarterback Juice Williams.

No. 14 Ohio State (4-1, 1-0) at No. 18 Wisconsin (3-1, 0-1), ABC, 8 p.m. ET

Despite Wisconsin's surprising second-half meltdown last week, this will be a huge game for both teams. The Buckeyes have a different look with Terrelle Pryor and Chris "Beanie" Wells in the same backfield, and they'll test a Badgers defense that seemed to wear down against Michigan. Wisconsin's biggest advantage is the site -- it has never lost at home under coach Bret Bielema. Badgers star H-back/tight end Travis Beckum is expected to be at full strength and could play a major role.

Bye: Northwestern (5-0, 1-0)

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