Friday, September 9, 2011
Notes and stats on weekend B1G games
By Brian Bennett
Here are some nuggets on this weekend's biggest games involving Big Ten teams, courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information:
No. 2 Alabama at No. 23 Penn State
Oregon State at No. 8 Wisconsin
- Without a clear cut front-runner for the Penn State quarterback position, can the Nittany Lions move the ball on the ground against Alabama? Penn State used a balanced rushing attack against Indiana State, totaling 245 yards. Silas Redd led the way with 104 yards and two touchdowns. But in its last two games (including last year’s bowl game), the Alabama defense has held opponents to minus-57 yards rushing on 51 carries.
- In the eight meetings since 1984, points have been hard to come by for both teams. Only 1.6 points per game separate the two over that stretch (12.4 to 10.8). Both teams have scored 10 or less four times, both have been shut out once, but Bama has the edge, 5-3.
- No matter who the starting quarterback is for Penn State, Joe Pa must find a way to improve his pass offense to have a chance on Saturday. Since the start of 2010, the Nittany Lions complete 43.0 percent of passes against the SEC, compared to 58.7 against other conferences. Against the SEC, Penn State has a 1-8 TD-INT ratio compared to 18-9 against others.
Fresno State at No. 10 Nebraska
- Wisconsin has won 29 straight regular-season games against nonconference opponents (last loss came to UNLV on Sept. 13, 2003). That is the second longest active streak in nation behind LSU (34 straight).
- How bad was Oregon State’s overtime home loss last week to Big Sky school Sacramento State? Sacramento State had been 0-10 all-time against FBS opponents. The only other FBS school to lose to FCS program last week was Duke (lost to Richmond).
Toledo at No. 15 Ohio State
- Nebraska is 22-1 all-time and currently on a 21-game win streak against current members of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), with their only loss coming in 1955 against Hawaii 6-0.
- Nebraska’s quarterback Taylor Martinez rushed and passed for over 100 yards in the Cornhuskers Week 1 victory over Chattanooga for the sixth time in his career. Martinez is now one shy of having the most such games among FBS players over the last two years (tied with Denard Robinson, Michigan).
Florida Atlantic at No. 17 Michigan State
- Ohio State is unbeaten in its last 43 games against teams from Ohio (42-0-1) and has a current winning streak of 37 games. The Buckeyes haven't lost a football game to another team from the state of Ohio since dropping a 7-6 decision to Oberlin in 1921.
- Ohio State has won 55 consecutive regular season non-conference games against unranked teams.
- Ohio State is 26-1 all-time against current MAC teams. Its only loss came against Akron in 1894. Since then, they have won 23 consecutive games against MAC schools (not including vacated wins from recent years).
Notre Dame at Michigan
- Spartans wide receiver B.J. Cunningham had a career-high nine catches in the season-opener against Youngstown State. He now has 148 career catches, which ties Matt Trannon for the most in school history.
- Michigan State is 2-0 all-time against Florida Atlantic, winning 17-0 in 2008 in East Lansing and 30-17 last season at Ford Field in Detroit.
- Florida Atlantic is just one of three FBS teams to play consecutive games against current ranked opponents to start the season. The others are Georgia and East Carolina. All three teams lost in Week 1. The Owls lost 41-3 to Florida.
- This is the fourth time in the last five seasons that neither Michigan nor Notre Dame are ranked heading into their showdown against each other. Prior to that, when was the last time they played each other and neither was ranked? How about 1909, an era before national polls.
- This is a matchup of two of the most storied programs in college football. Michigan leads the FBS with 885 all-time victories, while Notre Dame is third at 845. Texas is second with 851.
- Brian Kelly and Brady Hoke face each other for the fourth time. However, their previous three matchups all came in the MAC. Kelly’s Central Michigan teams won all three games against Hoke’s Ball State teams (2004-06).
- This will be the first night game in the history of Michigan Stadium. However, Michigan has played Notre Dame under the lights three other times, losing all three meetings (1982, 1988, 1990) in South Bend.
- Michigan goes for its third straight win over Notre Dame, and that hasn’t happened in a long time. Michigan won the first eight series meetings from 1887-1908, but hasn’t been able to win three straight against the Irish in the last 30 meetings. Since 1909, Michigan has played only two other opponents at least 10 times without posting a 3-game win streak, and those schools are only 45 miles from each other. Cornell (10 meetings) and Syracuse (11 meetings) are those schools.