Friday, October 14, 2011
More notes on Big Ten's top games
By Adam Rittenberg
Thanks to ESPN Stats & Info for these nuggets on Big Ten games featuring Top 25 teams on Saturday ...
- Brady Hoke is trying to do something that Bo Schembechler and Lloyd Carr couldn't do, beat Michigan State in his first year as head coach. No first-year Michigan coach has beaten MSU since Bennie Oosterbaan in 1948. Hoke’s 6-0 start is the best for a first-year Michigan coach since Oosterbaan. Oosterbaan's 1948 team finished 9-0 and won the national championship.
- Ohio State has won eight straight road games against Illinois. The last time the Buckeyes lost at Illinois was 20 years ago (1991), a 10-7 loss. Illinois has beaten Ohio State five times since then, all on the road.
- Michigan QB Denard Robinson leads the FBS with 77 rushes of 10 or more yards since the start of last season. Robinson has had at least one such run every game over the past two seasons, including seven games with at least five such runs.
- Wisconsin has scored at least 35 points in each game and has won all five games by at least 31 points this season. Dating back to last season, the Badgers' last nine wins have been by at least 20 points. The Badgers also have tremendous balance on offense. They're the only FBS team to average at least 240 pass yards and at least 240 rush yards.
- This is the first time a ranked Illinois team is playing an unranked Ohio State team since 1989. That year, Illinois won 34-14.
- Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins is completing 31.6 percent of his throws of 20 yards or more this season, down eight percentage points from 2010. One reason why is the departure of Mark Dell. Dell was the only Michigan State receiver last season to whom Cousins completed over 50 percent of these passes. With Dell gone, B.J. Cunningham has been Cousins' best downfield option. Cousins has targeted Cunningham 12 times on throws of 20 yards or more, and other players only seven times.
- Indiana has lost 13 straight games against teams ranked in the AP Poll. The Hoosiers' last win against a ranked team was in 2006 against No. 15 Iowa.