Saturday, September 26, 2009
Halftime reports from around the Big Ten
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
A quick check on the three early Big Ten games, which have all reached halftime. So far, I'm 0-for-3 on picks.
Indiana-Michigan: Kudos to Bill Lynch and the Hoosiers, who don't look intimidated at all in the Big House. After Michigan answered an early Hoosiers touchdown with two quick scores, Indiana came back strong. Michigan's problems on defense, particularly in the secondary, are being exposed in this game. Hoosiers quarterback Ben Chappell looks really good so far. Wolverines running back Carlos Brown has had a big day, and Brandon Minor has resurfaced alongside him.
Michigan State-Wisconsin: The Badgers look legit, folks, while Michigan State looks, well, like Michigan State usually does. Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien and tight end Garrett Graham have capitalized on a Spartans secondary that continues to look shaky. Tolzien is making a ton of clutch throws, as he has most of the season. Things aren't so good for Michigan State quarterbacks Kirk Cousins and Keith Nichol, both of whom have thrown interceptions against a Badgers defense that appears to have turned a corner. It looks like I misjudged Wisconsin. I definitely misjudged Michigan State.
Minnesota-Northwestern: The Golden Gophers run game has finally showed life against a Northwestern defense that looks like its pre-2008 form. Eric Decker is having another big game, but Minnesota has gotten help from Duane Bennett (2 touchdown runs). That should really open up the playbook for offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. After taking a big step forward on defense in 2008, Northwestern has backslid. The Wildcats at times seem like they've forgotten how to tackle. Quarterback Mike Kafka has been very good once again, and freshman Arby Fields looks like a Tyrell Sutton clone in a strong first half. Both teams have left some points on the field.