Saturday, October 17, 2009
A quick check around the Big Ten
By ESPN.com staff
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
It's halftime here at Camp Randall after a very quick first half (38 rushes combined tends to have that effect).
Here's what's happening at the other three Big Ten games.
Ohio State-Purdue: The Boilers once again are hanging tough and have the Buckeyes on upset alert, leading 9-7. Ohio State has been extremely sloppy on offense, losing three fumbles, and aside from a 67-yard scoring drive, the offense has done nothing. Only four first downs in the first half for Ohio State. Purdue's Joey Elliott has completed 19 passes for only 148 yards, which I didn't think was possible. If Purdue can hang onto the ball -- two turnovers already -- it could have a chance to snap the losing streak.
Northwestern-Michigan State: Even though I picked the Spartans, I had a feeling Northwestern, up 7-0, would play well in this one. The Wildcats defense has continued its midseason awakening, setting the tone by stuffing Michigan State on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line to begin the game. Michigan State's run game has struggled, and Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka has played nearly flawless football so far (17-for-22 passing, 154 yards, 1 TD). Wideout Zeke Markshausen is a stud. The Wildcats would be wise to shelve the run game and ride Kafka as far as he can take them.
Delaware State-Michigan: It's getting ugly in Ann Arbor, where Michigan has put up 49 points on a bad FCS opponent. Tate Forcier started at quarterback for the Wolverines, who haven't needed him as the running game is carrying the way. Michigan is getting reserve backs like Vincent Smith, Kevin Grady and Michael Shaw plenty of work, and backup quarterback Denard Robinson already has six rushes and a touchdown. Delaware State had only 43 total yards late in the first half. Michigan shouldn't play many of its regulars after halftime.