Saturday, October 20, 2012
Previewing the Big Ten noon games
By Brian Bennett
The day in the Big Ten starts with a pair of games at noon. Here's what to expect in the early portion of the schedule:
Minnesota (4-2, 0-2) at Wisconsin (5-2, 2-1), ESPNU: This is the 122nd meeting between these schools in a series that dates to 1890. It only seems that long ago that Minnesota won Paul Bunyan's Axe. Wisconsin has an eight-game winning streak, and the Gophers haven't won in Madison since 1994. Montee Ball and the resurgent Badgers look to exploit a Minnesota defense that has given up big plays in the first half of its past two games, both losses to Iowa and Northwestern. The Gophers must find ways to score, and quarterback MarQueis Gray will likely be limited at best with a high ankle sprain that was aggravated last week.
Purdue (3-3, 0-2) at Ohio State (7-0, 3-0), ABC/ESPN2: The Boilermakers have beaten Ohio State in two of the past three years. We point that out because we're trying to find something nice to say about Purdue right now. Danny Hope's team has been brutal so far in Big Ten play, losing its first two games by a combined score of 82-27 and giving up 771 rushing yards in the process. The Boilers are facing an 0-3 start in conference play if they don't pull off a major upset, which starts with somehow slowing down a sizzling Ohio State offense that has eclipsed 50 points in each of its past two games. Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde have been doing major damage on the ground for the Buckeyes, who look to take an 8-0 record into next week's Penn State game.