Saturday, October 27, 2012
Previewing the 3:30 p.m. ET B1G games
By Brian Bennett
The Big Ten Week 9 action rolls on with a pair of interesting 3:30 p.m. ET games, including one matchup that produced two classics a year ago:
Michigan State (4-4, 1-3 Big Ten) at Wisconsin (6-2, 3-1), ABC/ESPN: Last year's epics had everything on the line, including a Big Ten title. Now, the Spartans are just trying to get back on track and make a bowl game, while the Badgers look to continue their recent surge. The key in this game is whether Wisconsin's improving run game can open room for Montee Ball and James White against the No. 12 rush defense in the FBS. If not, freshman quarterback Joel Stave will have to make plays. And can Michigan State, which has scored only one touchdown in each of its last three losses, find some ways to move the ball against an underrated Badgers defense?
Purdue (3-4, 0-3) at Minnesota (4-3, 0-3), Big Ten Network: Both teams here are pretty desperate for a win after seeing promising starts devolve into a combined 0-6 in league play. Purdue turned in a very good effort at Ohio State last week before giving up a late lead and losing in overtime. The Gophers have cast their lot with true freshman quarterback Philip Nelson, who made his first start -- and college appearance -- last week at Wisconsin. They'll hope he makes another step forward in his home debut. The loser will find itself with an uphill climb to make a bowl game this season.