- Scott Powers, Reporter
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Stanford (3-0) at Notre Dame (1-2)
When/Where: 2:40 p.m. at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind.
Radio: WLS-AM 890.
Web: und.com, gostanford.com.
What you need to know: Stanford hasn't won in South Bend since 1992 but is favored by 4 1/2 points after its first 3-0 start in nine years. The Cardinal are averaging nearly 52 points per game and lead the nation in passing defense, giving up only 90 yards per contest. Coach Jim Harbaugh has a savvy quarterback in Andrew Luck, who has thrown 10 touchdown passes and has the third-highest efficiency ranking (192.31) in the country. Luck will look to pick apart a suspect Notre Dame secondary that's mostly responsible for allowing 250 yards per game. Stanford, which beat the Irish last season, 45-38, enjoyed receiver Chris Owusu's return last week, which netted a pair of first-quarter touchdowns against Wake Forrest. However, leading receiver Ryan Whalen reportedly dislocated his left elbow versus the Demon Deacons and isn't expected to suit up Saturday. Irish safety Jamoris Slaughter returns to full-time action after an ankle sprain kept him out against Michigan and all but one snap last week at Michigan State. Tailback Armando Allen's averaging 5.5 yards per carry for the Irish, which aren't getting much production elsewhere. Quarterback Dayne Crist has thrown for 851 yards and seven TDs with two interceptions this season but faces likely the most stingy defensive backs Notre Dame will face the rest of the way. Despite two scores against the Spartans, Irish WR Michael Floyd hasn't looked anything like the catch-everything-near-him star of 2009 and ND desperately needs a big game from him. The Irish have forced just three turnovers (all interceptions) this season and must find a way to snag a couple extra possessions against a Stanford offense has capitalized on all 19 trips to the red zone.
Wes Morgan's prediction: Stanford 38, Notre Dame 31.
Central Michigan (2-1) at Northwestern (3-0) on Saturday
When, where: 11 a.m. at Ryan Field, Evanston, Ill.
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: WYLL-1160 AM
Web: WGNRadio.com, NUSports.com
What you need to know: Central Michigan is probably the best team on the Wildcats' non-conference schedule. The Chippewas easily defeated Hampton and Eastern Michigan and lost 13-10 in overtime to an undefeated Temple team. Quarterback Ryan Radcliff has stepped in to replace the graduated Dan LeFevour and has held his own. Their defense has been solid. Northwestern is coming off another win where quarterback Dan Persa and the defense played well, but the running game struggled. Persa has yet to throw an interception in three games this season. Linebacker Quentin Davie has recorded an interception in his last two games. Northwestern's classes are now in session, so there should be more students at this game.
Scott Powers' prediction: Northwestern 31, Central Michigan 17
Northern Illinois (1-2) at Minnesota (1-2) on Saturday
When, where: 7:30 p.m. at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: WIND-560 AM
What you need to know: Northern Illinois faces its second Big Ten team in as many weeks. The Huskies were in position for an upset at Illinois last week, but fell 28-22 to the Illini. Quarterback Chandler Harnish has been playing well since taking over as the starter in Week 2. He ran for his second consecutive 100-plus-yard game last week. The Gophers have been shaky this season. They were upset by South Dakota two weeks ago at home and then lost last week to USC. Minnesota ranks the worst in the Big Ten in defense.
Powers' prediction: Minnesota 34, Northern Illinois 28
Southern Illinois (1-2) at Youngstown State (2-1) on Saturday
When, where: 3 p.m. at Stambaugh Stadium in Youngstown, Ohio
What you need to know: Southern Illinois let one slip away last week. The Salukis were ahead 21-3 in the second half when Southeast Missouri State rallied all the way back for a 24-21 win. It was the Salukis' first home non-conference since 2002. They'll look to bounce back this week with their first conference game. Southern Illinois has dominated the Missouri Valley Football Conference in the past few years. They hold a 14-game conference winning streak heading into this match up. Youngstown State is coming off a 63-24 win over Central Connecticut State.
Powers' prediction: Southern Illinois 42, Youngstown State 27
Missouri State (1-1) at Illinois State (2-1) on Saturday
When, where: 6 p.m. at Hancock Stadium in Normal, Ill.
TV: Fox College Sports
What you need to know: Illinois State enters the FCS rankings at No. 25 after upsetting South Dakota State last week. Linebacker Austin Davis was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Week after recording 10 tackles and one interception in the win. Missouri State had a bye last week and last played when it lost 48-24 to Kansas State. The Bears did have 447 total yards in the loss.
Powers' prediction: Illinois State 40, Missouri State 35
Jacksonville State (3-0) at Eastern Illinois (0-3) on Saturday
When, where: 1:30 p.m. at O'Brien Field in Charleston, Ill.
What you need to know: Eastern Illinois is off to a 0-3 start after losing 20-10 to Tennessee-Martin last week. The Panthers haven't scored in the second half of their past four games. This week won't get any easier for them. Jacksonville State is ranked No. 4 in the FCS and defeated Ole Miss earlier this season. The Gamecocks have scored 34.7 points a game this year.
Powers' prediction: Jacksonville State 45, Eastern Illinois 14
Indiana State (1-1) at Western Illinois (2-1) on Saturday
When, where: 3 p.m. at Hanson Field in Macomb, Ill.
What you need to know: Western Illinois already has more wins than last season. Senior Matt Barr is a major reason for that. He ran for a school-record 125 yards and threw for 221 yards and three touchdowns in last week's 56-14 win over Sam Houston State. It was the school's 500th career victory. Western Illinois will be looking this week to avenge last year's 17-14 loss to Indiana State. The Sycamore broke their 33-game losing streak with the win.
Powers' prediction: Western Illinois 28, Indiana State 17
Scott Powers breaks down the Week 4 matchups.