- Chantel Jennings, ESPN Staff Writer
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We do Big Ten football facts like Bill Nye does science (minus the bow tie). Here’s your weekly dose of Big Ten nuggets:
When Ohio State travels to Berkley this weekend, it’ll mark the first nonconference road game for the Buckeyes under Urban Meyer. However, it bodes well for the Buckeyes that they’ll be on the road against the Pac-12. Ohio State holds a 57-26-2 record against teams that are current members of the Pac-12. And the Buckeyes are at least .500 against each of those teams, except Stanford and USC. Against the Golden Bears, the Buckeyes hold a 6-1 advantage.
Michigan welcomes MAC-tion team Akron to Michigan Stadium this weekend. The two teams have never met and Akron becomes the 145th different opponent in the 134 years of Michigan football history. However, the Wolverines are 32-1 against teams out of the MAC and put away Central Michigan, 59-9, already this season.
With seven picks this season, the Northwestern defense is tied with Tennessee for most interceptions this season. Stretching over the past five games -- reaching into last season -- the Wildcats have recorded 16 interceptions. And in two of the last three games (vs. Syracuse and Mississippi State), Northwestern has recorded at least one interception per level of defense -- D-line, linebackers and secondary.
In two games this season, opponents facing Wisconsin have accrued 25 offensive drives but only four of those have crossed midfield. And of those four drives that successfully got into offensive territory, zero got to the red zone. Instead, they resulted in an interception, a turnover on downs, a punt and a missed field goal. Arizona State will test the Badger defense on Saturday as the Sun Devils put up 55 points and 523 points in their season opening win over Sacramento State.
Last season in the Nebraska-UCLA matchup (which the Bruins won, 36-30), quarterback Taylor Martinez rushed for a 92-yard touchdown -- the longest rush ever recorded by a Big Ten quarterback. This season, in all of college football, the longest QB rush is 79 yards, set by Arkansas State quarterback Fredi Knighten against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
This weekend, when Penn State and UCF take the field, a few of the handshakes will be a bit more familiar than usual. Penn State coach Bill O’Brien was a member of UCF coach George O’Leary’s Georgia Tech staff from 1995-2001. Penn State assistant coach/WR coach Stan Hixon and O-line coach Mac McWhorter also coached at UCF during that time.
Through two games this year, the Golden Gophers are the least penalized team in the Big Ten. How’s that for Minnesota Nice? They’ve accumulated five total penalties (42 yards). The most penalized team so far this season is Ohio State, which has racked up 17 penalties for 169 yards this season.
Michigan State’s foe this weekend -- Youngstown State -- has been quite the Big Ten proving grounds. MSU coach Mark Dantonio coached there under former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel from 1986-90. And current Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi played at Youngstown State in 1985 for his father, Bill Narduzzi.
Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase has six passing touchdowns this season. That total in just two games is more than 102 of 123 FBS teams. His 728 passing yards is more than 116 of the 123 FBS have accounted for. There’s no “I” in team, but there are three in Illinois.
Indiana has scored 108 points in its first two games, setting an IU football record for the most points scored in consecutive games. The previous total was 106 points, set in 1945. With that offensive pace they’ve cracked into the nation’s top offensive teams: 10 passing touchdowns (first), 54 points per game (eighth), 341 yards per game (13th) and 556.5 yards of total offense (16th).
Saturday’s game will mark the 61st time that Iowa and Iowa State have faced off since the rivalry began in 1894. Iowa holds the advantage, 39-21, including winning 21 of the last 30 matchups.
Purdue and Notre Dame have faced off 84 times before and Purdue coaches haven’t fared well in their first meetings with the Fighting Irish. Freshman Boilermaker coaches are just 6-16-2 in their first matchups with Notre Dame. The last Purdue coach to win his first game against the Irish was Joe Tiller (1997).