Week 6 college football preview
No. 24 Northwestern (5-0) at Penn State (3-2)
When, where:11 a.m. Saturday at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pa.
TV:ESPN Radio: WGN-720 AM
What you need to know: Northwestern faces it greatest test of the season this week. Penn State isn’t the Penn State of old, but the Wildcats likely will have their hands full at Beaver Stadium. History isn’t on Northwestern’s side. The Wildcats are 1-6 at Penn State and haven’t gone 6-0 to start a season since 1962, which also happens to be the last time Northwestern was ranked No. 1 in the country. If Northwestern can get its offense rolling again this week, you have to like its odds against Penn State. The Nittany Lions haven’t allowed more than 24 points in a game this season and have allowed a total of 27 points in their last three games. Northwestern has scored 35-plus points in three of their five games. The Wildcats’ offense was especially dynamic last week in a 44-29 win over Indiana. Northwestern running back Venric Mark and quarterback/wide receiver Kain Colter have been two of the most exciting players to watch in the Big Ten this season.
Scott Powers' prediction: Northwestern 31, Penn State 28
Illinois (2-3) at Wisconsin (3-2)
When, where: 11 a.m. Saturday at Camp Randall in Madison, Wis.
TV: ABC/ESPN2 Radio: WIND-560 AM
What you need to know: Illinois’ season is already on the verge of coming off the tracks. The Illini followed a 52-24 home loss to Louisiana Tech with a 35-7 home loss to Penn State. The Illini’s offense and defense have equally struggled. The offense has committed nine turnovers in the past two weeks. The defense has allowed 42 first-half points during that span. It likely isn’t going to get any easier at Wisconsin. The Badgers will be a motivated bunch after relinquishing a 27-10 lead and falling to Nebraska 30-27 last week.
Powers' prediction: Wisconsin 38, Illinois 17
Northern Illinois (4-1) at Ball State (3-2)
When, where: 2 p.m. Saturday at Scheumann Stadium in Muncie, Ind.
TV: None Radio: WSCR-670 AM
What you need to know: Northern Illinois is on a four-game winning streak after falling to Iowa in the opening week. The Huskies’ offense has been on a roll in recent weeks. Northern Illinois put up 55 points against Central Michigan last week. Central Michigan was the only team to beat the Huskies in the MAC last season. The Huskies have won 16 of their last 17 conference games. Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch leads the nation in quarterback rushing yards with 582 and is eighth among all rushers. Northern Illinois edged Ball State 41-38 with a last-second field goal last season. Ball State lost to Kent State last week.
Powers' prediction: Northern Illinois 45, Ball State 31
TOP 25 SCOREBOARD
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35