- Chantel Jennings, ESPN Staff Writer
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If Big Ten football ever decided to have a quiz bowl, we’d be first in line. Also, we’d be first … ain’t nobody got time for that second-place stuff. So, study up.
Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton were listed as co-starters for the Buckeyes’ game against Wisconsin this weekend. Miller has led Ohio State the last three seasons, but in the last two games, Guiton has proved his value … and his efficiency. Since the start of last season, when Miller has been in at quarterback, the Buckeyes have have scored a TD every 16.8 plays. But when Guiton has been in, that number drops to one touchdown every 9.1 plays. Guiton's TD percentage (TD/plays) is 11 percent; Miller’s is almost half that at 6 percent.
So far this season, opponents have averaged 7.6 defenders in the box when Wisconsin executes a run play. In order to offset this, Gary Andersen has employed multiple two-tight end situations in order to give Badgers running backs a chance in one-on-one situations. Sixty-three percent of the time they run, the Badgers have two or more tight ends in, and on those carries Wisconsin has averaged 8.5 yards per carry.
Minnesota has not started a senior on its offensive line this season. However, that’s not keeping the Gophers from getting their run game going. Minnesota comes in at No. 13 in the country for its rushing offense, accounting for 1,129 yards on 197 carries. In the Big Ten, the Gophers still trail Wisconsin and Ohio State for total rushing yardage and yards per rush, but that still isn’t bad for such a young offensive line.
Iowa leads the Big Ten in time of possession this season, averaging 35:48 per game. But holding that ball for that long hasn’t exactly turned in the kind of results the Hawkeyes want. Iowa is seventh in the Big Ten in total offense (443.2 yards per game) and ninth in scoring (35.2 points per game).
Bonus nugget on the Minnesota-Iowa rivalry: Minnesota doesn’t have a single Iowa player on its roster; the Hawkeyes have three Minnesota natives on their roster.
The Illinois offense has made major strides under new offensive coordinator Bill Cubit. The Illini have jumped at least 60 spots nationally from last season’s final rankings in several categories. In total offense, Illinois has gone from 119th to 56th, and their points per game have moved them from 119th (16.67 points per game) at the end of the 2012-13 season to 42nd this season (35 points per game). However, the biggest jump comes in the Illini’s passing offense, moving up 96 spots from 107th last season to 21st this season.
On Saturday, when NIU and Purdue take the field, it will be a first-year coach facing off against another first-year coach. But the Boilermakers are quite accustomed to facing new coaches. In three of their four games this season, Purdue has faced a team under a first-year coach (Indiana State's Mark Sanford, Cincinnati's Tommy Tuberville and Wisconsin's Gary Andersen). The 31 new coaches in the FBS are a combined 48-63 this season.
1dBrian Bennett and Josh Moyer
2dBrian Bennett and Austin Ward