Big Ten picks: Week 9

October, 29, 2009
10/29/09
9:02
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Seven FBS teams continue their quest for perfection on Halloween. After going 5-0 last week, so do I.

Iowa 23, Indiana 10: This is the week the Hawkeyes finally create some distance between themselves and their opponent. Iowa struggles to get the run game going without Adam Robinson, but quarterback Ricky Stanzi and wideout Marvin McNutt connect for two touchdowns. Indiana's talented wide receivers struggle to find openings in the Hawkeyes' secondary as No. 4 Iowa improves to 9-0.

Ohio State 38, New Mexico State 3: A lot of folks are calling for a shutout, and it could happen as the nation's worst offense faces the seventh-ranked scoring defense. The Aggies somehow get a field goal but Ohio State rolls as quarterback Terrelle Pryor once again runs for 100 yards and DeVier Posey catches another touchdown from his good friend. One of Ohio State's running backs also emerges in this one.

Wisconsin 24, Purdue 21: This is a very tough call, and if the game were played in West Lafayette, I'd probably go with the streaking Boilers. Big Ten teams struggled coming off of bye weeks last year, and Wisconsin will start slow before its aggressive defense forces some Purdue miscues. Running back John Clay turns in a nice performance, and quarterback Scott Tolzien limits mistakes.

Michigan 33, Illinois 24: One team looked like a mess last week; the other team has been a mess all season. I could see Illinois keeping this close for a while, but the Illini are so bad at defending the run and Michigan will capitalize with Denard Robinson, Carlos Brown, Tate Forcier and maybe Brandon Minor (if healthy). The Wolverines rarely pass the ball and pull away in the fourth quarter.

Penn State 28, Northwestern 14: This could be a trap game for Penn State, sandwiched between Michigan and Ohio State, but too many matchups favor the Nittany Lions. Quarterback Daryll Clark takes advantage of a banged-up Wildcats secondary and wideout Derek Moye has a big game. Mike Kafka makes some plays for Northwestern, but an underperforming offensive line can't contain Penn State for 60 minutes.

Michigan State 21, Minnesota 13: No Eric Decker plus an improving Michigan State defense equals problems for Minnesota. The Gophers defense will keep this one close, but Kirk Cousins and Blair White connect for a fourth-quarter touchdown as Michigan State bounces back from a heartbreaking loss to Iowa. We'll see a decent amount of MarQueis Gray from Minnesota, but linebacker Greg Jones keeps him in check.

Week 8 record: 5-0

Season record: 45-17 (.726)

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