Notes and nuggets from around the Big Ten that will make you smarter heading to the stadium on Saturday.
Thanks to the fine folks at ESPN Stats & Information for several of these ...
Terrelle Pryor is dangerous on third down because of his ability to tuck the football and run with it. Pryor finished with 366 rushing yards on third down in 2009, second most in the FBS, and had 16 rushes of 10 or more yards, the highest total in the FBS on third down.
Last season, Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson completed only 8 of 18 passes inside the pocket against BCS opponents with no touchdowns and two interceptions. He went 14-for-14 on attempts inside the pocket with a touchdown last week against Connecticut.
Robinson broke loose for 197 rushing yards and 186 passing yards against Connecticut, marking just the second time in Big Ten history a signal caller surpassed 180 yards in both rushing and passing in a single game. Indiana’s Antwaan Randle El is the only other player to accomplish that feat, compiling 210 rushing yards and 263 passing yards against Minnesota on Oct. 21, 2000.
Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan forced another fumble at Notre Dame and now has 10 forced fumbles in his career, moving into a tie for fourth place in Big Ten history.
Wisconsin senior David Gilreath returned two kickoff s for 43 yards at UNLV to boost his Big Ten career record of kickoff returns to 110, while increasing his career yardage total to 2,409, just 167 yards away from passing Michigan State’s Derrick Mason (2,575 yards from 1993-96) for the top spot.
Iowa State hasn't scored a touchdown against Iowa since the second quarter of their 2006 meeting. That's a span of fourteen quarters over three and a half games. Since that touchdown, the Cyclones have managed eight field goals and one safety against the Hawkeyes –- a total of 26 points.
The Ford Field game Saturday marks the first time Michigan State has played a football game in downtown Detroit since Oct. 27, 1944, when coach Charlie Bachman led the Spartans to a 32-0 victory over Wayne State in a contest played at University of Detroit Stadium.
Penn State has not allowed a touchdown in its three previous trips to Tuscaloosa. The Nittany Lions won 9-0 in 1990, 23-3 in 1986 and lost 6-0 in 1984. If you include Penn State's trip to Birmingham in 1988 -- an 8-3 win for the Tide -- Alabama has been held without a touchdown in its last four home games against Penn State. The Nittany Lions have managed only two touchdowns in those four games, both in the 1986 win. The combined scoring of the two teams in PSU’s last four visits to Alabama: 12 FG, 2 TD, 1 safety.
Before last Thursday's win at Middle Tennessee, Minnesota hadn't held the ball for more than 40 minutes since Sept. 29, 2001, when it recorded 42:46 of possession in a 35-28 loss to Purdue. Minnesota has only had three outings with 40 minutes of possession since 1983. Gophers records prior to 1983 do not include time of possession.
Penn State quarterback Rob Bolden tries to make history again Saturday night. Since the NCAA restored freshman eligibility in 1972, no true freshman quarterback has beaten a No. 1-ranked team on its home field. In fact, no redshirt freshman has done it either.
This is the third time in the last four seasons that neither Michigan nor Notre Dame is ranked heading into their showdown. Prior to that, the last time they played and neither team was ranked came in 1909, an era before national polls.
Illinois is 11-0 all-time against the other public universities in the state. The Illini are 3-0 against Northern Illinois and Illinois State, 2-0 against Eastern Illinois and Southern Illinois and 1-0 against Western Illinois. The combined score of those meetings is 448-165 in favor of the Illini, and all but one of those 11 meetings have come since 1985 (Illinois played ISU in 1944).
Wisconsin has won 25 consecutive regular-season games against nonconference opponents. Its last loss came at home to UNLV on Sept. 13, 2003.
Northwestern is 25-7 in its last 32 games decided by seven points or fewer. Northwestern won four road games in 2008, all of them by seven points or less. In 2009, Northwestern went 6-2 in games decided by seven points or fewer. Under current head coach Pat Fitzgerald, the Wildcats are 15-6 in games decided by seven points or fewer.