- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Some quick thoughts as the four early games have reached halftime.
Iowa-Northwestern: The Wildcats once again are off to a strong start, but can they preserve a lead against a favored opponent? Northwestern should be up more than 7-3, but has to be pleased with its defense, which hasn't allowed a third-down conversion. Quarterback Dan Persa has been outstanding once again, completing 11 of 12 passes, but only one Northwestern drive has resulted in points. Ricky Stanzi has been held in check so far.
Indiana-Wisconsin: After an evenly matched first 20 minutes, Wisconsin has taken control in a big way and leads 38-10. Montee Ball continues to provide a lift for the Badgers and already has eclipsed his career high in rushing. Scott Tolzien got hot late in the half, and he's getting all the help he needs form Ball and James White, filling in for the injured John Clay. Indiana really needs to find way to stretch the field more in the second half. Ben Chappell's injury really stings.
Michigan-Purdue: Very bizarre game in West Lafayette so far. Michigan should have a comfortable lead, but turnovers are keeping Purdue in the game. Denard Robinson's pick-six really stung because the Wolverines were set to build on a 14-3 lead. The Wolverines have committed three first-half turnovers to go along with five last week against Illinois. Not good. Purdue keeps piecing things together at quarterback and is really struggling to throw the ball, but the Boilers are hanging around, thanks to Michigan. Wolverines lead 14-13.
Minnesota-Illinois: Wow. This is the shocker of the day around the Big Ten. Minnesota has scored 17 unanswered points to take a 17-7 edge at the half against an extremely uninspired Illinois team. The Gophers have dominated time of possession, their formula early this season, and have received strong play from quarterback Adam Weber. Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, meanwhile, is really struggling after three strong performances. The Illini have to get this thing turned around in the second half.
3dDan Murphy and Austin Ward
4dDavid M. Hale