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Saturday, September 25, 2010
Halftime reports from around Big Ten

By Adam Rittenberg

Most Big Ten teams are taking care of business today, with one notable exception (Purdue).

Here are some quick thoughts at halftime around the league:

Bowling Green-Michigan: Denard Robinson was off to another brilliant start before suffering an apparent left knee injury near the sideline in the first quarter. Robinson's injury doesn't appear to be too severe, but backups Devin Gardner and Tate Forcier likely will lead the offense the rest of the way. Forcier got his first action of the season late in the first half and led Michigan on an impressive 69-yard touchdown drive, going 6-for-6 on his pass attempts. Gardner also has a touchdown pass, and receiver Roy Roundtree continues to look impressive. The Michigan defense still seems shaky, allowing an explosion play midway through the second quarter.

Toledo-Purdue: You have to feel for Danny Hope. The Purdue coach has lost his best running back (Ralph Bolden), his best receiver (Keith Smith) and now his best quarterback (Robert Marve) to injury. Marve suffered a knee injury in the first quarter and isn't expected to return. Backup Rob Henry is running the ball well, but he still looks shaky as a passer. Toledo is passing the ball extremely well and could be on its way to a shocking blowout victory. This isn't the same Rockets team I saw against Arizona in the season opener, but this isn't the same Purdue team, either.

Austin Peay-Wisconsin: This one's over, Guvna. Wisconsin is just toying with Austin Peay today, as quarterback Scott Tolzien has been nearly perfect (13-for-14 passing, 196 yards, 2 TDs) and freshman running back James White continues to impress with two touchdown runs, including a 66-yarder. As expected, Austin Peay looks totally overmatched against the Badgers' offensive line, and Wisconsin has dominated every offensive category so far. You'll see a lot of the second and third string after halftime.

Ball State-Iowa: Adam Robinson might be Iowa's only healthy proven running back, but he's a pretty good one. The sophomore already has eclipsed 100 rushing yards. I wouldn't expect Iowa to keep feeding Robinson as much in the second half, especially as Ricky Stanzi continues to throw the ball well. Tight end Allen Reisner is having another big day, and the Hawkeyes defense has rebounded nicely from the Arizona loss by shutting down the Ball State offense and forcing two turnovers.

Central Michigan-Northwestern: Very bizarre game so far in Evanston. There have been a ton of flags, two blocked PAT attempts, three turnovers and some decent ball movement by both teams. Northwestern appeared poised to take a two-score lead midway through the second quarter, but quarterback Dan Persa made his first mistake of the season, throwing an interception in the red zone. Persa's pick turned the game and Central Michigan mounted an impressive drive to tie the game. Northwestern linebacker Quentin Davie and defensive tackle Jack DiNardo both are playing well so far, but it's been too sloppy for the Wildcats with all the penalties.

Northern Colorado-Michigan State: The Spartans honored ailing Mark Dantonio by wearing a "D" on their helmets, and so far they're making the coach proud. Quarterback Kirk Cousins is dissecting the Bears defense so far, completing 12 of 15 passes for 235 yards and two passing touchdowns. After three plus years with no interceptions, Michigan State star linebacker Greg Jones already has two in the first half. The run game has been decent so far, but Michigan State really seems to be emphasizing the pass game.