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B1G Leaders Week 8 Preview: Iowa at OSU, Indiana at Michigan, Wisconsin at Illinois

Another fun weekend of B1G games is in the books, tadalafil and Week 7’s big winner was definitely Penn State.  In a dramatic, click 4OT win that was looking like a loss for the Lions in the last 60 seconds of regulation play against Michigan, QB Christian Hackenberg met his supertarget, wide receiver Allen Robinson to tie it up.  With 27 seconds left, the Wolverines lined up for a game-winning field goal – which their kicker Brendan Gibbons promptly missed.

In the OTs, Gibbons had two more chances to win the game for Michigan but had one field goal blocked and missed another.  Penn State finally won and handed Michigan their first loss of the season when Coach Bill O’Brien went for it in the 4th overtime.  It was an historic win for the ravaged Penn State Nittany Lions. And then they drank punch made of Wolverine tears.

PSU has a bye this weekend, but Ohio State is back to try for a 19-0 winning streak, Indiana – who beat Penn State – will get their chance at beating Michigan after Penn State beat the Wolverines, and Wisconsin will smashmouth-it all over Illinois.  Do your pumpkin-picking Sunday, kids, there’s B1G football on Saturday.

 

11:00 a.m. on ESPN2:  Iowa at #4 Ohio State

Why you should care:   Ohio State has a great running game.  They have the best offensive line in the conference, and that smart, physical line makes it possible for Carlos Hyde, Dontre Wilson, Jordan Hall and QB Braxton Miller himself to make big plays and get in the end zone.  OSU’s rush attack ranks 11th in the nation.

Iowa can stop the run.  They haven’t let a single opponent, not one all season, run it into the end zone.  They are the only team in the country who has not allowed a rushing touchdown.

Something’s gotta give.

The Hawkeyes are holding opponents to 89 rushing yards per game.  The Buckeyes are averaging 281 rush yards per game.  Against Northwestern, Hyde alone had a career-high 168 yards and three touchdowns performance.

But, Iowa’s got the 8th best rush defense in the country.  Yet, Michigan State, a team known for not scoring points when they played Iowa in week 6, managed to score 26 points against the Hawkeyes defense and beat them.  Yep, this will be a big test for both teams and one will prevail.  In the end, my money’s on the Bucks.

The spread?  17 points, in favor of Ohio State.  The last time Iowa won in the Horseshoe?  1991.  

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The biggest question in Buckeye Nation – has Ohio State’s pass defense improved??

Ignore the articles on “the pressure of the streak.”  Ignore the stories on this being “a trap game.”  We all know there are only so many headlines available, and that when you’ve had a perfect record for the last 18 games, they have to come up with something to talk about.

And we especially know what the Bucks are capable of.

 

2:30pm on BTN:  Indiana at Michigan

Why you should care:   The Hoosiers have lost 17 straight games to Michigan. They haven’t won at the Big House since 1967.  But they also hadn’t beaten Penn State in the school’s history, and we know how that changed in week 6.

The M in Michigan is for mediocre this season, and this game is winnable.  It’s all up to Indiana to bring it.

And by bring it, I mean quarterbacks Tre Roberson and Nate Sudfeld should try to pass against the Wolverines because of their weak secondary and they should also use running back Tevin Coleman, who is the key to their running attack and tied for the Big Ten lead in rushing touchdowns.  (How bout that?)

Michigan will use quarterback Devin Gardner’s feet and Gardner will use his new go-to target, Devin Funchess.  But Gardner is a turnover waiting to happen.  He’s great at scoring points for the other team – his 10 interceptions and three fumbles have converted into five touchdowns and two field goals.

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Their kicker, Brendan Gibbons?  Yeah, see the above opening paragraph.  The Wolverines as a power running team?  Eh.  It’s been called “abysmal.”  And if Gardner is off they got nothin’.  Their defensive secondary is inconsistent and vulnerable.  They’ve been getting lucky (they should have lost to Akron & UConn, which is sad in itself) and their luck finally ran out against the Nittany Lions.

Indiana can do this.

 

7:00pm on BTN:  #25 Wisconsin at Illinois 

Why you should care:  I hate to say it, but this one could get ugly for Illinois, and not just because the Badgers held a previously #16 Northwestern who was scoring at least 30 points per game all season to scoring only two field goals, with no points at all in the second half of last week’s game.

No, because the Fighting Illini are pretty bad at defending the run – giving up almost 200 rushing yards per game on average –  and the Badgers are ranked 5th in the nation at the rush attack with 298.2 rushing yards per game.  Wisconsin’s star running back Melvin Gordon – ranked 3rd in the country with 870 yards on the ground – will probably roll up on them like a tank and not be stopped.

Illinois can’t defend the run game.  And Wisconsin owns the run game.

They will get a little help though this weekend with the return of Teko Powell, a 6’3” 290-pound defensive tackle for Illinois who has been out due to injury.  But if the Wisconsin defense of last weekend shows up – the aggressive, blitzing, sacking defense that shut down Northwestern – that’s a whole other problem.

Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase can be effective, they are scoring 36 points per game, and he’s going to need to connect with running back Josh Ferguson, who leads the team in all-purpose yardage for the second straight season.

Of course as in any Badgers game, watch the big man, linebacker Chris Borland, probably the best in the league and according to a piece by ESPN the Kettering, Ohio native is as good of a guy as it gets.  The Badgers also finally benched their inconsistent and inaccurate kicker Kyle French, too.  Though this weekend’s replacement has not been named.

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After suffering a concussion and leaving the Northwestern game in the first half, Badgers star wide receiver Jared Abbrederis is being evaluated and a game time decision may be made on whether he plays or not.

Even with a few key spots to fill for Wisconsin, this could get ugly for our Fightin’ Illini.  Division-on-division violence.

About the author: Kristin Conrad is a college football-loving graduate of Ohio State – she bleeds Scarlet & Gray and considers the Varsity Club hallowed ground. A PR pro who just moved back to Columbus from Manhattan Beach, Chicago and NYC, she’s been happy to find that some of her favorite friends ever are from schools she used to hate and that nothing brings people together like sports does.

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