Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Rivals meet in ‘The Big Game’

Ohio St. at Michigan

Time: Noon

Place: Ann Arbor, Mich.

Line: Michigan by 9 1/2

TV: ABC

Records: Ohio State (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten), Michigan (8-2, 6-1)

What’s at stake: Michigan is looking for its third straight win in one of college football’s greatest rivalries. The Wolverines can clinch at least a share of the Big Ten title and a Fiesta Bowl berth with a win.

Overview: For the 97th time, Ohio State and Michigan will square off. The historic series began in 1897, and Michigan holds the edge with a 55-35-6 record. Defense might be the key this weekend. The Wolverines boast the seventh best rush defense in the nation, while the Buckeyes are second in the Big Ten in pass defense. Ohio State’s secondary is led by safety Mike Doss and cornerback Derek Ross, who leads the league with seven interceptions. The Michigan defense is led by linebacker Larry Foote, whose 24 tackles for a loss are tops in the Big Ten. Both teams have shaky quarterback situations. Michigan’s John Navarre hasn’t been on target since the Wolverines’ loss to Michigan State on Nov. 3, while the Buckeyes might again be without starter Steve Bellisari, who was arrested last week on drunk-driving charges.

Penn St. at Mich. St.

Time: 2:30 p.m.

Place: East Lansing, Mich.

Line: Michigan State by 3

TV: ESPN

Records: Penn State (4-5, 3-4), Michigan State (5-4, 3-4)

What’s at stake: Penn State once again finds itself in a must-win situation if it wants to become bowl eligible, while Michigan State remains one game shy of postseason eligibility.

Overview: Coming off a loss to Purdue, Michigan State will be looking to regroup, but may once again be without starting quarterback Jeff Smoker, who sat out last weekend’s game with a sprained left shoulder. Freshman Damon Dowdell filled in and completed 24 of 45 passes for 306 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. The Nittany Lions will be led by senior quarterback Matt Senneca, who filled in for injured freshman Zack Mills in last weekend’s win over Indiana.

Purdue at Indiana

Time: 11:10 a.m.

Place: Bloomington, Ind.

Line: Indiana by 1

TV: None

Records: Purdue (6-3, 4-3), Indiana (3-6, 3-4)

What’s at stake: While a bowl game isn’t in Indiana’s future, Hoosiers quarterback Antwaan Randle El will get a chance to pad his stats and move into contention for postseason awards.

Overview: After struggling offensively for much of the year, Purdue will seek redemption against the Big Ten’s second-worst pass defense. On the other sideline, Indiana’s Randle El, who has recently become the leading rushing quarterback in college football history, leads Big Ten quarterbacks with 855 rushing yards this season. He’s also third in total offense. Purdue, which boasts the second-best rush defense in the conference, will have its hands full against the league’s No. 1 rusher, Levron Williams.

Wisconsin at Minn.

Time: 11:10 a.m.

Place: Minneapolis.

Line: Wisconsin by 3

TV: ESPN2

Records: Wisconsin (5-6, 3-4), Minnesota (3-7, 1-6)

What’s at stake: Wisconsin is looking to finish the season .500, while Minnesota is just trying to eke out a second Big Ten victory.

Overview: While neither Minnesota nor Wisconsin is headed to a bowl game, Saturday’s matchup will be one final chance for Badgers wideout Lee Evans to solidify his national receiving yardage lead. Evans leads the nation with 1,394 receiving yards. It also will give Wisconsin freshman tailback Anthony Davis a chance to close out the season in style against Minnesota’s young defense.

Iowa at Iowa St.

Time: 11:35 a.m.

Place: Ames, Iowa

Line: Iowa by 3 1/2

TV: FOX Sports

Records: Iowa (6-4, 4-4), Iowa State (6-4)

What’s at stake: Both squads are looking to solidify a bowl spot.

Overview: Iowa will get one final chance to impress the bowl selectors. It may also be one last tryout to claim the Hawkeyes’ starting quarterback job, which has been shared by senior Kyle McCann and junior transfer Brad Banks during the past three weeks. They each had touchdown passes last weekend, and Banks has shown agility and a strong throwing arm.

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Rivals meet in ‘The Big Game’