Early Season Reports – Big Ten

09/21/2009 § Leave a comment

Illinois

Recap:  Illinois took a week off after their 45-17 thrashing of Illinois State.  The team is in a bit of disarray after losing starting MLB Martez Wilson for the season and hoping QB Juice Williams can recover from an injury that forced him to miss almost the entire game last week.  A disappointing showing in the opener against Missouri has the team in need of a big-time win.

Stats so far:  Illinois sits at 8th in the country with 6.1 yards per rush attempt and 63rd with 7 yards per passing attempt.  Overall, they have averaged 27 points and 436.5 yards on offense in their first two games.  Defensively, the Illini are 26th with just 2.82 yards allowed per rush attempt and 97th with 7.8 yards allowed per pass attempt.  Overall, they have allowed 27 points and 420 yards per game.

Coming up:  Illinois will get several chances to notch that big win in the coming weeks, with a trip to Ohio State followed by visits from Big Ten heavy-hitters Penn State and Michigan State.  Losing all three of those games would put an early end to the season.

Indiana

Recap:  Indiana is off to a hot start following a 17-point road win at Akron, boosting the Hoosiers to 3-0.  QB Ben Chappell has been solid and the running game has evolved through wins over Eastern Kentucky and Western Michigan.

Stats so far: Indiana ranks 62nd with 4 yards per rush attempt and 57th with 7.1 yards per pass attempt.  Overall, they have scored 26.7 points and gained 375.3 yards on average in their first three games.  Defensively, the Hoosiers are 17th with 2.53 yards allowed per rush attempt and 95th with 7.7 yards allowed per pass attempt.  Overall, they have given up 17.7 points and 312.3 yards per game.

Coming up:  Indiana faces a couple of stiff Big Ten tests with a road trip to Michigan and a visit from Ohio State before travelling to Virginia to take on the Cavaliers.  Winning two of those three games would be huge and even one would be enough to keep the momentum rolling.

Iowa

Recap:  After a heart-stopping win over Northern Iowa in week one that saw Iowa block two last-second field goal attempts, the Hawkeyes posted more comfortable wins over Iowa State and Arizona.

Stats so far:  Iowa is 72nd with 3.81 yards per rushing attempt and 76th with 6.6 yards per passing attempt.  Overall, they have averaged 26.3 points and 364.3 yards in their first three games.  Defensively, the Hawkeyes rank 99th with 4.64 yards allowed per rushing attempt and 15th with 5.1 yards allowed per passing attempt.  Overall, they have allowed just 12 points and 303.3 yards per game.

Coming up:  The Hawkeyes will have two night games in the next three weeks, the first when they visit Penn State before hosting Arkansas State.  Michigan comes to town for another night contest the following week.  Winning two of those three games would be a good boost, while all three could catapult Iowa to a Big Ten title.

Michigan

Recap:  Michigan is off to a 3-0 start, including a nice win over Notre Dame.  Blowouts of the MAC’s Eastern and Western Michigan have helped gain Rich Rodriguez a little cushion after last year’s disastrous 3-9 season.

Stats so far:  Michigan sits at 4th with 6.39 yards per rush attempt and 79th with 6.5 yards per pass attempt.  Overall, they have averaged 38 points and 439 yards per game.  Defensively, they are 58th with 3.64 yards allowed per rush attempt and 62nd with 6.6 yards allowed per pass attempt.  Overall, they have given up 19.3 points and 358.7 yards per game.

Coming up:  The Wolverines will host Indiana in a game they’d better not overlook on the way to a two-week road stint at Michigan State and Iowa.  Winning a couple of these games would show Michigan is truly back on track, while losing all three could negate the newly found goodwill among fans.

Michigan State

Recap:  After destroying Montana State in week one, Michigan State has suffered two consecutive close losses to Central Michigan and Notre Dame.  Both games were decided in the final minute of the game and now the Spartans need a pick-me-up to help them over the disappointment.

Stats so far:  Michigan State is 61st with 4.01 yards per rush attempt and 21st with 8.8 yards per pass attempt.  Overall, they have scored 33.7 points and gained 422.7 yards per game.  Defensively, they are 25th with 2.78 yards allowed per rushing attempt and 77th with 7 yards allowed per passing attempt.  Overall, they have allowed 21.7 points and 338.3 yards on average in their first games.

Coming up:  The Spartans travel to Wisconsin and then host in-state rivals Michigan.  A second consecutive win over the Wolverines would help soothe current ills and give the team some momentum heading into a road trip to Illinois.

Minnesota

Recap:  After two close wins over Syracuse and Air Force, the Gophers could not hang on against Cal, despite entering the fourth quarter with the score tied.  2-1 is not a bad start though, and things could be looking up for Minnesota.

Stats so far:  Minnesota is ranked 94th with 3.34 yards per rushing attempt and 72nd with 6.7 yards per passing attempt.  Overall, they have averaged 21.3 points and 319 yards per game.  Defensively, they are 55th with 3.57 yards allowed per rushing attempt and 88th with 7.5 yards allowed per passing attempt.  Overall, they have given up 22.7 points and 352.7 yards per game.

Coming up:  The Gophers will go on the road to take on Northwestern followed by Wisconsin and Purdue.  Winning a couple of these Big Ten contests would get Minnesota off to a good start and put them in position to make a bowl game.

Northwestern

Recap:  After downing Towson and Eastern Michigan to start 2-0, Northwestern fell victim to a last-second Syracuse field goal, keeping them from continuing their hot streak.

Stats so far:  Northwestern is 88th with 3.52 yards per rushing attempt and 10th with 9.4 yards per passing attempt.  Overall, they have scored 36 points and gained 431.3 yards per game.  Defensively, they are 63rd with 3.75 yards allowed per rushing attempt and 77th with 7 yards allowed per passing attempt.  Overall, they have allowed 25 points and 330 yards per game.

Coming up:  The Wildcats have three winnable games on the horizon with a visit from Minnesota followed by a road trip to Purdue then a home stand against Miami University of the MAC.

Ohio State

Recap:  After some offensive woes in a close win over Navy and a heartbreaking loss to USC, Ohio State exploded in a shutout win over Toledo in Cleveland Browns Stadium.  The Buckeyes will be looking to carry this new offensive firepower into Big Ten play.

Stats so far:  Ohio State is 51st with 4.28 yards per rushing attempt and 34th with 8 yards per passing attempt.  Overall, they have averaged 28 points and 383.3 yards in their first three games.  Defensively, they are 43rd with 3.27 yards allowed per rushing attempt and 47th with 6.1 yards allowed per passing attempt.  Overall, they have given up 15 points and 288.3 yards a game.

Coming up:  The Buckeyes should shine in home games against Illinois and Wisconsin, which sandwich a night road trip at Indiana.  Anything short of winning all three of these would be a disappointment.

Penn State

Recap:  Penn State won their first three games in similar fashion, scoring about 30 and giving up about 7 in contests against Akron, Syracuse and Temple.  The road will get a little bumpier as they start Big Ten play.

Stats so far:  Penn State is 68th with 3.96 yards per rushing attempt and 47th with 7.6 yards per passing attempt.  Overall, they have scored 30 points and gained 397.3 yards on average.  Defensively, they are 4th with 1.58 yards allowed per rushing attempt and 41st with 6 yards allowed per passing attempt.  Overall, they have allowed 6.7 points and 212.3 yards per game.

Coming up:  The Nittany Lions will host Iowa then travel to Illinois before welcoming Eastern Illinois to Happy Valley.  Losing any of these three games would be a letdown.

Purdue

Recap:  After beating Toledo 52-31, Purdue lost two close games to Oregon and Northern Illinois.  The Boilermakers will try to regroup against Notre Dame before getting into the meaty middle of their schedule.

Stats so far:  Purdue is 10th with 5.96 yards per rushing attempt and 72nd with 6.7 yards per passing attempt.  Overall, they have averaged 36.3 points and 440.3 yards per game.  Defensively, they are 96th with 4.53 yards allowed per rushing attempt and 62nd with 6.6 yards allowed per passing attempt.  Overall, they have given up 32.3 points and 434.3 yards per game.

Coming up:  Purdue hosts Notre Dame and Northwestern before travelling to Minnesota.  All three are winnable, and after a couple of heartbreakers, the Boilermakers would be happy to come away with two of them.

Wisconsin

Recap:  After winning a close one against Northern Illinois, Wisconsin survived an overtime scare against Fresno State and blew out the overmatched Wofford for a 3-0 start.

Stats so far:  Wisconsin is 31st with 5.03 yards per rushing attempt and 12th with 9.2 yards per passing attempt.  Overall, they have scored 35.3 points and gained 425.3 yards per game.  Defensively, they are 66th with 3.82 yards allowed per rushing attempt and 85th with 7.4 yards allowed per passing attempt.  Overall, they have given up 21.7 points and 333.7 yards per game.

Coming up:  Things heat up for the Badgers as they host Michigan State the go on the road to take on Minnesota and Ohio State.  Wisconsin would love to win two of those three.

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