Around The Big Ten: Week Three

Austin Fox, Staff Writer
TheWolverine.com

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The Wolverine takes a look around the Big Ten heading into the third week of the college football season.

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Illinois (2-0)

The Fighting Illini travel to Tampa, Fla., to face South Florida on Friday night, looking for their first 3-0 start since 2011, when it opened 6-0 … Illinois has not won a non-conference road game since winning at Syracuse in 2007 … Junior linebacker Del’Shawn Phillips’ 22 tackles this season are tied for the most in the conference … Illinois has lost five of its last six road games, dating back to 2015.

Iowa (2-0)

After their thrilling 44-41 overtime win at Iowa State last week, the Hawkeyes welcome North Texas to Kinnick Stadium … Sophomore quarterback Nathan Stanley’s eight touchdown passes through his first two starts are the most ever for a quarterback in the Kirk Ferentz era (since 1999) … After his five-touchdown, 333-yard performance last week against Iowa State, Stanley was named Co-Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week (he shared the award with Wisconsin freshman running back Jonathan Taylor).

Minnesota (2-0)

After blowing out Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore., last weekend, the Golden Gophers head home to face Middle Tennessee State … Head coach P.J. Fleck has posted a 22-3 record in his last 25 games, with Alabama’s Nick Saban (24-1) and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney (23-2) the only two coaches who have a better record in that span … After last weekend’s win, Fleck officially named fifth-year senior Conor Rhoda as the team’s starting quarterback (he had been in a battle with redshirt sophomore Demry Croft) … Sophomore wide receiver Tyler Johnson leads the Big Ten in receiving yards (268), yards per catch (26.8) and receiving yards per game (134) … Minnesota will debut a yellow helmet featuring a Gopher head on each side Saturday against Middle Tennessee State.

Nebraska (1-1)

The Cornhuskers return home to Lincoln, Neb., to face Northern Illinois after falling in a 42-35 shootout at Oregon last week … The game will mark Nebraska’s first meeting with a Mid-American Conference foe since defeating Western Michigan in the 2008 season opener … The Huskers are currently riding an eight-game home winning streak … Redshirt junior quarterback Tanner Lee’s four interceptions are tied for the most in the conference.

Northwestern (1-1)

The Wildcats host Bowling Green this weekend, hoping to bounce back from a 41-17 loss at Duke last Saturday … Northwestern is just 2-2 in its last four non-conference home games … Redshirt freshman linebacker Paddy Fisher’s 22 tackles are tied for the most in the conference … Last week’s 24-point loss to the Blue Devils was Northwestern’s largest margin of defeat since a 45-6 loss to Tennessee in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1, 2016.

No. 8 Ohio State (1-1, 1-0 Big Ten)

Coming off their 31-16 home loss to then-No. 5 Oklahoma last week, the No. 8 Buckeyes host Army … The 15-point home loss was the largest margin of defeat for Ohio State in Columbus since a 26-point loss to Illinois in 1999 … The Buckeyes’ rush defense ranks 13th nationally (60.5 yards allowed per game), but their pass defense ranks 130th (403.0 yards allowed per game) … Fifth-year senior quarterback J.T. Barrett needs just 679 more yards through the air to become the OSU’s all-time leading passer.

No. 5 Penn State (2-0)

The No. 5 Nittany Lions look to extend their home winning streak to 10 games this Saturday when they take on Georgia State … Junior running back Saquon Barkley’s 260 rushing yards are the third most in the conference, while his 9.2 yards per carry rank second … Fifth-year senior wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton’s 19.8 yards per catch are the fourth most in the Big Ten.

Purdue (1-1)

The Boilermakers travel to Missouri on Saturday for their first matchup against an SEC school since facing Georgia in the 2004 Capital One Bowl … Purdue holds a 6-2 advantage all time against the Tigers, though this will be the two teams’ first meeting since 1980 ... Redshirt junior quarterback David Blough’s 74.4 completion percentage is the best in the Big Ten and ranks 13th in the country … The Boilermakers are looking for their first 2-1 start since 2012.

Rutgers (0-2)

The Scarlet Knights host Football Championship Subdivision foe Morgan State this weekend, looking for their first win of the season … After last week’s 16-13 loss to Eastern Michigan, Rutgers’ losing streak has reached 11 games … The Scarlet Knights held Morgan State to just 109 yards of total offense when the two teams last met in 2008.

No. 10 Wisconsin (2-0)

The No. 10 Badgers hit the road for Provo, Utah, this weekend to face BYU … Head coach Paul Chryst — who has been at the helm in Madison since 2015 — holds an impressive 8-1 record in road games during his Wisconsin tenure … After rushing for 223 yards last week against Florida Atlantic, running back Jonathan Taylor became just the fourth freshman in school history to run for 200 or more yards in a game … Taylor’s average of 155.0 rushing yards per game ranks seventh nationally … Fifth-year senior linebacker Leon Jacobs’ four tackles for loss are the most in the conference.

Schedule

Friday, Sept. 15

— Illinois at No. 22 South Florida, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

Saturday, Sept. 16

Northern Illinois at Nebraska, 12 p.m. (FOX Sports 1)

Air Force at No. 7 Michigan, 12 p.m. (BTN)

— No. 10 Wisconsin at BYU, 3:30 p.m. (ABC)

— North Texas at Iowa, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

— Morgan State at Rutgers, 3:30 p.m. (BTN)

— Middle Tennessee State at Minnesota, 3:30 p.m. (BTN)

— Purdue at Missouri, 4 p.m. (SEC Network)

— Army at No. 8 Ohio State, 4:30 p.m. (FOX)

— Georgia State at No. 5 Penn State, 7:30 p.m. (BTN)

— Bowling Green at Northwestern, 7:30 p.m. (BTN)

Bye: Michigan State, Maryland

Canceled: Florida International at Indiana

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