Big Ten Report - Week 13
November 22, 2013
Week 12 watched the favorites go 4-1 straight up and 3-2 against the spread. The lone underdog to win was Michigan, who defeated Northwestern 27-19 in a triple-overtime battle. Despite playing three extra sessions, the combined 46 points fell ‘under’ the closing total of 48 ½ points. The ‘over’ went 3-1 in the other four games.
2013 BIG TEN STANDINGS
Team SU Conference ATS Over/Under
Illinois 3-7 0-6 5-5 6-4
Indiana 4-6 2-4 4-6 8-2
Iowa 6-4 3-3 6-4 6-4
Michigan 7-3 3-3 5-5 5-5
Michigan State 9-1 6-0 6-3-1 4-6
Minnesota 8-2 4-2 7-3 6-4
Nebraska 7-3 4-2 5-5 5-5
Northwestern 4-6 0-6 3-7 3-7
Ohio State 10-0 6-0 6-3-1 7-3
Penn State 6-4 3-3 4-6 6-4
Purdue 1-9 0-6 2-8 5-5
Wisconsin 8-2 5-1 9-0-1 4-5
Ohio State (-34 ½, 81) vs. Indiana (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET)
Ohio State scored 56+ points for the third consecutive week as Urban Meyer's crew continues to try to earn “style points” against porous competition. OSU used an interception return TD and a punt return TD in the 1st half to jump out to a 35-14 first half lead. The Bucks doubled their score in the 2nd half to notch the 60-35 victory. Illinois did cut the deficit to 12-points mid-4th quarter, but OSU was never in serious danger of losing the lead. They ran for 441 yards on 42 carries (10.2 YPC) to make up for a below-average passing day from Braxton Miller (13-of-29 for 150 yards). Defensively this wasn’t OSU’s best performance. Illinois came in to the game averaging 21.2 PPG in Big Ten play, but OSU allowed 420 yards, 24 first downs, and 35 points. OSU will look to add another blowout win to its resume and clinch the Leaders Division title with a win over Indiana on Saturday. The Hoosiers are off of their weakest effort of the season. A normally explosive offense was held in check in terrible weather conditions against a very strong Wisconsin defense. IU came in averaging 527 yards and 43 points per game. The Hoosiers were held to just 224 yards and 3 points against the Badgers. They had two turnovers and were just 3-for-12 on third downs. The defense remains a mess, as Indiana surrendered a record 554 rush yards, including seven gains of 30 yards or more. IU now ranks 124th in total defense and 117th in scoring defense. It will need a miracle against Ohio State on Saturday and another win vs. Purdue next week just to reach bowl eligibility. OSU has won 18 straight over Indiana. IU has covered back-to-back games against OSU including last year’s narrow three-point loss at home. Ohio State is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 games as a 30+ point favorite. IU is 1-4 as an underdog this season.
Wisconsin (-16 ½, 50) at Minnesota (ESPN, 3:30 p.m. ET)
Wisconsin RB James White ran for a 93-yard touchdown on the Badgers’ first offensive play of the game and UW never looked back as it made Indiana look hapless last week. The Badgers racked up 554 rush yards on 11.1 YPC (2nd highest rush total in team history) as three different players rushed for 100 yards for the third time this season. They were able to churn out 27 first downs and control the ball for +16 minutes TOP. The defense was outstanding. It held Indiana’s high-octane offense to just 224 yards, 14 first downs, and 3 points. Wisconsin’s defense has now held six of its 10 opponents to 10 points or fewer and it ranks 6th in total defense and 5th in scoring defense. This week it’s the annual rivalry game against Minnesota, and this edition figures to be a bit closer than recent years. Motivation won’t be lacking for the Gophers this season as Wisconsin comes to town with the Axe on the line for the biggest home game in recent memory. The Gophers have won four straight games and had last week off to prepare for this game. QB Nelson has 7 TD and 0 INT during the four game win-streak while RB Cobb has over 100 rush yards during the streak. Wisconsin’s defense will be the best defense Minnesota has faced to date and they’ll need Nelson and Cobb to step up yet again. The defense has stepped up nicely and the rankings don’t reflect how well it’s playing at the moment. This stop-unit will have its hands full with Wisconsin’s offense that ranks 12th in yards per game and 19th in points per game. Wisconsin has won nine consecutive games against Minnesota, including three straight by 24 points per game. Bonus: The ‘over’ is 9-1 in the last 10 meetings.
Michigan State (-7 ½, 41) at Northwestern (ESPN, 12:00 p.m. ET)
The Spartans are a win -- or a Minnesota loss -- from punching their ticket to Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship game. They’ve now won six straight games after finding themselves in a surprisingly high-scoring game Saturday against Nebraska. The Spartans’ defense uncharacteristically allowed chunks of yards and a few big scoring plays to the Huskers, but were able to force five turnovers and control the clock (+17 minutes TOP) to put Nebraska away. QB Cook was a solid game manager (193 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT) and RB Langford rushed for 151 yards and three scores – his fifth consecutive game with 100+ yards on the ground. Sparty has now scored 40+ points in three of its last five games. They won’t be lacking motivation with a Legends Division title on the line as they travel to Northwestern this weekend. The Wildcats won’t be lacking for motivation either. Northwestern’s nightmare streak continued last week as it looked like they had an upset in hand against Michigan. The Wolves were able to rush the field goal squad on the field and kick a game-tying field goal as time expired to send the game into overtime – where they won. The defense was fantastic all game as it held Michigan without a touchdown during regulation. Unfortunately the offense failed to reach the endzone as well. NW managed just 143 rush yards on 2.9 YPC and QB’s Siemian & Colter failed to stretch the field with just 179 pass yards on 23-of-34 passing. Not only are they eager to snap a six-game losing streak, but another loss would officially eliminate them from bowl eligibility. Of their last four losses, two were by three points and the other two were in overtime. Northwestern won in East Lansing last year to snap a four-game losing streak to the Spartans. MSU had +116 yards and +6 first downs, but turned the ball over four times in the three point home loss. Northwestern is 3-8 ATS in its last 11 games as a home underdog in the Big Ten.
Iowa (-6, 47 ½) vs. Michigan (Big Ten, 12:00 p.m. ET)
Both teams are already bowl eligible, but both are out of the Legends division race. Iowa comes into the game off of a bye week with a chance to close out the season strong with wins over Michigan & Nebraska. It wouldn’t be all that surprising either, considering that Iowa's four losses all have come against ranked opponents (Wisconsin, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Northern Illinois). In their last game, the Hawkeyes racked up 318 rushing yards, including 165 by Jordan Canzeri. The defense limited Purdue to just 266 total yards, 12 first downs, and 14 points. Iowa’s defense has been underrated all season long and ranks 9th in total defense and 12th in scoring defense. They’ll look to continue their strong defensive play against a Michigan offense that has scored just one regulation touchdown the past three weeks. Michigan was one second away from losing its third consecutive game last week against Northwestern. They were very smooth at getting their kicking squad on the field in under 12 seconds before kicking the game-tying field goal as time expired. The Wolves went on to win in overtime and provided some momentum going forward despite another shaky performance from QB Gardner (24-of-43 passing). Defensively Michigan was outstanding as it held Northwestern to just 322 yards and 2.9 YPC. Iowa is 5-4 SU in the last nine meetings with Michigan, including a 3-1 mark at home (9-3-2 ATS run over the Wolves). Michigan is just 3-10 ATS in its last 13 games as a Big Ten underdog on the road.
Penn State (-2, 50) vs. Nebraska (Big Ten, 3:30 p.m. ET)
Penn State has alternated wins and losses since September 7th. The Nittany Lions’ three Big Ten wins have come at home while their three Big Ten losses have come on the road. They won at home against Purdue last week, 45-21. Credit the Lions for not panicking when Purdue cut the lead to seven points after building a 28-7 lead. PSU regrouped and scored the final 17 points to win by 24 points. QB Hackenberg had an efficient day with 212 pass yards on 16-of-23 passing while RB’s Zwinak and Belton combined for 230 rush yards and 4 TD. The defense is still a problem and it did allow more points, 21, to Purdue than any other Big Ten team has allowed to the Boilers (granted one was a special team’s touchdown). They play at home again this weekend for senior night against the Huskers. Nebraska fell victim to the Spartans last week despite a valiant offensive effort against the top defense in the nation. The Huskers put up 392 yards and 28 points (both are most allowed by MSU all season) including three touchdowns of 30 yards or more. The defense also played well (361 yards allowed) but Nebraska lost four fumbles and tossed an interception to finish -5 in the turnover battle. RB Abdullah rushed for over 100 yards for the ninth time this season and Nebraska will try to use him against this PSU “D” that has allowed 172 rush YPG over the past six contests. Nebraska has won the only two meetings as conference foes the past two years (both games were pushes ATS).
Illinois (-6 ½, 56 ½) at Purdue (Big Ten, 12:00 p.m. ET)
It’s not often that you’ll get a team on a 20-game conference losing streak as a conference road favorite, but enter Illinois vs. Purdue. One of these squads will get its first Big Ten victory of the season. Despite long losing streaks, both teams have been playing better as of late. Illinois has scored 35 points apiece in back-to-back losses. Illini QB Scheelhaase has averaged 353 pass YPG over the last three weeks with five TD passes. Meanwhile, Purdue has scored five touchdowns the past two weeks after only notching one the previous three games. Freshman QB Danny Etling (223 pass yards) had a decent day throwing the ball but remains a major work in progress. The good news for both offenses is that they get to face the opposing defense. Illinois ranks 116th in total defense and 110th in scoring defense. Purdue ranks 102nd in total defense and 113th in scoring defense. Purdue is 7-1 SU against Illinois the last eight meetings. That includes a 4-0 mark at home (3-1 ATS) winning by an average of 21 PPG.