Penn State-Notre Dame, Michigan-Oregon among big clashes
Notre Dame prevailed in last year's renewal of the Penn State-Notre Dame series.
Sept. 7, 2007
Western Illinois (1-0) at ILLINOIS (0-1)
Memorial Stadium, Champaign, Ill.
6 p.m. CDT- Big Ten Network
LAST TIME OUT
Missouri def. ILLINOIS, 40-34; Western Illinois def. South Dakota State, 29-26 (4OT)
Overall: First Meeting
The Fighting Illini are 6-0 against teams from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision.
Despite leading the Big Ten in rushing last year, the Illini have surged to the top of the passing charts in the conference. Last week against Missouri, the Illini passed for 316 yards combining the quarterback numbers of Juice Williams (59) and Eddie McGee (257). It was the first 300-yard passing performance for an Illini team since the squad put up 430 yards on California on Sept. 20, 2003.
With his 20-tackle performance against Missouri, Senior J Leman is ranked No. 1 in the nation in tackles per game. Leman is nine tackles ahead of his closest defender in the Big Ten and has put together two straight 20-tackle games. He recorded 22 in the season finale against Northwestern last year.
Illinois senior safety Justin Sanders recorded his first two forced fumbles of his career last week against Missouri, both of which resulted in Illinois touchdowns by the offense.
Saturday's game will only mark the third time in Western Illinois' history that it has played a Big Ten school. The Leathernecks are coming off the longest game in school history, a 4OT win over South Dakota State.
IN HIS OWN WORDS "I reiterated, very strongly, to our football team last night that the guys that have been around here for a while need to start playing like they've been around here for a while. We are not going to accept anything but their best." - Illinois head coach Ron Zook
INDIANA (1-0) at Western Michigan (0-1)
Waldo Stadium, Kalamazoo, Mich.
8 p.m. EDT- ESPNU - XM Radio 193
LAST TIME OUT
INDIANA def. Indiana State, 55-7; West Virginia def. Western Michigan, 62-24
Overall: Indiana, 3-0
Last Time Out: 2006 - Indiana, 39-20
Noteworthy: Indiana and Western Michigan are meeting for the fourth time, but for the first occasion in Kalamazoo. The Hoosiers also captured wins over the Broncos in 1998 (45-30) and 1995 (24-10).
Indiana has won its last 17 meetings against MAC opponents, three of which have come on the road.
The Hoosiers are coming off their largest season-opening win (55-7 over Indiana State) since 1944.
IU quarterback Kellen Lewis threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns, while also running for 59 yards and a score. James Hardy caught three balls for 153 yards and a pair of 50-plus-yard touchdowns.
Indiana's defense allowed Indiana State 176 yards of offense and just 38 rushing yards, while WMU recorded just 32 rushing yards and 245 total yards last week against West Virginia.
The Broncos, who finished last year 8-5, return 15 starters from last year including junior wideout threat Jamarko Simmons. Last week, Simmons hauled in 144 yards on 14 receptions and scored twice.
IN HIS OWN WORDS "I spent a lot of years coaching in the Mid-American Conference, as has our staff since most of them played in it. We know that, to go to Western Michigan, they have had this one circled for a long time. I believe we will be the first Big Ten school to go into Kalamazoo. We just know that those universities and communities, especially the ones that sit in the middle of Big Ten country ... it's going to be a hornets' nest." - Indiana head coach Bill Lynch
Syracuse (0-1) at IOWA (1-0)
Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa
7 p.m. CDT- Big Ten Network
LAST TIME OUT
IOWA def. Northern Illinois, 16-3; Washington def. Syracuse, 42-12
Overall: Iowa, 2-1
Last Time Out: 2006 - Iowa, 20-13 (2OT)
Noteworthy: Prior to last year's meeting, the two teams met in back-to-back years in the 1970s with Syracuse winning the first meeting at home, 10-7, in 1975, while Iowa took the rematch, 41-3, in Iowa City in 1976.
Kirk Ferentz will be coaching in his 100th game as Iowa's head coach Saturday.
Iowa enters the game plus-3 in turnover margin, having intercepted Northern Illinois three times last Saturday.
Iowa rushed for 250 yards last week against Northern Illinois, while Syracuse's defense yielded 302 yards on the ground in its home loss to Washington.
In his second career start under center, sophomore Jake Christensen completed 12-of-29 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown. He completed passes to six different receivers.
Syracuse also boasts a young quarterback as Orange sophomore Andrew Robinson will make only his second career start against the Hawkeyes, having completed 20-of-32 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown in his first collegiate game.
IN HIS OWN WORDS "This is a big week for everybody in college football. I think this is a big month. We really need to make a lot of strides the next few weeks if we're going to have a chance to be a good football team." - Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz
Oregon (1-0) at MICHIGAN (0-1)
Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Mich.
3:30 p.m. EDT- ABC - Sirius Radio 125
LAST TIME OUT
Appalachian State def. MICHIGAN, 34-32; Oregon def. Houston, 48-27
Overall: Michigan, 3-1
Last Time Out: 2003 - Oregon, 31-27
Noteworthy: U-M won all three previous matchups at Michigan Stadium and suffered its only loss in the series, 31-27, at Autzen Stadium during the 2003 season. In three games played in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines outscored the Ducks by a 59-0 margin.
Michigan senior quarterback Chad Henne needs two touchdown passes to set the Wolverines' career record held by John Navarre (72, 2000-03).
Senior running back Mike Hart, the nation's active career rushing leader, needs 133 yards to reach 4,000 in his career. Last weekend against Appalachian State, Hart rushed for 188 yards on 23 carries.
Michigan senior captain Shawn Crable collected a career-best 10 tackles, three TFLs and 1.5 sacks in the opener last week.
In Oregon's win over Houston, the Ducks totaled 339 yards rushing, 473 yards of total offense and six offensive touchdowns. However, Oregon only attempted 15 passes with nine completions, marking the fewest since Nov. 12, 2002 at UCLA (14-of-19, 202 yards).
Last week the Ducks dominated on defense with four takeaways (2 INT, 2 FR) against zero giveaways in the opener. Senior free safety Matthew Harper led the Ducks with 15 tackles.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
"I think any time you're coming off a great emotional win or a big disappointment, you've got a challenge as a team. The highs and lows; sometimes it's hard to come down from a high, and certainly it is difficult to bounce back from a low. But that comes back to the character of your team. There's no question that our team faces a difficult week from the standpoint of being able to put a disappointment behind us. And yet, that's really one of the great tests of athletics. You find out if you can handle success and then you have to find out if you can handle disappointment." - Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr
Bowling Green (1-0) at MICHIGAN STATE (1-0)
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Mich.
Noon EDT- Big Ten Network - XM Radio 196
LAST TIME OUT
MICHIGAN STATE def. UAB, 55-18; Bowling Green def. Minnesota, 32-31 (OT)
Overall: Michigan State, 1-0
Last Time Out: 1981 - Michigan State, 10-7
Noteworthy: The lone meeting between the two teams in 1981 was also held in East Lansing, Mich.
Last week Michigan State stormed out of the gates early, tallying 45 points in the first half - the most scored in the first session since MSU racked up 42 against Indiana in 2002 and Notre Dame in 1998. The Spartans scored on their first six possessions of the game, all touchdowns, and racked up 438 yards of offense in the half.
MSU running back Jehuu Caulcrick scored the team's first three touchdowns last Saturday en route to a career-high four TDs and 93 yards on 10 caries.
Junior quarterback Brian Hoyer completed his first 10 passes and finished the game 14-of-17 for 201 yards - his third consecutive 200-yard passing game. All totaled, Michigan State recorded 594 yards of offense, which currently ranks sixth in the nation.
The 412 yards through the air last week at Minnesota, combined with the 100 yards on the ground gave the Falcons the 20th-best offensive output in the nation in the opening weekend of college football. The Falcons also lead the MAC in total offense.
In the win against Minnesota last Saturday, BGSU sophomore quarterback Tyler Sheehan went 34-of-51 for 388 yards in his first start, including two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also caught one pass for 24 yards and a touchdown, earning himself the Mid-American Conference East Division Offensive Player of the Week.
IN HIS OWN WORDS "I think that the demeanor of our players right now is a positive one, but it's the first game out of the blocks, and as I've said to them many times, I guess we want to be mentioned at the end of the season, not the beginning." - Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio
Miami (Ohio) (1-0) at MINNESOTA (0-1)
HHH Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minn.
11 a.m. CDT- Big Ten Network - XM Radio 197
Noteworthy: The lone previous meeting between the two teams occurred on Sept. 17, 1988, at the Metrodome. Darrell Thompson ran for 179 yards and a touchdown and passed for another score as the Golden Gophers rolled to a 35-3 victory in their second game of the season.
Minnesota has not lost two in a row to start a season since 1992 and have rebounded with a victory four straight times after dropping a season opener - 1993, 1994, 1997 and 2001.
After getting out to slow start against Bowling Green, Minnesota dominated the second half, especially on the ground. Senior running back Amir Pinnix recorded 110 of his 168 yards and scored three touchdowns - two rushing and one receiving - after halftime.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Adam Weber enters his second game on the heels of 260 yards of total offense against Bowling Green. Weber, the first freshman to start at quarterback for Minnesota since 2000, hooked up with seven different receivers last week.
Miami senior running back Brandon Murphy, who struggled with an ankle injury throughout 2006 but rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2005, scored twice and scampered for his sixth career game of 100 or more yards on the ground last week.
Miami (Ohio), a 14-13 winner at Ball State last week, has opened with back-to-back wins just once in the last eight seasons (2000).
IN HIS OWN WORDS "(Miami) play with great passion and energy on defense. I think we've got our work cut out for us. Its more about us than anything else." - Minnesota head coach Tim Brewster
Nevada (0-1) at NORTHWESTERN (1-0)
Ryan Field, Evanston, Ill.
11 a.m. CDT- Big Ten Network - XM Radio 198
Noteworthy: Northwestern suffered a season-high-tying five turnovers in the loss last year in Reno -- three interceptions and two fumbles. Quarterback Mike Kafka, who suffered a leg injury late in this game, ran for a career-high 111 yards.
Last Saturday, Northwestern pitched its first shutout in 10 years, winning 27-0 over the Huskies of Northeastern. The Wildcats' last blanking was a 24-0 victory over Oklahoma on Aug. 23, 1997.
Last week NU totaled 417 yards on offense and did not commit a turnover. The defense, which allowed just 81 second-half yards and 260 yards overall, never let the Huskies inside the red zone.
Northwestern carries a string of six scoreless quarters (four against Northeastern, last two vs. Illinois in 2006) by its defense into Saturday's game against Nevada.
Coming off back-to-back bowl appearances the past two years, Nevada was led defensively last Saturday by linebacker Joshua Mauga, cornerback Jonathon Amaya and linebacker Kevin Porter. The trio recorded double-digit tackle totals against Nebraska with 13, 12 and 10 hits, respectively.
Nevada's top two returning running backs, Luke Lippincott and Brandon Fragger, were held to a combined 11 rushing yards (on 11 carries) by the Cornhuskers.
IN HIS OWN WORDS "We are hungry, we understand the opponent we have coming in here this week, especially with them coming off back-to-back bowl years. To start the year the way they did against Nebraska, I know they will be excited to come in here and play us also." - Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald
Akron (1-0) at OHIO STATE (1-0)
Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Noon EDT- Big Ten Network - Sirius Radio 140
LAST TIME OUT
OHIO STATE def. Youngstown State, 38-6; Akron def. Army, 22-14
Overall: Ohio State, 5-1
Last Time Out: 2001 - Ohio State, 28-14
Noteworthy: The Buckeyes and Zips met five-consecutive seasons from 1891 to 1895 before meeting again in Jim Tressel's first game as Ohio State head coach Sept. 8, 2001.
The Akron contest will be the 499th Buckeye game all-time at Ohio Stadium.
Quarterback Todd Boeckman, a junior making his first start last Saturday, completed 17-of-23 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns and led the offense to 417 total yards.
Junior Brian Robiskie finished Saturday with a career-best nine catches for 153 yards, which was most receiving yardage by a Buckeye since Ted Ginn Jr. had 167 vs. Notre Dame in 2006 Fiesta Bowl.
On the other end of the field, Akron senior wide receiver Jabari Arthur is coming off a personal-best performance with a career-high 11 catches and 125 yards. Akron has a team only completed 17 passes for 154 yards.
Reggie Corner, a preseason All-MAC selection, posted four tackles and returned an interception for a score last weekend and was named the MAC's East Division Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts.
IN HIS OWN WORDS "We know that we need to be much, much better than we were a week ago and I think our guys came in this past weekend after the game and viewed the film with a critical eye and hit the practice field yesterday with a sense of purpose." - Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel
Notre Dame (0-1) at PENN STATE (1-0)
Beaver Stadium, University Park, Pa.
6 p.m. EDT- ESPN - XM Radio 196
LAST TIME OUT
PENN STATE def. Fla. International, 59-0; Georgia Tech def. Notre Dame, 33-3
Overall: Notre Dame, 9-8-1
Last Time Out: 2006 - Notre Dame, 41-17
Noteworthy: The schools first met in 1913 and launched a 12-game series in 1981, with the Nittany Lions going 8-4 against ND from 1981-92. The Nittany Lions last beat Notre Dame, 35-13, at home on Nov. 6, 1991.
Penn State's offense saw a balanced attack last weekend against FIU, as senior quarterback Anthony Morelli was 23-of-38 passing for 295 yards and three touchdowns. He threw to three receivers - Jordan Norwood, Mickey Shuler and Derrick Williams -- at least four times each for a combined 177 yards and a score.
PSU also rushed for 236 yards, led by Evan Royster (8 att., 70 yds., 1 TD), Rodney Kinlaw (8-66-1) and Austin Scott (11-46-2).
Defensively, Sean Lee led all tacklers with seven solo stops, two for a loss and one sack and was awarded Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts.
Notre Dame, which played three quarterbacks in the home loss against Georgia Tech, will start freshman Jimmy Clausen. Last week, Clausen was just 4-of-6 in the air for 34 yards.
Against Georgia Tech, Notre Dame was held to minus-8 rushing yards on 41 carries and failed to score a touchdown for the first time in a season opener since a 20-12 loss at Michigan on Sept. 14, 1985.
IN HIS OWN WORDS "Being able to have a relationship with not only the game itself but, having that relationship with the people who really made Notre Dame something special - Father Joyce and Father Hesberg - I've got tremendous respect and I think the series has been a good competitive one." - Penn State head coach Joe Paterno
Eastern Illinois (1-0) at PURDUE (1-0)
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Ind.
Noon EDT- Big Ten Network - XM Radio 195
Last time out, Purdue's offense racked up 488 yards of total yards, perfectly balanced 244 rushing and 244 passing. Curtis Painter threw touchdown passes to four different players.
Defensively, the Boilermakers amassed eight tackles for loss, including three sacks, to go with four pass breakups and two interceptions by Justin Scott and Torri Williams.
Purdue was also active on special teams, as Dorien Bryant recorded his second career kickoff return for a touchdown, a 91-yarder in the fourth quarter.
Coincidently, Purdue currently ranks 10th in the nation in scoring offense (52 points), while Eastern Illinois ranks ninth in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision in the same category (45 points).
The Panthers finished last season 8-5 overall, 7-1 in conference play as they won their second straight Ohio Valley Conference championship.
IN HIS OWN WORDS "They are a very offensive team and they are thorough in their kicking game and in everything they do. This is not a team you can surprise because of their preparation." - Purdue head coach Joe Tiller
WISCONSIN (1-0) at UNLV (1-0)
Sam Boyd Stadium, West Lafayette, Ind.
9 p.m. CDT- Versus
LAST TIME OUT
WISCONSIN def. Washington State, 42-21; UNLV def. Utah State, 23-16
Overall: Wisconsin, 5-2
Last Time Out: 2004 - Wisconsin, 18-3
Noteworthy: The Badgers have won two of the three meetings in Las Vegas. In their last game in Vegas, the Badgers won, 27-7, in a game that was called with 7:41 left in the fourth quarter after the lights at Sam Boyd Stadium went out.
In the win over Washington State, UW's new quarterback Tyler Donovan led the Badgers on offense on 19-of-29 passing for 284 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. He also rushed for a TD.
Donovan's key target was wide receiver Luke Swan, who had eight receptions for a career-high 170 yards.
P.J. Hill, last year's Big Ten Freshman of the Year, ran for 84 yards on 21 carries and two scores last weekend, and now faces a UNLV squad allowed 161.4 rushing yards per game in 2006.
UNLV finished 2-10 last season - the third consecutive season the Rebels had two wins. However, UNLV is looking to open 2-0 for the first time since 1999.
Similar to Wisconsin's situation, UNLV also started a new quarterback last week. In his first career start, redshirt freshman Travis Dixon was 12-of-20 passing for 141 yards, but also carried the ball 22 times for 141 yards and a score.
IN HIS OWN WORDS "(UNLV) won on the road, so it's their first time back in their home stadium, and by every indication I've heard all summer, there's going to be quite a few Badger fans in Las Vegas as well, so we're excited about the opportunity in front of us." - Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema