Week Three of Big Ten Play Opens Saturday

Oct. 7, 2005

Illinois (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten) @ Indiana (3-1, 0-1 Big Ten)
11:00 am CT, ESPN Plus
Memorial Stadium - Bloomington, Indiana

The Big Ten's newest football coaches will clash on Saturday as Illinois travels to take on Indiana.  It will be the 63rd meeting of the two teams, but the first for first-year head coaches Ron Zook and Terry Hoeppner.  Both will be looking to regain momentum coming off losses last week. 

On Saturday, running back Pierre Thomas's 15 carries and 100 yards on the ground for the Illini weren't enough to overcome an inspired Iowa team playing at home.  The Hoosiers, meanwhile were busy at Wisconsin battling against a Badger team that is undefeated, and difficult to beat at Camp Randall Stadium.  The loss was the first for Indiana this season, and also came in it's first Big Ten game of 2005.  Illinois will also be looking for their first win of the conference schedule.

The Illini beat Indiana, 26-22, last season behind two Kendrick Jones touchdowns, and have won four of the last five meetings of the teams, but the lone blemish was the most recent contest held at Indiana, a 17-14 Hoosier win in 2002.  Saturday's match-up will be broadcast at 11:00 CT on ESPN Plus from Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana.

No. 14 Wisconsin (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) @ Northwestern (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten)
11:00 am CT, ESPN or ESPN2
Ryan Field - Evanston, Illinois

The Big Ten's other unbeaten team, No. 14 Wisconsin, travels to Evanston for a Saturday morning kickoff against Northwestern.  The Badgers beat Indiana last week to improve to 5-0 for the second straight season, and fifth time under head coach Barry Alvarez, on the backs of Brandon Williams and Jonathon Orr, who both had over 100 yards receiving.  However they will have to overcome the loss of senior tailback Brian Calhoun, who will be out with an injured hip. 

Northwestern will be well-rested after coming off a bye week, and has had some time to create a new look for its secondary.  Head coach Randy Walker has made some adjustments since the Wildcats dropped a 34-29 home decision to Penn State two weeks ago.  Northwestern, who is led by freshman running back Tyrell Sutton, will try to even up its Big Ten record before it opens its conference road schedule next week.  Sutton and the rest of the Northwestern offense are averaging over 478 total yards per game this season.

Game coverage, which begins at 11:00 CT, will be on either ESPN or ESPN2, depending on the results of Friday's Red Sox-White Sox ALDS game.  Wisconsin has dominated the series so far, holding a 54-31-5 record, and a 29-16-1 record at Northwestern's Ryan Field.

Minnesota (4-1, 1-1) @ No. 21/24 Michigan (3-2, 1-1)
1:00 pm ET, ABC Sports
Michigan Stadium - Ann Arbor, Michigan

Michigan, who upset visiting Michigan State last weekend has re-entered the national rankings at No. 21/No. 24.  Minnesota is coming off a 44-14 loss at the hands of Penn State in State College last weekend, and is hoping to rebound back into the national mix.  The two teams went in opposite directions last week, but both will be looking to walk out of Michigan Stadium with a win on Saturday. 

The teams are competing for the Little Brown Jug in one of the conference's oldest trophy games.  Minnesota will be trying to reclaim the trophy that for the first time since 1986, with Michigan winning 16 straight games against the Gophers, and holding a 63-21-3 overall advantage in the trophy series.  Last season, a Chad Henne touchdown pass to Tyler Ecker with just over two minutes remaining gave Michigan the 27-24 victory at home.

Minnesota, which was unbeaten before traveling to Happy Valley, is led by All-American running back Laurence Maroney, who had 149 yards on 19 carries against the Wolverines last season.   Michigan welcomed back standout running back Michael Hart in its victory over Michigan State.  Hart dominated the running game with 218 yards on 36 carries. 

The game on Saturday will be televised on ABC Sports beginning at 1:00 pm ET.

Iowa (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) @ Purdue (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten)
3:35 pm CT, ESPN
Ross-Ade Stadiuim - West Lafayette, Indiana

The Iowa Hawkeyes hit the road this weekend for a Saturday afternoon game at Purdue.  Iowa bounced back last week after a loss to Ohio State, and beat Illinois 35-7 on Homecoming Day in Iowa City.  For his efforts in the win, Hawkeye linebacker Abdul Hodge was named as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after making a career-high 18 tackles, while on the offensive side of the ball QB Drew Tate completed 17 of 22 for 175 yards and two touchdowns.

The Boilermakers on the other hand are looking to snap a two-game skid after a loss on the road in Minnesota on Sept. 24, and one at home to in-state rival Notre Dame.  Joe Tiller, who is in his ninth year at the helm of the Purdue team, will build upon QB Brandon Kirsch's second half success last weekend, particularly in hooking up with Dorien Bryant.  Bryant caught 14 passes and two touchdowns from Kirsch against the Irish.

Saturday will be the 78th meeting of the two teams, with Purdue holding a 40-30-3 record overall and a 26-12-1 mark in games played in West Lafayette.  Iowa won came out on top in 2004 by a 23-21 margin in Iowa City.  ESPN will televise the game to a national audience at 3:35 pm CT.

No. 6 Ohio State
(3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) @ No. 16 Penn State (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten)
7:45 pm ET, ESPN
Beaver Stadium - State College, Pennsylvania

Beaver Stadium in State College will be the scene of what will potentially be a determining game in the Big Ten Championship race.  No. 6 Ohio State, which is coming off a bye week, visits Penn State (No. 16/No. 18) on Saturday as both teams look to continue their march to BCS glory.  Last Saturday, the Nittany Lions beat a ranked opponent for the first time since 2002, shutting down a powerful Minnesota running game to remain undefeated. 

Two weeks ago, the Buckeyes hosted talented and then-No. 21 Iowa, and came away with a 31-6 victory.  The OSU defense stifled the Hawkeye offense, allowing only 137 total yards.  Meanwhile, the Buckeye offense racked up over 330 yards in the first half en route to a 17-0 advantage at halftime, and the win.

Penn State entered the national rankings for the first time this season, debuting at No. 16/ No. 18 in this week's polls.  The Nittany Lions haven shown a return to their winning tradition thus far with a perfect 5-0 record, and are coming off of a big win over Minnesota, who was ranked and undefeated before their trip to Happy Valley last week.  Penn State scored on its opening drive against the Gophers and never looked back, coming out with a 44-14 win.

The all-time series between the Penn State and Ohio State is knotted at 10-10, with Ohio State entering Saturday's game with a three-game win streak that includes a 21-10 win last season.  The Nittany Lions have won four of the last seven held at Beaver Stadium.  The latest installment of the rivalry begins at 7:45 ET on ESPN.