Big Ten Football Schedule and Game Previews: Week 12
Purdue at Northwestern
Both Purdue and Northwestern are coming off of blowout losses in week 11, with Wisconsin taking down Northwestern while Purdue lost to Ohio State. On paper this one appears like it should be a blowout win for Purdue but that might not be the case. While the Northwestern defense has been atrocious against the run this season their pass defense has been a strength, only allowing 193.3 yards per game through the air, which is good for third in the conference. Purdue on the other hand boasts the second best passing game in the Big Ten combined with the worst run game, averaging 338.3 and 78.5 yards per game respectively. This game will come down to Purdue's ability to beat Northwestern's secondary through the air if the run game can't get it going, which could make this one an interesting one to watch this weekend.
Watch: Saturday at 11 a.m. CT on Big Ten Network
No. 7 Michigan State at No. 5 Ohio State
This should easily be the game of the week in the Big Ten as it has heavy Big Ten championship game implications as well as College Football Playoff implications. Ohio State is still undefeated in conference play with a clear path to the CFP while Michigan State has the Purdue loss hanging over their head. However, if Michigan State pulls out the upset in this they will put themselves back in control of their own destiny in making the CFP. Doing that, though, will be easier said than done for the Spartans. Michigan State's pass defense is far and away the worst in the Big Ten, giving up a whopping 329 yards per game through the air. Ohio State is the last team you want to have a bad pass defense against as the Buckeyes boast the best passing attack in the conference, averaging 353.6 yards per game through the air. If the Spartans can't find a way to stop the Ohio State air game, this one could get ugly fast.
Watch: Saturday at 11 a.m. CT on ABC
Rutgers at Penn State
This game does not have any major implications in the conference title race or the CFP as both teams are well out of contention for both. However, for Rutgers, this game has bowl game implications as they enter this one at 5-5 and only one win short of bowl game eligibility. They are fresh off a blowout win while Penn State is coming off a close loss to Michigan. For Penn State, this one will come down to which version of quarterback Sean Clifford they get, as when he is on he can air it out with the best of them. Penn State should have no issue with Rutgers in this one which will put their bowl hopes on the line in their last game of the season next week against Maryland.
Watch: Saturday 11 a.m. CT on Big Ten Network
Illinois at No. 18 Iowa
The last win for both of these teams were wins over Minnesota, with Illinois upsetting the Golden Gophers prior to their bye week two weeks ago. This one could get ugly fairly quickly though as the Hawkeyes feature one of the best defenses in the Big Ten against both the pass and the run while the Illinois offense is dead last on the ground, which should allow the Iowa defense to stack the box and force the Illini to beat them through the air, something they have yet to show they are capable of doing. Look for the Hawkeyes to control this one early en route to a relatively easy win.
Watch: Saturday 1 p.m. CT on Fox Sports 1
Minnesota at Indiana
Just about nothing has gone right for Indiana this season as they currently hold a six game losing streak with their record sitting at 2-8, good for worst in the Big Ten. Things don't get any easier for the Hoosiers either this week as they welcome Minnesota to town in game that could be over by halftime. Simply put, Indiana is not a good football team this year and Minnesota will look to establish the run early in this one and control the game from the opening kick. The Golden Gophers ground game, led by running backs Ky Thomas and Mar'Keise Irving, is the third best in the Big Ten, running for an average of 205.6 yards per game. If Minnesota can establish the run game early in this one, it could be a long day for the Hoosiers who very well could be 2-9 after this one.
Watch: Saturday 2:30 p.m. CT on Big Ten Network
No. 8 Michigan at Maryland
The Wolverines enter this one following a tough win over Penn State last week, a win that kept their Big Ten championship game and CFP hopes alive. This might be a trap game for Michigan who could find themselves looking ahead to their blockbuster showdown next week against Ohio State. That being said, if they don't find themselves looking past Maryland in this one, they should roll to a relatively stress free victory. The Wolverine rushing attack, led by running back Hassan Haskins, is second in the Big Ten, running for 225.1 yards per game. Maryland's run defense on the other hand is the second worst in the conference, allowing 157.5 yards per game on the ground. If the Terps want any chance in this one they will have to rely heavily on quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, but the Michigan defense won't make life easy for Tagovailoa, as they are second in the Big Ten against the pass, only allowing 178.4 yards per game through the air.
Northwestern Avoids Collapse and Defeats Rutgers in Big Ten Matchup
A double-digit lead evaporates in the fourth quarter, but a Veronica Burton-led Wildcats find a way to win at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Watch: Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT on Big Ten Network
Nebraska at No. 19 Wisconsin
Well, the Huskers are officially bringing back head coach Scott Frost for another season in 2022, as he has agreed to a restructured contract. Whether or not he will be successful is yet to be seen but there have been some signs of promise this year. The Huskers have kept games close against numerous top ten teams with multiple one loss scores to those teams. Their defense has been one of top in the Big Ten, holding Ohio State, who averages 46.3 points per game on the season, to 26 points last weekend. While they did ultimately lose it is a sign of potential hope going forward. Nebraska's defense will have their hands full yet again this week, too, as they take on Wisconsin and dangerous running back Braelon Allen. Nebraska should keep this one close for most of the game but Allen and the Badgers should pull this one out in the end, handing the Huskers yet another close loss.
Watch: Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT on ABC
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