Penn State (2-2)
Penn State has dominated Temple University over the past over the past 70 years, having not dropped a game against the Owls since 1941; that didn’t change on Saturday as the Nittany Lions won 24-13.
Quarterback Matt McGloin, who threw for a career-high 318 yards, has really shown that this Penn State offense has the ability to put points on the board. With nine touchdowns and only two interceptions, McGloin has already surpassed last year’s touchdown total.
Head coach Bill O’Brien is happy with what he’s seen from his senior quarterbacks, but notes there’s still room to grow.
“Through four games he’s done what we’ve asked of him,” O’Brien said of McGloin, “and he also done things that we need to improve on.”
In their Big Ten opener, the Nittany Lions face Illinois, who created a stir this past offseason, as head coach Tim Beckman sent assistant coaches to State College to recruit players who had the option of transferring.
Instead of making it more than it needed to be, O’Brien took the high road in answering if there was any bad blood between him and Beckman.
“We’re focused on this game,” O’Brien noted, “and that’s what we’re really focused on.”
Clearly, O’Brien isn’t letting any potential distractions affect his team in anticipation of their first Big Ten conference game of 2012.
With their offense beginning to catch fire, and the Illini defense struggling, it would be a perfect storm for the Nittany Lions as they hope to win their third-straight game.
Ohio State (4-0) #14 AP Poll
As Ohio State moved to 4-0 this past weekend, they continued to show that they have things to improve on. In their win over Cal, it was their defense. This week, however, for the first time all season, the offense had trouble getting things going.
In beating UAB on Saturday 29-15, the Buckeyes offense sputtered, not getting their first points until mid way through the 2nd quarter and only scoring eight points in the second half.
“We have a lot of work to become a better football team in all three phases,” Urban Meyer Said, “because we’re facing an excellent team.”
Braxton Miller’s Heisman candidacy might have taken a slight hit on Saturday as he accounted for just over 200 yards but scored two touchdowns on the ground.
With their game this Saturday being in primetime, Miller and the rest of the Buckeyes can make a major statement as they head into East Lansing to face the Michigan State Spartans.
The Buckeyes will be facing an offense they haven’t seen all season; they’ve mostly been facing isolation style offenses as teams have tried to beat them out in space, but the Spartans will be looking to bang the ball up the gut and give it to their star running back Le’Veon Bell.
Sophomore linebacker Ryan Shazier will be the one who Meyer will be counting on this week for major contributions.
“This will be a different type of ballgame,” Meyer said. “Is he ready for this? He better be, I think he is.”
Meyer is confident in his young linebacker and if the Buckeyes hope to shut down Bell, Shazier is going to need to continue his strong play that has seen him rack up 27 total tackles in his past two games.
Wisconsin (3-1) #23 USA Today/Coaches Poll
Montee Ball has had a difficult year; no one can disagree with that. On Saturday, things got worse for the star running back as he suffered a concussion early in the Badgers 37-26 win over UTEP.
Ball carried the ball only nine times before leaving with the head injury, making it the second one he’s suffered in just about eight weeks.
With concerns over his All-American running backs long-term health, head coach Brett Bielema couldn’t speculate as to whether or not Ball should sit out this weekend as precaution.
“I don’t make any medical decisions,” Bielema said. “We’re football coaches; we don’t belong in the training room.”
In saying that, Bielema also said that if a player is cleared to play and they feel comfortable in doing so, they would play. Ball has since been cleared to play and when asked if he would be playing against Nebraska, Ball said that he will be suiting up.
When the Badgers play Nebraska this weekend they will be looking to gain some momentum, as they’ve struggled to beat low D-1 teams the past couple of weeks. Nebraska comes in with a lot of momentum as they’re coming off a 73-7 shellacking of Idaho State.
Wisconsin and reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Chris Borland will have to contain a Nebraska running attack that comes in averaging 317.5 yards a game.
If the Badgers can do that and keep their offense on track, look for the Badgers to pull off the minor upset in Lincoln.
After the shutout of Charleston Southern, most had thought the Illini had solved their defensive issues. Clearly that wasn’t the case this past Saturday as they were steamrolled 52-14 by Louisiana Tech.
Coming into the game, the Tech offense had been averaging 56 points a game and they weren’t far off that in the win. Senior quarterback Colby Cameron threw for 284 yards and 4 touchdowns, the most they have allowed all season.
One of a few bright spots came on the offensive side of the ball. Freshman Josh Ferguson had 180 all-purpose yards last week and continues to have a strong season.
Head coach Tim Beckman is a fan of Ferguson’s versatility and all that he can offer to the team, be it on offense or special teams.
“We’ve got playmakers that we’re trying to get the football to as much as possible,” Beckman said, “and I think Josh Ferguson is definitely one of those players.”
That’s very high praise for a freshman, but he’s one of the few playmakers this team has on the offensive side of the ball, as they had another tough time moving the football on Saturday.
This weekend’s matchup between Illinois and Penn State will be the only matchup between two Leaders Division teams, a lot is at stake for both teams in this game as they both look to gain momentum in the conference moving forward.
Coming off a bye week and sitting at 2-1, Purdue seems to be in good shape. A week to recharge the batteries has come and gone with the Marshall Thundering Herd awaiting the Boilermakers on Saturday.
There wasn’t much for head coach Danny Hope to talk about this week, but the questions surrounding his injured quarterback persisted.
After tearing his ACL for the third time versus Notre Dame a couple of weeks ago, Robert Marve is already throwing the ball well and is expected back before the end of the season, according to Hope.
“We anticipate him coming back and playing sometime this season,” Hope said. “He’s been doing really good things in practice.”
Although the coaching/training staff hasn’t asked him to do much running, it seems as if Marve is on the fast track to recover from this devastating injury. Marve is currently leading the Boilermakers in all passing statistics.
In playing Marshall, Purdue is the lone Big Ten team playing this weekend, to not be playing a fellow Big Ten foe.
This Purdue team will have to remain strong on defense, as they’re going up against a Thundering Herd team that is averaging the most pass yards per game in the country with 383.5.
Marshall struggles mightily on the defensive side of the ball, so Purdue will have plenty of opportunities to put up points—even with their backup quarterbacks in.