Things to watch during Week 11 of play in the Big Ten Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 2 Michigan (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten, No. 3 CFP) at Maryland (6-4, 3-4), Saturday, noon ET (Fox)
The Wolverines powered through their off-field problems last week to take care of business against Penn State. Maryland built some confidence with a road win against Nebraska that clinched bowl eligibility.
Michigan hammered away at the Nittany Lions on the ground, and it will be interesting to see if it chooses to do the same against a defense that has had mixed results against the run. Maryland has a puncher's chance with Big Ten passing leader Taulia Tagovailoa and his talented receiving corps.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, suspended last week for the balance of the regular season because of the sign-stealing scandal, will try to persuade a judge Friday to lift the ban and allow him to be on the sideline.
Nebraska (5-5, 3-4) at Wisconsin (5-5, 3-4), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
There was a time when a lot of people thought these two teams would dominate the West Division. The Badgers went to the conference championship game four of the first six years of the East-West setup but have mostly been a shell of their former selves since 2020. Nebraska never did hold up its end.
Now these old-school programs meet a final time as division rivals, and they've been relegated to playing for bowl eligibility. Both teams have new coaches, and both have had injury problems. The Huskers turn over the ball the most of any FBS team and the Badgers have simply underperformed.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Wisconsin is 15-0 in home night games against unranked opponents. ... Nebraska has not allowed a rushing touchdown for five straight games, its longest stretch since 1996. ... Michigan State has won in five of its last six visits to Indiana, with the loss coming in overtime in 2016. ... Indiana's Aaron Casey has five straight games with at least eight tackles and is on pace to post the Hoosiers' first 100-tackle season since Tegray Scales in 2016. ... Purdue scored touchdowns on its first four possessions against Minnesota, something that hasn't happened for the Boilermakers in a game since 2004. ... Ohio State has won 11 consecutive games over Minnesota, 27 of the last 28 and 39 of the last 41.
FanDuel Sportsbook lists Rutgers as a 20 1/2-point underdog at Penn State, which has won 16 in a row against the Scarlet Knights. Granted, Rutgers' offense didn't get much done in a 22-0 loss to Iowa last week, and Penn State has an even better defense than the Hawkeyes. But the Nittany Lions' home loss to Michigan took an emotional toll, and the Scarlet Knights could capitalize on that and make this one close.
Illinois QB Luke Altmyer was named the starter against Iowa after missing last week’s overtime win over Indiana because of injury. The decision surprised Illini fans.
Backup John Paddock passed for 507 yards against the Hoosiers a week after coming in cold to lead the winning drive against Wisconsin. Bret Bielema adheres to the axiom that a player shouldn’t lose his starting job because of an injury. It will be interesting to see if Altmyer has a short leash.
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