By Mike McGraw
Michigan (2-1) at Notre Dame (3-0)
When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium
TV: NBC Radio: WLS 890-AM
Outlook: Was Notre Dame’s decisive win at Michigan State a breakthrough or is MSU not as good as advertised? Michigan certainly brings more speed and big-play potential at the quarterback spot, so this will be a much different test for the much improved Irish defense. Denard Robinson leads the Big Ten in total offense with 350 yards per game. ND’s defense has given up just 289 yards per game. Michigan has won five of the last six in the series.
Kansas (1-2) at Northern Illinois (2-1)
When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Huskie Stadium
TV: ESPN3.com Radio: WSCR 670-AM
Outlook: Kansas brings some familiar names to DeKalb — former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis and ex-Irish QB Dayne Crist. NIU lost to the Jayhawks on the road last season, 45-42. This year, the Huskies defense was supposed to be improved, but it gave up 486 rushing yards last week in a 41-40 win at Army. Two long streaks are on the line in this one — NIU has won 16 in a row at Huskie Stadium, while Kansas has dropped 13 straight road games.
South Dakota (1-1) at Northwestern (3-0)
When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Ryan Field
TV: BTN Radio: WMVP 1000-AM
Outlook: Defensive-minded, ugly wins are not typical for Northwestern, but the Wildcats found ways to win against Boston College and Vanderbilt the last two weeks. Against BC, NU gained 560 yards and ran 100 plays on offense, but didn’t reach the end zone until play No. 100 — a 27-yard Mike Trumpy run. FCS foe South Dakota has eight players on the two-deeps from the Chicago suburbs, including top receiver Terrance Terry (Barrington).
Louisiana Tech (2-0) at Illinois (2-1)
When: 7 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium
TV: BTN Radio: WIND 560-AM
Outlook: This could be an interesting challenge for the Illini defense. Louisiana Tech has scored 56 points in each of its two wins, against Houston and Rice, and is averaging 600 yards per game with an almost perfectly balanced offense. Leading rusher Tevin King is averaging 9 yards per carry. Illini QB Reilly O’Toole (Wheaton Warrenville South) set a school record for completion percentage by hitting 26-of-31 passes for 333 yards against overmatched Charleston Southern last week. Starting QB Nathan Scheelhaase is said to be fully recovered from an ankle injury.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.