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updated: 10/12/2012 12:13 PM

College football previews: ND, NU, Illini, NIU

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  • Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o (5) celebrates with teammates after they defeated Miami 41-3 last Saturday at Soldier Field. The No. 7 Fighting Irish host Stanford at Notre Dame Stadium this weekend.

    Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o (5) celebrates with teammates after they defeated Miami 41-3 last Saturday at Soldier Field. The No. 7 Fighting Irish host Stanford at Notre Dame Stadium this weekend.
    Associated Press


Daily Herald Report

No. 17 Stanford (4-1) vs. No. 7 Notre Dame (5-0)

When, where: 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium

TV: Ch. 5 Radio: WLS 890-AM

Outlook: While Stanford is looking to extend its win streak over the Irish to four games, a victory by Notre Dame would put them in the talk for the national championship with big games at Oklahoma and at USC on their schedule. ND's secondary is hurting, and the Cardinal wide receivers are not having a great year. Look for Stanford to deploy its big tight ends (Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo) in the passing game and run between the tackles when needed. The Irish have started strong and have yet to trail in a game. The ND defense also hasn't give up a TD in three straight games, which is longest streak by Notre Dame since 1980. All four of Stanford's wins have come at home, and they are giving up 21.8 ppg.

No. 25 Michigan (3-2, 1-0) vs. Illinois (2-4, 0-2)

When, where: 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Michigan Stadium

TV: Ch. 7 Radio: WIND 560-AM

Outlook: If it wants to contend for the Big Ten title, Michigan can't afford a letdown against an Illini team that was blown out by Penn State and Wisconsin. Look for UM to give the ball to tailback Fitzgerald Toussaint often against an Illinois defense that has given up 173 yards rushing in each of its Big Ten losses. Wolverines QB Denard Robinson has been taking a pounding, and Toussaint needs to carry the load. While Illini QB Nathan Scheelhaase is improving (84 yards rushing, 178 yards passing vs. Wisconsin), don't expect these two teams to combine for a 67-65 thriller like they did two years ago. The Illini are giving up more than 28 points per game.

Northwestern (5-1, 1-1) vs. Minnesota (4-1, 0-1)

When, where: 11 a.m. Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium

TV: ESPN2. Radio: WGN 720-AM

Outlook: Both of these teams have perfect records at home, and they are both coming off disappointing defeats with NU losing a fourth-quarter lead to Penn State and Minnesota falling a struggling Iowa Hawkeyes team on the road. A win in this Legends Division contest would make Northwestern bowl eligible for the fifth straight season. RB Venrick Mark of the Wildcats ranks second in all-purpose yards in the conference (180). Senior QB MarQueis Gray (ankle) is questionable for the Gophers, so 6-foot-6 sophomore backup Max Shortell will likely start, and his three interceptions against Iowa contributed to their defeat. The Wildcats came away with a 28-13 victory the last time these two teams met.

Buffalo (1-4, 0-2) at Northern Illinois (5-1, 2-0)

When, where: 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Huskie Stadium, DeKalb

TV: CSN Chicago Radio: WSCR 670-AM

Outlook: It's homecoming at NIU, which is the perfect time for the Huskies to extend several streaks: 18 straight home wins and 10 straight MAC wins. With QB Jordan Lynch ranking in the Top 10 in the nation in total offense and rushing, that shouldn't be a problem. Last week at Ball State, NIU needed 2 TDs in the last five minutes to secure a 35-23 win. Buffalo is 0-3 on the road and giving up 32.8 points per game, so look for the Huskies offense to explode. The Bulls turn the ball over, but they can be explosive themselves with three scores of 49 yards or more this season.

-- Compiled with AP and Daily Herald news services

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