Big Ten: No. 4 Michigan to be put to test vs. stingy Iowa

  • Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy throws against Maryland in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.

    Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy throws against Maryland in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. Associated Press

  • Iowa defensive back Kaevon Merriweather (26) returns a fumble for a touchdown against Rutgers during the first half of an NCAA football game, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Piscataway, N.J.

    Iowa defensive back Kaevon Merriweather (26) returns a fumble for a touchdown against Rutgers during the first half of an NCAA football game, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Piscataway, N.J. Associated Press

  • Indiana coach Tom Allen argues a call during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Idaho, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Bloomington, Ind.

    Indiana coach Tom Allen argues a call during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Idaho, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Bloomington, Ind. Associated Press

  • Nebraska interim head coach Mickey Joseph watches from the sidelines during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Lincoln, Neb. Oklahoma defeated Nebraska 49-14.

    Nebraska interim head coach Mickey Joseph watches from the sidelines during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Lincoln, Neb. Oklahoma defeated Nebraska 49-14. Associated Press

  • Illinois head coach Bret Bielema smiles after a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Indiana, Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, in Bloomington, Ind.

    Illinois head coach Bret Bielema smiles after a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Indiana, Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, in Bloomington, Ind. Associated Press

  • Ohio State defensive lineman Jack Sawyer (33) sacks Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz (5) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio.

    Ohio State defensive lineman Jack Sawyer (33) sacks Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz (5) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. Associated Press

  • Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell stands along the sideline during the team's NCAA college football game against Florida Atlantic, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in West Lafayette, Ind. (Alex Martin/Journal & Courier via AP)

    Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell stands along the sideline during the team's NCAA college football game against Florida Atlantic, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in West Lafayette, Ind. (Alex Martin/Journal & Courier via AP) Associated Press

  • Purdue quarterback Austin Burton rushes the ball during the team's NCAA college football game against Indiana State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in West Lafayette, Ind. (Alex Martin/Journal & Courier via AP)

    Purdue quarterback Austin Burton rushes the ball during the team's NCAA college football game against Indiana State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in West Lafayette, Ind. (Alex Martin/Journal & Courier via AP) Associated Press

 
 
Posted9/29/2022 7:00 AM

Things to watch during Week 5 of play in the Big Ten Conference:

GAME OF THE WEEK

 

No. 4 Michigan (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) at Iowa (3-1, 1-0)

This is a rematch of the 2021 Big Ten championship game that Michigan won 42-3. J.J. McCarthy will make his first career Big Ten road start in the Kinnick Stadium cauldron and go against a defense giving up less than six points per game and allowing just 3.45 yards per play. The Wolverines would love to lean on Blake Corum again after he rushed for a career-high 243 yards against Maryland. Iowa's worst-in-the-nation offense showed improvement in its win at Rutgers. That must continue if the Hawkeyes are going to win the West Division again.

BEST MATCHUP

Illinois (3-1, 0-1) at Wisconsin (2-2, 0-1)

This would be an interesting matchup even if Bret Bielema weren't returning to coach his first game at Camp Randall Stadium in 10 years. Bielema has one of the Big Ten's best defenses so far in his second year with the Illini and Wisconsin's offense is struggling. The Badgers still know how to play defense, and they'll get tested by national rushing leader Chase Brown and QB Tommy DeVito. The Illini lost 24-0 to the Badgers in Champaign last year. Bielema has downplayed his going back to the place where he spent seven years and won 68 games and went to two Rose Bowls. He couldn't deny the satisfaction that would come from a win here.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

Minnesota's average time of possession of 40 minutes, 35 seconds is nearly four minutes longer than any other FBS team. The Gophers, Georgia and Washington are the only teams that have yet to trail in a game. ... Ohio State has scored at least 50 points in 17 of the 43 games under Ryan Day. ... With Kaytron Allen's 111-yard game against Central Michigan, Penn State has had two true freshmen post 100-yard games in a season for the first time since 2019. ... If Maryland scores 27 points or more against Michigan State, it will mark the first time since 1984 the Terps have scored that many in seven straight games. ... Rutgers heads to Ohio State 8-4 on the road since 2020, its best 12-game road stretch since 2005-07.

LONG SHOT?

Indiana is a 5 1/2-point road underdog against Nebraska, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The Hoosiers were a slight underdog when they beat the Huskers 38-31 in Lincoln in 2019, their most recent visit, and they played a strong second half at Cincinnati last week after a terrible start. Nebraska has lost nine of 10, with the only win against a Championship Subdivision opponent, and is in disarray with an interim head coach and interim defensive coordinator.

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IMPACT PLAYERS

Purdue QBs Aidan O'Connell and Austin Burton

Coach Jeff Brohm said O'Connell's availability for the game at Minnesota would be determined late in the week. The Boilermakers desperately need him back against the nation's No. 2 pass defense. Purdue was expected to challenge for the title in a wide-open West, but a loss here puts a huge dent into those hopes. O'Connell has eight TD passes against one interception and averaged 333 yards in his three games.

Burton was solid in O'Connell's place in the 28-26 win over Florida Atlantic, throwing for 166 yards and three touchdowns, but it's a big ask to expect him to win on the road against a defense of Minnesota's caliber.

___

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