Things to watch during Week 11 of play in the Big Ten Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 2 Michigan (9-0, 6-0 Big Ten, No. 3 CFP) at No. 9 Penn State (8-1, 5-1, No. 10), Saturday, noon ET (Fox)
And now a break from the Michigan sign-stealing saga. The Wolverines will be playing their toughest game to date. Their defense, allowing under seven points per game, will be facing an offense averaging better than 40.
A win here, barring upsets, puts Michigan in position to play “The Game” against Ohio State for a third straight Big Ten East title. A loss likely knocks the Wolverines out of the top four in the College Football Playoff rankings and muddles the division race.
Penn State already has lost to Ohio State and must win to stay in contention. The Nittany Lions couldn't get their offense going against the Buckeyes, and another flat performance would ratchet up the grumbling of fans who have been waiting for the program's first CFP berth and first Big Ten title game appearance since 2016.
Rutgers (6-3, 3-3 Big Ten) at Iowa (7-2, 4-2), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Iowa leads the West Division by a full game and doesn't want to give ground to any of the three teams tied for second place.
Rutgers is going for a fourth Big Ten win, which would be its most since it joined the conference in 2014, and attempting to enhance its bowl slot.
The Scarlet Knights are vastly improved, and their run game is capable of causing problems. Iowa will turn to its defense, as usual, because anything except a low-scoring game spells doom for the offense-challenged Hawkeyes.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Nebraska goes into its home game against Maryland with a FBS-high 22 turnovers. The Terrapins, with a win, would be bowl-eligible for a third straight year for the first time since 2006-08. ... Illinois, which hosts Indiana, has scored in the last minute to win three games. ... Aaron Casey's four tackles for loss against Wisconsin last week were most by an Indiana player since 2016. ... Rutgers LB Deion Jennings enters his game at Iowa off a career-best 13-tackle performance against Ohio State. ... Iowa has allowed one touchdown over its last 12 quarters. ... Michigan State, which visits Ohio State, has defeated the Buckeyes three times since 2011, tied for the most of any Big Ten team.
The Wildcats have proved to be a tough out under interim coach David Braun. They are all but finished in the West race, but they would love to knock off a Wisconsin team that has beaten them by a combined 77-14 the last two years.
The Badgers continue to ail. Luke Fickell wasn't optimistic about having QB Tanner Mordecai, RB Braelon Allen or WR Chimere Dike back from injuries.
Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr. will be one of the attractions when the Buckeyes play Michigan State at the Horseshoe in prime time on NBC.
Harrison is a Heisman Trophy long shot, but he's in line to be a top-five pick in the 2024 NFL draft and is worth watching even in a game where the Buckeyes are favored by more than four touchdowns. He's poised to go over 1,000 yards a second straight year and is among eight receivers nationally with at least 10 touchdowns.
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