A few notes and nuggets to hopefully make you smarter when you watch the second Saturday of Big Ten play. Thanks to the fine folks at ESPN Stats & Info for most of these.
Jim Tressel’s next win will be his 100th as the Ohio State coach (99-21 record). Only two coaches have reached 100 wins at a Big Ten school in fewer games than Tressel -- Fielding Yost and Bo Schembechler (both at Michigan). Each accomplished the feat in their 119th game at the school.
Indiana is 0-26 all-time against teams ranked No. 1 or No. 2. The highest-ranked opponent the Hoosiers have defeated is No. 3 Purdue in November 1967. IU faces No. 2 Ohio State on Saturday.
This is just the third time that both Michigan and Michigan State have started 5-0 in the same season and the first time since 1999. That season was also the last time both teams came into this game undefeated. Michigan State won the game 34-31 in East Lansing. It's the first time these two teams have met as ranked opponents since 2003 when 11th-ranked Michigan beat 9th-ranked Michigan State 27-20 in East Lansing.
Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson has 98 rush attempts this season, but only once has he scrambled for a gain after dropping back and looking to throw the ball. Robinson has been the designated ballcarrier on a running play 76 times, has kept the ball on a zone read 19 times, and the final two rushes were a sack and a fumbled snap. Robinson has used a run-fake before exactly one-third of his passes this season, and he has completed more than 78 percent of his passes after faking the run. Perhaps the greatest effect of Michigan’s play-action is giving Robinson time to hit receivers downfield.
After being ranked in the Associated Press poll for the past 38 polls (tied with Alabama for fourth-longest in the nation), Penn State is not ranked in the AP or USA Today Coaches' polls this week.
Indiana is the only team in the country with three receivers in the top 30 in receptions per game -- Damarlo Belcher, Tandon Doss and Terrance Turner -- and is one of two programs (Hawaii) with two receivers in the top 12 in receiving yards per game (Belcher and Doss).
Wisconsin has not turned the ball over since the third quarter of the San Jose State game. The last time the Badgers had three consecutive games without a turnover was during the first three games of the 2007 season when Wisconsin had zero giveaways against Washington State, UNLV and The Citadel. Wisconsin is 30-5 under coach Bret Bielema when it wins the turnover battle or is even in turnover margin.
Saturday night's meeting between Purdue and Northwestern will be played almost 75 years to the day of the first-ever night game in Big Ten history. That game also involved Northwestern and Purdue, on Oct. 5, 1935 in Evanston. Purdue and Northwestern have not met in a night game since that inaugural game under the lights.
Before last week's game with Northwestern, Minnesota junior running back DeLeon Eskridge hadn't rushed for 100 yards or more in nearly two years. Eskridge ripped off 119 yards against the Wildcats for his third career 100-yard game. The last time he eclipsed the century mark was Oct. 11, 2008 when he rushed for 124 at Illinois. In between those two games, he hadn’t rushed for more than 80 yards.
Northwestern has started 5-0 for the second time in the past three years. It has not started 6-0 since 1962, the last time Northwestern was ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Illinois is one of only five teams in the nation to score on all of its red zone drives this season. In 12 trips inside the 20, the Illini have scored seven touchdowns and five field goals. East Carolina (15-15), Washington (13-13), San Jose State (9-9) and Memphis (8-8) are the only other teams with a perfect red-zone scoring percentage.
Purdue senior defensive end Ryan Kerrigan forced his 12th career fumble against Toledo on Sept. 25 to tie James Looney (1979-80) for the team record. His next strip will tie him for the Big Ten record, which is currently shared by Simeon Rice of Illinois (1992-95) and Bob Sanders of Iowa (2000-03).