A few nuggets to make you smarter as you watch the games Saturday. Thanks as always to ESPN Stats & Info for several of these.
Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor has been a much improved pocket passer this season, and he's throwing more balls from inside the pocket. Pryor has attempted 82.3 percent of his passes in Big Ten play from inside the pocket, up from 71.5 percent in 2009. In those conference games, Pryor is completing 69.6 percent of his passes inside the pocket with eight touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 163.7. Last year, Pryor completed just 55.2 percent of his passes inside the pocket in Big Ten games with seven touchdowns and a rating of 122.5.
Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin has handled pressure well in the past two games, completing 69.2 percent of his passes against the blitz with one touchdown and no interceptions. Lions freshman quarterback Rob Bolden struggled against the blitz, completing 57.4 percent of his passes with no touchdowns and four picks.
Wisconsin has won five straight meetings with Indiana, outscoring the Hoosiers by an average of 42-18 (212-92 total). Indiana’s last win against Wisconsin came in 2002.
Iowa's plus-1.33 average turnover margin per game (plus-12 for the season) ranks third in the FBS behind Ohio State and Hawaii. Only Oregon State has committed fewer turnovers this season than Iowa's six.
Michigan's Denard Robinson needs 146 rushing yards to set the NCAA record for rushing yards by a quarterback. Robinson has seven 100-yard rushing performances this season and ranks second nationally in rushing average.
Northwestern has caused problems for Iowa and longtime coach Kirk Ferentz, especially recently. Northwestern has won four of the team's past five meetings. Ferentz has a losing record against only two Big Ten teams: Northwestern (4-5) and Ohio State (1-6).
Of the four main Big Ten title contenders, Ohio State faces the most challenging slate as its final three opponents have a combined mark of 9-6 (.600) in Big Ten play. Michigan State's final two foes are a combined 5-5 in the Big Ten (.500). Iowa's past three games are against teams with a combined league mark of 6-10 (.375), and Wisconsin faces three teams with a combined Big Ten record of 4-11 (.267).
Purdue looks for its first three-game win streak against Michigan since winning a school-record five straight from 1962-66. Eight of Purdue's 14 wins against the Wolverines have come by three points or fewer, and the all-time series between the two is tied at 10-10 when the final differential is by seven points or fewer.
The Illinois offense has exploded in the past three games, averaging 50.7 points and 413.7 total yards per game. During the first six games this season, the Illini averaged 21.3 points and 320 yards per game.
Ohio State is coming off of a bye week, but that doesn't always spell good things for the Buckeyes. Under Jim Tressel, OSU is just 2-4 after bye weeks during the regular season.
Minnesota has won seven of the past 10 meetings against Illinois and three of the past four in Champaign. Illinois holds a 16-13-1 overall edge against Minnesota in games played in Champaign.