Put on your thinking caps. It's time for some more Did You Know in the Big Ten (hat tip to ESPN Sports & Information and school sports information directors for these nuggets) ...
Ohio State's Braxton Miller has completed nine passes thrown 20 yards or more downfield this season. Five of those nine completions were caught by Devin Smith, including all four of Miller’s touchdowns. When Miller is not throwing downfield to Smith, his completion percentage drops by 30.6 percent. Miller is 5-of-9 when throwing downfield to Smith, averaging 24.2 yards per attempt. To all other receivers, he's just 4-for-16 for 9.2 yards per attempt, with two interceptions.
Nebraska is 7-0 against BCS AQ opponents when quarterback Taylor Martinez completes at least half of his 15-yard throws and 5-9 when he does not. Martinez is completing 51.6 percent of his passes thrown 15 yards or more downfield this season, compared to a 39.6 percent rate over his first two seasons as starter. His six touchdowns this season on 15-yard throws matches his total from last season and is two more than his 2010 total.
Northwestern's Kain Colter became the first player in the FBS to have 150-plus rushing yards and 100-plus receiving yards in the same game when he put up 161 rushing and 131 receiving against Indiana. Colter is the only player in FBS with at least 300 passing yards, 300 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards on the season.
Illinois leads the all-time series with Wisconsin, but that may change after Saturday. The Illini hold a slim 36-35-7 edge over the Badgers, who have won six of the last seven meetings. Illinois' last win in Madison came in 2002.
Over its last two games, Wisconsin has 10 plays that have gone for at least 20 yards, including three completions of 45-plus yards from quarterback Joel Stave to receiver Jared Abbrederis. The Badgers had just five plays of 20 or more yards in their first three games combined. Wisconsin has also started eight drives in its opponent's territory in the past three games after having just one such drive in its first two games. The Badgers have turned six of those eight possessions into touchdowns.
Ricardo Allen broke the Purdue all-time record for interceptions returned for touchdowns with the fourth pick-six of his career last week against Marshall. He eclipsed Rod Woodson and Mike Rose in the Boilermakers' record book. Allen is tied for second in Big Ten history in interceptions returned for touchdowns, matching Indiana’s Tim Wilbur (1978-82). He trails Wisconsin’s Jamar Fletcher (1998-2000) for the all-time mark of five.
Heading into this week’s game with Purdue, Michigan's Denard Robinson is one rushing touchdown shy of becoming only the eighth player in NCAA history to rush for 40 touchdowns and pass for 40 touchdowns. After amassing 90 rushing yards against Notre Dame, Robinson (3,670 yards) moved into a tie for fifth place among the all-time NCAA leaders in rushing yards by a quarterback, matching Kent State’s Joshua Cribbs (3,670). With his Notre Dame stats, Robinson moved into first place in Michigan history in career total offensive yardage (9,438), surpassing previous record holder Chad Henne (9,400).
Indiana true freshman Tevin Coleman returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown against Northwestern and finished the game with 138 kickoff return yards. That was the Hoosiers' first kickoff touchdown return since Shane Wynn’s 99-yarder versus Illinois on Oct. 8 of last season. Coleman and Wynn are the only true freshmen in school history to bring a kickoff to paydirt.
Michigan State has faced the Big Ten’s toughest schedule and the 11th-toughest in the nation, according to NCAA figures. The Spartans’ first five opponents have a combined record of 11-3 (.786) against other FBS teams. The Spartans are one of just three teams in the FBS to play three ranked teams before Oct. 1 (Kentucky and Arizona are the others.). The last time Michigan State played three ranked teams before Oct. 1 was 1987 (No. 16 USC, No. 9 Notre Dame, No. 7 Florida State). The Spartans became the first team to play host to three opponents ranked in The Associated Press Top 25 before Oct. 1 since Stanford and Washington in 2007.
Penn State linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden was Northwestern’s defensive coordinator and assistant head coach from 1992-96, serving on the staff that led the Wildcats to Big Ten titles in 1995 and ‘96. Vanderlinden also coached the linebackers at Northwestern and was current Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald's position coach.