Some notes and nuggets to hopefully make you smarter as you watch Big Ten action in Week 9. Thanks to the folks at ESPN Stats & Information as well as the sports information staffs around the Big Ten for these ...
Since the start of the 2010 season, Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez and Michigan counterpart Denard Robinson have a combined 1,034 rushes and 6,020 yards. The tandem has gained 96 percent of their yards on designed running plays, with each player averaging more than 7 yards per attempt. Robinson has 31 touchdowns and 21 plays of 30 yards or longer on designed runs, while Martinez has 26 touchdowns and 17 plays of 30 yards or longer on designed runs.
Ohio State QB Braxton Miller is completing 47.2 percent of his passes when opponents send five or more pass-rushers on a play this season. The only game that Miller completed more than half of his passes versus the blitz was against UAB. Miller completes 65.3 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions when he's not facing a blitz.
Nebraska is 8-1 against opponents from BCS automatic-qualifying conferences when Martinez completes at least half of his passes thrown 15 yards or longer and 5-9 when he does not. The one loss was to Ohio State this season when the Cornhuskers scored 38 points, their most in a loss under head coach Bo Pelini.
Dating back to the 2010 season, Wisconsin has won 16 of its past 19 Big Ten games, with two of its three losses coming to Michigan State. Wisconsin's three losses came by an average margin of 4.3 points. Wisconsin has won more Big Ten games than any team (17) since the start of the 2010 season. Michigan State is second with 15 Big Ten victories.
Penn State QB Matt McGloin has attempted 25.9 percent of his passes in a no-huddle offense this year. When lining up without a huddle, McGloin is completing 71.2 percent of his passes, as compared to 59.7 percent of his passes when his team huddles up.
Michigan State has allowed just nine offensive touchdowns (three rushing, six passing) this season, the sixth-fewest in the FBS. Only Alabama (5), Notre Dame (5), Cincinnati (8), Oklahoma (8) and Rutgers (8) have allowed fewer TDs (Florida also has allowed nine). The Spartans have only allowed two offensive touchdowns in the second half in 2012 (Ohio State, Iowa).
Iowa is 9-2 in the past two seasons with QB James Vandenberg completes better than 60 percent of his pass attempts and 7-2 when Vandenberg throws for 219 yards or more. Vandenberg has completed better than 60 percent of his passes in three of seven games this season.
Michigan makes its first trip to Lincoln in 101 years and its first-ever appearance at Memorial Stadium. Saturday's matchup with Nebraska marks only the second game in NCAA history between two programs with at least 850 all-time victories. Michigan is the national leader with 900, while Nebraska ranks fourth with 851 victories. The Nebraska-Michigan game marks the first conference game between 850-win schools in NCAA history.
Northwestern's plus-8 turnover margin on the season is tied with Penn State for best in the Big Ten and tied for 18th nationally. The Wildcats rank third nationally with 12 recovered fumbles this year. Northwestern has forced at least one turnover in its past 22 games, a streak that began with the 2011 TicketCity Bowl vs. Texas Tech. In fact, the Wildcats have at least one interception or fumble recovery in 44 of their past 47 games.
Indiana has allowed just eight sacks, one per every 38.8 pass attempts, and committed just four turnovers (interceptions), which is tied for the fourth-lowest mark in the country. Last season, the Hoosiers allowed 31 sacks (one every 12.2 attempts), threw 11 interceptions and lost seven fumbles.
Illinois ranks 12th nationally and second in the Big Ten in forcing three-and-outs, at 4.71 per game. The Illini have forced a three-and-out on 33 drives in the first seven games of 2012. Illinois is holding opponents to a third-down conversion rate of just 33.3 percent (29-of-87), which ranks third in the Big Ten and 24th nationally.
Purdue senior DT Kawann Short is third nationally among active FBS players in career tackles for loss (42.5) and tied for 16th in career sacks (16.5). Of the eight Purdue players with more career sacks than Short, only Jeff Zgonina (tied for 4th, 29.5-151) and Craig Terrill (seventh, 20.5-116) played on the interior of the defensive line.
Minnesota boasts the No. 6 pass defense in the country (second in Big Ten), allowing only 154.4 yards per game. The Gophers rank ninth nationally in pass-efficiency defense (first in Big Ten) at 98.56 and are 27th in total defense (fifth in Big Ten), as they allow only 331.7 yards per game. Minnesota has allowed only four passing touchdowns (three in regulation) this year. The Gophers have allowed only one touchdown pass this season that was not in the fourth quarter or overtime.