Some notes and nuggets to hopefully make you smarter as you watch Big Ten games in Week 12. As always, thanks to the ESPN Stats & Info crew as well as the sports information staffs around the league for these ...
Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller has rushed for 1,097 yards on designed running plays this season, the most of any quarterback from a BCS automatic-qualifying school. Miller has had at least seven running plays called for him in every game this season. He had three such games as a freshman. Miller is tied for fifth in the FBS with 13 runs that have gained 20 yards or more, with all 13 coming on designed runs.
In two starts this season, Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner has completed 11 of 14 (78.6 percent) passes when targeting wide receiver Jeremy Gallon. In Denard Robinson's eight starts, he completed 17 of 32 (53.1 percent) when targeting Gallon.
Michigan State's seniors have helped the team to a record of 33-17 (.660) since 2009, including three-straight bowl bids (2010 Alamo Bowl, 2011 Capital One Bowl, 2012 Outback). The 33 wins are tied for second most by any senior class in the 116-year history of Michigan State football (record: 37 wins by 2011 class). The 2012 class also owns a home record of 20-7 (.741).
Nebraska leads the Big Ten and ranks eighth nationally with 62 plays that gained 20 yards or more. The Cornhuskers are one of three FBS teams with at least 25 passes and rushes that gained at least 20 yards (Texas A&M, Oregon are the others). Nebraska averages 7 yards on first down, the highest average in the Big Ten and 10th in the FBS.
Wisconsin running back Montee Ball is averaging 54.3 more yards per game against Big Ten opponents than in his four non-conference games this season. Ball has scored at least two touchdowns in five of his six Big Ten games this season. He did not have a multiple-touchdown game against a non-conference opponent this season.
Wisconsin's defense has forced opponents to go three-and-out on 44.1 percent of their drives this season, the second-best rate of any FBS defense. During its past two games, Wisconsin has forced opponents to go three-and-out on a combined 12 of 24 drives.
Nebraska has outscored its opponents 49-14 in the fourth quarter of its five Big Ten victories. The Huskers have outscored those opponents by an average of 139-47 in the fourth quarter. The Huskers have averaged 22.4 plays in the fourth quarter of those victories, compared to just 12 plays for the opponents.
Iowa is tied for second in the country in fewest fumbles lost (3) and tied for sixth in fewest giveaways with nine. The Hawkeyes have been turnover-free in five games this season and are tied for 12th nationally in turnover margin.
Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson will set the Penn State single-season receptions record with his next grab, breaking a tie at 63 catches with All-Americans O.J. McDuffie (1992) and Bobby Engram (1995). Quarterback Matt McGloin needs just 328 yards passing to take over the top spot on the team single-season chart. His 41 career touchdown passes are just two away tying Daryll Clark's Penn State record.
Indiana defensive tackle Adam Replogle is expected to set the team record for career starts with his 46th. Replogle is tied for the most in school history with offensive linemen Tim Radtke (1985-88) and Enoch DeMar (1999-2002). Replogle and fellow defensive tackle Larry Black Jr. have started alongside each other 38 times, including the last 22 games.
Michigan State is the fourth Big Ten opponent on Northwestern's schedule to face the Wildcats with an extra week of rest and preparation. Northwestern has gone 2-1 in its first three games against Big Ten teams coming off an open date, defeating Indiana and Minnesota before falling to Nebraska. The road team has won six of the last seven matchups in the series dating to 2004, with the lone exception coming in Northwestern's last trip to Spartan Stadium on Oct. 17, 2009.
Minnesota leads the overall series against Nebraska 29-21-2, but the Gophers have lost 15 straight to the Cornhuskers, including a 41-14 home setback last season. The Gophers are 8-9 all-time at Memorial Stadium, and their most recent win was a 26-14 victory in 1960. Since then the Gophers have dropped six straight games at Nebraska, most recently a 56-0 drubbing in 1990.
Illinois linebacker Mason Monheim leads all Big Ten freshmen and the team in tackles with 74 on the season. During conference games, the true freshman is averaging 9.5 stops per game, which ranks sixth in the Big Ten.
Purdue tries to win back-to-back Big Ten road games for the first time since 2009 (at Michigan, at Indiana). The Boilers haven't won at Illinois' Memorial Stadium since the 2006 season.