Halftime around the B1G afternoon games

Rittenberg is in State College updating you on all the Penn State-Alabama action. Here's a look at what's going on in the other afternoon Big Ten games at halftime:

Northwestern 28, Eastern Illinois 7: The Wildcats are once again without Dan Persa, but he hasn't been needed thus far against the FCS Panthers. Kain Colter is having another fine game in Persa's place, completing 9 of 12 passes for 99 yards and rushing for 78 yards and two touchdowns. Even without tailback Mike Trumpy, Northwestern is establishing a strong rushing game. The Wildcats did have a blown coverage that allowed Eastern Illinois to score on a long pass play, but otherwise they're in full control. There should be opportunity to play younger guys in the second half.

Purdue 17, Rice 17: I'm not surprised this one is close, as the Boilers went on the road after nipping Middle Tennessee last week. The Owls scored with six seconds left in the half to knot things up. The stats are pretty even, though Purdue has been more effective running the ball. Quarterback Caleb TerBush has run for 47 yards and passed for 81 with a touchdown each way. I expect this one to go down to the wire.

New Mexico State 21, Minnesota 14: Maybe the Gophers just need a while to wake up. They fell way behind USC last week before rallying and found themselves down 21-7 against a New Mexico State team that got blown out at home by Ohio last week. But Minnesota appeared to be coming to late in the half, as MarQuies Gray threw a touchdown pass in the final seconds. Once again, though, the Gophers secondary has been shredded in the opening half. NMSU quarterback Andrew Manley is a sizzling 14-of-16 for 225 yards and three touchdowns. Minnesota needs to clamp down with its pass defense like it did in last week's second half.