By Eric Olson
The associated press
Things to watch during Week 13 of the Big Ten Conference college football game, the last weekend of the regular season:
GAME OF THE WEEK I
No. 3 Michigan (11-0, 8-0 Big Ten, No. 3 CFP) at No. 2 Ohio St. (11-0, 8-0, No. 2 CFP)
The stakes are always high “The game,” never more than Saturday. The winner will represent the East in the Big Ten championship game and remain in prime position for a bid for the College Football Playoff. The loser still has a path to the playoffs and, worst-case scenario, a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl. The Buckeyes have been simmering for a year over their first loss to Michigan since 2011. The Wolverines are going for back-to-back wins over Ohio State for the first time since 1999-2000. This will be the fourth time in 19 meetings that both teams are in the top five together.
GAME OF THE WEEK II
Iowa (7-4, 5-3) Nebraska (3-8, 2-6)
Of course, this Black Friday game isn’t nearly as impressive as Michigan-Ohio State, but it highlights what has been a remarkable turnaround by Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes. Iowa will secure the West title and move back into the Big Ten championship game with a victory over the swooning Cornhuskers. A loss and other teams have a shot at the big game. Iowa has won four straight since opening conference play 1-3. Playing in the bottom league in the Power Five, the Hawkeyes have been able to offset one of the nation’s worst offenses by having a defense that ranks among the best.
WITHIN THE FIGURES
Wisconsin enters Paul Bunyan’s Ax game against Minnesota and has won 26 of 31 games played with a traveling trophy on the line. …Penn State’s Nick Singleton (863) and Kaytron Allen (748) are the first pair of FBS freshmen running on the same team to have rushed more than 700 yards apiece Buffalo’s Jaret Patterson (1,013) and Kevin Marks (845) in 2018. … Of the three Big Ten quarterbacks with five 400-yard passing games since 2000, two are active: Ohio State’s CJ Stroud and Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell. The third was the late Dwayne Haskins, who had all five of his in 2018 for Ohio State. … As of 2018, Nebraska’s .279 winning percentage in Big Ten games (12-31) is the second worst behind Rutgers’ .136 (6-38). Ohio State is first with .950 (38-2).
According to FanDuel Sportsbook, Indiana is a 10.5-point home underdog against Purdue. The game for the Old Oaken Bucket is the Hoosiers’ bowl – unless they get to 5-7 and need to fill a bowl slot – and there’s nothing they want more than their rival’s hopes of getting to the conference championship game. going into the event Iowa loses to Nebraska on Friday. The Hoosiers have some mojo after a double-overtime win at Michigan State ended a seven-game losing streak.
Illinois RB Chase Brown is poised to add significantly to his nation-leading total of 1,582 rushing yards against a Northwest defense allowing for a Big Ten-worst 4.64 yards per carry. The Doak Walker semifinalist has averaged a Bowl Subdivision high of 28.1 carries per game and has had at least 29 in five of the last six games. The Illini have lost three in a row and to sneak into the Big Ten title game they need to win the Land of Lincoln Trophy and let Iowa and Purdue lose.