September 6, 2007

Big Ten breakdown: Off the mat

MORE WEEK 2 BREAKDOWNS: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Pac-10 | SEC

Saturday's games
Illinois 31, Western Illinois 17
Indiana 38, Western Michigan 20
Iowa 31, Syracuse 20
Oregon 34, Michigan 31
Michigan State 34, Bowling Green 20
Minnesota 23, Miami (Ohio) 20
Northwestern 28, Nevada 20
Ohio State 41, Akron 7
Penn State 27, Notre Dame 13
Purdue 49, Eastern Illinois 20
Wisconsin 35, UNLV 14
Best matchup: Oregon vs. Michigan. Michigan is looking to rebound from last week's stunning 34-32 loss to Appalachian State. Oregon is out to build on last week's 48-27 victory over Houston. The game features explosive offenses, and defenses that were abused in Week One. Michigan allowed nearly 400 yards, while the Ducks gave up 545 yards. This could be as wild as your old pick-up games in the back yard.

The pressure is on: Once is an accident. Twice signals a trend. Losing to MAC opponents is a trend the Minnesota Gophers definitely need to avoid. All the offseason enthusiasm in Minnesota will come to a screeching halt should the Gophers fall to Miami University after losing to Bowling Green. That wouldn't inspire a lot of confidence, especially considering Miami won just two games in 2006. Minnesota coach Tim Brewster reacted to last week's loss by making several lineup changes, including naming true freshman Ryan Collado a starter at cornerback in place of Desi Steib. Ned Tavale also moves into the starting lineup at left guard.

Newcomer who could have an impact: Michigan true freshman cornerback Donovan Warren played the majority of the second half last week, and figures to start on Saturday against Oregon. The Wolverines defense can use all the help it can get.

Key stat: Michigan State had just four penalties in its season-opening victory over Alabama-Birmingham. Last season, the Spartans ranked 95th nationally in penalties.

They said it: "There are no moral victories, we were close but that isn't good enough. We have to start winning these close games or we will continue to have that bad taste after these games. Close isn't what we are looking for."
Illinois coach Ron Zook after last week's 40-34 loss to Missouri.

Injury update: Ohio State defensive end Lawrence Wilson (fractured right leg) is out a minimum of six weeks. Illinois quarterback Juice Williams (helmet-to-helmet hit) will play. Fullback Russ Weil (ankle sprain) is expected to play this week. Cornerback Travon Bellamy (shoulder) is out. Michigan State offensive tackle Mike Gyetvai (shoulder) is out. Michigan guard Alex Mitchell (knee) missed last week's game and his status is uncertain. Penn State defensive tackle Abe Koroma (foot) and defensive end Devon Still (ACL) are out. Iowa offensive tackle Dace Richardson (knee) is doubtful. Receiver Paul Chaney (toe) is out as well. Offensive lineman Alex Kanellis (concussions) has been forced to quit football, but will remain with the team in some capacity.

Worth noting: Penn State quarterback Anthony Morelli set a school record with 231 yards passing in the first half in last week's victory over Florida International. Michigan's loss to Appalachian State marked just the third time in 20 games the Wolverines lost when Mike Hart rushed for 100 yards or more. Michigan State receiver Devin Thomas made the best of his first career start with five catches for 106 yards and a touchdown last week. Wisconsin sophomore running back Lance Smith will not travel to any of the Badgers' away games this season as punishment for "violating team policy." Iowa has won 27of its last 31 home games. Indiana quarterback Kellen Lewis and receiver James Hardy have connected for 11 touchdown passes in the Hoosiers' last seven games, including two in last week's season-opener. Northwestern's shutout of Northeastern last week was its first shutout since the 1997 season-opener. That year the Wildcats blanked Oklahoma 24-0. Northwestern running back Tyrell Sutton posted the 10th 100-yard rushing game of his career. Ohio State receiver/return man Ray Small has practiced this week and appears recovered from a high ankle sprain that forced him to miss the Buckeyes' opener. Jim Bollman, Ohio State's offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, did not give an "offensive lineman of the week" award for the first game because he said no one deserved it.

MORE WEEK 2 BREAKDOWNS: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Pac-10 | SEC

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