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Big Ten preview capsules for Saturday's games

Ray Stein
Buckeye Xtra

No. 10 Wisconsin (2-0) at No. 19 Northwestern (4-0) 

Basics: 3:30 p.m., Ryan Field, Evanston, Ill. TV: ABC 

Notes: Wisconsin celebrated its return after a two-week COVID hiatus with a dominating, 49-11 whipping of Michigan. How dominant? The Badgers rushed for 341 yards, converted 8 of 13 third-down tries and went 7 for 7 on red-zone touchdowns. Northwestern is sure to provide a stiffer defensive test, and could do more if QB Peyton Ramsey gets a hot hand. 

Quarterback Luke McCaffrey (7) showed toughness in leading Nebraska past Penn State last weekend.

Iowa (2-2) at Penn State (0-4) 

Basics: 3:30 p.m., Beaver Stadium, State College, Pa. TV: Big Ten Network 

Notes: When will Penn State know whether it has hit the bottom? Probably not this week, when the Nittany Lions’ game against Iowa is listed as a tossup. But considering Penn State started the season ranked No. 7 nationally, there’s not much lower it can go. Iowa, on the other hand, is on the upswing. The Hawkeyes have won their past two games by a combined 84-14. 

Michigan (1-3) at Rutgers (1-3) 

Basics: 7:30 p.m., SHI Stadium, Piscataway, N.J. TV: Big Ten Network 

Notes: In the midst of a dreadful three-game losing streak, Michigan is looking for any sign of good news. The Wolverines may expect some against a Rutgers team with less talent, but they still have to get it done on the field. The Scarlet Knights are a tough bunch who feel like they blew a chance at .500 by letting Illinois escape with a win despite Rutgers twice leading by 10 points. 

Illinois (1-3) at Nebraska (1-2) 

Basics: Noon, Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb. TV: Fox Sports 1 

Notes: Victories by each team last week left Penn State as the Big Ten’s only winless team; and whoever wins this game will feel as if it has turned its season around. Illinois twice rallied from 10-point deficits and got a last-second field goal to win at Rutgers. Luke McCaffrey led Nebraska past Penn State in his first start as QB, but the Huskers need to stand tall late. 

Canceled: Michigan State (1-3) at Maryland (2-1)

By Ray Stein 

rstein@dispatch.com