Preview capsules for this week's other Big Ten games

Ray Stein
Buckeye Xtra

No. 11 Northwestern (5-0) at Michigan State (1-3) 

Basics: 3:30 p.m., Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Mich. TV: ESPN2 

Notes: Northwestern has the goods to win the Big Ten West, but finding success beyond likely will require a higher ceiling from its offense. The Wildcats totaled only 263 yards and converted only 2 for 15 third-down tries against Wisconsin. Michigan State ranks No. 125 among 127 FBS teams in turnover margin, having committed 14 turnovers while forcing only five. 

Northwestern, here forcing one of five Wisconsin turnovers last week, is a force on defense but may need to step up on offense to win bigger games.

Minnesota (2-3) at No. 20 Wisconsin (2-1) 

Basics: 2 p.m., Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wis. TV: Big Ten Network 

Notes: Doomed by its own mistakes in a 17-7 loss to Northwestern last week, Wisconsin will look to get on the comeback trail against a Minnesota defense that is far less stringent than the Wildcats’. The Golden Gophers are coming off a win over Purdue aided by perhaps the worst offensive pass interference call in college football history. They can move the ball, however.

Penn State (0-5) at Michigan (2-3) 

Basics: Noon, Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Mich. TV: ABC 

Notes: Six weeks ago, before the Big Ten played any games, Penn State was ranked No. 9 in the polls and Michigan was No. 20. It has been nothing but bad news since for the Nittany Lions, the latest loss being a season-ending surgery for tight end Pat Freiermuth. Michigan broke a losing streak and found a pulse in QB Cade McNamara, who sparked a comeback in a triple-overtime win at Rutgers.

Maryland (2-1) at No. 12 Indiana (4-1) 

Basics: Noon, Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Ind. TV: ESPN2 

Notes: Indiana suffered its first defeat but gained believers by rallying from a 35-7 deficit against Ohio State before falling 42-35. QB Michael Penix Jr. passed for 491 yards, the most in the Big Ten since 2018. Maryland just wants to play after seeing its past two games canceled by a COVID-19 breakout that last week included 23 players and seven staff members, including coach Michael Locksley. 

Rutgers (1-4) at Purdue (2-2) 

Basics: 4 p.m., Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Ind. TV: Fox Sports 1 

Notes: Purdue received some good news last week when receiver Rondale Moore returned from injury and had a big game in a gut-wrenching loss to Minnesota. But the Boilermakers were without QB Aidan O’Connell, who gave way to Jack Plummer because of a foot injury. Speaking of gut-wrenching, Rutgers lost its fourth straight game, in triple overtime to Michigan after blowing a 17-point lead. 

By Ray Stein 

rstein@dispatch.com