Things to watch during Week 2 of play in the Big Ten Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEK
Iowa State at Iowa
Iowa goes for its seventh win in a row in the Cy-Hawk Game and is a 3 1/2-point favorite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
The Hawkeyes’ offense needs to step it up after floundering against South Dakota State. QB Spencer Petras has struggled since the second half of last season, and he’s short of proven receivers because of injuries.
If last week was an indication, defense once again will have to carry the team. Iowa State will be a handful. New QB Hunter Dekkers was extremely sharp against Southeast Missouri State, and DE Will McDonald IV could make it a long day for Petras.
Virginia QB Brennan Armstrong vs. Illinois defense
Armstrong torched the Illini for 405 yards passing and five touchdowns in Virginia’s 42-14 win in Charlottesville.
Illinois has been solid on defense so far, allowing two touchdowns in its first two games. Opposing quarterbacks are completing 46% of their passes, and Indiana was held to 32 yards rushing last week.
Armstrong is in his third year as the Cavaliers’ starter and their all-time total offense leader. He played a strong game against Richmond last week, passing for 246 yards and two touchdowns and breaking a 64-yard TD run on his way to 105 yards rushing.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Michigan, which hosts Hawaii, is 10-0 against current members of the Mountain West. … Mitchell Tinsley goes into Penn State’s game against Ohio with at least seven receptions in each of his last six games. … Maryland hosts Charlotte looking for its sixth straight nonconference win, which would be the Terrapins’ longest out-of-league streak since they won six in a row in 2013-14. …
Purdue WR Charlie Jones’ 12 catches for 153 yards in the opener against Penn State were more than half his totals of 21 for 323 yards for Iowa last year. … Akron and Michigan State are separated by 250 miles, yet Saturday’s meeting will be the schools’ first in football since 1914. … Greg Schiano, in his 14th season over two stints at Rutgers, has 14 fourth-quarterback comeback wins. The Scarlet Knights rallied to beat Boston College 22-21 last week. … Indiana, which hosts Idaho, is 36-13 in home nonconference games since 2000.
Georgia Southern is a 22 1/2-point underdog at Nebraska, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, but presents a challenge to the Cornhuskers’ defense. The Eagles spread the ball around and use every inch of the field, and their quarterback, Kyle Vantrease, was the starter for a Buffalo team that lost in Lincoln last year.
Nebraska’s defense already has struggled against Northwestern and at times against North Dakota, so this is not a gimme. With RB Anthony Grant, the Huskers should be able to move the ball on the ground against a defense that allowed 172 yards rushing to Morgan State.
Wisconsin RB Braelon Allen turned in his ninth 100-yard performance in 10 games against Illinois State and now faces a tougher test against Washington State in Madison.
The Cougars have one of the better defensive lines in the Pac-12 and recorded 12 tackles for loss, including seven sacks, against Idaho last week. Not much can be read into Washington State allowing 1.8 yards per rush against an FCS opponent, but the Cougars have a veteran group up front and they will sell out trying to keep Allen under control.
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