Week 6 Conference Notes: Big Ten Conference

BIG TEN. BIG NEWS.
• Conference action continues this week, with five Big Ten contests highlighted by a trio of divisional matchups. Action kicks off on Saturday at noon ET when Maryland travels to Ohio State and Rutgers plays host to Michigan State. The complete schedule appears to the right.

• Four Big Ten teams remain undefeated on the season, as Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State are all 5-0.

• Five Big Ten teams appear in the AP Poll this week, highlighted by two of the top five teams and four teams in the top 10. Iowa leads the conference at No. 3, followed by No. 4 Penn State, No. 7 Ohio State, No. 9 Michigan, and No. 11 Michigan State.

• Michigan currently ranks among the top 20 nationally in both scoring offense and scoring defense. The Wolverines rank 11th in scoring offense and sixth in scoring defense, scoring 39.8 points per game and allowing 12.8. Four other Big Ten teams rank among the top-15 in scoring defense: No. 2 Iowa (11.6), No. 3 Penn State (12.0), No. 12 Purdue (15.4) and No. 13 Nebraska (15.5).

• Thirteen Big Ten Conference students are among the 176 semifinalists for the 2021 William V. Campbell Trophy. Now in its 32nd year, the Campbell Trophy is presented annually to the nation’s top football scholar-athlete. Representing the Big Ten as this year’s Campbell Trophy semifinalists are Illinois’ Doug Kramer, Indiana’s Jack Tuttle, Iowa’s Zach VanValkenburg, Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson, Michigan State’s AJ Arcuri, Minnesota’s Conner Olson, Nebraska’s Ben Stille, Northwestern’s Sam Gerak, Ohio State’s Jeremy Ruckert, Penn State’s Sean Clifford, Purdue’s Zander Horvath, Rutgers’ Noah Vedral and Wisconsin’s Matt Henningsen.

• Michigan’s 38-17 victory on Saturday marked the first in Madison since the 2001 season, snapping a five-game losing streak of games played at Wisconsin. The Wolverines improved to 5-0 to start the season for the first time since 2016. David Ojabo recorded 2.5 sacks and led the Wolverines with seven tackles (four solo), including two for a loss, for the first multi-sack game of his career.

• Ohio State defeated Rutgers, 52-13, in Piscataway, N.J., becoming the third team to win 20 straight Big Ten games. The Buckeyes also extended their road game win streak to 11 games, which ties for the fourth-most all-time and the longest active road win streak in FBS. It was also Ohio State’s ninth straight road win by double digits, which is the longest streak in Big Ten history and the third-longest by a FBS team since 2000.

• Iowa defeated Maryland 51-14 on Friday and has now won its last 11 games. The Hawkeyes have outscored their last 11 opponents, 380-141, averaging 34.5 points per game offensively and allowing 12.8 PPG during the winning streak. Iowa has won 11 straight for the first time since opening the 2015 season with 12 straight wins. That season, Iowa reached the Big Ten Championship Game and accepted an invitation to the 2016 Rose Bowl. The Hawkeyes have gone 27 straight games allowing 24 points or fewer, which is the longest active streak in FBS and the second-longest streak by a FBS team since 1990.

• Six different Hawkeyes intercepted a pass in Friday’s win over Maryland, tying a school record for most players with an interception in a single game. The six interceptions are the most in a game since Iowa had a school-record seven interceptions vs. Wisconsin in 1982. Iowa leads the nation with 12 interceptions this season and has 76 interceptions since 2017, more than any team in the country.

• A career day of 257 yards from sophomore RB Chase Brown led the Fighting Illini to a 24-14 victory against Charlotte on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. Brown’s 257 rushing yards marked the fourth-most in a single game in Illini history and the third-most by an FBS player in 2021, trailing only Ohio State’s TreVeyon Henderson (277 vs. Tulsa on Sept. 18) and Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III (264 at Northwestern on Sept. 3).

• Michigan State scored six touchdowns in the first half to open up a 26-point lead and put up more than 500 yards of total offense en route to a 48-31 win over Western Kentucky last Saturday. The Spartans improved to 5-0 for the first time since 2015 and for the 13th time overall in school history. Mel Tucker is the second coach in school history to begin his second season 5-0 joining Charlie Bachman in 1934. Junior running back Kenneth Walker III had 24 carries for 126 yards and scored three touchdowns, while redshirt sophomore quarterback Payton Thorne completed 20-of-30 passes for 327 yards, threw one touchdown pass and had seven carries for 31 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown run.

• All six of the New Year’s Six bowl games have had a chance to host a semifinal game twice with the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl doing so three times. This year, the Cotton and Orange Bowls will serve as semifinal games. Last year, Alabama became the second-straight No. 1 seed to win the playoff. The No. 1 seed didn’t win a title in the first five years. The No. 2 seed has won it three times and the No. 4 seed has won it twice. The No. 3 seed has won just three playoff games in seven years with Ohio State winning one of those last season.