Things to watch during Week 7 of play in the Big Ten Conference:
GAME OF THE WEEK
Iowa (5-1, 2-1) at Wisconsin (4-1, 2-0), Saturday, 4 p.m. ET (Fox)
Wisconsin will strengthen its hold on first place in the West if it can beat the Hawkeyes in Madison a fourth straight time. Iowa’s sound defense will be challenged by an Air Raid offense that’s the most balanced in the league. The Badgers average a Big Ten-best 204 yards on the ground and 210 through the air. Iowa QB Deacon Hill, who transferred from Wisconsin after last season, will make his second start in place of the injured Cade McNamara.
Michigan State (2-3, 0-2) at Rutgers (4-2, 1-2), Saturday, noon ET (Big Ten Network)
This gets the “best matchup” designation only because it has the narrowest point spread in the Big Ten this week — Rutgers by 5 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Both teams appear destined to finish in the bottom half of the East. Still, this doesn’t appear to be the same Rutgers team we’ve seen in the past. The Scarlet Knights are going for their best overall start since 2014 and best Big Ten start since 2017.
Michigan State, on paper, doesn’t have many chances left for wins during this challenging season. The Spartans still have to play Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Michigan has beaten Indiana 21 straight times at the Big House. The Hoosiers haven’t won in Ann Arbor since 1967. … Penn State enters its game against Massachusetts with at least 30 points in 11 straight games, the longest streak in the nation. … Maryland’s 15-6 record over the last 21 games is fourth-best in the Big Ten, behind only Michigan (19-2), Ohio State (18-3) and Penn State (17-4). … Iowa TE Erick All has a team-high nine receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns in the last two games. … Wisconsin RB Braelon Allen needs 18 yards to reach 3,000 for his career.
Purdue is a 19 1/2-point underdog at home against No. 3 Ohio State, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Ohio State had its season wrecked the last time it visited Purdue. That was in 2018, and the Boilermakers’ 49-20 upset of a second-ranked Buckeyes team kept Ohio State out of the College Football Playoff. Ohio State has lost five of eight in West Lafayette since 2000.
The Buckeyes messed around early as a big favorite at home against Maryland last week before they dominated the second half and won by 20. The Boilermakers face an uphill climb trying to defend their West title. They’ve got Ohio State this week and Michigan on the road Nov. 4.
Maryland LB Kellan Wyatt should be licking his chops over the prospect of playing Illinois, which has surrendered a Big Ten-worst 23 sacks. The Terrapins have had three sacks in three straight games — its longest such streak since 2016 — and Wyatt has recorded one in each.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll