Mon, Sep 27, 2021
• Six Big Ten conference games are on the docket this weekend, including four divisional matchups. The action kicks off on Friday night as Iowa travels to Maryland (8 p.m. on FS1). The complete schedule appears to the right.
• Five Big Ten teams remain undefeated on the season, as Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State are all 4-0.
• Five Big Ten teams appear in the AP Poll this week. Penn State leads the conference at No. 4, followed by No. 5 Iowa, No. 11 Ohio State, No. 14 Michigan, and No. 17 Michigan State, while Maryland, Rutgers and Wisconsin all received votes.
• Michigan currently ranks among the top 20 nationally in both scoring offense and scoring defense. The Wolverines rank No. 4 nationally in scoring defense (11.8 points per game), while ranking 16th in scoring offense (40.2 ppg). Through Week 4, the Wolverines are the only team in the nation that has yet to turn the ball over in 2021.
• Iowa improved to 4-0 on the season with a 24-14 win over Colorado State. The Hawkeyes have now won their last 10 games, including seven Big Ten wins, and have outscored their opponents, 329-117, during that stretch. Iowa currently ranks third in the country in scoring defense, surrendering just 11.0 points per game. According to Big Ten Network research, the Hawkeyes have gone 26 straight games in which they have allowed 24 points or fewer, which is the longest active streak in the FBS and is tied for the second-longest streak by an FBS team since 1990.
• Ohio State ranks No. 2 in the country in total offense (559.2 ypg) and No. 7 in scoring offense (43.2 ppg).
• The Big Ten boasts four top 10 FBS running backs in terms of rushing yards per game: Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III (1st, 138.5), Northwestern’s Evan Hull (8th, 119.5), Michigan’s Blake Corum (9th, 118.8) and Minnesota’s Trey Potts (10th, 118.5). Corum leads the nation with 180.75 all-purpose yards per game.
• Ohio State freshman running back TreVeyon Henderson recorded the most rushing yards by an FBS player in a single game this season in Week 3 vs. Tulsa (277), while Walker’s 264 rushing yards in Week 1 vs. Northwestern rank second in the FBS.
• Five Big Ten teams rank in the top 10 in terms of scoring defense: Iowa (3rd, 11.0 ppg), Michigan (4th, 11.8 ppg), Rutgers (7th, 13.5 ppg), Maryland (t-8th, 14.2 ppg) and Purdue (t-8th, 14.2 ppg).
• Michigan State wide receiver Jayden Reed was named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week after he returned a punt 62 yards for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter vs. Nebraska to tie the game at 20-20. Reed also returned a kick 41 yards to set up a field goal and hauled in a 32-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. Reed has now scored multiple touchdowns in three straight games and is one of just two players in the country to log a rushing, receiving and punt return touchdown this season.
• Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford was named Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for 401 yards and four touchdowns in the Nittany Lions’ 38-17 win over Villanova. Clifford became just the second quarterback in Penn State history to throw for more than 400 yards in a game. Penn State wide receiver Jahan Dotson hauled in a 52-yard touchdown pass from Clifford on Penn State’s first play from scrimmage, marking the fifth straight game in which he has caught a touchdown.
• After a 37-16 win over Kent State, Maryland is 4-0 for the first time since 2016. Terrapins quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns in the win and is averaging 335 passing yards per game (8th in the country). According to Big Ten Network research, Tagovailoa’s 1,340 passing yards this season are the most by a Terrapin through four games since 1993. Wide receiver Dontay Demus Jr. hauled in four catches for 108 yards and a touchdown in the win. Demus has now recorded seven career 100-yard games and is tied for the second-most 100-yard receiving games in Maryland history with Torrey Smith, Derrick Fenner and Jo Jo Walker.
• 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.
• The 2021 campaign features 120 All-Big Ten honorees (first-, second-, third-team or honorable mention) selected by either the coaches or the media last season. Iowa and Ohio State lead the West and East Divisions, respectively, each welcoming back 14 All-Big Ten honorees this season. The talent is split evenly as 60 of the returning all-conference players hail from both the East and West Divisions. Each team returns at least three All-Big Ten performers.
COURTESY BIG TEN COMMUNICATIONS