ASA’s BIG TEN REPORT – For Games October 19th
BIG TEN MATCH UPS & ODDS FOR THIS WEEKEND
OHIO STATE (-28) @ NORTHWESTERN – FRIDAY
MICHIGAN @ PENN STATE (-7.5)
WISCONSIN (-29) @ ILLINOIS
PURDUE @ IOWA (-17)
INDIANA (-5.5) @ MARYLAND
MINNESOTA (-28.5) @ RUTGERS
OHIO STATE (-28) @ NORTHWESTERN – FRIDAY
The Buckeyes had last week off after blasting Michigan State 34-10 two weeks ago to move their record to a perfect 6-0 SU & 5-1 ATS. After outgaining Michigan State by 242 yards, the Bucks have now outgained all six of their opponents by at least 240 yards. Their only non-cover on the season was their opener vs FAU when they won by 24 points but were favored by 27. Their other 5 games OSU has covered by a combined 113.5 points or 22.7 points per game! On the season, they are outgaining their opponents by a full 3.6 yards per play. Ohio State has been very successful jumping on opponents early this year as they’ve scored 200 points in the first half while holding their opponents to only 32 points. They have held at least a 17 point lead at halftime in every game this year. For the season the Buckeyes have scored 40 TD’s and allowed just 5. Impressive overall numbers to say the least.
Northwestern is also coming off a bye week. It’s been a disappointing season for the Cats as their only win on the year came against UNLV. They have been very competitive as of late playing Wisconsin tougher than anyone has this year in a 9 point loss and then taking Nebraska to the wire on the road losing 13-10. Their offense continues to be an issue scoring 15 or fewer points in 4 of their 5 games this season. The only team that could not hold them in check was UNLV who ranks 108th nationally in scoring defense. Northwestern scored 30 in that game vs the Rebels but to put that in perspective, UNLV has allowed at least 38 points to every other FBS team they’ve played but one so maybe it wasn’t all that impressive. The defense has been holding up their end of the bargain limited 3 of their 5 opponents to 17 or less and holding Wisconsin to a season low 24 points.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS – OSU was favored by 16.5 at home vs Northwestern last year and now laying 28 on the road a year later. Buckeyes won last year’s game 45-24 with over 600 yards of offense – 418 for Northwestern. Since 1971, the Wildcats are just 1-31 SU in this series with their only win coming in OT in 2004. Since 1980, the Buckeyes have covered 64% of the games in this series with a 16-9-1 ATS record. The last time Northwestern was a home dog of 28 points or more was back in 1998. The underdog in Northwestern games is 15-3-2 ATS over the Cats last 20 games.
MICHIGAN @ PENN STATE (-7.5)
Michigan’s jumped out to a 28-0 lead @ Illinois last Saturday and then had to hold on for dear life, sort of. The Illini scored 25 unanswered points and cut the Wolverine lead to just 3 with 12:50 remaining in the game. Michigan responded with a 10-play, 79-yard TD drive that put them up 35-25 with 9:00 minutes remaining. They closed it out with a 1-yard drive after an Illinois fumble to make the final score 42-25, a non-cover as Michigan closed as a 24-point favorite. The Wolverine running game, which had been held under 125 yards in 2 of their first 3 Big Ten games, took advantage of a bad Illini rush defense toting it 48 times for 295 yards. That’s actually the FEWEST yards Illinois has given up on the ground in their 3 Big Ten tilts. With Illinois back up QB Matt Robinson under center for injured starter Brandon Peters, a Michigan transfer, the Wolverines focused on stopping the run and completely shut down that part of the Illinois offense. Illini RB Corbin came in averaging 6.5 YPC and was held to less than 2 YPC in the game. It was the third straight game the Michigan defense held their opponent to 270 total yards or less.
After outscoring their first 2 Big Ten opponents 94-7 and outgaining them by a combined 850 yards, the Nittany Lions finally met some competition last Saturday. They went into Iowa as 3.5 point favorites and escaped with a 17-12 win. Penn State was outgained by 48 yards in the game and their potent offense was held to just 3.8 yards per play. Iowa had a shot at the cover scoring a TD with just over 2:00 remaining in the game and they were forced to go for the 2 point conversion to try and cut the lead to 3. If they convert it was a cover for Iowa, if not a cover for PSU. The Hawkeyes failed to convert and Penn State then ran out the clock to get the win. PSU was able to take advantage of 2 Iowa turnovers turning them into 10 of their 17 points. QB Clifford only passes for 117 yards but the Lions were very efficient on 3rd downs with a 53% success rate. The defense continued their stellar play limiting Iowa to just 70 yards rushing on 30 carries. They’ve now allowed just 49 total points in 6 games this season.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS – Last year these two met in Ann Arbor and Michigan walked away with a 42-7 win. The Wolverines put up 403 total yards and held Penn State to only 186. PSU scored their only points on a TD with 1:59 remaining in the game. The favorite has covered 5 straight in this Big 10 series and the last 3 games have been blowout wins for the home team with final scores of 42-7, 42-13, and 49-10. If you subtract their games vs Ohio State, the Wolverines have been an underdog of 7 or more only 15 times since 1980. Dating back to 2009, the last 5 times Michigan has been a dog of 7 or more (not including OSU games) they are 0-5 ATS.
WISCONSIN (-28.5) @ ILLINOIS
The Badgers continue to roll over their opponents with ease picks up another shutout last Saturday. Their 38-0 win over Michigan State was already the Badgers 4th shutout in 6 games this season. The completely shut down MSU’s offense as the Spartans gained 8 or fewer yards on 8 of their 11 possessions. The Spartans longest drive of the day was 39 yards and that included a fake punt midway through the drive. With 1:55 remaining in the game and starting their final offensive possession, Michigan State had only 112 yards (they finished with 149 yards). The Wisconsin defense currently ranks #1 nationally in total defense, rush defense, pass defense, yards per play defense, pass efficiency defense, and 3rd down defense. They have allowed fewer points through 6 games (29 points) than any FBS team since 1993. The UW defense has scored 30 points this year (4 TD’s and a safety) while allowing only 29 points to opposing offenses. Most have felt that if a team can slow down RB Jonathan Taylor, the Badgers would probably be in trouble. They proved that theory wrong last week as MSU limited Taylor to only 80 yards rushing on 26 carries and they still won by 38 points. QB Jack Coan stepped up nicely with Taylor getting held in check completing 18 of 21 passes. He now leads the Big Ten completing 76% of his passes. Wisconsin takes the road this week for the first time since August when they traveled to USF to open the season.
Illinois took the first blow from Michigan last week getting down 28-0 but they battled back with their back up QB which was impressive. Starting QB Peters, a Michigan transfer, was out with an injury and his back up Matt Robinson help the Illini score 25 unanswered points to cut Michigan’s lead to 28-25. The Wolverines then closed the door with a long TD drive to go up by 10 and the capitalized on a turnover scoring another 7 to top Illinois 42-25. While the game did get close briefly, Michigan dominated for much of the contest with a +233 total yard advantage including 295 yards on the ground. Speaking of yards on the ground, the Illini give up A LOT of them. In their 3 Big Ten games they have allowed 363, 332, and 295 yards on the ground! Now they face the best RB in the country as Jonathan Taylor and the Badgers come to town ranking 11th nationally in rush offense averaging 250 YPG. On a positive note, after getting shredded for 370 yards in the first half alone, the Illini defense showed some resolve and gave up only 119 total yards in the 2nd half. This team definitely has not quit despite their struggles.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS – This line opened with Wisconsin -28 and quickly moved to -31. The Badgers have won 13 of the last 14 meetings in this series (8-6 ATS). 12 of those 13 wins for Wisconsin have come by double digits. If this number stays at Wisconsin -31, it will be the highest spread ever for either team in this Big 10 rivalry (-28.5 was previous high). Since 2014, the Badgers have been a road favorite of 28 points or more 9 times and they are 1-8 ATS in those games. Since 1980, Illinois has been a home dog of 28 or more only 4 times (2-2 ATS) with 3 of those games coming against Ohio State and the other vs Wisconsin.
PURDUE @ IOWA (-18)
The Boilermakers picked up a big win at home last Saturday as an underdog. They were tabbed as a 4-point home dog vs Maryland and dominated the Terps 40-14 with an overall yardage edge of +144. After allowing 15 sacks in their previous 3 games, head coach Jeff Brohm decided to make wholesale changes on the offensive line with 3 new starters up front vs Maryland. The move worked, at least for this contest, as they allowed only 1 sack allowing freshman QB Jack Plummer to have the best game of his brief career with 420 yards passing and 3 TD’s. He may also get his top weapon back this weekend at WR Rondale Moore is hopeful he will return. While the offense looked much better, the Boilers continue to struggle running the ball averaging only 3.4 YPC vs a Maryland as Purdue still ranks 129th nationally in rushing. The defense had allowed 30+ points in 4 of their first 5 games but limited a potent Maryland offense to only 14 points. That number was a bit deceiving as the Terps were playing with their back up QB, they tallied 403 yards but were shut out on downs 3 times in Purdue territory and threw 2 interceptions. They now take the road for just the 2nd time this season heading to Iowa on Saturday.
Iowa’s offense struggled for the 2nd straight week in a 17-12 loss at home to Penn State. The Hawkeyes outgained Penn State but lost the turnover battle 2 to 0. Iowa is favored by 18 in this game but they have only scored a total of 15 points in their last 2 games combined. Those games were against Michigan and PSU, two of the top 15 defenses in the country. When Iowa has faced lower tier defenses they have put up plenty of points. They scored 48 points vs Middle Tennessee State (126th ranked defense), 30 vs Rutgers (107th ranked defense) and 38 vs Miami OH (83rd ranked defense). On Saturday they face a Purdue defense ranked 104th nationally which has allowed 30+ points in 4 of their 6 games this season. We would expect Iowa’s offense to look much better on Saturday. Their running game has been non-existent the last 2 weeks as they’ve had 60 rushing attempts and averaged only 1.2 YPC. If they can’t improve on that vs a Purdue defense allowing 4.63 YPC then they have a problem. It looks like Iowa’s defense should match up pretty well here as they are 7th nationally in pass defense allowing only 160 YPG facing a Purdue offense that relies heavily on throwing. The Hawkeyes are in must win mode with a 1-2 conference record but they have a chance to be favored in 5 of their final 6 games so they can make some headway down the stretch.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS – This line opened Iowa -17 and has jumped up to -18. Last year Purdue was a -1.5 point favorite at home in this match up and won 38-36 on a FG with 8 seconds remaining in the game. Now just one year later this line has swung almost 20 points! The road team in this series has covered 8 of the last 9 in this series. Since 2006, Iowa has been a favorite of -17 or more 27 times and they are 8-19 ATS in those games.
INDIANA (-5.5) @ MARYLAND
Indiana takes the road this weekend after shutting out Rutgers 35-0 last Saturday. It was just the 2nd shutout of an FBS opponent since 1993 for the Hoosiers. The other was also vs this Rutgers team in 2017. The IU defense held the Knights to 75 yards of total offense including ONE, yes one yard passing. The Hoosiers ran 76 offensive plays in the game to just 46 for Rutgers. Indiana started quickly scoring a defensive TD on a fumble on the first play of the game. They followed that up with 2 TD’s on their first two offensive possessions for a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. It could have been much worse as the IU offense sputtered from that point on scoring TD’s on only 7 of their final 9 possessions. QB Michael Penix has looked very good since returning for an injury vs Michigan State two weeks ago. In the 2 games since his return he has completed 75% of his pass attempts for 568 yards with 6 TD’s and 1 interception. Decent win for Indiana but not much to be taken from games vs Rutgers unless id doesn’t end in a blowout
Maryland was attempting to win back to back road game for the first time since 2014 @ Purdue last week. That attempt didn’t go so well as the Terps (-4) were rolled by the Boilers 40-14. The offense put up over 400 yards but simply couldn’t put points on the board. That’s been a problem for Maryland over the last month or so. Since scoring 142 points in their first 2 games vs Howard and Syracuse, the Terps have tallied just 79 points over their last 4 games (19.75 PPG) and that includes a 48 point outburst vs a terrible Rutgers team. Starting QB Jackson was out last week for Maryland and his back up Tyrell Pigrome, who has plenty of experience, was a threat with his legs (107 yards rushing) but inaccurate with his arm missing several throws and tossing 2 interceptions. The running game, minus Pigrome’s yardage, was held to just 82 yards and were without top RB McFarland for most of the game due to a lingering ankle injury. Defensively they let Purdue led by a freshman QB and without their top offensive weapon (WR Moore) play pitch & catch all game (420 yards passing). The Terps also lost starting CB Ellis, their most experience defensive back, to an injury and he is now out for the season which won’t help matters moving forward. Their remaining schedule doesn’t give them any breaks as after this game they play @ Minnesota, Michigan, @ Ohio State, Nebraska, and @ Michigan State.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS – The Hoosiers were favored by 1 point at home last year in this match up and went onto win 34-32 on a FG with just over 2:00 minutes remaining. Maryland put up 542 yards in the loss to just 374 for IU. Now the Hoosier are favored by 4.5 points more on the road than they were last year at home. These two have met 5 times since Maryland joined the Big 10. It’s been a high scoring series with an average of 70 points scored in those 5 meetings. Since October of 2017, the Hoosiers have been a road favorite 6 times and they have failed to cover any of those games.
MINNESOTA (-28.5) @ RUTGERS
If there is an undefeated team in college football flying under the radar more than Minnesota we can’t think of who that might be. That 6-0 record should easily move to 7-0 this weekend as the Gophs visit the hapless Scarlet Knights of Rutgers. Last Saturday the Gophers topped Nebraska 34-7 as a 7-point favorite. The running game continued to progress with 332 yards on the Husker defense. After averaging just 2.6 YPC over their first 4 games, the Minnesota rushing attack as averaged 6.5 YPC their last 2 games. It didn’t hurt that their last 2 opponents (Illinois & Nebraska) struggle to stop the run ranking 107th and 98th respectively in run defense. The Minnesota defense did catch a break in this one not having to face Nebraska QB Martinez who didn’t play due to injury. Husker back up QB Vedral is not known as a solid passer and completed only 14 passes for 135 yards. While the Gophers are undefeated, there is no questioning the fact they have caught a number of breaks in order to get to this point. They have played a very weak schedule thus far and their Big Ten games were against Purdue with a back up freshman QB, Illinois who is simply bad, and Nebraska with a back up QB. Let’s not forget their first 4 games were all decided by a TD or less and first 3 games of the season Minnesota were trailing each in the 4th quarter. That being said, they found ways to come out on top in each and all they can do is beat whose in front of them.
Oh Rutgers. They were shutout for the 3 time already this season losing @ Indiana 35-0. Since joining the Big 10 in 2014, the Knight have been shutout 10 times. That’s 6 more shutouts than any other FBS team during that timeframe. They have now been outscored 165-7 in their 4 Big Ten games including 117-0 on the road in conference play. Their loss on Saturday @ Indiana made it 16 straight Big 10 loss for the Scarlet Knights. The offense, which is down to their 3rd string QB, tallied 75 total yards for the game. Their QB Langan completed 5 passes for ONE yard. That’s nothing new for Rutgers QB’s as they have now passed for less than 50 yards in 9 games since the start of the 2016 season. Firing head coach Chris Ash two weeks ago hasn’t done a thing to spark this team and after 2 more blowout losses under interim coach Nunzio Campanile we’d say he’s on the verge of losing this team if he hasn’t already. He implemented the option offense two weeks ago after taking over because his 3rd string QB, now the 1st string QB, is not a good passer. The move didn’t work as this team looks worse now than they did when Ash was fired. This team right now is 17 to 20 points worse than the next lowest rated Big 10 team (Illinois) on a neutral field.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS – These two have met just once since Rutgers joined the Big 10. That meeting was in 2016 and Minnesota squeaked by 34-32 at home as 17.5 point favorites. Since winning and covering vs UMass to open the season, Rutgers is 0-5 ATS losing by 78 points to the number (15.6 PPG). This is first time since 1982 the Gophers have been favored by 28 or more on the road. Rutgers is just 6-33 SU their last 39 games – they were at least a 14 point underdog in 26 of those 39 games! The Knights have been a home dog of 28 points or more in Big 10 play just 4 times (2-2 ATS) and those games were against Michigan (twice), Ohio State, and Penn State