B1G Week 6 - Matchups

Maryland @ (7) Ohio State

Maryland comes into this matchup against Ohio State after being dominated by the Iowa Hawkeyes last Friday night. Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa had started the 2021 season very strongly, but was benched against Iowa after throwing five interceptions. Ohio State have some added momentum after beating the breaks off of Rutgers, which most would expect of the Buckeyes, but they deserve credit for beating a much improved Scarlet Knights team on the road. Ohio State have an excellent chance to prove that last week’s win wasn’t just a fluke and with CJ Stroud and the defense finally making improvements, I strongly believe they’ll keep enhancing themselves as the season progresses. I expect Maryland to have issues in this game with Ohio State’s offense finally hitting it’s stride. However, look for Maryland’s strong passing game to be a potential factor, but unfortunately it won’t be nearly enough to beat or even compete with the Buckeyes on Saturday. Ohio State 38 Maryland 23

Michigan State (11) @ Rutgers

Yes, Rutgers beat Michigan State in last year’s matchup, but these two teams are a whole lot different now. Michigan State’s defensive line, specifically their pass rush, has been unstoppable all season and I fully expect that to continue in this matchup. Some positive news for Rutgers is that MSU are facing some injury concerns in their secondary, so look for the Scarlet Knights offense to potentially try to exploit that. The Spartans won’t allow Rutgers to get their run game going which will mean that as long as Michigan State play the game calmly and mistake free, they will dominate this matchup and keep their perfect record alive. MSU’s offense have only given the ball away three times this season, so I expect Mel Tucker and the Spartans to keep their composure against Rutgers on the road. Michigan State 34 Rutgers 17

Wisconsin @ Illinois

Two teams that have had very disappointing season’s so far, with the Wisconsin Badgers sitting at 1-3 and Illinois at 2-4 coming into this game. Some positive news for the Badgers is that they still have an elite defense, which has kept them in games against teams like Notre Dame and Penn State, but unfortunately the offense has been woeful all season with quarterback Graham Mertz struggling significantly. As for Illinois, their offense has been very poor, but a positive is that their defense has forced two turnovers in each of its previous four games this season. The usually strong, reliable, and consistent Wisconsin run game we’re used to seeing most seasons has been non-existent so far this season and some may predict Illinois to play Wisconsin close in this matchup, but I have a strong feeling that the Wisconsin offense will play well enough to beat Illinois comfortably on Saturday. Wisconsin 27 Illinois 14

Michigan (9) @ Nebraska

I’m honestly shocked that this game isn’t getting more attention, it’s one of the most intriguing matchups of the week and has the potential to be a great game. If you just looked at Nebraska’s 3-3 record you would probably say they’re not very good, but they’ve been playing some excellent football this season. Huskers quarterback Adrian Martinez continues to improve and the Nebraska defense has been stellar with a particularly impressive performance against Oklahoma where they lost narrowly. As for Michigan, they’ve also been playing very well this season and are currently undefeated, with some notable wins against Washington and a dominant win on the road against Wisconsin. The Wolverines will be going into a tough environment in Lincoln with an expected sold out crowd. Michigan are facing a dual threat quarterback for the first time this season, which could result in them potentially being opened up by Nebraska’s offense. However, Michigan’s defense is holding its opponents to less than 300 total yards so this will be a huge step up for Nebraska and Adrian Martinez. I believe the Wolverines will get it done on the road and continue their strong start to the season. Expect the Huskers to keep this one close for three quarters and the Wolverines to pull away in the fourth. Michigan 31 Nebraska 20

Penn State (4) @ Iowa (3)

And finally, onto definitely the biggest game of the week and some may say the biggest game of the season so far. My 3rd ranked Iowa Hawkeyes come up against 4th ranked Penn State at Kinnick Stadium in what is such a huge game, especially at this early stage of the season. Both Iowa and Penn State have already been thoroughly battle tested so far this season and have two of the best defenses in all of college football. Let’s start with Penn State, they have been very efficient offensively this season with only three turnovers so far. Iowa’s offense have had real issues at times moving the football consistently, so if the Nittany Lions offense can play sensibly, they’ll give themselves a good chance in this game because of how strong they are defensively. Penn State must be better on third down against Iowa if they want to get a win on the road, they’ve converted just 36% of the time so far this season. Now the Hawkeyes, I believe the biggest advantage Iowa has in this game is the fact that Penn State’s rushing attack just hasn’t been there at all this season. This may mean that Penn State will have to throw a large amount, which would play perfectly into Iowa’s main strength being their elite secondary. Look for a very low scoring affair, and also winning time of possession will be particularly important for coming out on top for both of these teams. Iowa’s defense will be the reason they win this football game, but establishing the rushing attack with running back Tyler Goodson will be paramount in taking Penn State down on Saturday. This game will be what B1G football is all about. Low scoring, gritty, tough and extremely physical. Iowa 20 Penn State 14

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