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Nebraska v. Minnesota, FB, 10/26/2013

Minnesota defensive lineman Ra'Shede Hageman (99) tackles Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez (3) for a loss during the second half on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, at TCF Bank Stadium.

LEGENDS DIVISION

1. Michigan State (7-1, 4-0)

Each of Michigan State’s remaining four games is against a Legends Division opponent, beginning Saturday with the Spartans’ biggest challenger.

Next game: Michigan, Sat., 2:30 p.m. (ABC)

2. Michigan (6-1, 2-1)

The Wolverines have lost their last two games at Michigan State, but have never lost three straight games at Spartan Stadium.

Next game: at Michigan State, Sat., 2:30 p.m. (ABC)

3. Iowa (5-3, 2-2)

With two losses, including one to front-runner Michigan State, it’s difficult to see the Hawkeyes fulfilling a Cinderella role in the Legends Division race.

Next game: Wisconsin, Sat., 11 a.m. (ABC/ESPN2)

4. Minnesota (6-2, 2-2)

Here’s the thing about Minnesota’s victory over Nebraska: It sure didn’t look like a fluke. Gophers have an identity and are sticking to it.

Next game: at Indiana, Sat., 2:30 p.m. (BTN)

5. Nebraska (5-2, 2-1)

Should Nebraska consider riding running back Ameer Abdullah down the stretch and count on a ball-control running game to help out its shaky defense?

Next game: Northwestern, Sat., 2:30 p.m. (BTN)

6. Northwestern (4-4, 0-4)

Tough-luck Wildcats obviously won’t be intimidated by Memorial Stadium on Saturday, and will be fighting for their bowl-eligibility lives.

Next game: at Nebraska, Sat., 2:30 p.m. (BTN)

LEADERS DIVISION

1. Ohio State (8-0, 4-0)

Ohio State is among six FBS schools to not allow a 100-yard rusher this season, and the Buckeyes have yet to allow a rushing play of 20 yards or more.

Next game: at Purdue, Sat., 11 a.m. (BTN)

2. Wisconsin (5-2, 3-1)

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The Badgers have amassed more than 500 yards of offense in four of seven games, and have been held to fewer than 400 only once (399 vs. Ohio State).

Next game: at Iowa, Sat., 11 a.m. (ABC/ESPN2)

3. Indiana (3-4, 1-2)

The Hoosiers figure to score a lot against Minnesota, but worry about giving up too many points. So what else is new?

Next game: Minnesota, Sat., 2:30 p.m. (BTN)

4. Penn State (4-3, 1-2)

Bill O’Brien said he didn’t take offense to Urban Meyer’s decision to challenge a fourth-down spot in the second half of Saturday's lopsided loss at Ohio State.

Next game: Illinois, Sat., 11 a.m. (ESPN)

5. Illinois (3-4, 0-3)

Senior receiver Ryan Lankford (15 catches, 308 yards) suffered a broken shoulder against Michigan State and will miss the rest of the season.

Next game: at Penn State, Sat., 11 a.m. (ESPN)

6. Purdue (1-6, 0-3)

Purdue has won its last two games against Ohio State at home, and the last two games of the series have gone to overtime.

Next game: Ohio State, Sat., 11 a.m. (BTN)

By the numbers

85

Consecutive games Northwestern had played without starting a true freshman on defense, a streak that ended Saturday against Iowa, when cornerback Matthew Harris made his first career start. The last true freshman to start on defense had been cornerback Sherrick McManis in 2006 against Ohio State.

36

Times Big Ten Conference teams have scored at least 40 points this season, which is more than in the entire 2012 season, and with teams still having four or five regular-season games to play this year.

Quotable

“We all want to rip each other’s heads off on gameday and everything else, but to not have the respect for your opponent and the competition, I think, is wrong.” — Michigan coach Brady Hoke, on why postgame handshakes between coaches are important.

Game of the week

Michigan at Michigan State, Sat., 2:30 p.m.

Michigan State can put a stranglehold on first place in the Legends Division by beating Michigan and essentially taking a three-game lead (because of the head-to-head tiebreaker) over its bitter instate rival. Michigan State’s defense is rock solid, and while its offense has been herky-jerky, it’s facing a defense that Michigan coach Brady Hoke said is too inconsistent and allowing too many big plays. The Wolverines have had a week to regroup after their track meet with Indiana, but haven’t played well in two road games.

Reach Brian Rosenthal at 402-473-7436 or brosenthal@journalstar.com. You can follow him on Twitter @HuskerExtraBR.

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