10 Things We Learned About Big Ten Football in Week 6

Zach Dirlam@Zach_DirlamSenior Analyst IIOctober 7, 2012

10 Things We Learned About Big Ten Football in Week 6

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    The Big Ten Conference has not done itself any favors this season and hoped to turn things around in league play. It is safe to say that Week 6 helped college football fans put a lot of things into perspective as to who is a contender and who is a pretender.

    Did the Michigan Wolverines prove they are the team to beat in the Big Ten? Were there any positives to take away from the Michigan State Spartans dismal performance against the Indiana Hoosiers? What about the Ohio State Buckeyes and Nebraska Cornhuskers?

    All of the answers you have been waiting for are just a click away!

The Indiana Hoosiers Are Making Progress Under Kevin Wilson

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    The Indiana Hoosiers have long been a doormat for the rest of the Big Ten Conference, but second-year head coach Kevin Wilson has his team competing and ready to upset some teams in conference play this season.

    Sophomore quarterback Cameron Coffman threw for 282 yards against the Michigan State Spartans' vaunted defense, and the Hoosiers led for the entire game until their defense finally succumbed to Le'Veon Bell and co. midway through the fourth quarter.

    Indiana's defense will struggle all season long and will hold them back from competing in the Leaders Division. However, the entire conference should be approaching the Hoosiers with caution given their offensive firepower. Michigan State fans are just glad they did not have to learn that the hard way this weekend.

Michigan State's Wide Receivers Are Starting to Make Plays

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    For the first five weeks of the college football season, the Michigan State Spartans were without a playmaker at wide receiver, but true freshman Aaron Burbridge and Bennie Fowler have finally separated themselves from the pack.

    The Spartans were without starting tight end and leading receiver, Dion Sims Jr., for much of their Week 6 tilt with the Indiana Hoosiers.

    Burbridge hauled in eight receptions for 134 yards against the Hoosiers, and Fowler had four catches for 57 yards and the game-winning touchdown grab.

    Sophomore wide receiver Keith Mumphery also made an impressive catch for 19 yards in Michigan State's 31-27 victory over Indiana. 

    Teams will continue to load up the box and slow down Le'Veon Bell, so the Michigan State receivers will have to continue to make positive strides in order to give quarterback Andrew Maxwell a chance to lead the Spartans to a Big Ten Conference title this season.

Matt McGloin Is a Much Better Quarterback Than People Realize

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    Penn State Nittany Lions senior quarterback Matt McGloin took some flack this offseason after he jokingly compared himself to All-Pro signal-caller Tom Brady, but the former walk-on has backed his comments up with his play on the field.

    McGloin has completed 136-of-221 pass attempts for 1,499 yards—which is the most in the Big Ten Conference—and 12 touchdowns through six games.

    The Northwestern Wildcats found out stopping McGloin and the Nittany Lions is no easy task. McGloin led Penn State on three touchdown drives in the fourth quarter to secure a 39-28 upset victory in Happy Valley.

    McGloin finished the game 35-for-51 with 282 passing yards and three total touchdowns. Those are not exactly eye-popping stats, but they warrant the respect of Big Ten fans throughout the country.

Northwestern Is a Pretender in the Legends Division Race

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    The Northwestern Wildcats were finally exposed as a fraud in the race for the Big Ten Conference Legends Division title on Saturday by the Penn State Nittany Lions.

    New starting quarterback Trevor Siemian struggled to make plays in the passing game as he finished with 135 passing yards and one touchdown. Venric Mark rushed for 72 yards, one touchdown and returned a punt 75 yards for a score, but the Wildcats still could not top the Nittany Lions.

    Northwestern's offense only gained 247 yards against a stout Penn State defense, and the Wildcats gave up 443 total yards defensively.

    Head coach Pat Fitzgerald has brought the Wildcats a long way and is starting to recruit at a much higher level than ever before, but Northwestern is still a few years away from being a contender in the Big Ten.

Nebraska's Defense Is Going to Struggle All Season

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    The Nebraska Cornhuskers have often been renowned for their top-tier defenses, but this season head coach Bo Pelini is going to be slamming his hat around on the sideline as Big Ten Conference teams run the football with success against his defense.

    Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde combined to rush for 326 yards in the Ohio State Buckeyes' 63-38 victory over the Cornhuskers on Saturday. Earlier this season, the UCLA Bruins piled up over 600 yards of total offense against Nebraska.

    The Cornhuskers have been burned by speedy running backs and quarterbacks, which does not bode well for Nebraska considering who they have coming up on their schedule.

    Venric Mark and Northwestern could give Nebraska's defense fits, Denard Robinson and the Michigan Wolverines are one of the fastest offenses in the Big Ten and the Michigan State Spartans' offense is centered around their rushing attack.

    Pelini and his staff will have to clean things up quickly on defense if the Cornhuskers hope to win the Legends Division this year.

Joel Stave Has Righted the Ship for Wisconsin's Offense

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    Head coach Brett Bielema knew the Wisconsin Badgers could not win with Danny O'Brien as their quarterback. Redshirt freshman Joel Stave has made the most of his opportunities since taking over as the starter three weeks ago.

    Stave has thrown for over 200 yards in each of his three starts and has done more than enough to make opposing defenses respect Wisconsin's passing game, which in turn allows Montee Ball and James White to run around with ease.

    The Badgers have won three of their last four games and should be able to easily win the Leaders Division this season if they are able to top the Purdue Boilermakers next Saturday.

Purdue Would Be an Afterthought in the Big Ten Title Race Any Other Year

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    The Purdue Boilermakers entered their weekend bout with the Michigan Wolverines looking to make a statement and establish themselves as contenders in the Big Ten Conference Leaders Division, but Danny Hope's squad laid an egg early in the first half and never recovered.

    Michigan ran the ball at will for 304 yards, and dual-threat quarterback Denard Robinson accounted for 235 yards on the ground to go along with 105 yards through the air in the Wolverines' lopsided 44-13 win over the Boilermakers.

    Purdue's defense had been expected to help lead the Boilermakers to a Leaders Division crown, but it has never looked more vulnerable.

    Things will not get easier for Purdue as it welcomes the Wisconsin Badgers to Ross-Ade Stadium next Saturday for a pivotal division tilt.

Tim Beckman Loves Himself Some Dip

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    Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Tim Beckman is likely going to get a nice report from the NCAA about his on-field tobacco use during their 31-14 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday.

    It is against NCAA rules for players, coaches or officials to use tobacco during competition, but Big Lead Sports managed to catch a snapshot of Beckman clearly preparing a huge pinch of Skoal chewing tobacco for himself.

    How the NCAA chooses to handle this situation will be interesting. The most disturbing thing about this whole situation for the Fighting Illini is that the biggest story surrounding its football program right now is the nasty habit of its head coach.

    Oh, if only Illinois could find some offense, maybe Beckman would not have to throw in a dip on the sideline to calm himself down.

Michigan Is the Best Team in the Legends Division

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    The Michigan Wolverines struggled in non-conference play, but Denard Robinson proved once again he is one of the most dynamic players in college football and could finally win a Big Ten Conference title this season.

    Michigan's defense has gotten better every single week and held the Purdue Boilermakers to 213 total yards at Ross-Ade Stadium on Saturday, which helped the Wolverines blowout Danny Hope's squad 44-13.

    Robinson has over 1,000 total yards in Michigan's three victories this season and while the Wolverines do not match up well with the Michigan State Spartans they should be able to beat the rest of the teams in the Big Ten this season and get to Indianapolis.

Ohio State's Offense Is Dynamic, but the Defense Is a Work in Progress

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    The Ohio State Buckeyes have surrendered over 400 total yards on defense in three of their last four games. The only reason head coach Urban Meyer has not taken a loss this season is because of how well Braxton Miller has played through the first six games.

    The Buckeyes are ineligible for the postseason this year, so Meyer and his staff will have time to right the ship. But with several returning starters back from last season, Ohio State fans have to be concerned with what they are seeing from the scarlet and gray on defense.

    Miller has already racked up over 1,800 yards this season and will have to keep his production up if the Buckeyes do not find an answer for their defensive woes.

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