|Wisconsin cornerback Devin Smith has recovered from a broken foot last suffered season and leads the Badgers with two interceptions. (US Presswire)|
News and notes from around the Big Ten:
- Ohio State announced a two-game agreement with Oregon scheduled for 2020 and 2021 on Tuesday. The first game will be played in Eugene while the following game will be played in Columbus. The Buckeyes have recently announced upcoming games against major nonconference opponents like TCU, Texas, and now the Ducks, reported Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The scheduling is at least somewhat in response to the NCAA's four-team playoff format, which factors in strength of the schedule. Also, coach Urban Meyer listed Braxton Miller as his starter for Saturday's game, despite having to leave last weekend's game with what looked like a serious head injury.
- According to game-day organizers, Penn State fans have begun camping out in record numbers in anticipation of Saturday's home game against Ohio State. More than 1,000 students have gathered in “Nittanyville” since Monday, six days before the meeting of the top two teams in the Leaders Division. “I can't say enough about our student body,” coach Bill O'Brien said to the Centre Daily Times. “We want them to be respectful, but very, very loud throughout the game.”
- Wisconsin senior cornerback Devin Smith is having the kind of success he expected to have last year before a broken foot in the second week derailed his season. “I think it is special that we have three senior cornerbacks. I'm just glad to get one more opportunity to play with these guys,” he said to Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Smith is fourth on the team with 37 tackles and leads the team with seven pass break-ups and two interceptions.
- Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead reinjured his knee last weekend against Northwestern and is unlikely to play Saturday against Michigan, meaning that Ameer Abdullah should get another start. Regardless of Burkhead's status though, Abdullah said he prepares the exact same week in and week out. “I take every week as if I'm starting the game, and when I'm in the game, I'm trying to be effective,” he said to Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln Journal Star. Abdullah has 615 yards and seven touchdowns on 105 carries, more than double the attempts Burkhead has on the year.
- Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges said that last weekend's conservative play calling in the win over Michigan State was by design. The coaches had scouted the previous four losses to the Spartans and found a few common denominators such as tackles for loss, incomplete passes and sacks allowed. While the Wolverines did incur numerous tackles for loss, Michigan didn't allow a sack and didn't turn the ball over, save for a meaningless interception on a Hail Mary before halftime. “That was the game plan, to be conservative,” Denard Robinson said to Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press.
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