Big Ten: No. 9 Michigan’s visit to No. 23 Penn State tops slate

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh watches during an NCAA college football game against Michigan State, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in East Lansing, Mich. Michigan State won 37-33. (AP Photo/Al Goldis) (Al Goldis, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Things to watch during Week 11 of play in the Big Ten Conference:


No 9 Michigan at No. 23 Penn State

With Penn State (6-3, 3-3) out of the East Division race, the pressure is on Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines (8-1, 5-1, No. 6 CFP). Michigan needs to win in Happy Valley and next week at Maryland to set up a home showdown with Ohio State that likely will decide who goes to the conference championship game — though Michigan State could have something to say about that, too. Harbaugh has lost two straight against Penn State and is 3-3 in the series.


Minnesota at No. 19 Iowa

This could be a slog in Iowa City, but it will begin the process of separating the top of the Big Ten West. The Gophers (6-3, 4-2) and Hawkeyes (7-2, 4-2, No. 20 CFP) are among four teams tied for first place. The Gophers are coming off a home loss to Illinois, they're short of running backs and QB Tanner Morgan has been up and down all season. The Hawkeyes are expected to have a new starting QB in Alex Padilla and need this one badly because fellow West co-leaders Purdue and Wisconsin own the first tiebreaker (head-to-head wins) over them.


Wisconsin (6-3, 4-2, No. 18 CFP) and Northwestern (3-6, 1-5) have split their last 16 meetings, but the Badgers have won six of the last seven in Madison. The Badgers lead the nation in total defense; Northwestern is 106th in total offense. ... Rutgers (4-5, 1-5) turned over the ball a season-high four times against Wisconsin last week, the most since 2018. The Scarlet Knights, who visit Indiana (2-7, 0-6), are 4-0 when committing no turnovers. The Scarlet Knights last had four games in a season with no turnovers in 2009.


Purdue (6-3, 4-2, No. 19 CFP) is a 20 1/2-point underdog at No. 6 Ohio State (8-1, 6-0, No. 4 CFP), according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The Boilermakers already have knocked off two top-five opponents and, according to Sportradar, will be trying to become the first unranked team since Illinois in 1959 to beat three top-10 opponents in the same season. Purdue coach Jeff Brohm is 1-0 against Ohio State with a 49-20 win in the last meeting in 2018. The Buckeyes were ranked No. 2 that day.


Michigan State DE Jacub Panasiuk will play a key role in the Spartans' attempt to pressure Maryland's Taulia Tagovailoa. Panasiuk is the top sack man on a defense that's second in the Big Ten with just over three a game, but he hasn't gotten to the quarterback in two games. The Spartans (8-1, 5-1, No. 7 CFP) gave up more than 500 yards in each of those games, and Tagovailoa is capable of putting up big numbers for the Terrapins (5-4, 2-4) if given time.


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