Prove IT - Week 6 Football; Big Tests in the Big Ten

Northwestern College Football Kain Colter

Prove It – Week 6


Northwestern at Penn State


Northwestern is ranked going into Week 6 this season.  People expected them to be competitive, but undefeated did not necessarily sound like a realistic expectation.  Pat Fitzgerald has been at the school for seven years now.  He has had them playing at a high level in the past, but never to a point where almost half way through the season they are considered to be in contention for a division crown.  Northwestern and Fitzgerald have to be ecstatic about what they are seeing from their football team.  The Wildcats are ninth in the nation in rushing behind solid runners in Venric Mark and defending Big Ten Player of the Week Kain Colter.  Not only did the quarterback/running back/wide receiver leave Indiana in the dust last weekend to the tune of 161 yards and four touchdowns, but he also caught nine balls for 131 yards.  His versatility goes a long way in helping the Wildcats execute how they want to on offense.  He is also the team’s second leading passer.

They will be playing a Penn State team that has truly been a surprise this season in the wake of the horrendous offseason that hangs over the program like a dark cloud.  The team on the field is really working hard to soften the blow dealt them by the NCAA.  They are 3-2 heading into this game and have only lost by a total of 11 points.  What Bill O’Brien has been able to do with that team is nothing short of fantastic.  With all of the distractions and sanctions working against them, the team has found a way to put together quality game plans.  They are competing hard.  Veteran quarterback Matt McGloin has certainly stabilized the offense after the departure of stud running back Silas Redd.

This will be a good test for both teams.  Certainly Northwestern is expected to win this game considering their ranking and their ability to produce on offense.  At this point, Northwestern’s talent exceeds that of Penn State’s.  Their coach has been in position longer as well.  A 6-0 record would have the Wildcats sitting pretty and expecting really big things in the coming weeks.  But Penn State might have something to say.  Just because they are expected to be down and out does not mean that they will play that way.  They certainly have not up until this point.  A win over a ranked team would be such a boon for O’Brien and this program.  They would prove that no matter what, as long as the Big Ten is around, they are not going anywhere.


Nebraska at Ohio State

Prove It Coach/Program:  Urban Meyer and Ohio State

How interesting would it be if Ohio State keeps this up and “wins” the Leaders division?  Obviously, they are unable to claim the throne since they have NCAA sanctions stemming from Jim Tressel’s scandal.  But the second place team might not really feel like they earned it.  All Urban Meyer does is take programs to the apex of college football.  He did it with Alex Smith at Utah.  He led Tim Tebow and Florida to two national titles.  In his first year in Columbus, he has the Buckeyes undefeated going into a pivotal game against Nebraska.  He is doing it with a strong defense and a quarterback that is a playmaker.  Braxton Miller is not necessarily lighting the world on fire with his passing numbers (he has 933 yards and eight touchdowns).  Where he does his damage is with his improvisational skills with his legs.  He leads the Buckeyes in rushing and rushing touchdowns.  Miller is the 13th ranked rusher in the country.  Who knows how the game plan would change without him, but right now he is the engine that makes Ohio State go.  He is backed up by a defense that only allows 17 points per game.

They will face a Nebraska team that is good in their own right.  They just came off an emotional win against Wisconsin in a game they rallied from 17 points down to come out on top.  Taylor Martinez is also a dual-threat guy at quarterback, and Rex Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah are rocks for the Huskers in the backfield.  Nebraska, the nation’s fifth best running team, will try their luck on the ground.  Ohio State has only been allowing 100 yards per game.  Nebraska has been racking up over 300 yards per contest.  Something will have to give.  Ohio State is not out for style points.  A few of their wins have been ugly, but they have been wins all the same.  They get the Cornhuskers in Columbus, which should help their cause.  Nebraska will not go away easy.  After their hiccup against UCLA earlier in the season, they have been on point and have not lost.  A win over Nebraska would propel the Buckeyes as the definitive favorite in the Leaders division.  It would vault Meyer to another stratosphere of coaching if they can achieve that feat.  Imagine when they are eligible for the postseason.


Week 6 Football - What to Watch For