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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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Published: 11/3/2012

Ohio State hosts Illinois, Michigan on the road playing for Little Brown Jug

BLADE STAFF

Michigan at Minnesota

■Time: Noon

■Records: Michigan is 5-3, 3-1 Big Ten; Minnesota is 5-3, 1-3 in the Big Ten.

■TV: Big Ten Network

■Radio: 100.7

■Series: Michigan leads 71-24-3

■Favorite: Michigan by 11½

■Notes: Michigan and Minnesota play for the Little Brown Jug, one of the oldest rivalry trophies in college football. While the Wolverines enter today’s game with a four-game winning streak against the Golden Gophers, they’ve also dominated in the last four decades. Since 1970, Michigan has lost just three times to Minnesota. … Much will be made this weekend of two facets of Michigan’s offense: the continued lack of production from the rushing offense and the health of Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson. While Michigan has averaged 206.6 yards rushing this season, the bulk of its ground game has come from Robinson, who re-aggravated an injury to the ulnar nerve in his throwing arm late in the first half of last week’s loss at Nebraska. Earlier this week, Michigan coach Brady Hoke said he expected Robinson to be fine, but has given quarterback-turned-wide receiver Devin Gardner more snaps at practice this week. … Michigan plays its first game at TCF Bank Stadium, built in 2009. Michigan won its last game at Minnesota — played at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome — in 2008, a 29-6 win over the Golden Gophers. … With a win today, either Michigan or Minnesota will become bowl-eligible.

Illinois at No. 6 Ohio State

■Records: Illinois is 2-6, 0-4 in the Big Ten; OSU is 9-0, 5-0.

■Time: 3:30 p.m.

■TV: ESPN

■Radio: 106.5

■Series: OSU leads 64-30-4

■Favorite: OSU by 27½

■Notes: Urban Meyer is using whatever he can to keep Ohio State from overlooking former Toledo coach Tim Beckman’s Illini, including the orange and blue’s staggering recent success at Ohio Stadium. Illinois has won seven of its last 11 games in Columbus, including a 28-21 victory over the top-ranked Buckeyes in 2007. In all, Illinois trails only Michigan in wins over OSU since 1988. Illinois is 9-13 against the Buckeyes, while UM is 12-11-1. … That past seems distant, though. The Illini this season are 111th nationally in total offense (317.4 yards per game) and 89th in scoring defense (30.8 points). Ohio State is second in the Big Ten in scoring (38.6 points) and rushing yards (248 yards) and ninth in total defense (389.6 yards). ... With 24 touchdowns — 12 passing, 12 rushing — OSU quarterback Braxton Miller is closing in on Troy Smith’s single-season school record of 31 set in 2006. … Sixteen Illinois players hail from Ohio, including junior defensive lineman Tim Kynard (St. John’s Jesuit) and redshirt freshman offensive lineman Chris Boles (Central Catholic).



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