No. 5 Iowa defense, Terps QB featured in battle of unbeatens

NCAA Football

Things to watch during Week 5 of play in the Big Ten Conference:

GAME OF THE WEEK

No. 5 Iowa at Maryland, Friday

This game has grown in magnitude with both teams coming in unbeaten. Iowa has relied on one of the better defenses in the country but is still waiting for its offense to emerge. The Hawkeyes are last in the Big Ten in total offense and played like it in a harder-than-expected win over Colorado State. Maryland’s Taulia Tagovailoa has thrown for 10 touchdowns against one interception and is among the national leaders with 335 yards passing per game. Penalties have been an issue for the Terrapins, and they must keep those at a minimum against an opponent with a knack for capitalizing on mistakes.

BEST MATCHUP

Michigan running game vs. Wisconsin run defense. The Wolverines lead the nation in rushing, the Badgers are first in rushing defense. Michigan rolled up huge totals in its first three games but managed only 112 yards on the ground against Rutgers last week. Wisconsin, which limited Notre Dame to 3 yards rushing last week, held Michigan to 47 in an easy win last year.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

Penn State QB Sean Clifford passed for 401 yards and four touchdowns, both career highs, against Villanova last week. He’s the first Penn State passer to achieve those marks in the same game. His 71.7% completion percentage is the highest through four games by a Nittany Lions quarterback since 2000. Clifford leads the Big Ten in yards per pass attempt (9.65), is third in passing yards per game (289.5) and fourth in total offense per game (309.2).

LONG SHOT?

Northwestern is a 10 1/2-point road underdog to Nebraska, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. This doesn’t appear to be one of Pat Fitzgerald’s better Northwestern teams, but the Wildcats always play Nebraska tough. Eight of the last 10 meetings have been decided by one score, and the Wildcats have won three of five in Lincoln.

IMPACT PLAYER

Rutgers LB Olakunle Fatukasi returned to school instead of declaring for the NFL draft and once again anchors his team’s defense. He’ll be front and center against Ohio State. He has 3.5 sacks and leads the Scarlet Knights with 39 tackles through four games. The Buckeyes have rushed for a combined 560 yards and eight touchdowns the last two weeks.

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