Big Ten looking to continue momentum

For the first time since 1985, the conference was undefeated in a week

Matt Perkins

Big Ten football is off to a fast-paced, high-scoring start and is showing no signs of slowing up in week two of nonconference play.

The Big Ten completed a perfect 10-0 weekend, its first undefeated weekend since 1985.

But more importantly, it was the dominating fashion in which they accomplished the feat, winning by an average of 21.6 points per game.

Still, two of the most anticipated nonconference games for the Big Ten take place this weekend, as Michigan plays host to Notre Dame and Ohio State hosts Texas.

After national title talk at the preseason Big Ten Football Conference Media Days, the Wolverines and Buckeyes will get an early chance to prove the conference worthy of attention.

Looking ahead

The statistics here could have Gophers fans salivating right up to kickoff on Saturday.

Colorado State allowed its opponents to rush for 2,439 yards last season, more than 1,200 yards more than its season total of 1,228.

In their season opening 31-28 loss to in-state rival, Colorado, on Saturday, the Rams held Colorado to just 113 rushing yards. But now they face a different challenge in the form of the Gophers offensive line and running back Laurence Maroney.

“They know what we’re doing, it’s no secret,” coach Glen Mason said Tuesday. “I don’t think we are one-dimensional by any means, but if people start overplaying our running game they are going to get hurt in other areas.”

Adding insult to injury, literally, is the question mark around the Rams opening day starting running back Nnamdi Ohaeri.

Ohaeri sprained his left ankle in the first half of Saturday’s game, and is questionable for this weekend’s contest.

An unsung hero

After the Gophers 41-10 win over Tulsa Thursday night, Mason was asked whose performance stood out in his mind.

He answered calmly and surely.

“Jakari Wallace.”

The senior playmaker caught the eye of Mason on special teams against the Golden Hurricane by returning three kicks for 80 yards, and could see more action offensively this week.

“He is a very important part of at least two-thirds of our game, and that’s on offense and the kicking game,” Mason said. “We don’t draw up plays for any one person, but he is going to be a factor.”