USC-Ohio State offers Big Ten chance to make name

Top 10 battle highlights Week 2 schedule.

by Marco LaNave

Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel knows his team represents the Big Ten in SaturdayâÄôs game against No. 3 Southern California . That doesnâÄôt mean the No. 8 Buckeyes will focus on that fact when preparing for the Trojans. âÄúIâÄôm not so sure itâÄôs a big rallying cry,âÄù Tressel said. Still, USCâÄôs success against the Big Ten is hard to ignore. The Trojans have won each of their last nine games against Big Ten opponents by an average of 24 points . Head coach Pete Carroll has been at the helm for the last six USC triumphs against Big Ten teams, which includes four Rose Bowl victories. Ironically, Carroll was an assistant coach at Ohio State in 1979, when the Buckeyes went 11-0 but fell to USC in the Rose Bowl . Ohio State has lost to USC in each of the last six meetings, including the TrojansâÄô 35-3 rout of the Buckeyes at the Los Angeles Coliseum last season. The Buckeyes have won a share of the Big Ten title each of the last four seasons but have dropped five consecutive games against top-five ranked teams . Tressel said that shouldnâÄôt concern this yearâÄôs Buckeyes. âÄúWeâÄôve got so many guys that havenâÄôt played in any of those games,âÄù Tressel said. âÄúThatâÄôs not a vantage point that resonates with them.âÄù Notre Dame at Michigan No. 18 Notre Dame (1-0) returns 10 offensive starters , including junior quarterback Jimmy Clausen , who threw for 315 yards and four touchdowns last week . Michigan (1-0) will use a quarterback rotation led by true freshman Tate Forcier , who threw for three touchdowns against Western Michigan last week . Western Michigan at Indiana Western Michigan (0-1) is bringing back senior quarterback Tim Hiller , who led the Mid-American Conference in passing yards and touchdowns last season, and senior 1,000-yard rusher Brandon West from a team that finished 9-4 last season. Of IndianaâÄôs offensive playmakers , only one âÄî junior wide receiver Terrance Turner âÄî has significant starting experience for the Hoosiers (1-0). The Hoosiers have have never lost to the Broncos . Iowa at Iowa State Before its first game, Iowa (1-0) lost running back Jewel Hampton , who ran for seven touchdowns as a true freshman last season, to a season-ending knee injury . Redshirt freshman Adam Robinson , who led the Hawkeyes with 63 yards rushing in the opener , will start in the annual battle for the Cy-Hawk trophy on Saturday. Iowa State (1-0) won its opener under first-year head coach Paul Rhoads but seeks its first winning season since 2005 . Central Michigan at Michigan State Central Michigan (0-1) has reached the last three Motor City Bowls but has lost the last two under head coach Butch Jones . Last week, Michigan State (1-0) used seven running backs to replace the now-graduated All-American running back Javon Ringer. Eastern Michigan at Northwestern Eastern Michigan head coach Ron English is the fourth different opening-day head coach for the Eagles (0-1) in the last 11 years. The program has had 13 consecutive losing campaigns . Northwestern (1-0) lost its starting quarterback, running back, and top three wide receivers from last season , but coasted to a win in its opener . Syracuse at Penn State Syracuse (0-1) faces its second of three consecutive Big Ten opponents to start the season . Senior wide receiver Mike Williams has caught a touchdown pass in the last 10 games in which he has played. Penn State (1-0) quarterback Daryll Clark earned Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors, throwing for a career-high 353 yards last Saturday for the No. 7-ranked Nittany Lions. Fresno State at Wisconsin Last year, Fresno State (1-0) fell 13-10 at home to then No.10 Wisconsin . Wisconsin junior quarterback Scott Tolzien threw for 257 yards in his first career start last week. The Badgers (1-0) have won 15 straight non-conference home games . Illinois State at Illinois First-year head coach Brock Spack , who was the defensive coordinator at Purdue for 12 years, seeks his first victory with Illinois State (0-1) on Saturday. Illinois (0-1) dropped its opener 37-9 to Missouri on Saturday . Senior running back Daniel Dufrene did not play because of an ankle sprain , and junior wide receiver Arrelious Benn left in the first quarter because of an ankle injury . Both were listed as starters on the depth chart as of Sept. 7. Purdue at Oregon Sophomore running back Ralph Bolden had 21 carries for 234 yards in the season-opening win for the Boilermakers (1-0) . Oregon (0-1) is without senior running back LeGarrette Blount , who ran for 1,000 yards in 2008 . Blount has been suspended for the season because of his actions âÄî which included punching a Boise State player in the face âÄî after last SaturdayâÄôs loss to the Broncos .