Around the Big Ten: Week 2

Big Red Report's Kyle Phillippi breaks down the Big Ten Conference in week two.

Can Wisconsin Win Again?

A win over Oregon State this weekend would mark their 34th straight regular-season non-conference win – the second longest streak among FBS teams (LSU: 38).

After a narrow margin of victory over a Northern Iowa team that rallied in the fourth quarter, Wisconsin will have to tighten up on defense, especially in the secondary. Fortunately for the Badgers, the one biggest star in this game resides on their sidelines, running back Montee Ball. The Heisman candidate will once again need to break down the opposition's defense, just as he did last weekend with his 151 all-purpose yards.

The Beavers are playing in their first game of the season, and it's safe to assume head coach Mike Riley will have his team fired up at the opportunity to knock off a ranked opponent. Also benefitting Oregon State is the fact they are playing host and are expected to have a near-sellout crowd for what will be their first home game against a Big Ten opponent since 1971 (vs. Iowa).

Will Penn State Start 0-2?

Bill O'Brien will experience his first road contest as Penn State head coach this weekend at Charlottesville, Virginia as both teams are entering riding different emotions.

The Nittany Lions suffered a heartbreaking defeat to Ohio after building a 14-point halftime lead. Meanwhile, Virginia is fresh off a 43-19 beatdown of the Richmond Spiders. Judging from their performances last weekend, it's safe to say the Penn State offense will have to develop some consistency, particularly Matt McGloin, who started off by throwing two first half touchdowns before his inaccuracies sparked an Ohio comeback.

This game has all the makings of a low-scoring affair that comes down to the final possession. If this one becomes a shootout, though, all bets favor the Cavaliers against an inept Penn State offense.

What Taylor Martinez Will UCLA See?

After completing 26-of-34 passes for five touchdowns, Taylor Martinez proved to the nation that he has made major strides as a passer over the offseason. Generally a run-first option, Martinez now becomes an ever tougher matchup for UCLA to prepare for as they will now have to respect both his arm and legs.

With Rex Burkhead banged up, the Huskers will run their offense through Martinez and his dual-threat capabilities. If the junior quarterback can put together another game like he did in week one, there will be many experts who start hopping on Nebraska's bandwagon. A win over UCLA would set up a potential 4-0 matchup in their Big Ten opener against Wisconsin.

- Josh Harvey -

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