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September 03, 2008 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-09-03

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, September 3, 2008 -11A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, Septemher 3, 2008 - hA

Getting
Big Ten
ready
MICHAEL BERTENTHAL and
RYAN KNAPP
Daily Sports Writers
The Big Ten features several less-
than-thrilling games this week, as
teams gearup for the fast-approach-
ing conference season.
Ohio at No. 2 Ohio State
The most pressing concern in
Columbus isn't the Bobcats com-
ing to the Horseshoe this week. It's
the status of Chris "Beanie" Wells'
foot, which he injured in the third
quarter of the Buckeyes' 43-0 rout
. of Youngstown State. The Heisman
hopeful ran for 111 yards on 13 car-
ries,including a 43-yard touchdown
scamper, before leaving the game.
Though the offense has injury con-
cerns, the defense is still rock-solid.
Led by last year's Big Ten Defen-
sive Player of the Year, linebacker
James Laurinaitis, the unit returns
nine starters. If last week's shutout
was any indication, the Buckeyes
will likely roll to victory with their
marquee matchup at No.1 Southern
Cal looming. The player to watch
is freshman quarterback Terrelle
Pryor, who looks to continue his
impressive debut, and tease Wolver-
ine fans with what they're missing
out on.
Prediction:Buckeyes 42, Bobcats 0
Eastern Michigan at Michigan
State
This weekend, Michigan's Ypsi-
lanti neighbors are facing a loaded
" Spartan backfield which includes
senior running back Javon Ringer
andsenior quarterback Brian Hoyer.
Michigan State is pretty "green" at
the receiver position though, with
two underclassmen as its two lead-
ing receivers. But the big question
is, can Hoyer bounce back from his
42-percent completion rate against
California last week? His poor per-
formance contributed to a sloppy
38-31 loss. The Spartans hope to
rebound from the disappointing
showing and steamroll in-state
opponent Eastern Michigan. But
if the Spartans aren't careful they

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Ohio State running back Chris "Beanie" Wells is doubtful this weekend.

could find themselves in a shootout
with a team that put up 52 points
last weekend. Keep an eye out for
sophomore linebacker Greg Jones,
who turned some heads last week
with his eight tackles, includingtwo
for a loss.
Prediction: Spartans 31, Eagles 10
Oregon State at No. 22 Penn
State
JoPa is still alive and kickin'
and climbin' his way up the record
books. Last week, the Nittany Lions
dominated Coastal Carolina 66-10,
which tied Paterno with Florida
State's Bobby Bowden in the ongo-
ing race for the most wins among
Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly
Division I) coaches. Penn State was
dealt an early blow this offseason
when star linebacker Sean Lee suf-
fered a torn ACL, forcing the team
to scramble for a replacement. Lee's
backup, junior Bani Gbadyu, played
well and recorded an interception
in his first start. On the other side
of the ball, Paterno is still weighing
who will start under center against
Oregon State because both senior
Daryll Clark and freshman Pat Dev-
lin were impressive last week. But
the Beavers' prolific passing attack
will be a more difficult test than the
Chanticleers'. Look out for Oregon

State senior wide receiver Sammie
Stroughter, who torched Stanford
last week with 12 catches for 157
yards and two touchdowns.
Prediction: Beavers 31, Nittany
Lions 27
Northwestern at Duke
When these two conference
bottom-dwellers faced off on the
gridiron last year, the Blue Devils
were the laughingstock of college
football, with a nation-leading
22-game losing streak. North-
western threatened to score in the
game's final minutes, but Duke's
defense didn't break and the Blue
Devils left Evanston with their
first victory in almost two years.
This time around, however, both
teams are coming off surprising
double-digit victories. Duke dis-
patched James Madison 31-7, while
Northwestern thumped Syracuse
30-10. Watch out for Blue Devil
quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, who
lit up the Wildcats for nearly 250
yards and three touchdowns last
time around. But for Duke to come
away with another 'W,' the Blue
Devils have to stop Northwestern's
run attack.
Prediction: Wildcats 24,
Blue Devils 14

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