The B1G trouble continues for both Northwestern and Illinois
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Week 6 preview capsules and predicted scores for the locals:
NO. 4 PENN STATE AT NORTHWESTERN
The facts: 11 a.m., Ch. 7, 720-AM.
The records: Penn State 5-0, 2-0 Big Ten; Northwestern 2-2, 0-1 Big Ten.
The storyline: Wildcats quarterback Clayton Thorson completed a career-high 29 passes last week at Wisconsin. Running back Justin Jackson is only 83 rushing yards shy of Damien Anderson’s school record. Fun facts! But there’s not a lot in this matchup that looks fun from the NU point of view. Saquon Barkley and the Nittany Lions are out-of-control good.
The line: Nittany Lions by 14½.
Greenberg’s pick: PSU, 38-17.
ILLINOIS AT IOWA
The facts: 11 a.m., BTN, 670-AM.
The records: Illinois 2-2, 0-1 Big Ten; Iowa 3-2, 0-2 Big Ten.
The storyline: Can the Illini offense get something going in the passing game after quarterback Chayce Crouch was benched for Jeff George Jr.? If not — more specifically, if the offensive line is unable to protect George at least adequately — then this one is over before it starts. Which it might be anyway, given how porous Lovie Smith’s pass defense has been.
The line: Hawkeyes by 18.
Greenberg’s pick: Iowa, 37-14.
NO. 21 NOTRE DAME AT NORTH CAROLINA
The facts: 2:30 p.m., Ch. 7, 1000-AM.
The records: Notre Dame 4-1; North Carolina 1-4, 0-3 ACC.
The storyline: A year ago at this time, the Irish were 1-4 and had just fired their defensive coordinator. The Tar Heels, meanwhile, were ranked and rolling at 4-1. You see what’s happening here? Everything has flipped around. The Irish sure look legit. UNC is a disaster.
The line: Irish by 14.
Greenberg’s pick: Notre Dame, 31-14.
KENT STATE AT NORTHERN ILLINOIS
The facts: 2:30 p.m., ESPN3, 560-AM.
The records: Kent State 1-4, 0-1 MAC; Northern Illinois 2-2, 0-0.
The storyline: The Huskies will be without linebacker Antonio Jones-Davis, who’s suspended for a game for poking the eye of a San Diego State player. That’s about the only thing the Golden Flashes have going for them in this one. NIU has been the better team offensively by about 100 yards per game and the better team defensively by nearly 200 yards per game. What else is there to say?
The line: Huskies by 23½.
Greenberg’s pick: NIU, 52-21.
Follow me on Twitter @slgreenberg.