Stopping Saquon Barkley tops Michigan's to-do list | Big Ten notes

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Indiana linebacker Tegray Scales (8) can’t stop Penn State running back Saquon Barkley (26) on Sept. 30 at Beaver Stadium.

While Michigan has the comfort of knowing its defense is the best in the country, it doesn’t make it any easier trying to figure out ways to stop Penn State’s Saquon Barkley.

Coach Jim Harbaugh said linebacker Devin Bush Jr. and safety Khaleke Hudson will be tasked with containing the leading Heisman candidate Saturday in Beaver Stadium.

“He can catch the ball out of the backfield, run all the assortment of runs,” Harbaugh said of Barkley, according to the Detroit Free Press. “Very good pass protector. He is a multi-purpose back that can do everything well.”

Ohio State getting healthy for Penn State

Three starters who were injured against Nebraska are expected to return next week when the sixth-ranked Buckeyes host No. 2 Penn State, coach Urban Meyer said on a conference call Tuesday.

Receiver Parris Campbell, left tackle Jamarco Jones and defensive end Jalyn Holmes, all integral parts for the Buckeyes, left the game after taking hits to the head in Ohio State’s 56-14 win, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

“All are very probable,” Meyer said on the Big Ten coaches conference call. “They’ll all be ready by next week.”

Rutgers breaks Big Ten losing streak despite injuries

The Scarlet Knights broke a 15-game losing streak in Big Ten play when they beat Illinois last week, 35-24. The win marked the first time they beat a conference opponent in two years.

Coach Chris Ash credits part of the win to Rutgers’ offensive line, which has been battling injuries. He said making tweaks in the bye week before the matchup with Illinois was the biggest thing that helped the offensive line improve.

“They’ve never quit,” Ash said. “They work really hard. That’s what you want of your offensive line. You want great leadership, and you want them to work extremely hard every single day, and that’s what they’ve been able to do that’s allowed them to improve.”

Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst scouts Maryland

Fifth-ranked Wisconsin is looking to extend its undefeated streak to seven games when it hosts Maryland on Saturday at noon. Coach Paul Chryst praised the Terrapins (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) on their athleticism, speed and physicality.

“They’ve got guys on all their units that can impact games in an instant,” Chryst said. “I think it’s a good football team. A ton of respect for DJ [Durkin] and their staff. They’ve got some guys who can truly impact a game on offense, defense and special teams.”

Cornhuskers on the mend

Nebraska’s bye week comes at a convenient time, as multiple players are recovering from injuries.

But coach Mike Riley feels confident that JD Spielman, Josh Kalu, Aaron Williams and Antonio Reed will be ready to play next week against Purdue.

“They should be back by the end of the week and ready to practice on Monday,” Riley said.

Switching positions

When junior Chase Gianacakos switched positions from offensive lineman to tight end, the offensive line wouldn’t let him forget it.

“They like to make fun of me saying I’ll probably never go out for a pass or something like that,” Gianacakos said during a press conference Tuesday. “I like to give them some grief as well, saying that I get to do what we all want to do. Every offensive lineman wants to be a tight end. Every offensive lineman wants to go out for a pass. I think it’s pretty cool that I have that opportunity.”