Michigan State, like Penn State, in rebounding mode | Big Ten Notes

Michigan St Offense Football
Michigan State is wary of a hungry Penn State team, with both teams coming off disappointing losses.

When Michigan State and Penn State play Saturday, both teams will be eager for a win after suffering their first Big Ten losses of the season. And coach Mark Dantonio said he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t at least a little worried.

The coach conceded it will be challenging for the No. 24 Spartans when No. 7 Penn State visits their home turf.

“They have a good football team, but I think it’s exciting to play at home,” Dantonio said Tuesday, according to the Detroit Free Press. “We’ll get up. … I worry about it because, you know, how many times can you get up every single game? You have to get up. We only have 12 of them guaranteed, so you have to. But I worry about it.”

Urban Meyer watches for possible letdown

After beating Penn State by one point at home, Ohio State will travel to a tough road environment in Iowa City, where Penn State escaped with a 21-19 win and where Iowa (5-3, 2-3) upset Michigan last year.

While coach Urban Meyer is confident in the Buckeyes (7-1, 5-0), he will be on the lookout for a letdown.

“If this were an immature, young team, I’d be more panicky than I am,” Meyer said, according to the Columbus Dispatch. “But I’m going to watch it.

“They’re very professional. But you’re darn right, I’m going to watch that, especially with young players and even with our younger coaches on our staff who haven’t been in that situation.”

QB change for Michigan

The Wolverines (6-2, 3-2) have struggled to find consistency at quarterback after they lost Wilton Speight to a back injury in September. Since then, John O’Korn has been the starter, completing 55.2 percent of his passes in six games and averaging 6.4 yards per attempt. He also has five interceptions.

Coach Jim Harbaugh seems unhappy with O’Korn’s production and is opening a quarterback competition this week in practice to give backup Brandon Peters a chance at the spot. In two games this season, the freshman has 11 passing completions for 128 yards.

Despite the quarterback competition, Harbaugh said Peters is likely to start against Minnesota (4-4, 1-4) at home this weekend, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Nebraska’s Michael Decker likely out for season

Offensive lineman Michael Decker suffered an injury to his left knee against Purdue last Saturday, when Nebraska won 25-24. Decker might be out for the season, coach Mike Riley said he should be back in time for a bowl game.

He will likely have surgery Thursday, Riley said in a conference call Tuesday.

Rutgers gaining confidence

Despite suffering a 35-14 loss to Michigan last Saturday, offensive coordinator Jerry Kill predicts Rutgers will play well against Maryland (4-4, 2-3). Scarlet Knights quarterback Giovanni Rescigno was sacked five times, in part because of an inconsistent offensive line.

But the numbers aren’t all bad. Rutgers (3-5, 2-3) hasn’t turned the ball over in two straight games for the first time since 2009. And eight games into the season, there is a decent amount of film to watch on the opponent.

“We’ve seen so much from everybody else that our knowledge up front is going to improve,” Kill said, according to NJ.com. “Then we just have to take care of business with our technique. That’s what we have to do over the next two to three days.”

Maryland focusing on running the ball

Coach DJ Durkin doesn’t change his game plan based on the weather, he said in a conference call Tuesday. His plan is to run the ball effectively against Rutgers.

“You look in totality of last year and this year, and I think we’ve done a really good job of that [running the ball],” Durkin said. “There have obviously been games where we’ve struggled more than others, but that’s really what we’re built around.”

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