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Ramblin' Reck

September 27, 2011

RAMBLIN' RECK: Big Ten openers are here

TERRE HAUTE — Big Ten football teams play their first conference games this week and a big game will top the schedule.

Nebraska is 4-0 and plays at Wisconsin, also 4-0. In the new divisions, Nebraska is in The Legends and Wisconsin is in The Leaders. In other words, they could meet in the Big Ten championship game to be played in Indianapolis.

In order to gain that tilt, Nebraska will face challenges from Michigan and Iowa while Wisconsin will battle Ohio State, Penn State and surprising Illinois for division honors.

The Illini are 4-0 after turning back Western Michigan 23-20 while Michigan went to 4-0 by beating San Diego State 28-7.

In the Missouri Valley, Indiana State is tied for first with Northern Iowa and Southern Illinois, all 1-0 in the conference. The Sycamores hit the road again this week to meet 1-3 South Dakota State.

In other games, Northern Iowa is at Missouri State and Southern Illinois goes to Western Illinois. MSU and WIU both are 0-1 in Valley games.

In the state, Ball State bested Army 48-21 and is off to a surprising 3-1 start. The Cardinals play at Oklahoma this week.

Purdue takes on Notre Dame this week in its final nonconference contest.

Indiana and Minnesota may battle it out for last place in the Big Ten and don’t meet this season. The Hoosiers host Penn State this week while Minnesota is at Michigan.

• Still perfect — Five Wabash Valley high school football teams remained unbeaten with easy victories last week.

In Indiana, Linton was an 81-20 winner over North Daviess, gaining revenge for a defeat incurred last year, and North Central defeated Eastern 26-7.

The Miners and Thunderbirds meet in the final game of the season.

In Illinois, Marshall handled Oblong 54-0, Robinson whipped Olney 34-7 and Casey was an impressive 48-0 winner over Vincennes Lincoln.

The Lions and Warriors meet in their Little Illini Conference showdown next week, while Marshall and Robinson meet in the final game of the regular season.

In Indiana defensive stats, Dante Rehmel of North Central is at the top of the list in tackles (73 solos) and sacks (14).

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