It’s Week 6. Believe it or not, we’ll be midway through the 2011 Big Ten football season at the conclusion of Saturday’s slate of five Big Ten games. This week, BTN has Indiana hosting undefeated Illinois at a special time, 2:30 p.m. ET, and Northwestern entertaining perfect Michigan at 7. Don’t forget, Dave, Gerry and Howard will be on-site at Ryan Field at 6 p.m. ET for an hour-long Countdown To Kickoff show. Use our GameFinder to find your BTN game and track all of the action on our Big Ten scoreboard. Watch our latest Big Ten Blast here and check out Brent Yarina’s Week 6 Preview in this post.
Penn State coach Joe Paterno is getting rid of his cane and says he’ll be on the sidelines this week. That’s just one of the tidbits you can hear in the audio from the weekly Big Ten Conference football coaches teleconference with reporters. Read the selected tweets from @B1Gfootball at the conference office, then listen to any of the 12 Big Ten football coaches now.
Monday night, we interviewed two of Week 5′s biggest stars, Wisconsin’s Montee Ball (151 yards, 4 TDs) and Illinois’ A.J. Jenkins (12 rec., 268 yards, 3 TDs). “The Big Ten Pulse” sat down with Ball, who’s scored at least two touchdowns in his last nine regular-season games and leads the nation with 14 touchdowns. What’s it like for Ball, not to mention sidekick James White, to run behind Wisconsin’s massive offensive line? “We feel really comfortable in the huddle, and once the play starts, we feel real comfortable behind those big guys,” Ball told our crew. Jenkins joined “Big Ten Breakdown,” and he appropriately broke down his 33-yard touchdown reception that helped spark Illinois’ rally against Northwestern. Watch the interview in this post.
There’s one week of conference games in the books and our Chris Martin (@BTN_Cmart16) and Howard Griffith (@HowardGriffith) are ready to go through it all on Big Ten Breakdown tonight at 7 p.m. ET. How good is the Michigan defense compared to last year? You may be surprised to see what we found. We can stop asking about Wisconsin’s defense now – at least for this week. And Illinois’ A.J. Jenkins has 633 receiving yards in just five games, and he will join us to talk about his amazing game last Saturday. Watch our Web-only preview clip now.
Illinois head coach Ron Zook and Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz each suspended a player for actions over the weekend. Illini linebacker Jonathan Brown was suspended one game for his unsportsmanlike behavior during his team’s victory over Northwestern, while Hawkeye backup quarterback A.J. Derby was handed a two-game penalty as a result of an incident over Iowa’s bye week.