Brent Yarina, Senior Editor, September 21, 2011

Get ready to be excited. The last full week of nonconference football is Saturday, and that means more competitive, entertaining and meaningful games are on the horizon. Week 4 also gives us the Big Ten's first open weeks, with Northwestern and Purdue both off this weekend. BTN will air five Week 4 games, including Michigan hosting San Diego State, Brady Hoke's old team, at noon ET. Use our GameFinder to find your BTN game, hear your coach's latest teleconference, and track all of Saturday's action on our Big Ten scoreboard.

"The Big Ten Pulse" discussed Nebraska, both its defense and its chances in the Big Ten this season, in a web-only segment earlier this week. Watch it now to hear analysts Derek Rackley and Tim Doyle's thoughts. The Huskers play at Wyoming on Saturday in a matchup of undefeated teams. Get ready for all of Saturday's action with Brent Yarina's Week 4 Preview in this post.

Louisiana-Monroe (2-1) vs. Iowa (2-1)
Time: noon ET
Stat: Iowa has scored at least 30 points in its first three games for the first time since 1997.
About the opponent: In its first three games, Louisiana-Monroe has played ranked Florida State and TCU, losing by a combined score of 72-17.
Prediction: Iowa 38, Louisiana-Monroe 20

San Diego State (3-0) vs. Michigan (3-0)
Time: noon ET
Stat: Michigan is 3-0 for the third straight season, the first time it's done so since 1995-97.
About the opponent: San Diego State running back Ronnie Hillman ranks second nationally in rushing with 165.67 yards per game and is in a four-way tie for most touchdowns (8).
Prediction: San Diego State 34, Michigan 30

Central Michigan (1-2) vs. Michigan State (2-1)
Time: noon ET
Stat: One week after becoming Michigan State's all-time leading receiver, B.J. Cunningham hauled in a career-best 12 receptions last week against Notre Dame.
About the opponent: Central Michigan is coached by former Michigan State assistant Dan Enos.
Prediction: Michigan State 40, Central Michigan 13

Eastern Michigan (2-1) vs. Penn State (2-1)
Time: noon ET
Stat: Neither Rob Bolden nor Matt McGloin has thrown a touchdown pass through the first three games.
About the opponent: After winning its first two games, Eastern Michigan lost 31-3 last week at Michigan.
Prediction: Penn State 26, Eastern Michigan 7

Western Michigan (2-1) vs. Illinois (3-0)
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Stat: The Illinois defense sacked Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler six times last week, this after the Sun Devils had allowed only one sack in their first two games.
About the opponent: Western Michigan wide receiver Jordan White caught 13 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns last week against Central Michigan.
Prediction: Illinois 37, Western Michigan 13

Colorado (1-2) vs. Ohio State (2-1)
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Stat: Ohio State is unranked in the AP Poll for the first time since 2004.
About the opponent: Colorado wide receiver Toney Clemons, who has four receptions, 74 yards and one score in two games, started his career at Michigan.
Prediction: Ohio State 23, Colorado 17

South Dakota (2-1) vs. Wisconsin (3-0)
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Stat: The Badgers have won 31 consecutive nonconference regular-season games, dating back to their 23-5 loss to UNLV in 2003.
About the opponent: South Dakota beat last year's FCS champion, Eastern Washington, earlier this season and it knocked off Minnesota, 41-38, in Minneapolis last season.
Prediction: Wisconsin 47, South Dakota 10

North Dakota State (2-0) vs. Minnesota (1-2)
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Stat: Minnesota's first three games this season have been decided by a combined 15 points.
About the opponent: North Dakota State has won its first two games by a combined score of 98-9 and ranks first in points per game among FCS teams (49).
Prediction: North Dakota State 27, Minnesota 23

Indiana (1-2) vs. North Texas (0-3)
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Stat: Indiana has won four of its last five nonconference road games since 2005, with the lone loss coming in 2009 (Virginia, 47-7).
About the opponent: Despite losing 41-0 at Alabama last week, North Texas controlled time of possession, 32-38.
Prediction: Indiana 30, North Texas 20

Nebraska (3-0) vs. Wyoming (3-0)
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: Versus
Stat: Nebraska has allowed back-to-back 100-yard rushers for the first time since November 2007.
About the opponent: Wyoming is 3-0 for the first time since 1996, the season it went 10-2.
Prediction: Nebraska 41, Wyoming 23

Season record: 28-8 (78 percent)

Game of the Week: San Diego State at Michigan – Brady Hoke and the Wolverines host his old team, a very solid one at that. Hoke left the Aztecs in pretty good shape, primarily on offense, where quarterback Ryan Lindley (622 yards, 7 TD, 1 INT) and running back Ronnie Hillman (497 yards, 8 TDs) are absolute stars. Other than Notre Dame, this is Michigan's biggest challenge of the young season. But unlike Notre Dame, which has 13 turnovers this season, San Diego State has turned it over twice, meaning it doesn't figure to help Michigan's cause quite as much as the Irish did with their five turnovers.

Player of the Week: Russell Wilson, Wisconsin – We've seen what Wilson can do against FBS opponents – it's pretty darn good (50-66, 791 yards, 8 TDs, 1 INT) – and now we get to see him go up against an FCS defense. And it's not like South Dakota is a strong second-tier defense, either, ranking 88th in passing yards among FCS teams. The expected blowout may hurt Wilson's overall numbers and put him on the bench early, but he should be able to do plenty of damage before that becomes a real issue.

Team of the Week: Nebraska – Considering the unimpressive Week 4 schedule, the fact Nebraska is one of two Big Ten teams on the road, and because I see the only good opponent on the slate, San Diego State, carding an upset, the Huskers get this honor by default. Wyoming is far from a tough draw, but it is 3-0, plus it plays in a location where there's thin air and extreme temperatures. According to, it's supposed to be in the 40s Saturday night. A win here could mark the Big Ten's "best" victory of the week. Bring on conference play, please!

Random thought of the Week: Why is Indiana, a Big Ten team, traveling to North Texas? I had to do a double-take when I first saw the Week 4 schedule just to make sure it wasn't a "road" game at a neutral site. Nope, the Hoosiers are traveling to Denton, Texas, to play the Mean Green of the Sun Belt Conference. I can understand a Big Ten team traveling to, say, a MAC destination, but the Sun Belt seems a little odd. Maybe the Hoosiers can use the trip to dip into Texas' fertile recruiting grounds.

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