Northwestern looks for redemption after Buckeye loss, Nebraska QB Martinez day-to-day

BY MATT CABEL | OCTOBER 09, 2013 5:00 AM

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Head coach Pat Fitzgerald said on Monday, in the wake of his team’s hard-fought battle against Ohio State on Oct. 5, that his team played its “best football game of the year,” but the end result wasn’t a win.

Now, Fitzgerald and the Wildcats will travel to Madison for a road matchup against Wisconsin — and the Wildcats want to win. So do the Badgers. Both teams had their latest losses at the hands of the Buckeyes, and Saturday’s matchup will be each team’s chance for redemption.

“It’s great,” Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen said at the team’s weekly press conference. “Two good teams are going to face off, and I look forward to Saturday.”

Andersen was asked if he believes his team will sag emotionally, because the Buckeyes will probably win the Leaders division, keeping the Badgers out of the Big Ten championship game for the first time since its initiation in 2011. But Andersen said he’s not worried and that “there’s no question” that the Wildcats are more than just “an OK team.”

“So there is no question — no one can watch them and say, that’s just an OK team,” Andersen said. “They’re a very talented team, coached very well, and they appear to love to play the game of football.”

Cornhuskers ready for first road game; Taylor Martinez ‘day-to-day’

When Nebraska take the field against Purdue on Saturday, it will be its first time setting foot on any sort of field that isn’t Memorial Stadium.

Six weeks into the season, the Huskers have yet to play a game outside of Nebraska, and head coach Bo Pelini is ready for the challenge of taking his young team on the road, which, he said in his weekly press conference, can be a challenge.

“I’m kind of glad the game is early,” Pelini said. “You get up and go play. Guys are used to getting up early. I think that will help us to a certain extent. I think it will be a good experience for our guys. Some of them have been on road trips, but there’s a difference between being on a road trip and walking out there as a starter in the first play. I think it will be good for us.”

Pelini was also asked frequently about the status of starting quarterback Taylor Martinez, who hasn’t played since Sept. 14 because of a toe injury. The head coach said that Martinez is day-to-day and will play if he’s “ready to play.”

“He’s doing everything he needs to do,” Pelini said. “You just have to see how it goes. I think he can run full speed right now, but can he get to full speed in a hurry? No. That’s the issue right now. He’s having trouble planting off that foot and pushing off and getting to full speed. He could ease into it, but that’s just not how the game is played. You have to be able to put that foot in the ground, and he’s got to have comfort and confidence that he can do that.”

Michigan State to play 500th game in Spartan Stadium

The Michigan State Spartans will have a lot to play for when they take the field on Saturday against Indiana. Not only will the game be its Big Ten home opener after a big win against the Iowa Hawkeyes last weekend, but a trophy will be on the line: the Old Brass Spittoon.

It will also be the 500th game for Michigan State in Spartan Stadium, on homecoming. The Spartans hold a 42-12-1 advantage in the series, which dates to 1950.

It’s the 500th game at Spartan Stadium, which I think is unique for us,” head coach Mark Dantonio said Tuesday in his weekly press conference. “It sort of links this current football program with the past, and it’s unique in the aspect of when you look at long-term tradition. We’re excited about that opportunity.”

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