Michigan coach Brady Hoke will wear a shirt honoring Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who is battling leukemia, before Saturday's game against Illinois. (US Presswire)
News and notes from around the Big Ten:
  • Even though the Buckeyes will be without starting linebacker Etienne Sabino (leg) for the next few weeks, Ohio State does return safety C.J. Barnett, who has missed the past four weeks with a high-ankle sprain, reported Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch. Barnett had 10 tackles in his last game against California and should help shore up the secondary against the Hoosiers, who are the top passing team in the Big Ten (305 ypg). 
  • Michigan coaches will wear #chuckstrong shirts before Saturday’s game against Illinois as a way to pay tribute to Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who is battling leukemia. Pagano was once an assistant coach under Wolverines defensive coordinator Greg Mattison when the two worked for the Baltimore Ravens. “He’s our kind of guy. So we want to pay a little tribute to him and for the cause,” coach Brady Hoke said to Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Nebraska RB Rex Burkhead injured his knee in last Saturday’s loss to Ohio State but following the team’s bye week, is expected to play against Northwestern on Oct. 20, coach Bo Pelini said on Tuesday’s Big Ten teleconference. Also on the teleconference, Penn State coach Bill O’Brien said that being mentioned as the potential coach of the year “is the farthest thing from my mind,” Tommy Dahlk of the Lincoln Journal Star reported. 
  • The Wisconsin offense finally came to life in the second half of last Saturday’s 31-14 win over Illinois, scoring 24 second-half points. Center Travis Frederick said that the offense was more in sync because freshman quarterback Joel Stave, playing in his third game, was given more liberty at the line of scrimmage to tweak plays to adjust to Illinois’ defense. “It was a matter of scheme and maybe the scheme evolving,” Frederick said to Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  • When informed that Minnesota coach Jerry Kill was being coy about the status of star quarterback MarQueis Gray for Saturday’s game, Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald laughed and said, “Jerry’s going with the ‘Call me maybe’ technique, which I would do too, if I were him.” The Wildcats are preparing as if Gray, who suffered a high-ankle sprain four weeks ago, will play on Saturday at Minnesota, reported Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune.
  • Michigan State cornerback Johnny Adams, a former All-Big Ten performer, has slumped half way into his senior year. He’s been beaten on a number of deep balls uncharacteristic of the lockdown corner. Despite his struggles, Adams will start against Iowa this weekend, reported Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press. “I carry this defensive back team and if I’m there, I have to make a play. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it,” Adams said. 
For more Big Ten coverage, follow Mike Singer and Dave Carey @CBSSportsBigTen.