Quarterbacks lead offensive renaissance in Big Ten

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Pryor has always been a major threat when he tucks the ball and runs, and he’s got 354 yards rushing this season. Last week, he set career highs with 24 completions and 334 yards in less than three quarters in a 38-10 win over Indiana, and his 15 touchdown passes lead the league.

Robinson has been spectacular for the Wolverines, ranking second in the nation in total offense with 369 yards per game and 17 touchdowns _ nine on the ground, eight through the air.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz sees similarities between Robinson and one of the forefathers of the new Big Ten, former Indiana quarterback Antwaan Randle-El.

“When Indiana had Randle-El, they ran a unique attack. And if you’ve got a player like that, you’re smart to do that,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “My guess is that Michigan will do that for a long time.”

Teams that run more traditional Big Ten attacks are also seeing their production jump in 2010.

Stanzi, who threw 15 interceptions in 2009 and completed just 56.2 percent of his passes, has throw just two picks and trails only Boise State’s Kellen Moore and Auburn’s Cameron Newton in passing efficiency.

Cousins has upped his completion percentage from 60.4 percent to 68.3 percent this year, and Tolzien has cut his interceptions from 11 to just two this season.

Of course, Wisconsin would be rather silly to throw it 50 times a game with running backs John Clay, James White and one of the nation’s best offensive lines. But the Badgers have learned to be more creative out of base sets.

“I think (Wisconsin offensive coordinator) Paul Chryst and his offensive staff have as much ingenuity and test you in as many different ways as any offense that we face,” said Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, who’s been poring over film in preparation for Saturday’s trip to Madison. “It’s not like they line up and say, `OK, here we come, you know exactly what we’re doing.’ That’s not the case.”

It’s not as though the Big Ten has forgotten its roots. It also boasts five of the nation’s top 20 teams in rushing yards per game and seven teams allowing less than 20 points per game.

“Certainly it is diverse because you still have those teams that have the ability to play power football, but you have those that have great speed on the outside and use the spread attack,” Indiana coach Bill Lynch said.

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AP Sports Writer Colin Fly in Madison, Wis., contributed to this report.

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