News and notes from around the league:

  • Nebraska senior LBs Will Compton, Alonzo Whaley and Sean Fisher have emerged as the heart of an improving defense, Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln Journal Star reported. “We know we’re brothers. We’ve been through it all together,” Compton said. “We’re happy for each other. We get down for each other. When someone’s in a bad place we try to pick each other up.”
  • Minnesota coaches have preached mental mistakes were the biggest reason for a 58-0 loss to Michigan last season, Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. "Part of our message is, 'Hey guys, it's not physical, it's mental. If you believe you can win this game, you can,’” Minnesota offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover said. “That's why last week was so important. There's a feeling that, hey, this stuff works. If we do our jobs, if we stick together, it works."
  • The play of Illinois DT Akeem Spence has been one of the few bright spots for the Fighting Illini, Bob Asmussen of The News-Gazette reported. The 300-pounder is one of the top pro prospects on the team. “I try to eat good,” Spence said. “I live with a cornerback, so he’s got me eating salads and whatnot. I like Chipotle, so I eat a lot of that when I can.”
  • Penn State P Alex Butterworth has struggled this season, but hopes to shine at Purdue when the native of Indiana returns home, Audrey Snyder of the Harrisburg Patriot-News reported. “You’re out tailgating before the game and you look around and you’ve got two of your boys and they’re passing the football out there and they have their jerseys on and they’re going to the game,” Alex’s father, John said. “I never even thought ever, beyond that moment. All of a sudden you look out on that field now, and your boy is out there in a Penn State uniform. When I look back on that memory now, I just think ‘wow.’”

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from Big Ten bloggers Dave Carey and Mike Singer, follow @CBSSportsBigTen.