Archive for November, 2015

BIG Ten Week 12

Posted on November 22, 2015. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Week 12… in a word W-O-W!

November 22, 2015

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Michigan State 17, Ohio State 14

THIS IS SPARTA!!!!

Going into this game, it wasn’t a secret: Ohio State had this one circled on its calendars as the one that truly mattered.

But so did Michigan State, as they knocked off top ranked conference foe, 17-14, Saturday afternoon.

As expected, things came down to one play a the end of the game… kicker Michael Geiger with 3 seconds remaining, the score tied and the early winter wind whipping and from 41-yards out… it’s G-O-O-D!!!

This win was even more unlikely than the stirring finish at Michigan last month, considering the Spartans survived without their best player — quarterback Connor Cook, who sat out the game with a shoulder injury.

Dantonio rotated backups Tyler O’Connor and Damion Terry with an offensive play-calling strategy borrowed from 1973. No mystery. No deception. Just simple, physical football with the tougher team at the point of attack persevering.

Ohio State’s offense only managed a meager 132 yards and five first downs Saturday. A refusal to open the playbook and take some shots down the field prevented Ezekiel Elliott, a Heisman contender, and quarterback J.T. Barrett much room to run all afternoon.

A driving rainstorm coupled with dropping temperatures didn’t help either, but once the heavens closed and the precipitation halted, nothing changed.

“I think people are still unsure of what we got and this is a statement game,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said Wednesday after practice. “It’s a game we’ve been waiting for all season and it’s a game against what other people will recognize as good competition.”

Michigan State is now one victory next Saturday against Penn State away from winning its third Big Ten divisional title in the last five seasons.

But the probable elimination of Ohio State from defending its championship might also put the Big Ten at risk of not getting its champion in the playoff — if the choice is between the Spartans or Iowa, and a potential one-loss Notre Dame or one-loss Oklahoma.

“I’ve been down this road before, where you do good,” Urban Meyer said. “I just love the group of guys down there. And we have to do better.”

Big props to Michigan State. The Spartans deserved this win. No flukes. No controversies. Just an old-fashioned physical whipping that went against common sense.
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Iowa 40, Purdue 20

The Hawkeyes topped the Boilermakers on Saturday and, more importantly, locked up the Big Ten West and a spot in the conference title game.

C.J. Beathard had an efficient outing, going 12 of 20 for 213 yards and three scores. Senior tight end Henry Krieger Coble was his favorite target, hauling in four passes for 76 yards and a score. Jordan Canzeri rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown while LeShun Daniels added two scores of his own.

Boilermaker quarterback Austin Appleby threw for 259 yards and a touchdown. Tailback Markell Jones added 87 yards and a score. DeAngelo Yancey led all receivers with nine receptions for 117 yards.

The Hawkeyes will travel to Lincoln and square off against the Huskers on Black Friday. On Saturday they’ll get to see how things transpire in the East as they wait to find out who their opponent will be in Indy.

 

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Michigan 28, Penn State 16

The Wolverines were able to find the endzone in each of the game’s four quarters as Jim Harbaugh handed James Franklin his fourth loss of the season. Penn State’s offense barely surpassed the 200 total-yard mark and they could only manage six second-half points as they fell short in Happy Valley.

Jake Rudock completed 25 of 38 passes and connected with Jake Butt and Amara Darboh for touchdowns through the air. Jehu Chesson led the Wolverines pass-catchers with 69 receiving yards on the day. Tight end Jake Butt added 66 yards and a score. De’Veon Smith led the Michigan ground attack, though he could only manage 39 yards on 13 carries. Smith also added a fourth-quarter touchdown that would end up being the nail in the coffin for the Nits.

Jim Harbaugh wasn’t happy with the officiating; ripping his jacket off as if he were preparing for a Monday Night Raw appearance.

It was another typical performance for Christian Hackenberg. The junior continues to hold onto the football too long and and constantly misses wide open receivers. The Nittany Lion offensive line was awful yet again, so that certainly didn’t help things. Hackenberg ended the day 13 of 31 for 137 yards and a score. Freshman tailback Saquon Barkley got off to a good start with a 56-yard scamper on the second play of the game. Things didn’t go so well from there, as he could only manage 68 yards in the game.

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Northwestern 13, Wisconsin 7

The Badgers thought they had scored the game-winning touchdown with just seconds left on the clock, but the officials reviewed the play and ruled that Wisconsin wideout Jazz Peavy didn’t have possession; a call that many are questioning. The Badgers were then unable to find the endzone thanks in part to a Wildcat sack.

There wasn’t a lot of offense in this one. Wildcat quarterback Clayton Thorson threw for just 60 yards on 9 of 20 passing. Tailback Justin Jackson was the lone bright spot for the Northwestern offense, rushing for 139 yards and a touchdown. For the Badgers, Joel Stave threw for 229 yards but also tossed a couple of costly interceptions. Wisconsin turned the ball over five times on the day and the Badgers’ running game had one of their worst outings ever.

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Minnesota 32, Illinois 23

The Minnesota ground game was too much for Illinois on Saturday. Gopher quarterback Mitch Leidner only threw for 88 yards, but the rushing attack accounted for 255 yards and three scores. Freshman Shannon Brooks continued his solid season as he ran for 174 yards and all three of those scores, all the while averaging over 10 yards per carry. Leidner added another 64 on the ground.

Wes Lunt tossed two touchdown passes for the Illini and Josh Ferguson led the way with 105 yards rushing. Malik Turner led all pass-catchers with eleven receptions for 126 yards and a score.

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Indiana 47, Maryland 28

The Hoosiers got off to a sluggish start in College Park as they went down 21-3 in the first quarter. Kevin Wilson’s offense then went on to score three touchdowns in less than five minutes as the Hoosiers went into the half with a 30-21 lead. The IU defense buckled down in the second half, allowing a single touchdown to the Terps’ offense.

Nate Sudfeld and Simmie Cobbs Jr. were electric in the passing game. Sudfeld threw for 385 yards and four touchdowns while Cobbs caught nine passes for 192 yards. Sophomore tailback Devine Redding added 130 yards on the ground.

Maryland running back Brandon Ross entered the game with less than 300 yards rushing on the season, but the senior made the most of his last game in front of the Terps’ crowd. Ross rushed for 250 yards and three touchdowns on just 19 carries.

Rutgers 31, Army 21

 

And finally…

Welp, there’s certainly a very large elephant in the room as things did not go as planned this weekend. The East will be decided next Saturday as the Buckeyes, Spartans, and Wolverines all remain in the hunt with Michigan State controlling its own destiny. Iowa now sits atop the conference power rankings as they’ve already punched their ticket for the December 5th championship game in Indy.

Next week we will all be watching The Game as it goes down in Ann Arbor, the Spartans host Penn State, and the Hawkeyes travel to Lincoln to face the Huskers.

Let’s dust ourselves off. It’s rivalry week.

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2015 IHSA Football Semifinals

Posted on November 22, 2015. Filed under: Football | Tags: , , , , , , |

winners head to S-T-A-T-E!

November 21, 2015

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Loyola 24, Palatine 22

Loyola is headed to NIU!!!!
The top-ranked Ramblers subsequently ran out the final 2 minutes, 33 seconds, allowing them to hold on for a 24-22 Class 8A semifinal road win and advance to Saturday 7 p.m. state final against Marist in DeKalb.

The Ramblers (13-0) scored a touchdown with 5:46 left to play to lead 24-9 but “quit” has not been in the Palatine vocabulary this year.

Palatine drove 81 yards in 14 plays to make it 24-16 with 3:42 to left.

Zach Oles completed seven passes in the drive, six of which went to Johnny O’Shea, including a 1-yard scoring strike. Oles finished the game going 18-for-32, 210 yards, 2 total TDs.

After a failed onside kick, the Palatine defense came up big again for the Pirates.

Led by Mikey Williams, Dillon McHugh, Ethan Senner, McKenzie Balanganayi and Ben Riddle, the Pirates forced a punt from the Loyola 46.

And for the second time in the game, the Loyola long snapper sailed his snap over the punter’s head.

The ball slid on the slick turf to the Loyola end zone, where Senner was credited with falling on it for a Palatine touchdown.

Trailing 24-22 with 2:36 to play, Palatine was forced to go for a 2-point conversion. However, Oles’ jump pass was tipped by a Loyola defender and was incomplete.

Loyola took over the ball at its own 45 and was able to run out the clock. The team was lead by ground game of Dara Laja who carried the ball 34 times for 209 yards and a score, followed by Emmett Clifford, who tossed the ball 16-for-20 for 174 yards and a TD.

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Marist 31, Waubonsie Valley 16

Marist punched their ticket to State finals!
Brendan Skalitzky and the Marist passing attack shined brightly defeating Waubonsie Valley 31-16 to advance to the Class 8A State Finals next week. Skalitzky rushed for 186 yards and threw his 37th and 38th touchdown passes.

The RedHawks took the lead on its first possession and kept it all night, going up 17-9 at halftime on a pair of Skalitzky touchdown passes to Liam Keffer. And in the second half, he attempted only seven passes in the second half as the RedHawks ran lead draw time and again.

“We saw at halftime we were going to run more,” Skalitzky said. “We spread them out and left the middle of the field open. I told Coach I wanted to run more; I wanted to whatever I could to help us win this game.”

Skalitzky finished the semifinal game going 10-for-20 for 103 yards and two scores in the air, and he ran the ball 22 times for 186 yards and an additional score. During the contest, he also went over 3,500 passing yards and rushed for over 1,000 yards this season.

Waubonsie Valley was led by Max Ihry who rushed 17 times for 118 yards and QB Jack Connolly tossed teh ball for over 120 yards and a score.

After slipping into the playoffs with a 5-4 record and winning its first three playoff games by three points apiece, Marist (9-4) will take on Loyola (13-0) for the title at 7 p.m. Saturday in DeKalb.

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Crete-Monee 42, Hinsdale 37

Comeback road win for the Warriors!!!
Hinsdale made a late charge with a little over 90 seconds left in the contest when Xavier Ledet ran the ball in from 8-yards out. Shortly after that Warriors senior Kevin Pate made an exception late play to seal the 42-37 victory as he intercepted a pass.

But first, Crete-Monee senior Clint Ratkovich fueled the Warriors’ victory with his play at running back and quarterback. He carried the ball 38 times for 227 yards and scored on first-half runs of 30 yards and 56 yards.

The Hornets moved the ball at will, but four turnovers spoiled their opportunity for their first state appearance since finishing second in 1980. Sean McCormack passed for 199 yards and two touchdowns, and Robert Hall had eight receptions for 189 yards and a touchdown.

Crete-Monee junior defensive back Juawan Treadwell turned the momentum around in the second quarter with a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown.

In the fourth quarter, Pate intercepted a wobbly pass by Hinsdale South quarterback McCormack ended a back-and-forth contest. Pate said it was his first interception of his high-school career.

“I’ll do whatever I need to help the team win, whether on offense or defense,” Pate said. “We practiced watching that play all week, and we knew (McCormack) would try and sneak out, and I knew exactly where he would go to. I was ready to make a play.”

The Warriors (11-2) advance to the 6A state final, where they will play Montini (13-0) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb.

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IHSA Football Quarterfinals Recap

Posted on November 15, 2015. Filed under: Football | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Quarterfinals… who’s still playing?

November 14, 2015

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Loyola 34, Homewood-Flossmoor 28

Loyola senior Dara Laja, the all-time leading rusher in school history, is quick to smile and admirably humble. He’s clearly an incredibly well-liked figure among the student body and also the focal point of the Ramblers’ offense.

So things looked bleak as the Loyola student section chanted Laja’s name with 11:06 to play in the fourth quarter Saturday in Wilmette. The running back was laying down on the field, suffering from cramps in his legs. He eventually limped to the sideline, leaving the Ramblers without their key offensive weapon for the most important drive of the season.

Senior quarterback, Emmett Clifford, put his name out on the circuit in bright lights this weekend and the Ramblers knocked off the stingy Vikings. Clifford led the Ramblers down the field, finally connecting with Jack Loper on a 10-yard touchdown pass with 4:52 to play that gave Loyola the lead for the first time since early in the first quarter.

On the next drive, senior Dara Laja, returned for the next drive, which he took it in from seven yards out to seal the victory and advance to the semifinals.

Laja finished with 30 carries for 138 yards and a touchdown. Loyola’s game-plan was to limit the Vikings’ offensive possessions. Keeping H-F’s high-powered offense off the field was the key to victory, so that meant long drives kept alive by Laja’s quick, cunning runnings.

“It was definitely a long, hard game that was fought in the trenches,” Laja said. “Like every game, I have to give the offensive line credit. They are tough and hard-nosed, great guys and I’m lucky to have them protecting me.”

Homewood-Flossmoor’s offense more than lived up to its reputation. Running back Deante Harley-Hampton and wide receiver Kendric Pryor, a Wisconsin recruit, were focused and tuned in.

Harley-Hampton had 14 carries for 140 yards and three touchdowns. But the truly eye-popping play was his 34-yard touchdown reception late in the game. The pass went about three yards in the air. The rest was all speed, style and elusiveness. He changed directions midway through, running the entire width of the field to eventually find the corner of the end zone.

Pryor caught eight passes for 154 yards. H-F quarterback Bryce Gray was 15-for-28 for 265 yards and one touchdown.

“They held the ball,” Homewood-Flossmoor coach Craig Buzea said. “We certainly didn’t get many chances, that was the key. We knew they were capable of doing that. A lot of people tried that, but they have the folks to do it. They have us outmanned by maybe 80 pounds on the line.”

Up next for Loyola is Palatine who rallied back for the win.

 

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Palatine 28, Brother Rice 24

What a comeback this Saturday afternoon as Palatine rallies back from the 17-point deficit late in the the third quarter to stun Brother Rice.

Brother Rice (9-2) had everything going its way early. The Crusaders piled up 281 yards of offense in the first half. They took the lead on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Camren Miller to Ricky Smalling, a 1-yard run by Miller and a 29-yard field goal.

Palatine had hoped to come out of the locker room with new spirit and they did as they ran off 28 points in the games’ final 10 minutes of play.

“We talked at halftime about wanting to win the game,” said Palatine coach Rick Splitt, whose team trailed 17-0 at the break. “We talked about doing the little things. We just needed momentum on our side. And we got it – we fast-forwarded from there.”

Zach Oles, who struggled for two and a half quarters, threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for two others as Palatine wore down Brother Rice down the stretch.

 

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Nazareth 35, Joliet Catholic 21

Four turnovers and one great player made the difference in Nazareth’s win against Joliet Catholic on Saturday.

Each of the Hilltoppers’ four miscues played a huge role in the Roadrunners’ 35-21 win in a Class 5A quarterfinal in LaGrange Park. So did Julian Love, who ran for 111 yards, had 95 receiving yards and made six tackles for loss.

Nazareth (10-2) installed the Wildcat offense for this week to get its Notre Dame recruit more touches. Love rushed nine times, mostly in the second half, and his 77-yard touchdown run straight up the middle with 5 minutes, 36 seconds to play gave the Roadrunners their final cushion after their lead had held steady for most of the afternoon.

Love also caught a short pass from Carson Bartels that turned into a zigzagging 66-yard TD to put Nazareth ahead 21-7 late in the second quarter.

“We’ve been practicing the Wildcat for a couple of weeks,” Love said, “and I’ve just been begging for it.”

Love finished the game with 9 carries for 111 yards and a score on the ground and in the air.

Michael Johnson rushed for a game-high 150 yards on 27 carries for JCA.

Nazareth will play St. Laurence or Tinley Park in next week’s semifinals.

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Marist 38, Oswego 35

The RedHawks win even after they totally played two different halves…

With a 38-7 at halftime lead, the RedHawks didn’t seal the victory until Robert Topps intercepted a Steven Frank pass at the Marist 30 with less than a minute to play as Oswego stormed back with four scores in the second half.

“I knew I had to attack that ball,” Topps said of his leaping pick on the left sideline, the first of his career. “We’re going to work hard this week to make sure we play hard for four quarters from now on.”

Brendan Skalitzky of Marist finished the game going 25-for-35, 288 yards, 4 total TDs. Teammate Darshon McCullough caught 15 receptions for 191 yards and 2 TDs. On the other side of the ball, Oswego were led by Steven Frank who went 21-for-35 for 280 yards and a total of 4 TDs

Marist will host Waubonsie Valley in next weekend’s semifinals.

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Hinsdale South 42, Lincoln-Way North 35

Lincoln-Way North’s undefeated season came to an end in the Class 6A quarters’ as they lost to Hinsdale South 42-35.

That clicking resulted in 506 yards for the Hornets, who had the Phoenix (11-1) on their heels from the game’s first drive — a nine-play, 90-yard jaunt finished by McCormack hitting Robert Hall, who broke a tackle and scored easily from 37 yards out.

Two South drives later, McCormack found senior wideout Ravon Johnson, who broke a tackle and outran the defense for an 81-yard touchdown. McCormack connected with Johnson nine times for 218 yards and 3 touchdowns.

The final blow came late in the fourth quarter. With the score 35-28, North attempted an onside kick that was returned all the way to its 20-yard-line. Two plays later, Marcus Curry scored from 13 yards.

Sean McCormack led South going 15-for-22 for 289 yards and 4 TDs. Teammate WR Ravon Johnson caught 9 receptions for 218 yards and 3 TDs. The ground game was there too as Marcus Curry carried the ball 26 times for 176 yards and a score.

The Phoenix were led by Jake Arthur in the air as he went 22-for-40 for 270 yards and two scores.

This loss also marks the final game in North’s history, as the school will close after this school year.

“You saw tonight what the season was all about,” said George Czart, the only coach in Lincoln-Way North’s eight-year history. “Our kids really are a bunch of determined young men. We never gave up, always gave our best effort, love playing the game of football. If they carry on and do things in school and in their job the way they play football, they’re going to be very successful people. I’m proud to be associated with them. I’m gonna miss them.”

The Hornets (9-3) will host Crete-Monee (10-2), an upset winner against Sacred Heart-Griffin in next week’s semifinals.

 

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Big Ten Week 11 Recap

Posted on November 13, 2015. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Movers weekend…

November 13, 2015

What a week: Buckeyes and Iowa are still unbeaten… Hoosiers push Wolverines in OT… Sparty’s Cook is hurt

Given what we have to look forward to over the next couple weeks, this week’s lineup felt a bit like the calm before the storm. There weren’t any “huge” surprises… Let’s recap…

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Ohio State now may look ahead to the Michigan State game many have had circled all season as they defeat Illinois 28-3.

Ohio State (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) again started the game sluggish as the Buckeyes led just 14-3 at halftime. After J.T. Barrett was ruled short of the end zone on back-to-back runs and Ohio State missed a field goal on its opening drive, he hooked up with Thomas for a 24-yard touchdown pass on the second drive of the game.

Illinois then added a field goal to trim the deficit to 7-3 before Barrett plunged it in from 6 yards out late in the second quarter to give the Buckeyes their 11-point halftime lead.

Running back Ezekiel Elliott topped the 100-yard mark for the 15th-straight game, the Buckeyes limited Illinois to just 20 yards rushing and Ohio State racked up 440 yards of total offense and scored in each and every quarter – Whew!

Elliott gained 181 yards on the ground on 27 carries with a pair of touchdowns. The junior running back scored from 1 yard out to give the third-ranked Buckeyes a three-score lead midway through the third quarter and then put the game on ice with a 10-yard scoring run early in the fourth.

Barrett went 15-for-23 passing for 150 yards with one touchdown and one interception and Michael Thomas led the Ohio State wide receivers with six catches for 76 yards and a score. Barrett also gained 74 yards on the ground on 16 carries.

Ohio State held the Illini to just 101 yards of total offense in the first half while racking up 209 of its own. Barrett was 9-for-13 passing for 106 yards and a touchdown in the first half, while also carrying the ball 11 times for 56 yards and a score. Elliott had 47 of his yards in the first half.

“To come on the road, our defense is playing lights out and that’s obvious. The only issue I have, I think we controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides and the negative is we have to be more balanced,” coach Meyer said after Ohio State won it’s 10th game of the year, defeating Illinois 28-3 Saturday. “We know what’s coming down the road next week and we have to be a little bit more balanced than we were and that starts with pass protection. That was the only negative.”

Ohio State hosts 13th-ranked Michigan State next Saturday, and I’m certain ESPN GameDay will be in Columbus for this one!

NOTE: Ohio State has won a Big Ten-record 30 conference games in a row, breaking the current conference landscape mark of 29 consecutive wins in the ACC by Florida State from 1992-95.

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The health of Connor Cook is going to be a pretty big discussion point leading up to next weekend’s showdown in Columbus. The senior went out in the first quarter with a shoulder injury and was clearly in a lot of pain. Though Cook did return for the second quarter, backup Tyler O’Connor was under center for the second half.

It wasn’t the most prolific passing day for the Spartans as Cook completed just 6 of 20 passes for 77 yards and an interception. O’Connor was 6 of 11 for 44 yards with one touchdown and an interception of his own. Gerald Holmes led the rushing attack with 18 of the team’s 41 carries. The sophomore finished the day with 83 yards and a score. After a hot start to the season, true freshman L.J. Scott continues to see limited touches, rushing just two times for 12 yards. Wideout Macgarrett Kings Jr. added 48 receiving yards—including a very nice one-handed grab—and hauled in a touchdown pass.

The Maryland offense was plagued by turnovers and could only manage 289 yards on the day. Quarterbacks Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe combined for 182 yards and three interceptions. Junior tailback Wes Brown rushed for 52 yards while Hills added another 39 on the ground.

Gigantic contest next week… who will seal the victory Sparty or Buckeyes?

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It is being reported that LeShun Daniels had a career day for the Hawkeyes, rushing for 195 yards and a trio of touchdowns. And his QB, C.J. Beathard, connected on 18 of 26 passes for for 213 yards and an additional 50 yards on the ground with a pair of scores.

Mitch Leidner and Shannon Brooks led the way for the Gophs’ offense. Leidner totaled 291 yards of offense and a pair of scores. Brooks added 86 yards and a rushing touchdown. The freshman tailback also connected with Drew Wolitarsky for a touchdown off of a halfback pass.

With a win over Purdue next week, the Hawkeyes will clinch a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game. Any takers that they won’t win next week?

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The Hoosiers had a chance to tie the game—or possibly win it—but they were unable to punch it in as Nate Sudfeld’s pass fell incomplete at the goal line. The Indiana ground attack had been gashing the Michigan defense all game, leaving many to question the decision to throw the football from two yards out.

De’Veon Smith and the Wolverine running game were stymied for the majority of the day, but quarterback Jake Rudock put together the best performance of his career. The senior threw for 440 yards and six touchdowns while adding another 64 yards on the ground. Outside of a bad third-quarter interception, Rudock was nearly perfect. Jehu Chesson hauled in ten passes for 207 yards and four touchdowns, including the five-yarder that tied the game with no time left in regulation. Amara Darboh and Jake Butt each caught touchdown passes as well.

Junior tailback Jordan Howard put on a show for the Hoosiers, rushing for 238 yards and two scores against the nation’s third-ranked rushing defense. Sudfeld threw for 220 yards and a score. Simmie Cobbs Jr. led all IU pass-catchers with four receptions for 86 yards. The Hoosiers have now lost six consecutive games after starting off 4-0.

Believe it or not, the Wolverines kept their Big Ten title hopes alive with a double-overtime win in Bloomington.

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And finally…

With Week 11 in the books, we are down to just two more weekends of regular season Big Ten play. Yes, it’s sad that things are winding down, but the fun is really just beginning. Ohio State fans have watched their Buckeyes (mostly) cruise through the past few weeks, but it’s going to be a different ballgame from here on out.

Next weekend is gonna be a doozy. The Buckeyes will host the Spartans (and a number of the nation’s top high school talent will be on the sidelines – visitors weekend in Columbus), the Wolverines travel to Happy Valley, and the Badgers are home against Northwestern. Should be a good one in the Big Ten!

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BIG Ten Week 10 Recap

Posted on November 8, 2015. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Simply put crazy… intense… and statements!

November 7, 2015

Week ten didn’t see too much craziness until the latter portion of the day, but one of the conference’s unbeatens didn’t make it out unscathed. Mike Riley’s inaugural season at Nebraska has seen a number of heartbreaking defeats, but the tables were turned on Saturday night.

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Illinois 48, Purdue 14

WEST LAFAYETTE – It was homecoming weekend at Purdue and all week there was a certain energy and the team claimed they had a good practice week. And to top it off, the Boilermakers may be in a position to win back-to-back Big Ten games for the first time during coach Darrell Hazell’s three seasons.

Well, that’s all in the past and Saturday’s game proved just that as the Fighting Illini came in a dominated from start to finish as they compiled 595 yards of offense, including 382 rushing yards.

Wes Lunt threw three first-half touchdown passes, and Illinois snapped its three-game losing streak, getting 180 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Ke’Shawn Vaughn and 133 from Josh Ferguson, who returned to action from a shoulder injury.

Illinois (5-4, 2-3), which had scored 33 total points in consecutive losses to Iowa, Wisconsin and Penn State, drove 76, 58 and 72 yards for touchdowns during the opening 30 minutes, running 44 plays for 295 yards and 17 first downs before halftime.

Lunt completed 19 of 33 passes for 169 yards and the three TDs.

Purdue gained only 25 yards in the first quarter on homecoming and finished the opening half with 39 plays for 105 yards. For the day, Purdue gained 263 yards.

“I thought we’d execute better in all phases,” Hazell said. “We did not. We never got into any offensive rhythm, especially early. On defense, we gave up too many big plays. Our energy level had to be higher.”

 

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Nebraska 39, Michigan State 38

So that actually happened, and Michigan State is no longer one of the unbeatens. Interested to see everyone’s thoughts on the call that everybody is talking about it, but boy that was a weird one. Was he forced out of bounds?

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The Huskers found themselves up 10-3 after the first quarter thanks to Tommy Armstrong connecting with wideout Jordan Westerkamp for a 38-yard score. The Spartans were able to find the endzone twice in the second quarter and went into halftime with a 17-13 lead. After exchanging blows in the third quarter, Mike Riley’s squad was down by 12 with just over four minutes left to play. Armstrong then rallied the Husks for two scores, including the game-winning 30-yard touchdown strike with just 17 seconds left on the clock.

Armstrong totaled four touchdowns on the night and accounted for 339 yards of total offense. Despite battling an injury, Westerkamp was Armstrong’s favorite target on the day, hauling in nine passes for 143 yards and a score. Senior tailback Imani Cross rushed for 98 yards and a score

Connor Cook led the Spartans with 335 yards passing and four touchdowns. Aaron Burbridge led all receivers with ten receptions for 164 yards and a score while fellow wideout Macgarrett Kings Jr. found the endzone twice. Sophomore Gerald Holmes added 117 yards rushing and a score.

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Iowa 35, Indiana 27

The Hawkeyes were able to take care of the Hoosiers despite a sluggish start. Iowa trailed 17-14 with less than a minute to play in the first half, but a seven-yard touchdown scamper by C.J. Beathard put them back on top and they never relinquished the lead. The game paid homage to Veteran’s Day with some patriotic helmets, and former quarterback Ricky Stanzi had to have been proud.

Beathard and the backfield duo of Akrum Wadley and LeShun Daniels led the way for the Hawkeye offense. Beathard threw for 233 yards and a touchdown while adding 38 yards and another score with his legs. Wadley rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown on just ten carries. Daniels added 78 yards and a pair of scores.

Hoosiers’ Quarterback Nate Sudfeld threw for 180 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

The Hawkeyes remain unbeaten and look to continue their climb up the College Football Playoff rankings.

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Michigan 49, Rutgers 16

The Scarlet Knights were no match for Jake Rudock and the Wolverines Saturday in Ann Arbor. The senior signal-caller had arguably his best game of the season, completing 18 of 25 passes for 337 yards and two scores while also adding a nifty four-yard touchdown run. Rudock hadn’t thrown for more than 200 yards since his Wolverine debut against Utah.

Deveon Smith saw the bulk of the carries for the Michigan offense, ending the day with 15 carries for 73 yards and a score. Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson each hauled in a touchdown pass and Jake Butt topped the century mark with 102 yards on four receptions. Jabrill Peppers—who continues to be utilized in all facets of the game—found the endzone again on a nice little 18-yard swing pass.

With Leonte Carroo being held out again, the Rutgers passing game was only able to put up 97 yards and zero scores. Sophomore running back Robert Martin led the way on the ground with 81 yards on ten carries; the bulk of those yards coming on a 54-yarder. The Wolverines held the Scarlet Knights to 225 yards of total offense.

 

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Northwestern 23, Penn State 21

Ohio State 24, Minnesota 14

Wisconsin 31, Maryland 24

And finally….

Next week the Buckeyes travel to Champaign to face an Illinois squad that looked pretty darn good this week. The Hoosiers will host the Wolverines, the Spartans travel to Maryland, and the Hawkeyes and Gophers face off for a 100-pound pig trophy. And of course ,Tuesday night…. the BCS picks – yawn!!!!

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IHSA Second Round of Playoffs

Posted on November 8, 2015. Filed under: Football | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Second Round… who’s still standing?

November 7, 2015

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Marist 59, Barrington 56
One week after Halloween we had a thriller in Barrington

Things came to an end with senior James Dunican pulled down his only reception of the game — a 3-yard toss over the middle from quarterback Brendan Skalitzky with 16 seconds remaining, Marist pulled off an stunner.

In a contest that featured a combined 1,231 yards, Barrington (9-2) appeared to be the last team standing. They went ahead 55-52 on quarterback Johnny Davidson’s 1-yard plunge with 1 minute, 8 seconds left to complete a 13-play, 65-yard drive that featured a fourth-and-24 conversion from Davidson to Jake Zyzda.

But Marist’s Seamus Glascott returned the ensuing kickoff 45 yards to Barrington territory. Seven plays later, Skalitzky called Dunican’s number.

“We practice that, I think we did it against Joliet Catholic, we waited all game,” Skalitzky said. :Ran it and it was perfect execution. James is probably one of the hardest workers on the team. He’s so selfless, he blocks for everyone. I’m so glad it went to him. It was a great catch.”

Skalitzky accounted for 633 total yards (445 passing, 188 rushing) and eight touchdowns (five passing, three rushing).

The RedHawks Darshon McCullough finished the contest with  5 receptions, 207 yards, 3 TDs.

Barrington’s Davidson finished going 14-for-21, 217 yards, 2 TDs and 18 carries, 112 yards, TD.

Marist (7-4) will play at Oswego (9-2) in next week’s quarterfinals.

video-highlightsCheckout COMCAST Prep Sports for highlights….

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Glenbard West 7, Mount Carmel 0
Glenbard West shut out Mount Carmel in a Class 7A thriller.
The first ever meeting between the two powerhouse teams was a slugfest, fought in the trenches of the lines. Glenbard West missed a field goal in the second quarter and Mount Carmel missed one in the third quarter.

The Hilltoppers finally broke through with 1:49 to play in the third quarter. Running back Sam Brodner scored a 16-yard touchdown run on a fourth-and-6 play.

video-highlights Checkout COMCAST Prep Sports for highlights….

 

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Niles North 35, Eisenhower 20
Niles North senior running back and Iowa commit Barrington Wade (25 carries for 174 yards) accounted for the Vikings’ two offensive touchdowns on the afternoon (67 yards and 8 yards) to lead the Vikings (7-4). The Niles North defense picked off Eisenhower quarterback Cortez Jackson three times with two resulting in scores (freshman Myles Davis’ 50-yard interception TD return and senior Romario Gayle’s 41-yard interception TD return).

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video-highlightsHomewood-Flossmoor 55, New Trier 7

 

video-highlightsLincoln-Way North 17, Richards 10 OT

Libertyville 27, Lincoln-Way East 17
In a Class 7A second round playoff game, undefeated Libertyville (11-0) held on late for a 27-17 win over Lincoln-Way East (8-3).

Brother Rice 34, South Elgin 28
In a Class 8A second round game, host Brother Rice prevailed with a 34-28 victory over South Elgin.

video-highlightsBradley-Bourbonnais 41, Geneva 22

Crete-Monee 23, Lemont 7

Loyola 49, Stevenson 0

Niles North 35, Eisenhower 20

Brother Rice 34, South Elgin 28

Tinley Park 42, Glenbard South 32

Marian Central 15, Joliet Catholic 47

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IHSA 1st Round of Playoffs

Posted on November 2, 2015. Filed under: Football | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

First Round of IHSA is in the books…. who’s still standing?

October 31, 2015

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It’s IHSA playoff time… win or turn in your uniform and equipment…

Here is our recap:

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Mount Carmel 42, Glenbard North 15

The Caravan advance over Glenbard North in a BIG win 42-15.

A.J. Lewis and Michael Kennedy combined for 260 yards rushing and five touchdowns, and the Caravan defense stood up to a powerful rushing attack.

“Watching (Glenbard North) on film all week preparing for them, these guys are very athletic and they make some great plays,” said Lewis, who rushed for 111 yards in the first half and 114 overall. “These dudes can play football.”

A.J. Lewis finished the contest with 14 carries for 114 yards and 2 TDs.

By the time Glenbard North ran its fourth offensive play, Mount Carmel tallied 16 snaps and held a 14-0 lead. But the Panthers (7-3), then, looked ready to make a game of it.

Glenbard North drove 66 yards in 10 plays to cut Mount Carmel’s lead in half, but the Caravan demonstrated the biggest difference between the teams just before halftime.

Anthony Thompson completed his second pass attempt, a 38-yarder on a fade route to Steve Wirtel, to set up Lewis’ second short touchdown and give the Caravan a 21-7 halftime lead. Thompson went  4-of-6 for 103 yards and a score.

 

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Palatine 20, Sandburg 19 OT

Palatine one play better than Sandburg in OT
One play and one point separated two of the most evenly matched teams in the IHSA playoffs’ first round Saturday.

Sandburg and Palatine went back and forth throughout the rainy afternoon, each team taking turns making big plays and big mistakes.

Then it all came down to the final play which proved to be the biggest… Palatine safety Elvin Lama Sosa leading a charge of Pirates that swarmed Sandburg quarterback Alec Fidan on a potential winning two-point conversion. The tackle secured Palatine’s 20-19 overtime win in the Class 8A playoffs.

“Both teams made a lot of big plays,” Sosa said. “You just had to forget about it and go on to the next one, and it was like that all the way to the end.”

The Pirates’ Zach Oles led the way statistically speaking going 10-for-18 passing for 137 yards and two scores plus 14 carries for 33 yards and a score TD. Teammate Josh Turner carried the back 12 times for 99 yards and one TD reception.

On the other side of the ball, Alec Fidan went 5-for-10 passing for 93 yards and a TD plus 19 carries for 85 yards and a score on the ground.

 

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Oak Forest 51, Quincy 14
Zack Russell had 124 rushing yards and 2 TDs, Jaron Johnson had 121 rushing yards and 1 TD, and Nick Czesewski added a 65-yard punt-return score for Oak Forest.

 

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BIG Ten Week 9

Posted on November 2, 2015. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Suspension, Movement, Emotions and Blow outs….

October 31, 2015

Let’s recap….

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Barrett Benched for BOOZ
Shortly after J.T. Barrett was arrested for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, Ohio State announced that the quarterback would be suspended for the Buckeyes’ next game, Nov. 7, against Minnesota.

This was a first offense for Barrett, and since it was an alcohol violation, the school’s alcohol/substance abuse policy dictates that Barrett must enter a management program. Beyond that, no suspension is mandated by program policy.

This is an important distinction: Urban Meyer was not obligated to suspend J.T. Barrett (https://twitter.com/AWardESPN/status/660490132382969856), but did so, anyway.

Given the reaction by some fans – particularly fans of other programs – and some in the media, condemning Meyer for being too lenient, it’s worth looking at what other schools have done in similar situations.

Barrett will serve his time and hopefully learn from this incident. And Urban Meyer isn’t doing anything that other coaches have done when faced with similar situations.

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Michigan 29, Minnesota 26

It was another crazy finish for the Wolverines, but this time they came out on top as Minnesota failed to find the endzone on the game’s final play. Down by a field goal, the Gophs had the ball on the Michigan one-yard line with just two seconds left to play. New interim head coach Tracy Claeys elected to go for the win, but quarterback Mitch Leidner was stuffed on a quarterback sneak as time expired.

Jake Rudock had an up-and-down day before exiting the game with an apparent head injury late in the third quarter. The senior completed 13 of 21 passes for 140 yards with one touchdown and an interception. Rudock took a big hit just before he could slide down after a short scramble. Sophomore Wilton Speight took over at quarterback and hit Jehu Chesson for a 12-yard touchdown that would prove to be the game-winner. Amara Darboh led the Wolverine receivers with six reception for 73 yards. Rudock connected with Chesson for a 13-yard score in the second quarter and Jabrill Peppers scored his first career touchdown on a six-yard rush out of the wildcat.

The Gophers were able to move the ball against the nation’s top-ranked defense, putting up 461 yards of total offense. Mitch Leidner accounted for 354 of those yards and a pair of touchdowns. Freshman tailback Rodney Smith was able to find some success on the ground as he rushed for 74 yards on 12 carries.

After a long pass play, Minnesota had the ball inside the Wolverine one-yard line with 18 seconds left in the game. However, it seemed that Leidner wasn’t aware that the clock would be running as he let precious time tick away.

After spending a year in Minneapolis, the Little Brown Jug will head back to Ann Arbor.

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Iowa 31, Maryland 15

Akrum Wadley, LeShun Daniels, and the Hawkeye running game led the way as Kirk Ferentz moved to 8-0 on the season. Wadley tallied 67 yards rushing while Daniels added 60 yards of his own. Both backs also found the endzone. Junior quarterback C.J. Beathard completed 12 of 23 passes for 183 yards; the majority of those yards going to junior wideout Matt VandeBerg.

Cornerback Desmond King once again led the way as the Hawkeye defense forced four turnovers on the day. The junior recorded his seventh interception—tied for tops in the nation—and returned it for an 88-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Penn State 39, Illinois 0

While the defense has been the talk of the season for Penn State, the offense showed up on Saturday against the Illini. Christian Hackenberg completed 21 of 29 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns. The junior quarterback was also on the receiving end of a throwback touchdown from tailback Nick Scott. Saquon Barkley continues to be the workhose for the Nittany Lions, rushing for 84 yards and a touchdown. The hurdle is still an integral part of the true freshman’s repertoire.

Chris Godwin and DaeSean Hamilton led the Penn State receivers. Godwin hauled in seven passes for 76 yards and a score while Hamilton added 54 yards on four catches. Barkley also caught three passes for 58 yards. The kicking game may have been the lone blemish for the Nits. Freshman kicker Joey Julius was benched after having two extra points blocked and booting a kickoff out of bounds.

The Illinois offense could only manage 167 yards of total offense against the Nittany Lion defense. Junior quarterback Wes Lunt threw for 129 yards and one interception. Tailbacks Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Cameron Tucker combined for just 56 yards on 17 carries.

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Wisconsin 48, Rutgers 10

Corey Clement’s return provided a spark for the Wisconsin running game as the Badgers dominated the Scarlet Knights in Madison. The junior tailback missed seven weeks after undergoing sports hernia surgery but appeared to be close to 100% on Saturday. Clement played for three quarters and ended the day with 11 carries for 115 yards and three touchdowns.

Senior quarterback Joel Stave connected on 13 of 25 passes for 217 yards with one touchdown and a pair of interceptions. Alex Erickson led all receivers with six receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown.

The Wisconsin defense held the Scarlet Knight offense in check, allowing just 165 yards of total offense. With wide receiver Leonte Carroo sidelined with an injury, quarterback Chris Laviano could only manage four completions for 31 yards and an interception. The lone touchdown for Rutgers came on a pick six by cornerback Blessuan Austin.

Purdue 55, Nebraska 45

Things haven’t been going so well for the Husks, and now many are questioning whether Mike Riley will last more than one season in Lincoln. Darrell Hazell’s Boilermakers gave their third-year head coach his first home conference win on Saturday, topping Nebraska in a 100-point shootout.

Freshman quarterback David Blough accounted for five touchdowns for the Boilermakers as he threw for 274 yards and added another 82 on the ground. Markell Jones rushed for 92 yards and a pair of touchdowns while DeAngelo Yancey hauled in five passes for 111 yards and two scores; including an 83-yarder.

Quarterback Tommy Armstrong was sidelined with a foot injury, so the Huskers turned to junior Ryker Fyfe. Fyfe threw for 407 yards and four touchdowns but was also picked off four times, including three by Purdue’s Anthony Brown. Jordan Westerkamp and Brandon Reilly led the Nebraska pass-catchers as both wideouts found the endzone on the day.

And finally…

what did we learn this week? Nebraska is really bad and Mike Riley may be on some thin ice, Minnesota played some pretty good football after Jerry Kill’s surprising resignation, the Hawkeyes remain unbeaten, and Corey Clement is still good at running with the football in his hands.

As for next week? Cardale Jones and the Buckeyes will play host to the Gophs, Michigan takes on Rutgers, and the Spartans will head to Lincoln.

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