2014 BIG Ten – Week 3

Posted on September 14, 2014. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Week 3…

September 13, 2014

BIG games this week across the board…

I think we all can clearly admit that Big Ten Football hasn’t been that good this season. Last week, they went 8-5 against what some would consider easy opponents. Now in week 3, they faced a fewer tougher opponents. Overall, the league played a lot better but same results going 4-7.

 Washington 44, Illinois 19

The Fighting Illini barely won during the first two weeks, well, that caught up with them during week 3 as Washington dominated them all afternoon.

Washington led 21-3 at the end of the first quarter and 38-12 at the half, thanks in part to two defensive touchdowns from Shaq Thompson. Illinois played a sloppy, miserable game they had no chance of winning. Don’t interrupt Illinois head coach Tim Beckman’s delusions by telling him that, though.

———

 Penn State 13, Rutgers 10

Conference play kicked off with Penn State-Rutgers, in Rutgers’ first-ever Big Ten game. The Scarlet Knights’ much-maligned defense had a strong performance, but Gary Nova’s antics cost them the game.

The Rutgers defense asserted its will from the get-go, shutting out Penn State for the first half. After scraping out a couple field goals in the third and fourth quarter to pull within 10-6, Christian Hackenberg led PSU on a beautiful two-minute drill to take the lead. In response, Nova threw his fifth interception of the game.

It was a rough introduction to the Big Ten for Rutgers

———-

 West Virginia 40, Maryland 37

Heartbreak type of game here….

West Virginia jumped out to a 28-6 lead, but Maryland came back with a combination of red zone defense stances and plays from C.J. Brown and Stefon Diggs. Late in the fourth quarter, Maryland had a punt return from Will Likely to tie the score, and then allowed West Virginia to drive for the game-winning field goal.

———-
Notre Dame 30, Purdue 14

In the battle of Indiana… well, it’s still all about the Irish as they remain perfect.

Purdue was feisty in the first half, grabbing a 14-10 lead in the second quarter and ceding little ground on defense. But the Boilermakers allowed a last-minute touchdown before the half, and they couldn’t string together an offensive drive in the second half until it was too late.

The talent disparity was too great as the Fighting Irish beat the Boilermakers in Indianapolis.

——–
 Bowling Green 45, Indiana 42

The Big Ten’s struggles with the MAC continues as Indiana lost a winnable game to Bowling Green. This game went back-and-forth from the start as each team traded jabs, but in the end, the Hooisers’ defense couldn’t prevent an 88-yard touchdown drive in two minutes, giving up the winning score with nine seconds to go.

———-
 Michigan 34, Miami (Ohio) 10

Michigan needed this win more than a fat kid needs recess, as they suffered an embrassing loss last week at the hands of Notre Dame. So, this was the perfect opponent especially since Miami (Ohio) entered the contest on an 18-game losing streak.

The Wolverines got out to a quick 10-0 lead, but three turnovers in the second quarter let Miami tie the game. But athletic Derrick Green had an outstanding shownig for the Wolverines, rushing for 137 yards and two touchdowns, and the Michigan defense smothered Miami. In the end, this was a well-needed win for Michigan and the Big Ten.

———

Iowa State 20, Iowa 17

TCU 30, Minnesota 7

Nebraska 55, Fresno State 19

BYE: Northwestern, Michigan State, Wisconsin

 

“BIG TEN HELMET STICKER 4 the Week”

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J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State – finished the day 23 of 30 passing for 312 yards and six touchdown passes.

 

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BIG TEN / ACC Challenge

Posted on December 2, 2013. Filed under: NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2013 BIG TEN / ACC Challenge

BIGTEN-ACC-Challenge-2013

DECEMBER 2, 2013

This years’ Big Ten/ACC Challenge promises to be two of the most exciting days of the college basketball season, as 24 teams from two powerhouse conferences collide on the hardwood.

The Commissioner’s Cup remains with the Big Ten after a tie in this event last year, although the ACC boasts a 10-3-1 record over its rival conference. It’ll certainly be interesting to see if the ACC can pick up its first win since 2008, especially with so many talented squads in the field.

Here is this years’ schedule and our predictions (in BOLD)…

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NOTE: Three ACC teams were excluded this year: Clemson, Virginia and Wake Forest.

Tuesday, Dec. 3 (all times ET)
7:15 – Indiana at Syracuse (ESPN)
7:15 – Illinois at Georgia Tech (ESPN2)
7:30 – Penn State at Pittsburgh (ESPNU)
9:15 – Michigan at Duke (ESPN)
9:15 – Notre Dame at Iowa (ESPN2)
9:30 – Florida State at Minnesota (ESPNU)

Wednesday, Dec. 4 (all times ET)
7:00 – Maryland at Ohio State (ESPN or ESPN2)
7:00 – Wisconsin at Virginia (ESPN or ESPN2)
7:30 – Northwestern at NC State (ESPNU)
9:00 – North Carolina at Michigan State (ESPN)
9:00 – Boston College at Purdue (ESPN2)
9:30 – Miami at Nebraska (ESPNU)

This is going to be a great tournament and a single game could be the difference between a win or loss—and possibly another tie—in the challenge.

I have it all tied again, but putting pride into the equation could change everything. So, don’t be surprised if the outcome of this challenge comes down to the final minutes of the final game being played on Wednesday night. These two conferences are that evenly matched and it could truly go either way.

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Here are a few fun notes about the Challenge…

•Seven of the 12 games will mark first-time Challenge matchups: Michigan-Duke, Maryland-Ohio State, Miami-Nebraska and Boston College-Purdue, plus the debut of the three new ACC members Syracuse (vs. Indiana), Notre Dame (at Iowa) and Pitt (vs. Penn State).

•In addition to first-time Challenge games, several of the teams are infrequent opponents: Nebraska holds a 3-1 record against Miami; Purdue won both previous meetings against BC; Ohio State and Maryland last played in 1985 with OSU three out of the five all-time games; and Notre Dame will play Iowa for the first time since 1990 and holds a 8-5 series record.

•Old Pennsylvania rivals Pitt and Penn State will meet for the first time since 2005. The Panthers have won the past five contests.

•Illinois/Georgia Tech and Wisconsin/Virginia will follow their first-time Challenge meetings in 2012 with a rematch in the 2013 event. The Illini and Cavaliers won last year’s matchups.

•Best Three Out of Five: North Carolina/Michigan State and Minnesota/Florida State will meet in the Challenge for the fifth time. Both series are 2-2.

•Rubber Match: Northwestern and NC State will square off in the Challenge for the third time. Northwestern won in 2009 and NC State in 2002.

•Syracuse and Indiana have met five previous times in non-Challenge games, with the Orange winning the past four, including last season’s Sweet 16 matchup.

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BIG TEN Football Week Recap

Posted on October 27, 2013. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

BIG TEN Football Recap…

November 30, 2013

2013 Conference Leaders

PASSING COMP ATT YDS TD
N. Scheelhaase 287 430 3272 21
D. Gardner 208 345 2960 21
RUSHING CAR YDS AVG TD
A. Abdullah 254 1568 6.2 8
M. Gordon 181 1466 8.1 12
RECEIVING REC YDS AVG TD
A. Robinson 97 1432 14.8 6
J. Gallon 80 1284 16.1 9

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The 110th game between Ohio State and Michigan might have been the most thrilling, a back-and-forth affair that came down to one final play.  The Wolverines went for the win… and well, they came up short.

Tyvis Powell intercepted Devin Gardner’s 2-point conversion pass with 32 seconds left and No. 3 Ohio State held on for a 42-41 victory against Michigan on Saturday as one of the greatest rivalries in sports added another memorable chapter to its storied history.

“That’s an instant classic,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said.

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Top Performers
Passing: D. Gardner (MICH) – 451 YDS, 4 TD
Rushing: C. Hyde (OSU) – 27 CAR, 226 YDS, 1 TD
Receiving: J. Gallon (MICH) – 9 REC, 175 YDS, 1 TD

With this win and an Alabama lost, the Buckeyes’ may be playing in this years BCS. Here is our 2013-14 Bowl Predictions, CLICK HERE.

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Top Performers
Passing: D. Etling (PUR) – 485 YDS, 4 TD
Rushing: S. Houston (IND) – 17 CAR, 120 YDS, 2 TD
Receiving: D. Yancey (PUR) – 11 REC, 125 YDS, 1 TD

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Top Performers
Passing: C. Hackenberg (PSU) – 339 YDS, 4 TD
Rushing: Z. Zwinak (PSU) – 22 CAR, 115 YDS
Receiving: J. Abbrederis (WIS) – 12 REC, 135 YDS

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Northwestern quarterback Trevor Siemian threw for 414 yards and four touchdowns (31-44, 0 INT) and Christian Jones caught 13 balls for 182 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Wildcats past Illinois 37-34 Saturday in the finale for both teams.

The Wildcats gashed an Illinois defense that has given up big yards and points all season. Northwestern’s 560 total yards made it the fifth team to top 500 yards against Illinois (4-8, 1-7).

Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase was 31-45 for 307 yards and two touchdowns in his last game at Illinois. Scheelhaase threw one interception in the game, but it was a game-changer.

Down 30-27 with just over eight minutes to play in the game, Illinois was driving. On a first-and-10 at his own 45, Scheelhaase rolled right under pressure and, just before he stepped out of bounds, forced a ball down the sideline. The only player close to it was Northwestern defensive end Tyler Scott, who juggled the ball but held it with both hands as he went out of bounds.

The play was upheld on review, a decision the sparse crowd howled loudly about and coach Tim Beckman argued over with the officials.

The Wildcats made quick work of Illinois’ defense, driving to the 7-yard line where Siemian found Jones in the end zone for the touchdown that put the Wildcats up by 10, 37-27, with 8:07 left to play.

Illinois pulled back to within three when Scheelhaase hit Miles Osei for an 11-yard touchdown with 2:23 left in the game.

But Northwestern’s Cameron Dickerson came up with the onside kick and the Wildcats ran out the clock.

The win, the Wildcats ended a seven-game losing streak for Northwestern (5-7, 1-7 Big Ten).

Top Performers
Passing: T. Siemian (NW) – 414 YDS, 4 TD
Rushing: J. Ferguson (ILL) – 14 CAR, 110 YDS, 2 TD
Receiving: C. Jones (NW) – 13 REC, 182 YDS, 2 TD

NOTE: Scheelhaase, a four-year starter, finished his career at Illinois with 10,634 total yards, No. 1 on the team’s all-time list. His 362 yards Saturday broke Juice Williams’ old record.

iowa-helmet38, nebraska117

Top Performers
Passing: J. Rudock (IOWA) – 126 YDS, 2 TD
Rushing: M. Weisman (IOWA) – 25 CAR, 73 YDS, 2 TD
Receiving: K. Martin-Manley (IOWA) – 2 REC, 60 YDS, 1 TD

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Top Performers
Passing: C. Cook (MSU) – 143 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: J. Langford (MSU) – 21 CAR, 134 YDS, 1 TD
Receiving: T. Lippett (MSU) – 4 REC, 71 YDS

 

November 16, 2013

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The Buckeyes came, they saw, and they conquered the Fighting Illini Saturday afternoon 60-35, and continue their undefeated season (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten).

Between Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller were just too much. Hyde finished the day with 248 yards rushing and four touchdowns on the ground and another through the air. Quarterback Braxton Miller wasn’t far behind with 184 yards rushing and two more touchdowns.

“That last run, in my head I was like, we could (have done) this the whole time,” Hyde said. “That last run, I had energy and I just feel like we could have had that momentum the whole game.”

Illinois didn’t give up – after trailing 28-0 in the second quarter, they closed to 35-21 in the third on two Nathan Scheelhaase touchdown passes. Scheelhaase led the Illini with 288 yards passing and two touchdowns. But the Buckeyes defense kept him under pressure all day, sacking him five times and hitting him more than that.

Meyer praised Scheelhaase. “I love guys like that,” he said. “I told him after the game he was a great player. I thought he was hard to defend today.”

The loss extends the Big Ten losing streak for Illinois (3-7, 0-6) to 20 games.

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GAME NOTES
Braxton Miller became the fourth FBS quarterback this season to run for a touchdown of 70 yards or more, joining Kentucky’s Jalen Whitlow, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott, and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota.

Most 70-Yard Rushes by QB Since 2011
Braxton Miller, OSU 3
Marcus Mariota, ORE 3
Taylor Martinez, NEB 3
Jordan Lynch, NIU 3

NOTE: 2011 was Braxton Miller’s first season

“We weren’t really playing a good game, but we still put up 60 points,” said Miller, who added that he was fine after the hit. “Just gotta put a hard effort in and, toward the end of the game, you gotta give it your all.”

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michigan-helmet27, northwestern-helmet 19 OT

EVANSTON, Ill. — Talk about precision at the end of the regulation. Visiting Wolverines’ special teams sprinted onto the field as the final seconds ticked away, and with one swift kick from 44-yards, Brendan Gibbons, nailed a kick that sent the game into overtime. This kick also saved Michigan from another loss and helped send the Wolverines to one thrilling victory.

“The last play of regulation is a play that a lot of team may not follow through and be successful,” coach Brady Hoke said. “That tells you about the discipline of these guys playing together. How they got on the field. How the guys that weren’t on that team got off the field. It might be the best single play I’ve ever seen.”

In overtime, on their first possession, it was Devin Gardner scored on a 5-yard run to lift Michigan to a 27-19 triple-overtime win over Northwestern on Saturday.

Gardner scored on an option and ran it in on the two-point conversion to make it an eight-point game.

Northwestern had one more chance, but Trevor Siemian got sacked for a 14-yard loss by Jibreel Black on second down. Then, his desperation pass on fourth down got intercepted by Thomas Gordan in the end zone, giving the Wolverines (7-3, 3-3 Big Ten) their second win in five games and sending the Wildcats (4-6, 0-6) to their sixth straight loss.

None of that would have happened had Gibbons not converted in a chaotic finish at the end of regulation.

indiana helmet3,  wiscbadgers1 51

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michiganstate-helmet 41, nebraska128

November 9, 2013

illini helmet 35, indiana helmet 52

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An offensive game at its best but in the end it was the Hooisers on top of the Illini 52-35.

Indiana’s Tevin Coleman rushed 15 times for a career-high 215 yards, the most by a Hoosier in the last 10 seasons. The teams engaged in a back-and-forth shootout until Coleman’s 75-yard touchdown run edged Indiana ahead 42-35 with 12:41 remaining. Indiana burned the Illini’s run defense for 371 yards and gained a season-high 650 yards overall.

Illini’s Nathan Scheelhaase completed 38 of 57 passes for 450 yards and two touchdowns to lead Illinois. He added 45 yards and a score on the ground. Receiver Steve Hull exploded for 224 yards and two touchdowns on nine receptions.

With this win, the Hoosiers (4-5, 2-3 Big Ten) snapped a three-game skid, while Illinois (3-6, 0-5) extended its school-record conference losing streak to 19 games.

Indiana suffered some tough injuries including Coleman, who was helped off the field midway through the fourth quarter. Up next for them is a trip to tough Wisconsin. Illini host top-ranked Ohio State next Saturday.

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iowa-helmet38,purdue-helmet 14

Jordan Canzeri ran for a career-high 165 yards on 20 carries to help the Iowa Hawkeyes defeat the Purdue Boilermakers 38-14 on Saturday afternoon.

Canzeri, a sophomore who entered the game with 173 yards rushing all season, also scored a touchdown to help the Hawkeyes become bowl eligible. Jake Rudock passed for 191 yards and two touchdowns for Iowa (6-4, 3-3 Big Ten), which set season highs for total yards (509) and yards rushing (318).

Danny Etling completed 15 of 28 passes for 145 yards for Purdue (1-8, 0-5), which has lost seven straight and has not beaten a Football Bowl Subdivision team this year. The Boilermakers have scored 31 points in five Big Ten games, with two of the touchdowns coming in the final minute of play.

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nebraska117, michigan-helmet13

Tommy Armstrong Jr. threw a left-handed, 5-yard shovel pass to Ameer Abdullah for a go-ahead touchdown with 2:03 left and Nebraska’s defense made enough stops to seal a 17-13 win over Michigan on Saturday.

The Cornhuskers (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten) kept their chances alive of returning to the conference championship game. Nebraska can move a big step closer to its goal by beating Legends Division-leading Michigan State next Saturday at home.

The Wolverines (6-3, 2-3) dashed hopes of earning a Big Ten title for the first time since 2004 with their first loss in 20 home games under coach Brady Hoke, turning the ball over on downs during their last possession.

pennstate-helmet 10, minnesota-helmet 24

BYU 17, wiscbadgers1 27

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November 1, 2013

illini helmet17, pennstate-helmetPenn 24 (OT)

The Fighting Illini fought back against Penn State and forced overtime, but came up short, when  Christian Hackenberg hit Kyle Carter with a 15-yard touchdown pass in overtime and Ryan Keiser sealed the win with an end zone interception, lifting Penn State over Illinois 24-17 on Saturday.

wiscbadgers128, iowa-helmet9

The Badgers scored on both sides of the ball including a pair of second-half interceptions into touchdowns that turned a close game into an easy win over the Hawkeyes.

James White ran for 132 yards and a pair of late TDs as 24th-ranked Wisconsin beat Iowa 28-9 on Saturday for its third straight win.

Joel Stave added two touchdown passes for the Badgers (6-2, 4-1 Big Ten), who are bowl eligible for the 12th year in a row.

“The turnovers were huge for us. I’m proud of the young men of this program for how they played,” Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen said. “They kept on fighting and battling and we were fortunate to get some points out of it.”

michigan-helmet6, michiganstate-helmet29

The Battle of Michigan….

Spartans battered their biggest rivals for the full 60 minutes Saturday, and No. 22 Michigan State remained unbeaten in the Big Ten with a 29-6 victory over the No. 21 Wolverines. Michigan was sacked seven times and finished with minus-48 yards rushing, the worst output in the Ann Arbor program’s lengthy history.

This after the Wolverines had vowed Saturday wouldn’t be a repeat of the game in East Lansing in 2011, when Michigan State’s physicality was too much for Michigan.

“Two years ago was nothing,” Michigan State linebacker Denicos Allen said. “It was a lot worse today, and I think they felt it.”

Michigan State (8-1, 5-0 Big Ten) has won five of the last six meetings with the Wolverines (6-2, 2-2), and this was the Spartans’ most lopsided win in the series since 1967.

northwestern-helmet24,  nebraska1 27

Cornhuskers hailmary answered to seal the narrow victory…

The Cornhuskers looked like they were finished after Northwestern took a three-point lead with 1:20 left. They started their final drive at their 17 with no timeouts.

Ameer Abdullah caught a short pass and stretched to convert a fourth-and-15. Then, with four seconds on the clock, Ron Kellogg III connected with Jordan Westerkamp on a Hail Mary 49-yard touchdown pass as time expired to lead Nebraska past Northwestern 27-24.

Nebraska’s winning play was perhaps its most dramatic since Matt Davison’s “Flea Kicker” catch that kept alive the Huskers’ national-championship season in 1997.

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October 19, 2013

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The Spartans were dominate on both sides of the ball against the Fighting Illini, and easily defeated them 42-3.

QB Connor Cook threw for three touchdowns and finished the game 15-of-16 for 208 yards, setting a Michigan State (7-1, 4-0 Big Ten) record for passing efficiency just a week after he was grilled for failing to move the ball against Purdue.

Tailback Jeremy Langford had 104 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns for the Spartans.

The Michigan State defense came into the game ranked first in the nation in total defense at 228 yards a game, and looked even better Saturday, holding Illinois to just 128. That included 25 yards on the ground.

Illinois had been scoring 35.3 points a game, but not today. The Illini only scored a field goal, which came on the game’s opening drive, a 12-play, 53-yarder, that pumped a little optimism into a homecoming day crowd.

Illinois’ Big Ten losing streak reached 17 games, with a road trip to Penn State on the schedule next Saturday. The last Illini win the in the conference came more than two years ago, 41-20 over Indiana on Oct. 8, 2011.

10northwestern-helmet  iowa-helmet 17

The Hawkeyes (5-3, 2-2 Big Ten) almost gave this one away after taking an nearly lead against Northwestern, but they were able to hold on for the 17-10 win. The Hawkeye defense sealed the victory by sacking Kain Colter on the final play of the game.

Jake Rudock completed 19-of-27 passes for 169 yards — none bigger than the third-down pass to Fiedorowicz in overtime. Rudock rolled to his right and lofted a pass to his big tight end in the left corner of the end zone.

This snaps Iowa two-game losing skid. The irony of it all was Hawkeyes led at halftime in each of their three losses.

On the other hand, Northwestern (4-4, 0-4) dropped its fourth straight game.

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BIG Ten Week 9 Recap

Posted on October 20, 2013. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Separation Week in the BIG TEN…

October 19, 2013

20minnesota-helmet northwestern-helmet17

The Golden Gophers edge ‘Cats 20-17

EVANSTON — Minnesota (5-2, 1-2) snapped a two-game losing streak as James Manuel broke a 7-7 tie with a 24-yard third quarter interception return and Chris Hawthorne turned another Wildcat turnover into a 34-yard field goal in the fourth.

Host Northwestern (4-3, 0-3) dropped its third straight.

Ailing head coach Jerry Kill, on indefinite leave after a series of epileptic seizures, watched from the coaches box as Manuel picked off Wildcat quarterback Trevor Siemian with 1:22 for a go-ahead score. The Gophers made it 17-7 just 87 seconds later on Hawthorne’s field goal after recovering a Wildcat fumble.

NOTE: Tracy Claeys has served as head coach.VAC365-TPOS

Hawthorne’s 38-yard field goal with 5:24 remaining made it 20-10. Northwestern cut the deficit to 20-17 on a 10-yard touchdown strike from Siemian to Tony Jones with 2:07 remaining.

Gopher quarterback Philip Nelson was 8-of-11 for 112 yards, including a touchdown strike to Derrick Engel. Running back David Cobb rushed 20 times for 103 yards.

Minnesota’s defense shut down a promising Northwestern drive deep into Gopher territory early in the final frame. The Wildcats settled for a 35-yard Jeff Budzien field goal that cut the Gopher lead to 17-10 with 11:09 left in regulation.

After Hawthorne’s second field goal, Northwestern converted on three fourth downs in a 75-yard scoring drive that culminated in Jones’ 10-yard TD reception.

An important note for the ‘Cats was two key Northwestern players were sidelined with reported ankle injuries: tailback Venric Mark and quarterback Kain Colter, who was dressed but only available in an emergency role.

Minnesota hosts Nebraska next Saturday while Northwestern travels to Iowa.

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Wisconsin has their way against Illinois 56-32

CHAMPAIGN — Melvin Gordon carried the mail on Saturday afternoon for the Badgers as he rushed for 142 yards and three touchdowns to lead the ranked Wisconsin (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten) to a 56-32 rout of Illinois. Second running back James White backed him up with another 98 yards in 20 carries and two touchdowns.

“That momentum at the beginning was important,” Gordon said. “We knew we had to come out fast, especially on the road. They tried to take it from us but we took right back.”

Wisconsin lost defensive leader Chris Borland to injury early on Saturday and even with an early three-touchdown lead struggled to put Illinois away.

Borland, the team’s leading tackler, said he hurt his right hamstring covering a punt in the first quarter. He never returned, watching much of the second half in street clothes.

Borland’s absence didn’t improve Illinois’ ability to run. The Badgers entered the game as the 10th-best run defense in the country, giving up 90.1 yards a game. Josh Ferguson led Illinois with just 25 yards on seven carries. Borland’s backup, Marcus Trotter, made the most of his shot with a team-high nine tackles.

“I just couldn’t play,” he said. “It’s going to be OK, they’ve already started to take care of it.”

Illinois coach Tim Beckman said defense was a problem for the Illini (3-3, 0-2) , but so was a running game that managed just 72 yards on 29 carries against one of the top run defenses in the country.

“When you play against a team like that, you’ve got to be clocking on all cylinders,” he said. “Defensively, we didn’t tackle well in space.”

Illinois’ offense revolved around quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, who had 249 yards passing. Steve Hull caught six passes for 105 yards.

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Defense carries Spartans to 14-0 win over Purdue (Associated Press)

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Denicos Allen returned a fumble 45 yards for a touchdown, and Michigan State’s offense finally added an insurance score in the fourth quarter of a 14-0 win over Purdue on Saturday.

The Spartans didn’t make it past the Purdue 32-yard line until the fourth, when receiver Tony Lippett threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Gleichert on a trick play.

Michigan State (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten Conference) remains atop the Legends Division but clearly has work to do with the toughest part of its schedule still to come. Purdue (1-6, 0-3) kept it close after being routed by Wisconsin and Nebraska in its first two conference games, but Paul Griggs missed two field goals.

The Spartans entered with the nation’s top-ranked defense, and Allen opened the scoring in the second quarter with Michigan State’s fifth defensive touchdown of the season. Max Bullough hit quarterback Danny Etling, the ball popped free, and Allen was able to scoop it up and score easily.

Purdue converted a fourth down thanks to a penalty, which gave the Boilermakers the ball at the Michigan State 34 with 9 seconds left in the second quarter. That was as far into opposing territory as either team advanced the ball in the first half, but Griggs was short on a 51-yard field goal attempt.

Griggs also came up short from 41 yards in the third quarter, and Michigan State scored again in the fourth. Connor Cook completed a pass to Macgarrett Kings for 25 yards on third-and-12, and a 26-yard catch-and-run by Josiah Price put the ball at the Purdue 7.

Two plays later, Lippett took the ball on what looked like an end-around, but he threw to an open Gleichert for a touchdown.

Cook went 13 of 25 for 107 yards, although at one point he had only 17 yards on eight completions. Etling was 14 of 25 for 160 yards, but he also threw a crucial interception in the end zone in the first quarter, after Purdue had reached the Michigan State 37 with a fourth-down conversion.

Jeremy Langford had 131 yards on 24 carries for Michigan State.

While the Spartans were sputtering offensively, punter Mike Sadler gave them a lift, landing three punts inside the 10-yard line.

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B1G Ten Football Predictions

Posted on August 15, 2013. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Breaking down

As college football teams get started, we’re taking a quick look into the BIG Ten.

This is a snapshot of how the BIG Ten looks at this point in time, not knowing all the personnel/coaching changes that will be in place for next season. As a reminder, these can and will change during the next eight months. Ohio State is on top, and quite frankly, the Buckeyes are head and shoulders above the rest of the league. Other teams such as Northwestern, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Michigan certainly belong in the league’s lead pack, while Michigan State and Penn State both have talent as well as question marks. We don’t see a whole lot separating Nos. 2-6.

There aren’t many BCS Championship contenders in the Big Ten, but here’s what stands in the way for the conference’s elite.

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Here we go …

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1. Ohio State: The Buckeyes made the most of their sanctioned season, running the table to post just the sixth unbeaten, untied season in team history. Urban Meyer’s crew now takes aim at a Big Ten title and perhaps even a national title, its first since 2002. Junior quarterback, Braxton Miller, leads a potentially explosive offense, but Ohio State needs its young defenders to grow up in a hurry as there are depth and experience questions on that side of the ball.

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2. Northwestern: The Wildcats won 10 games in 2012 with a young team most projected to win no more than seven. Northwestern returns a very strong nucleus, led by running back Venric Mark and quarterback Kain Colter, and loses only a few key seniors. Most of the Wildcats’ talent can be found in their younger classes. The schedule gets tougher in 2013 — Northwestern opens Big Ten play with Ohio State and Wisconsin — but the Wildcats should be a major factor in the Legends Division if they can shore up their offensive line and continue to make strides on defense.

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3. Nebraska: There’s no doubt Nebraska will have one of the nation’s top offenses in 2013. Fourth-year starter Taylor Martinez returns at quarterback and has the Big Ten’s largest arsenal of weapons at his disposal. The big concerns are on defense after Nebraska hemorrhaged points and yards in its four losses this past season and loses a group of seniors. Bo Pelini needs to get his defense back on track and hope the offense can limit turnovers, a huge problem throughout this season.

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4. Wisconsin: Gary Andersen hardly inherits a bare cupboard in Madison. His predecessor, Bret Bielema, actually pointed to the 2013 team as potentially his best with the Badgers. The coaching transition could create some speed bumps, but Wisconsin returns two dynamic running backs in James White and Melvin Gordon, multiple quarterbacks with experience and a good defensive front seven led by Chris Borland. There are concerns in the secondary (three starters gone) and at wide receiver (not enough playmakers), but Wisconsin should push Ohio State in the Leaders Division.

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5. Michigan: The Denard Robinson era is over and Michigan needs offensive playmakers to replace its record-setting quarterback and surround new signal-caller Devin Gardner. A bigger concern, though, is an offensive line that struggled at times in 2012 and must replace most of its starting lineup. Coach Brady Hoke should see some of his strong early recruiting efforts pay off in Year 3, although Michigan might not have the depth to challenge for a league title until 2014. Linebacker Jake Ryan leads a defense that has improved the past two seasons but must measure up to elite competition.

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6. Michigan State

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7. Penn State

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8. Minnesota

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9. Indiana

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10. Purdue

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11. Iowa

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12. Illinois

Fun Facts about the 2013 BIG Ten season… ~click here!

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BIG Ten Goes East and West

Posted on August 13, 2013. Filed under: NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

No more Legends and Leaders… 

PARK RIDGE, Ill. (AP) — No more “Legends.” And no more “Leaders.”

The Big Ten is giving them the boot and following a more conventional route for its division names.

The conference is going with “East” and “West” instead and switching to a nine-game scheduling format after presidents and chancellors approved the moves on Sunday.

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The new division alignments will begin in 2014 when Rutgers and Maryland join the conference, meaning “Legends” and “Leaders” will be a thing of the past. That will probably come as good news for fans who have criticized those names ever since the league unveiled them in 2010. To many, they were confusing and didn’t help identify where teams play, but that won’t be an issue any more.

Besides the new division alignment, teams will go from playing eight conference games to nine in 2016.

“Big Ten directors of athletics concluded four months of study and deliberation with unanimous approval of a future football structure that preserved rivalries and created divisions based on their primary principle of East/West geography,” commissioner Jim Delany said in a statement. “The directors of athletics also relied on the results of a fan survey commissioned by BTN last December to arrive at their recommendation, which is consistent with the public sentiment expressed in the poll.”

Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers will be in the East division. The West will consist of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin.

Schools will play six division games plus two against teams from the other division in 2014 and 2015. In 2016, they’ll play three cross-division games.

Indiana and Purdue will meet on an annual basis. But Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said each school had to make compromises.

“Fourteen athletic directors came to the table with different objectives and our goal was to compromise to the point that we could move together with one plan,” he said. “Each of us had things that were extremely important and things on our wish list. I wanted us to play Michigan State and Ohio State every year and for the Michigan-Ohio State game to be the last one ever year. I’m pleased we’re going to be able to do those three things.

“But it’s not a perfect setup because no school got everything they wanted.”

East division teams will host five conference games during even-numbered years starting in 2016, with West teams hosting five in odd-numbered seasons. Under that format, teams will be guaranteed to play each other at least once every four years, and in a statement, Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman called that “an important feature.”

He also praised the changes, saying they are “the best option” and “will serve us well.”

Brandon said a 10-game format was “carefully considered to even out the home-and-away problem,” but that would have hindered nonconference scheduling.

“If you take away another nonconference game, it would have a detrimental impact financially for everybody in the conference, and we would’ve taken the biggest hit because we have the largest stadium,” he said.

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini praised the division alignment and the nine-game format.

“Geography seems to be a logical way to determine the divisions, and it should allow for easier travel for our fans,” he said in a statement. “The nine-game conference schedule will help improve the strength of schedules across the board in the Big Ten, and I think everyone anticipates strength of schedule being a key component for choosing teams to participate in the new playoff system.”

Delany said athletic directors met in person or talked on conference calls six times from December to March to discuss the changes.

“The level of cooperation and collaboration was reflective of what we’ve come to expect from this group of administrators who have worked extremely well together on a number of complex matters over the past several years,” he said. “We are all looking forward to ushering in this new era of Big Ten football.”

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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