2017 Illinois vs Ball State

Posted on August 30, 2017. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports, Sporting News | Tags: , , , , |

Illini host MAC’s Ball State in opener

September 1, 2017

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Game Preview

Broadcast, TV, Game Time
Date: Saturday, Sept. 2nd
Game Time:12:00 pm ET
Venue: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL
Network: BTN

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Illinois, there’s no reason to not start out hot. Or is there? Time for week one actions….

Illinois is (1-0) all-time against the Ball State Cardinals. There last (and only) meeting was in 2007, Illinois won 28-17 at Memorial Stadium. Ball State is (3-36-1) against teams in the Big Ten. All three wins have come against the Indiana Hoosiers in Bloomington -or- Indianapolis.

Not to start the season being over confident about the Illini or to appear condescending, but we all know there’s still work to be done on an inconsistent offense from last season, and the defense that needs fine tuning.

This week, Mike Neu’s Ball State Cardinals will travel to Champaign to open their season with the Fighting Illini. The MAC West’s worst team a year ago, Ball State comes into the 2017 campaign after posting a 4-8 record last season. While that’s not anything to brag about, it should be noted that 4 of the 8 losses the Cardinals had were by 7 points or less (2 were by 3 points or less).

The Ball State offense creates big holes to roll through, and that’s not a plus for an Illinois defense needing to overcome the loss of all four starters up front. They can flat out run the football and having a quarterback as mobile as Riley Neal makes that an easier feat to overcome. Neal was the third best rushing QB in the MAC, averaging 4.3 yards per carry, totaling 543 yards, and scoring 8 touchdowns. In the backfield is James Gilbert, who ran for 1332 yards (3rd in MAC) averaging 5.3 yards per carry (8th in MAC) and 12 touchdowns (T1st in MAC) in 2016. If there’s one thing that Illinois needs to defend against on Saturday, it’s the run.

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On contrast, Illinois did not defend against the run well last season. Ranked 103rd in the nation in average rushing yards surrendered (219.2 yds/g), Ball State’s experienced rushing attack will cause some problems for the Illini on Saturday. The good news though, is that Illinois has a new JUCO transfer starting at linebacker in Del’Shawn Phillips. We will see how Hardy Nickerson will have his defense prepared to handle the Cardinal run-game…

In short, the Illini must win this opener against Ball State but as we know, it will not be easy. The Cardinals will be a tough competitor who will not lay down and surrender. With Western Kentucky and a trip to South Florida up next, nothing is given to this Illini team and they must show up and play four quarters.

Follow us live for in-game updates and for our Big Ten Week preview, click here.

 

 

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2017 BIG Ten Forecast

Posted on August 28, 2017. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports, Sporting News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

What’s in store for the BIG TEN?

August 2017

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A year ago at this time, 32 out of 39 Big Ten Conference media members in a Cleveland.com poll predicted that Iowa would win the league’s West Division. Hhhhm…. wonder how they feel about that now?

Then in the East Division, 31 of 39 picked Ohio State to rule the roost. Whoops!

Well, here comes our predictions. So if we misfire with our world-famous pick of Ohio State over Minnesota in the championship, don’t laugh (until December 3).

In all seriousness, Wisconsin is the odds-on favorite to beat out the likes of Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern and Minnesota. Now in the East, I’m hesitating to go against conventional wisdom and beloved Buckeyes. There’s some left over for Penn State, last year’s surprising league champion that brings just about everyone back. In the end, when all of the smoke clears, I’m going with the BIG Blue… as they will snap a five-game losing streak in the Ohio State series, winning an East tiebreaker for a berth in the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis.

By the end of the season, the inexperienced Wolverines should be peaking. And they’ll win a rematch of their Nov. 18 game against Wisconsin at Lucas Oil Stadium and represent the Big Ten in the College Football Playoff.

EAST DIVISION
1. Michigan
2. Ohio State
3. Penn State
4. Indiana
5. Michigan State
6. Maryland
7. Rutgers

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WEST DIVISION
1. Wisconsin
2. Northwestern
3. Iowa
4. Minnesota
5. Nebraska
6. Purdue
7. Illinois

Should be a fun, entertaining season…. we are only a few hours away from kickoff BIG TEN style… Who do you have winning it all?

 

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2016 Big Ten Week 5 Recap

Posted on October 3, 2016. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

BIG Ten from Week 5 Recap…

October 1, 2016

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This was a big week in college football and the Big Ten had one marquee matchup that turned into a bit of a dud. Here ya go!

Michigan 14, Wisconsin 7

I was really looking forward to watching this game, and then it started, and well, I started doing laundry… The most exciting moment for me was one of the better interceptions you’ll see all year and the goofy centipede formation by coach Jim Harbaugh.

The Wolverines went into halftime with a 7-0 lead thanks to a touchdown from fullback Khalid Hill. Wisconsin answered in the third when freshman quarterback Alex Hornibrook connected with Dare Ogunbowale for a 17-yard touchdown strike. Michigan would recapture the lead midway through the fourth when Wilton Speight hit Amara Darboh for what would turn out to be the game-winning 46-yard score.

That’s it….

 

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Indiana 24, Michigan State 21 (OT)

I thought it was pretty silly earlier in the week when I saw that Michigan State was only favored by six points over the Hoosiers. Late last night I felt pretty silly myself for thinking that I knew more than the sharks in Vegas.

The Hoosiers’ victory allowed them to reclaim the Old Brass Spittoon for the first time in a decade. What exactly is an old brass spittoon? I have no idea, but it sounds pretty mysterious and I would love to have one of my own someday.

Richard Lagow led the Hoosiers as he completed 16 of 26 passes for 276 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Lagow was also on the receiving end of a five-yard score in the third quarter. Devine Redding led all rushers with 100 yards on 19 carries. Senior wideout Ricky Jones added 124 yards receiving and a touchdown.

The Spartans’ three-headed backfield of Gerald Holmes, Madre London, and L.J. Scott combined for 128 yards rushing while Tyler O’Connor added 36 of his own. O’Connor connected on 21 of 35 passes for 263 yards and three scores. R.J. Shelton had himself a day as the senior hauled in seven passes for 141 yards and a touchdown.

Michigan State kicker Michael Geiger missed a 49-yard field goal attempt in overtime. The Hoosiers returned the favor with a miss of their own, but the Spartans were flagged for leaping which gave Indiana new life. Griffin Oakes would then knock in the chip-shot 20-yarder to bring the Hoosiers to 3-1.

Nebraska 31, Illinois 16

Illini jumped out early and controlled the game until the fourth quarter when tailback Terrell Newby led the way in a fourth quarter that saw Nebraska score three touchdowns. The senior ran for 113 of his 140 yards in the game’s final quarter and scored twice on his own.

Tommy Armstrong completed 16 of 23 passes for 220 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also found the endzone once with his legs. Jordan Westerkamp led all receivers with four receptions for 65 yards.

The Illinois offense had a pretty lackluster day, totaling just 270 yards. Wes Lunt was 13 of 22 for 133 yards. Reggie Corbin led the Illini ground game with nine carries for 72 yards. Lovie Smith’s squad struggled to convert in enemy territory and had to settle for three Chase McLaughlin field goals.

 

Ohio State 58, Rutgers 0

Speechless even for me when talking about Ohio State…

With the win, Ohio State moved to 4-0 (1-0 B1G) on the season. The loss dropped Rutgers to 2-3 (0-2).

The Buckeyes will next be in action Saturday when they host Indiana at 3:30 p.m.

 

Penn State 29, Minnesota 26

Penn State steals a victory over Minnesota behind the play of the entire team.

Northwestern 38, Iowa 31

The Hawkeye fanbase has to be elated that the administration and athletic supporters elected to keep Kirk Ferentz around for another decade or so. Since the extension was announced less than a month ago, Iowa has fallen at home twice. Two weeks ago it was to North Dakota State of the FCS and yesterday’s loss came at the hands of a Northwestern squad that was 1-3 heading into the matchup.

Quarterback Clayton Thorson and tailback Justin Jackson accounted for all five of the Wildcats’ touchdowns. Thorson threw for 164 yards and a trio of scores while adding another with his legs. Jackson rushed for 171 yards and, with the game tied at 24, scored on a 58-yard scamper late in the third quarter. Senior wideout Austin Carr hauled in all three of Thorson’s touchdown passes.

The Hawkeye offense could only manage 283 yards on the day. C.J. Beathard threw for 204 yards with one touchdown and one interception. LeShun Daniels Jr. ran for 72 yards and a score. Akrum Wadley struggled to get anything going as the junior rushed for just 35 yards on 14 carries, though he did find the endzone twice.

Looking at the bright side for Iowa, they may be able to avoid about $2 million that Ferentz is set to bring home (over the length of his contract) if the Hawkeyes reach seven wins on the season. That could help to make a ridiculous buyout a little bit less absurd.

Note: Internet searches for “Kirk Ferentz buyout” peaked around 2:30PM yesterday.

Maryland 50, Purdue 7

The Terrapins are not as bad as many thought they’d be. In his first year at the helm, D.J. Durkin actually has Maryland looking like a solid football team, and his Big Ten debut was a memorable one. Yes, Purdue is awful, but the Terps were damn impressive on Saturday as they moved to 4-0 on the season.

 

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Not a bad little weekend in the conference. The Hoosiers handing Dantonio his second conference loss was a bit unexpected. The Buckeyes obviously rolled over Rutgers and neither Michigan nor Wisconsin did anything that should invoke fear across the state of Ohio.

Next week’s conference slate can best be described as “meh.” Michigan is traveling to Rutgers where they will surely trounce the Scarlet Knights. The Spartans host BYU as they will look to avoid a third straight loss. The Hoosiers – who have been a tad bit pesky lately – will make their way to Columbus.

Are the Durkin-led Terps going to screw around and end up in the Top 25? A win at Happy Valley next week could certainly help their case.

 

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2016 BIG Ten Week 4

Posted on September 26, 2016. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

BIG Ten from Week 4 Recap…

September 24, 2016

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Week 4…. Conference play kicked off this weekend…. Here ya go!

Wisconsin 30, Michigan State 6

Redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook’s first start was a memorable one for the Badgers as they knocked off the Spartans. The Badgers – led by a defense that forced four turnovers – would go on to hold the Spartans without a touchdown.

Hornibrook tossed a touchdown pass and Corey Clement found the endzone in the second quarter to give Wisconsin the edge and they never looked back. The freshman ended the day 16 of 26 for 195 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Corey Clement found the endzone twice but could only manage 54 yards on 23 carries. Jazz Peavy led all pass-catchers with four receptions for 96 yards.

Word has it that the Spartans may be on the verge of a bit of a quarterback controversy, though their head coach is saying otherwise. Lima, Ohio native Tyler O’Connor was atrocious on the day. The senior was 18 of 38 for 224 yards and three interceptions and his performance has some fans clamoring for redshirt freshman Brian Lewerke. Lewerke came in on the Spartans’ final drive and was 2 of 4 for 26 yards.

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Michigan 49, Penn State 10

In a yawner at home, the Wolverines dominated from the kickoff. Let me put it this way, it was pointed out to me that Michigan had more points (28) than Penn State had total yards (24). WOW! Nothing else to report. LINK TO BOXSCORE

Nebraska 24, Northwestern 13

Senior quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. put on a show Saturday afternoon which led to the victory against the ‘Cats. He threw for 246 yards and a score while adding a new career high of 132 yards rushing. Terrell Newby ran for 69 yards and scored a touchdown of his own.

Clayton Thorson led the Northwestern attack with 292 yards of total offense to go along with a pair of touchdowns. The sophomore was also picked off twice. Justin Jackson led the ground game with 79 yards while Austin Carr was the game’s leading receiver with 109 yards and a score.

With three losses already on the young season, the Wildcats have matched their total from last year’s 10-3 campaign.

Iowa 14, Rutgers 7

Minnesota 31, Colorado State 24

Wake Forest 33, Indiana 28

Purdue 24, Nevada 14

 

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Next weekend’s headliner will certainly be the Badgers traveling back to the Mitten State to take on the Wolverines. The Buckeyes will host Rutgers and Michigan State will be looking to bounce back in Bloomington.

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2016 BIG Ten Week 3

Posted on September 19, 2016. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

BIG Ten from Week 3 Recap…

September 18, 2016

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Week 3…. Big Ten stood strong when it needed to when they were in the national spotlight but for the others… it was ugly.

Here we go….

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Michigan State 36, Notre Dame 28

The Michigan State offense proved too much for the Irish as they had more than 500 yards led by quarterback Tyler O’Connor and the backfield duo of Gerald Holmes and L.J. Scott. Holmes rushed for 100 yards and two scores while Scott added 98 and another touchdown. O’Connor threw for 241 yards and a pair of scores with another 43 yards coming on the ground.

Even true freshman Donnie Corley got him some in the contest as he hauled in four passes for 88 yards including a second-quarter touchdown that got the Spartans on the board.

The Irish did fight back after the Spartans were up by 29 points in the third quarter. DeShone Kizer led the way for Notre Dame as the junior threw for 344 yards and four total touchdowns (2 rushing, 2 passing). Torii Hunter Jr. caught five passes for 95 yards.

Nebraska 35, Oregon 32

This game was an offensive juggernaut in which both teams combined for over 900 yards of total offense. But in the end, it was Tommy Armstrong’s 34-yard touchdown scamper late in the fourth quarter that sealed the deal for the Huskers.

Armstrong finished with 200 yards and two touchdowns on the day plus 95 on the ground.

Before the game, the Ducks paid tribute to Sam Foltz, the Cornhuskers’ fallen punter. Classy move by Mark Helfrich and Co.

Michigan 45, Colorado 28

The Buffalos flew out of the pasture on the Wolverines jumping out to a quick 21-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, but things would happen, Harbough & Co. rallied back to go up by a field goal by halftime. Then in the second half, they scored three touchdowns to seal the game.

North Dakota State 23, Iowa 21

NDS proved why they are championship caliber team knocking off Big Ten’s Iowa squad 23-21.

In the end, it was Bison kicker, Cam Pedersen, who nailed a 37-yard field goal to give the Bison the win as time expired.

The Hawkeye offense struggled all afternoon as they only obtain less than 250 yards of offense. Quarterback C.J. Beathard connected on 50% of his passes while throwing for 152 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. The usually potent ground game that put up 212 yards against Miami (OH) and just shy of 200 against Iowa State was stymied on Saturday. LeShun Daniels Jr. – Iowa’s leading rusher on the day – could only manage 29 yards on 14 carries. As a whole, the team gained 34 yards on the ground.

Wisconsin 23, Georgia State 17

With under 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Badgers found themselves trailing the 0-2 Panthers. Paul Chryst elected to shake things up at quarterback when senior Bart Houston was benched in favor of Alex Hornibrook. The redshirt freshman took over in the third quarter after a number of errant passes from Houston. The Badgers found the endzone on Hornibrook’s opening drive under center, their first of the game.

Hornibrook finished the day 8 of 12 for 122 yards with a touchdown and one interception. Houston was 10 of 18 for 91 yards. Dare Ogunbowale led the Badger ground game as the senior rushed for 65 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

Northwestern 24, Duke 13

Finally…. The Northwestern Wilcats got a vicotry for the season as they defeated visiting Duke, 24-13.  Clayton Thorson threw for 320 yards and three touchdowns while Justin Jackson added 94 on the ground. Senior wideout Austin Carr hauled in six passed for 135 yards and a score.

Maryland 30, UCF 24 (2OT)

It took two overtimes, but the Terps were able to move to 3-0 on the season. Quarterback Perry Hills accounted for 156 yards and a touchdown, but it was true freshman Tyrrell Pigrome who scored the game-winner in double overtime. Hill exited the game with a shoulder injury and the true freshman came in for his only play of the day.

Ohio State 45, Oklahoma 24

If Ohio State wanted to make a statement, well, mission accomplished as dominated from kickoff to the final whistle. With the win, Ohio State improved to 3-0 on the young season while the loss dropped the Sooners to 1-2. Saturday was the third meeting in the series between Ohio State and Oklahoma. The Buckeyes are now 2–1 vs. Oklahoma and 19–5–1 all-time against current members of the Big 12 conference.

Game Notes
– The win extends Ohio State’s road win streak to 19 games, the longest active streak in the nation.

– Ohio State is undefeated, 19–0, in true road games under head coach Urban Meyer.

– Urban Meyer is now 34–13 in his career vs. ranked teams, including 13–3 at Ohio State.

– J.T. Barrett completed 14 of 20 passes for 152 yards and four touchdowns, all to Noah Brown. Barrett now has 55 career TD passes, passing Braxton Miller (52) and Troy Smith (54) for third place on Ohio State’s all-time list. The record is 57 by Bobby Hoying.

– Noah Brown tied the Ohio State record with four TD receptions. Dane Sanzenbacher (2010), Terry Glenn (1995) and Bob Grimes (1952) also had four in a game. Brown finished with five catches for 72 yards.

– Ohio State’s defense surrendered its fist touchdowns of the season Saturday, keeping opposing defenses out of the end zone for the first 9 quarters of the season. Ohio State is yet to allow a rushing TD on the season.

– Chris Worley led Ohio State with a career-high 10 tackles on the night.

 

Rutgers 37, New Mexico 28

Western Michigan 34, Illinois 10

Penn State 34, Temple 27

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So, after a rough afternoon, things got much better for the conference as the day unfolded. Yes, Iowa fell to an FCS championship-style opponent and that’s never a good look, but Ohio State, Nebraska, and Michigan State all got it done Saturday evening.

The Buckeyes have a bye next week, but there’s two pretty interesting games to watch out for as the Badgers travel to East Lansing and the Wolverines are set to host Penn State.

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2016 BIG Ten Preview

Posted on August 31, 2016. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2016 BIG Ten Preview

August 31, 2016

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The Big Ten remains top heavy heading into this season but their best teams all reside in the same division so there will be some major collusions featuring Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. The winner of the East could very well be the champion of the Big Ten but I’m certain Iowa and Wisconsin will have something to say about that.

The Hawkeyes are currently the favorites to repeat as West but Wisconsin has restocked their roster as well as  Nebraska. The Big Ten may not be the deepest conference of the so-called Power 5, but its top teams should play significant roles when it comes to the national title picture that’s for sure.

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The conference had more players drafted in the first three rounds – the ones that matter – than the SEC, and everyone else. B1G joins the ACC as the only league to have two different teams in the first two years of the College Football Playoff, it had some high-profile moments this last bowl season – nothing to see here with the Rose, Sugar and Outback, though – and more than anything else, the conference’s programs are really, really, really rich, and getting richer.

Eight Big Ten schools – with newbies Maryland and Rutgers, along with Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern and Purdue just on the outside – are in the $100 million athletic department club in annual revenue generated, while the Big Ten Network is definitely printing money for the schools.

In short, all this means it’s easier to keep around the Harbaughs, and the Meyers, and the Franklins, and the Dantonios and it’s easier to attract the Lovies, and have the Schianos as assistants. And soon, it might be easier to attract more programs to expand even further. But that’s for another day.

On the field, the Big Ten is better when Michigan is one of college football’s elite programs. It’s back with Jim Harbaugh the most interesting man in the world, while Ohio State continues to be special, Michigan State not going anywhere, and a resurgent Penn State about to be a whole bunch better over the next few seasons.

AP Poll

Throw in the improved coaching situations at Maryland and Rutgers, and with Indiana no longer a speedbump, and the East is going to be fascinating.

Can Nebraska start to get the right breaks and be better and stronger under Mike Riley? Probably. Iowa has another great team returning, Wisconsin is going to have a running game again and be dangerous, Northwestern and Minnesota are still solid, Illinois should be far better in a hurry under Lovie Smith, and Purdue has its best team yet under Darrell Hazell.

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NOTE: Big Ten Game of the Year
Michigan at Ohio State, Nov. 26 – All due respect given to Michigan State, who gets the Wolverines and Buckeyes at home, but the rivalry of all sports rivalries will matter more than ever now. It might be for the Big Ten East – and, effectively, the Big Ten title – after the game not making a difference in the race last year, and while Jim Harbaugh can’t do any wrong, it’s not going to sit well if he’s 0-2 against Urban.

Here is our overall Big Ten Predictions….

EAST

WEST

ohiostate-helmet

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michigan-helmet

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minnesota2014

indiana2014

rutgers2014

 wiscbadgers1

nebraska2014

iowa-helmet

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illinois2014

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“IF” all things go according to our prediction, Ohio State and Wisconsin will face off December 3 in Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship with the Buckeyes winning it all going into the BCS Playoffs.

Even by the Big Ten Network poll, Ohio State was chosen to win it all – click here to read!

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Big Ten Week 6 Recap

Posted on October 11, 2015. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Tenth month of the year brings….

October 10, 2015

… a lot to the table: football, Halloween, lovely weather, pumpkin flavored beverages and of course, homecomings…

And yesterday was a wonderful fall afternoon/ evening for some for Big Ten football. And in the end, things went just about as expected on Saturday, but few anticipated the dominance displayed by our rivals to the north. But first let’s acknowledge one team right away –  MICHIGAN is FORREAL!!!

Let’s recap….

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 Illinois 20 – Iowa 29
The Hawkeyes remain unbeaten after holding off the Ilini Saturday afternoon. Kirk Ferentz relied heavily on running back Jordan Canzeri who carried the ball 43 times, a new Hawkeye record. Canzeri ran for 256 yards on the day, including a 75-yard touchdown. The senior added a 17-yard touchdown reception as well.

Junior quarterback Wes Lunt led the Illini offense as he threw for 317 yards and a score. Geronimo Allison, the Big Ten’s leading receiver, continued his impressive season with eight catches for 148 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Ke’Shawn Vaughn rushed for 67 yards a score but also had a costly fumble late in the fourth quarter.

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Northwestern 0 Michigan 38  
The Wolverines were razor sharp and totally focused out of the gate on Saturday as Jehu Chesson took the opening kickoff 96 yards for a score. Jim Harbaugh and Co. refused to take their foot off the pedal as Michigan dominated Northwestern from start to finish – STATEMENT GAME.

“We’ll move on even more quickly than usual because it is such a good and worthy opponent,” Harbaugh said after the victory. “And, we’ll be looking forward to it.”

What else can be said about the Michigan defense? DJ Durkin has turned the unit into one of the nation’s elite. The Wildcats’ offense met the same fate as BYU and Maryland as they were unable to put up a single point against the Wolverine defense. Michigan has now allowed 31 points through five games, and 17 of those points came in the opener against the fifth-ranked Utes.

The Northwestern offense could only manage 168 yards on the day. Justin Jackson rushed for 25 yards while quarterback Clayton Thorson threw for 106 before the backups took over in the fourth quarter. The Michigan defense recorded four sacks and forced eight punts.

Jake Rudock had an efficient outing, connecting on 17 of 23 passes for 179 yards. The Michigan ground game put up 203 yards on the Northwestern defense. De’Veon Smith led the way with 59 yards on eight carries. Derrick Green added 47 yards and a score. The tight ends accounted for most of the receiving game as Jake Butt and AJ Williams combined for seven receptions and 88 yards.

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Wisconsin 23  Nebraska 21
Nebraska’s late-game struggles continue to be the theme of the Huskers. Husker fullback Andy Janovich scored on a 55-yard touchdown run to give Nebraska the lead with less than four minutes to play. Things were looking fine for them until Wisconsin kicker Rafael Gaglianone missed a field goal with just over two minutes left. Nebraska was then forced to punt, and with less than a minute left, the Badgers drove down the field to set up the game-winning field goal attempt.

Joel Stave led the Badger offense as he tallied 322 yards and a score. Dare Ogunbowale added 117 yards on 18 carries; getting most of the workload after starting running back Taiwan Deal went out with an ankle injury. Senior wideout Alex Erickson hauled in seven passes for 113 yards.

Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong ended the day with 179 yards and two touchdowns. Janovich and junior tailback Terrell Newby each notched 59 yards rushing on the day.

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Michigan St. 31 Rutgers  24
The Scarlet Knights have had recent success when donning the all-black uniforms—defeating Michigan last year and Arkansas in 2013—but they fell just short against the Spartans on Saturday night. Rutgers kicked a field goal to tie things up with just over four minutes left in the game, but they were unable to stop Michigan State on the ensuing drive as L.J. Scott scored the go-ahead touchdown with less than a minute left. Rutgers got the ball back and drove into Sparty territory when quarterback Chris Laviano elected to spike the ball on fourth down rather than throw a hail mary. Bold strategy.

Connor Cook completed 23 of 38 passes for 357 yards with two scores and one interception. Despite sitting out much of the game, L.J. Scott led the ground game with 42 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Aaron Burbridge led all wideouts with nine grabs for 146 yards.

Laviano led Rutgers with 208 yards passing and three touchdowns. The Sparty secondary struggled to contain senior wide receiver Leonte Carroo who ended the night with seven receptions for 134 yards and three scores.

Maryland 28 Ohio St 49  

Minnesota 41 Purdue 13 

Indiana 7  Penn St. 29  

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Conclusion…
So what did we learn this week? Not a lot, really – just pure confirmation. The Wolverines continue to be on the rise and will have another tough opponent next week as they face cross-town foe – Spartans. This game should be fun to watch. Michigan State struggled on the road, but like we said, Rutgers tends to rise to the occasion in these games each year. The Big Ten’s bottom-feeders still look pretty awful; though we have to give credit to Maryland quarterback Perry Hills for that gutty performance.

Besides the big one in Ann Arbor next week, you’ll want to keep an eye on Iowa traveling to Northwestern and—of course—Black Saturday in Columbus.

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Big Ten Week 4 Recap

Posted on September 27, 2015. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , |

Solid weekend for the BIG Ten

September 26, 2015

BIG TEN week four saw the last big non-conference slate of the season – clap clap clap… and the conference performed admirably. The conference’s ranked teams kept up their winning ways and a few others are making a case for the Top 25 but we’ll see….

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Michigan 31, BYU 0

It took four weeks for Michigan Wolverines to look like a complete football team while facing a solid opponent. Senior quarterback Jake Rudock put up 14 of 25 for 194 yards and one touchdown; also adding 30 yards on the ground with a pair of scores. De’Veon Smith led the way for the Michigan ground game. The junior rushed for 125 yards including a nifty 60-yard touchdown.

The Wolverine defense continued its strong play on Saturday. The Cougars didn’t surpass the 100-yard mark until their final drive of the game as quarterback Tanner Mangum was held to just 55 yards passing.
Michigan State 30, Central Michigan 10

Central Michigan scored on their opening drive on a 42-yard pass and catch. The Chippewas’ drive ended with a blocked field goal – one of two blocks for the Michigan State special teams. Madre London put the Spartans on the board in the first quarter and Connor Cook later found Josiah Price to give Michigan State a 17-0 lead.

The Chippewas outgained the Spartans on the day as their pass defense continued to struggle. Junior quarterback Cooper Rush completed 26 of 39 passes for 285 yards and a score. CMU ended the day with 340 yards of total offense.

Connor Cook completed 11 of 19 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown. Madre London and L.J. Scott continue to lead the way on the ground. London ran for 73 yards and a score while Scott added 54 yards on eight carries. Sophomore running back Gerald Holmes scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to help the Spartans pull away.

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Northwestern 24, Ball State 19

The Wildcats got started Saturday night with a slow star and found themselves trailing Ball State at halftime, but they were able to shake if off and rallied with 17 third-quarter points to regain the lead and never gave it up again.

Clayton Thorson threw for 256 yards and three scores while adding another 45 yards on the ground. Running back Justin Jackson had a huge night rushing for 184 yards on 33 carries. “Superback” Dan Vitale led all Wildcat pass-catchers with five catches for 108 yards and two scores.

The bad news for Northwestern? They were hit with a rash of injuries. Tight end Garrett Dickerson, offensive tackle Geoff Mogus, and safety Godwin Igwebuike all left the game in the first half and would not return. Igwebuike was replaced by Kyle Queiro who would also leave the game, reportedly with a broken arm.

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Indiana 31, Wake Forest 24

The Hoosiers are UNDEFEATED!!!!
Quarterback Nate Sudfeld threw for 205 yards and a couple scores. Junior tailback Jordan Howard led the way on the ground with 168 yards and a touchdown. Simmie Cobbs Jr. caught seven passes for 75 yards and a score.

The Deacons rallied after finding themselves down 31-10 with just ten minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Wake Forest quarterback Kendall Hinton ran for a touchdown and threw for another to trim the lead to just seven. After a late onside kick recovery, Wake had a chance to tie things up but failed to convert on a fourth-down pass to the endzone.

The Hoosiers are now on their longest winning streak of the last 28 years. They’ll host the Buckeyes next week as two of the conference’s unbeatens face off.

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Illinois 27, Middle Tennessee 25

The Illini managed to pull out an ugly come-from-behind win at home against the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee. Trailing 25-24 with just over two minutes left to play, Taylor Zalewski nailed a 51-yard field goal to put the Illini back on top. The Blue Raiders then drove down the field and attempted a go-ahead field goal of their own, but kicker Cody Clark was unable to convert.

Quarterback Wes Lunt finished going 29 of 49 for 238 yards and a touchdown. Josh Ferguson and Ke’Shawn Vaughn led the ground game for the Illini. Ferguson rushed for 83 yards while Vaughn added 80 yards and a score. Geronimo Allison had another big day; the senior wideout hauled in ten passes for 128 yards.

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Bowling Green 35, Purdue 28

The Boilermakers continued to struggle on Saturday, falling at home to Bowling Green. Purdue kicker Paul Griggs missed a 32-yarder with the game tied and just under three minutes remaining. The Falcons then drove 80 yards with running back Travis Greene scoring the game-winner with just nine seconds left on the clock.

Redshirt freshman David Blough made his first start for Purdue and completed 28 of 39 passes for 340 yards and a pair of scores. Gregory Phillips and DeAngelo Yancey each caught four passes and found the endzone.

Bowling Green quarterback Matt Johnson – the nation’s leading passer – threw for 402 yards and a touchdown. Gehrig Dieter hauled in ten passes for 96 yards. The Falcons outgained the Boilermakers 539 to 426 on the day.

The win gave Bowling Green their second victory of the season, both of which have come against Big Ten opponents.

West Virginia 45, Maryland 6

Wisconsin 28, Hawaii 0

Minnesota 27, Ohio 24

Penn State 37, San Diego State 21

Iowa 62, North Texas 16

Nebraska 36, Southern Miss 28

Rutgers 27, Kansas 14

In closing, Big Ten went 12-2, so I guess overall it was a solid weekend. Five teams still have yet to lose, but that number will go down next weekend as the Buckeyes will travel to Bloomington to kick off their conference schedule. Other games to watch for? Iowa will look to stay unbeaten as they go to to Camp Randall, Minnesota travels to Northwestern, and Michigan takes on the Terps.

But it was definitely good to see Michigan firing on all cylinders against a ranked BYU squad. Could the Wolverines find themselves in the Top 25 soon? They are getting our vote….

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BIG Ten Week 3 Recap

Posted on September 19, 2015. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

BIG Ten Week 3….

September 19, 2015

All four of the conference’s ranked teams were victorious this weekend, but there’s been a shake-up in the bottom half of the power rankings. Here’s how things went…..

VIRGINIA TECH 51, Purdue 24

We were LIVE in West Lafayette covering the matchup between Purdue and an ACC powerhouse, Virginia Tech Hokies.  What a sign of two-halves….

Coach Frank Beamer looks at his team as they warm up to play…

Both teams started out 1-1 and this is a non-conference game, both teams are desperate to win for many reasons and looking and for some momentum for the season.

In the end, the Boilermakers’ passing game struggled on Saturday, totaling only 121 yards and zero touchdowns to go along with a pair of interceptions. Hokies’ fullback, Sam Rogers, did better than the Boilermarks actual QB, as he threw two passes – including a touchdown. Thus, the overwhelming score in the loss.

Junior Austin Appleby completed nine of 28 passes for 110 yards and two interceptions. Backup David Blough was three of seven for 11 yards. Markell Jones led the Purdue running game with 90 yards and a touchdown on just six carries. Virginia Tech quarterback Brenden Motley finished the day 15 of 23 for 220 yards and two touchdowns. He also added a rushing score.

Beamer Ball was alive and well as they played their very first game in the fine State of Indiana on Saturday as the Hokies scored a touchdown off a blocked punt. Both defenses also found the endzone by way of fumble recoveries.

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NORTH CAROLINA 48, ILLINOIS 14

After a nice start to the season for the Illini, things came crashing down in Chapel Hill this weekend. The Illi running game seemed to be the only bright spot as they had a total of 227 yards and two scores on the ground. Junior quarterback Wes Lunt completed 15 of 32 passes for 140 yards and an interception.

Senior Josh Ferguson rushed for 133 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.

NORTHWESTERN 19, DUKE 10

For the Wildcats, Clayton Thorson struggled throughout the day. The redshirt freshman was 9 of 23 for just 70 yards and a pair of interceptions. Tailback Justin Jackson added 120 yards on 35 carries. Backup running back Warren Long led the way for Northwestern. While the junior only touched the ball three times, he recorded a 55-yard touchdown run and recovered a punt late in the fourth quarter to seal the victory for the Wildcats.  Winning ugly is part of a good season. Come November who will actually care how ugly this win was as long as a W was in the right place…

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INDIANA 38, WESTERN KENTUCKY 35

The Big Ten’s leading rusher led the way for the Hoosiers this weekend as Jordan Howard ran for 203 yards on 31 carries. Quarterback Nate Sudfeld threw for 355 yards and a trio of touchdowns as the offense continued to have its way with opposing defenses. When all was said and done, the IU offense had amassed 639 yards.

MIAMI 36, NEBRASKA 33

A wild comeback by the Huskers forced overtime, but they ended up falling just short after an errant pass by quarterback Tommy Armstrong. The Hurricanes got off to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter, and with just over eight minutes left in the fourth, that lead had grown to 23 points. Nebraska then answered with 23 unanswered points to tie the game at 33-33 and force overtime.

On the first play of overtime, Miami defensive back Corn Elder picked off Armstrong. An ugly late hit by Nebraska offensive tackle Alex Lewis gave the Canes great field position which ultimately led to a chip-shot field goal.

Armstrong tossed four touchdown passes on the day – three of which came in the fourth quarter to help lead the comeback. He threw for 309 yards but also added three costly interceptions.

PENN STATE 28, RUTGERS 3

The Penn State ground game was too much for Rutgers as Big Ten play kicked off on Saturday night. The Nittany Lions rushed for 330 yards, most of which came from Saquon Barkley and Akeel Lynch. Barkley, a true freshman, continues to make an early impact as he rushed for 195 yards and two scores. Lynch added 120 yards and a touchdown of his own.

On the other side of the ball, the Nittany Lions defense continues to be stingy as they allowed less than 300 total yards and forced three turnovers. Rutgers’ quarterback Chris Laviano threw for 213 yards and a pair of interceptions.

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NORTHERN ILLINOIS 13, OHIO STATE 20

MICHIGAN STATE 35, AIR FORCE 21

MICHIGAN 28, UNLV 7

IOWA 27, PITTSBURGH 24

WISCONSIN 28, TROY 3

MINNESOTA 10, KENT STATE 7

MARYLAND 35, SOUTH FLORIDA 17

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Overall, it wasn’t a very impressive from the standpoint of the boxscore this week for the Big Ten, but they went 9-3 including the multiple games with ACC teams.

Nebraska and Illinois both suffered bad losses. The Buckeyes and Spartans weren’t up to snuff against inferior opponents while Minnesota and Indiana barely squeaked by.  But a win is a win right?

What’s on the itinerary for week four? Michigan faces off against BYU – whew! The Hoosiers will be on the road at Wake Forest. Maryland takes on an undefeated West Virginia squad. And the Buckeyes’ offense will look to get back on track against Western Michigan. See yall then…..

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Big Ten Week 2 Recap

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

Now that’s how BIG TEN Football is suppose play….

September 12, 2015

Michigan 35, Oregon State 7

Oregon State jumped out first on a 79-yard touchdown drive to open up the game, but the Wolverines’ defense buckled down and the offense woke up. De’Veon Smith led the way on the ground with 23 carries for 126 yards and three scores and quarterback Jake Rudock, went for 18 of 26 passes for 180 yards and one interception.

But again, it was Michigan’s defense really clamped down after the opening drive, allowing a total of 138 yards on the day. Two players from the Buckeye state made their presence felt; defensive end Taco Charlton forced a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Joe Bolden. Coach Jim Harbaugh gets his first win as Michigan’s lead man – period!

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Michigan State 31, Oregon 28

The Spartans pulled off the conference’s signature win Saturday night on both sides of the football.

A pair of Ohioans led the way for the Spartans’ offense. Senior quarterback Connor Cook threw for 192 yards and two scores. True freshman running back LJ Scott continues to look like a force to be reckoned with, putting up 76 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Redshirt freshman running back Madre London added 103 yards on 18 carries as Sparty’s stable of running backs continued to look mighty impressive.

On Michigan State’s biggest recruiting weekend of the year, head coach Mark Dantonio had a message to those future recruits that were in attendance “come to Michigan State” he shared in a postgame interview.
Wisconsin 58, Miami (OH) 0

The Badgers bounced back from last weekend’s loss to Bama with a dominant performance against the Redhawks. Senior quarterback Joel Stave threw for 236 yards and three touchdowns while backup quarterback Bart Houston added another score through the air. Corey Clement didn’t play due to a groin injury, but that didn’t stop the ground game. Junior running back Dare Ogunbowale ran for 112 yards and a score. The Badgers’ offense totaled 451 yards on the day despite taking most of their starters out in the second half.

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Minnesota 23, Colorado State 20

Overtime was needed in order to decide this contest, and in the end, the Gophers snagged a close victory over the Rams. For the most poart, defense dominated the game until late in the fourth quarter when both teams seemed to find some rhythm. Quarterback Mitch Leidner led the Minnesota offense down the field for the go-ahead touchdown with about a minute left on the clock. Colorado State answered with a nice drive of their own – with some help from a questionable interference call – kicking a field goal to tie things at 20-20 and force overtime.

On the first play of overtime, Minnesota defensive tackle Scott Ekpe stripped Rams’ running back Dalyn Dawkins and the Gophs recovered. Minnesota kicker Ryan Santoso then connected on an 18-yard field goal to give the Gophs their first win.

Iowa 31, Iowa State 17

The Hawkeyes and Cyclones were knotted up at 17 going into the fourth quarter, but two late touchdowns helped Iowa get past their in-state rivals. The Iowa offense was led by quarterback C.J. Beathard and tailback Jordan Canzeri. Beathard threw for 215 yards and three scores while adding another 77 yards on the ground. The Iowa ground game yielded 260 yards; Canzeri led the way with 124 yards and a score.

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Nebraska 48, South Alabama 9

The Huskers recovered from last week’s heartbreaker with a solid performance against the Jaguars of South Alabama, giving new head coach Mike Riley his first win in Lincoln. Tommie Armstrong Jr. threw for 270 yards and two scores. Running back Terrell Newby added a career-high 198 yards on the ground, 39 yards receiving, and three total touchdowns. The Huskers threw for 303 yards and added another 258 on the ground.
Northwestern 41, Eastern Illinois 0

The Wildcats’ defense clamped down on Saturday en route to a shutout against the Panthers of Eastern Illinois. EIU was only able to manage 68 yards through the air and 70 on the ground. Redshirt freshman quarterback Clayton Thorsen threw his first career touchdown pass and added a rushing touchdown as well.

Northwestern had three players rush for at least 50 yards. Justin Jackson led the way with 78 yards and a touchdown. Warren Long added 72 yards and a score of his own. The Wildcats’ ground attack amassed 344 yards. Thorsen didn’t put up spectacular numbers, but he was efficient, completing 11 of 16 passes for 152 yards and the aforementioned touchdown.

Illinois 44, Western Illinois 0

It was another dominant performance for the Illini as they continue to fire on mostly all cylinders. The defense stymied Western Illinois, allowing just 141 yards of total offense and forcing two turnovers. Trenton Norvell and Sean McGuire both saw time at quarterback for Western Illinois but were only able to manage 43 yards on 24 attempts. Illinois safety Taylor Barton led the way with a pair of interceptions. Through two games, the Illini defense has given up only three points.

The Illinois offense was impressive as well, putting up 500 yards on the Leathernecks. Quarterback Wes Lunt threw for 316 yards and a score while the Illini ground game notched 147 yards and a pair of touchdowns, though they only averaged 2.9 yards per carry. Illinois wide receiver Geronimo Allison led all pass-catchers with eight receptions for 124 yards. Special teams got in on the action as well, blocking a punt and returning it for a touchdown.

Purdue 38, Indiana State 14

The Boilermakers bounced back from last weekend’s loss with a win over the Sycamores of Indiana State. Purdue quarterback Austin Appleby threw for 289 yards and four touchdowns while also notching 50 yards on the ground. After throwing four interceptions against Marshall last week, Appleby responded with a mistake-free game. The Purdue offense featured a balanced attack on Saturday, netting 251 yards on the ground.

Indiana State quarterback Matt Adam threw for 194 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Adam also led the ground attack for the Sycamores, adding 88 yards rushing.

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Ohio State 38, Hawaii 0

Indiana 36, Florida International 22

Penn State 27, Buffalo 14

Bowling Green 48, Maryland 27

Washington State 37, Rutgers 34

Overall, it was a better week for the Big Ten as Michigan State knocked off Oregon and for a solid collision course to possibly face The Ohio State Buckeyes as top dog. The biggest disappointment had to be in Maryland as the Terps were unable to slow down Bowling Green’s offense.

What’s on the docket for next week? Ohio State will take on unbeaten Northern Illinois, Nebraska travels to Miami to battle the Hurricanes, Iowa faces Pitt at Kinnick Stadium, and conference play will kick off as Rutgers travels to Happy Valley.

 

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