Illini win game one

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

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Illini get the season rolling with a victory 42-34

August 31, 2013

CHAMPAIGN — Nathan Scheelhaase got things started a\early and that was enough for the teams first win of the season, Saturday’s 42-34  over visiting Southern Illinois.  He also threw for a career-high 416 passing yards under the revamped offense and his performance was enough to avoid a late charge from the Salukis.

“The biggest thing is just feeling excited about a win,” said Scheelhaase, who completed 28 of 36 passes with two touchdowns as Illinois broke a nine-game skid. “To be able to come out feeling good about what happened, that’s the biggest thing rather than how many yards we threw for.”

Saturday’s game actually wasn’t decided until SIU quarterback Kory Faulkner sailed a pass from the 3 too high for tight end Adam Fuehner in the end zone on the final play. The Salukis nearly overcame a 22-point, late third-quarter deficit and could have forced overtime.

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V’Angelo Bentley’s school record-tying 100-yard kickoff return for a score in the third quarter along with Josh Ferguson’s 53-yard yard touchdown catch off a screen pass in the second were two big plays the Illini sorely needed to avoid embarrassment. One could imagine the fallout had the Illini found a way to lose, particularly with second-year coach Tim Beckman already feeling heat after last season’s 2-10 record.

“Although it was not the most glorious win, I was very proud of the way the team fought,” Beckman said. “There’s no question we have to make some strides.”

“We’re here to win. We’re here to score points,” Beckman said. “We’re here to do what we need to do to be successful.

“We might have thought that we’d take a knee and run out the (half). We ain’t doing that anymore. We’re here to win.”

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The mentality around Illinois football obviously has changed and many people are looking forward to seeing more from them over the season.

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Illini Chicago Homecoming Game

Posted on September 13, 2013. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Huskiesillini helmet

Illini host ranked Washington

September 13, 2013

Just two games into the 2013 season, but the state of Illinois is buzzing for the Fighting Illini, who are 2-0, after defeating top-contender Cincinnati 45-17 last week in a very impressionable fashion.

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On the other side of the ball, Washington (2-0) have had an impressionable win too defeating Boise State 36-6 in the season-opener. Now, the Huskies have been resting since the game against Boise allowing for their young talent to get prepared for the fast Illini offense behind the fine play of Nathan Scheelhaase.

The Fighting Illini brought in former Western Michigan coach Bill Cubit to revamp the offense, and the results were favorable in victories over Southern Illinois and Cincinnati. Illinois is averaging 43.5 points and 493 yards and has posted 17 plays of 20-plus yards after having just 34 last season. The Huskies will have All-American tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (69 receptions, 850 yards in 2012) back on the field after he was suspended for the Boise State game due to an offseason DUI charge.

The Huskies come in to Soldier Field trying to prove their season-opening thrashing of Boise State wasn’t a fluke and Illinois looks to start 3-0 for only the second time in 12 seasons when the teams met today. The Huskies shot into the national rankings after their convincing 38-6 win in their opener but went 3-10 away from Seattle over the previous two seasons. Illinois is playing at Soldier Field for only the second time.

EXTRAS

ABOUT WASHINGTON (1-0): Senior quarterback Keith Price passed for 324 yards and two touchdowns against Boise State and is 115 yards away from overtaking Brock Huard (6,391 yards from 1996-98) for third place on the school’s all-time list. Junior tailback Bishop Sankey rushed for 161 yards (his fifth 100-yard performance in his last six games) in a strong opening-game salvo to follow up last year’s 1,439-yard season. Junior middle linebacker – and defensive leader – John Timu racked up 13 tackles in the opener while senior safety Sean Parker made an interception.

ABOUT ILLINOIS (2-0): Cubit’s effect on quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase has been stunning as the senior has six touchdown passes in two games to surpass last season’s output (four in 246 attempts). Scheelhaase threw for a career-high 416 yards in the opener against Southern Illinois and followed up with 312 in last Saturday’s 45-17 rout of favored Cincinnati. The defense, which has experienced issues while allowing an average of 431 yards, is led by senior outside linebacker Jonathan Brown (14 tackles against Cincinnati, 23 overall), sophomore middle linebacker Mason Monheim (2.5 tackles for loss among 18 stops) and junior strong safety Earnest Thomas III (16 tackles in two games).

1. Washington leads the all-time series 5-4. The programs last met in 1972, when the Huskies notched a 31-11 home victory.

2. Illinois’ lone previous contest at Soldier Field was a 10-9 victory over Washington State in 1994.

3. Sophomore WR Jaydon Mickens set career highs for receptions (nine) and yards (109) in Washington’s season opener.

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Follow the action LIVE on your mobile device at http://www.athletics.illinois.edu/livestats/xlive.htm

Follow the action LIVE on your PC at http://www.fightingillini.com/gametracker/launch/gt_mfootbl.html?event=1236439&school=ill&sport=mfootbl&camefrom=&startschool=&

FUN NOTES for Fighting Illini

�The Fighting Illini (2-0) look to continue their hot start on Saturday when they head to the Windy City to host No. 19/23 Washington at Soldier Field for Chicago Homecoming (5 p.m. CT, BTN). A win would make Illinois 3-0 for only the second time in the last 12 seasons. The other was in 2011, when the Illini started the season 6-0.

�Following Saturday’s shellacking of Cincinnati, the Illini are receiving votes in both polls for the first time since Oct. 24, 2011. Illinois sits 34th in the AP poll (nine votes) and 39th in the coaches poll (three votes).

�Illinois faces its first top-25 opponent of the season on Saturday as Washington is ranked No. 19 in this week’s Associated Press poll and No. 23 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

�Scheelhaase has more passing touchdowns (six) in two games than 102 of the 123 FBS teams. He also has thrown for 728 yards, more than 116 of 123 FBS teams through week 2.

• Scheelhaase’s 728 yards are the most in Illinois’ first two games of a season since Jason Verduzco passed for 783 yards in the first two games of 1991. Scheelhaase also has six passing touchdowns, equaling the school record for most TD passes in the first two games of a season shared by Juice Williams (2008) and Kurt Kittner (2000).

• Senior LB and Butkus Award candiate Jonathan Brown leads the Big Ten and ranks 14th nationally in tackles (11.5 tpg). Brown had 14 stops against Cincinnati, a B1G single-game high this season.

• Washington leads the all-time series with the Illini by a 5-4 margin, but the teams haven’t met since 1972. The two programs are 2-2 in games played in Champaign, while Washington holds a 3-1 margin in Seattle. The Illini notched a 17-7 win in the 1964 Rose Bowl. Illinois will travel to Seattle in the third week of 2014 for a Sept. 13 tilt at Husky Stadium.

• This year is the 50th anniversary of Illinois’ 1964 Rose Bowl victory over the Huskies, an Illini squad that was led by Chicago-born Illini legends Dick Butkus and Jim Grabowski. Washington took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter, but Illinois’ defense took over and the Illini managed touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters for the 17-7 final score. Grabowski earned MVP honors, finishing with 125 yards and a touchdown.

#Illini defeated Washington in ’64 @rosebowlgame, 17-7. In the 50th anniversary @illinifootball hoping for repeat Sat, Sep 14 at @SoldierField. http://pic.twitter.com/otoTCpKtgA

So, can the Illini continue their winning ways at their northern home, Soldier Field Saturday night? Or will the Huskies speed in the pass rush be too much for Scheelhaase?

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We will see – kickoff is at at 5p LIVE from Chicago and Soldier Field.  Follow the action with us via Twitter, @ASNN365, as well as here on our blog.

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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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Fighting Illini steal another victory in Big Ten play

Posted on February 7, 2013. Filed under: Basketball, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

FINAL: Illinois 74, Indiana 72

February 7, 2013

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CHAMPAIGN – Coming into tonight’s contest everything seems to be clicking for the Indiana Hoosiers (20-3, 8-2), as they reclaimed the country’s No. 1 ranking behind three impressive wins last week, and they were hoping to open up to 5-0 on the road in Big Ten and avoided a 10th loss in Champaign, but that wasn’t the case tonight.

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As the home team, Fighting Illini (16-8, 3-7), continue their winning ways at home against the Hoosiers with a 74-42 victory.

With .9 seconds, senior forward Tyler Griffey made the easiest, yet biggest shot maybe of his career to seal the win. Griffey left defenders Cody Zeller and Christian Watford behind on an inbounds play from the baseline, took the pass from Brandon Paul and delivered the uncontested buzzer-beater for the Illini.

”I just made a simple curl cut and left two guys behind me, and Brandon got off a heck of a pass,” he said. ”Zeller and Watford were both right in front of me and just kind of stayed there.”

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Coming down the stretch, Indiana was in charge until Illinois put together a run to take and then retake the lead.

On top of it all, 6-foot-11 Nnanna Egwu fouled out with just under 5 minutes to play, Indiana looked totally in control. Egwu is the only Illini player with the size to realistically match up with the 7-0 Zeller, but size wasn’t what the Illini needed, they needed scoring….

Watford made two free throws after Egwu’s fifth foul and, at 69-59, the Illini looked done. But with the clock under 3 minutes, DJ Richardson went on a run of his own, first burying consecutive 3-pointers and then hitting a midrange jumper on the run to tie the game at 70 with 1:17 to play. Victor Oladipo’s layup put the Hoosiers back on top with 50 seconds left, but Paul answered with two free throws, the first banked in, to tie the score again at 72.

With the clock under 30 seconds, Indiana had the ball for what would have been a last shot but Oladipo fumbled the ball. Richardson picked it up and sprinted down court. Oladipo slapped Richardson’s layup out of bounds to set up the final play – .9 on the clock, and well, bad defense and lack communication on Indiana’s part.

”We didn’t communicate,” coach Crean said after the game. ”They’re very deserving of the win, they never gave in,” he added, but he qualified that with, ”We didn’t put them away when we had the opportunities. I know this, when we turn the ball over we’re not very good and the biggest difference tonight was 28 points off turnovers to our 16.”

Coach Groce credited Richardson for sparking the comeback.

”I thought he was absolutely terrific on both ends of the floor,” Groce said. ”He battled, he fought.”

Indiana’s loss drops them into a three-way tie for first in the Big Ten with Michigan and Michigan State. For the Illini, the win means a move out of 10th in the 12-team conference up into a ninth-place tie with Iowa. More importantly, it’s a potential lifeline for an Illini team that still has to face No. 18 Minnesota on the road Sunday (Big Ten Network) and had been watching its season slip away. Indiana travels to Ohio to take on Big Ten foe Ohio State Sunday afternoon (CBS)

“I can’t answer that. I’m not sure,” Crean said. ”I just know that these games are 40-minute games. We played at a high level for most of the game.”

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Richardson had 23 points for Illinois, Brandon Paul had 21 and Griffey finished with 14 points and eight rebounds.

Zeller led Indiana with 14 points, while Will Sheehey had 13, Watford 12 and Jordan Hulls 11.

Indiana shot 50 percent from the field (25 of 50), 52.9 percent from 3-point range (9 of 17) and 93 percent from the free throw line (13 of 14). The Hoosiers led by an 8- to 10-point margin for most of the second half.

”It was good to get back to having that toughness and togetherness and trust that we needed,” Illinois coach John Groce said.

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FUN FACT: Illinois hadn’t beaten a No. 1 team since a 2004 win over Wake Forest. 

FUN FACT: No. 1 Indiana on Thursday night, the fifth straight week the nation’s top-ranked team lost.

#B1GTEN #ILvsIND

 

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2012 Bowl Season overview

Posted on December 19, 2012. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

2012 Bowl Season overview…

December 19, 2012

And now the best regular season in sports gives way to the worst postseason in sports.   Bowl season is upon us. And it is a mess of unprecedented proportion.

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Mark Richt and the Bulldogs are headed to the Capital One Bowl to face Nebraska. (AP) Yeah, the BCS championship game is awesome. Notre Dame vs. Alabama is a sports fan’s dream. And a sports writer’s dream. And a TV executive’s dream, too. The ratings will be absurd.

The Fiesta Bowl is great, too. If not for the night of Nov. 17, Oregon-Kansas State might have been the national championship game.   But after that? It’s a joke.

Bowl season is always a mess because the bowl system is a ridiculous, unsatisfying conclusion to the college football season. Bad matchups, long layoffs, too many 6-6 teams, coaching turnover and decisions designed to make money, not sense, shortchange the fans.

Three teams in BCS bowls that aren’t ranked in the AP top 15. Take a bow, Northern Illinois (16th), Louisville (22nd) and Wisconsin (unranked). You don’t have to apologize for appearing in marquee bowls like the Orange, Sugar and Rose – but we don’t have to pretend we’re happy you’re there, either.   Who is excited for Florida State-Northern Illinois in the Orange? I mean, other than nobody? NIU must take 17,500 tickets for the game, but its season average attendance is 15,670. Enjoy that vat of red ink you’re diving into, Huskies.

Making that game even more enticing is the fact that NIU coach Dave Doeren left the school faster than Kim Kardashian left Kris Humphries. He went from winning the Mid-American Conference championship game Friday night to being announced as the new coach at North Carolina State Saturday afternoon. He won’t be around for the Orange Bowl, with the Huskies promoting offensive coordinator Rod Carey to head coach.

The Florida-Louisville matchup in the Sugar Bowl might yet feature an interim coach of the Cardinals. Charlie Strong reportedly has interviewed for both the Auburn and Tennessee jobs, although he has denied both reports. Even if he’s still coaching Louisville, his team is far less impressive than some that were kicked to the BCS curb – namely Oklahoma.

Then there’s the mockery that the Big Ten has perpetrated all season, culminating with the 8-5 Badgers showing up in the Rose Bowl.

Are you setting the DVR for East Carolina vs. Louisiana-Lafayette in the New Orleans Bowl? How about canceling all plans with the significant other because you just can’t miss Rice and Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl? Won’t sit down to Christmas Eve dinner until the Hawaii Bowl between SMU and Fresno State is over? Well, we’re with you.   Here are all 35 bowls, ranked from absolute must-see TV to must-see-a-psychiatrist if it’s on your TV:

1. BCS Championship Game (Jan. 7, Miami): Notre Dame (12-0) vs. Alabama (12-1)  We’re not going to lie: There’s a good chance this isn’t a shootout. But this should be a great game between two hard-nosed teams with great defenses, and there’s a heck of a lot of history among the two programs, too.

2. Fiesta Bowl (Jan. 3, Glendale, Ariz.): Oregon (11-1) vs. Kansas State (11-1)  This is a game of old-school football vs. new-school football. Kansas State will try to pound the ball with quarterback Collin Klein while Oregon will use a bunch of different weapons to keep the Wildcats on their toes.

3. Cotton Bowl (Jan. 4, Arlington, Texas): Texas A&M (10-2) vs. Oklahoma (10-2)  It’s not A&M and Texas, but it’s a matchup of former Big 12 rivals. In terms of quarterbacks, one team had a potential Heisman candidate and the other has this year’s probable winner.   ]

4. Chick-fil-A (Dec. 31, Atlanta): LSU (10-2) vs. Clemson (10-2)  These are two teams that could have been in BCS bowls were it not for ill-timed losses. Even though it’s not a BCS bowl, it’s still one of the best games on the docket. Clemson brings the offense while LSU brings the defense. This one should be fun.

5. Sugar Bowl (Jan. 2, New Orleans): Florida (11-1) vs. Louisville (10-2)  This could be a great matchup of agile quarterbacks, but if Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater isn’t healthy, this game could be a blowout.

6. Rose Bowl (Jan. 1, Pasadena, Calif.): Stanford (11-2) vs. Wisconsin (8-5)  If you’re a traditionalist, this game between the Big Ten and Pac-12 champions is gold. Wisconsin comes in after thrashing Nebraska in the Big Ten championship game, while Stanford has been consistently strong all season.   [Related: Oregon vs. Kansas State in Fiesta Bowl is intriguing]

7. Holiday (Dec. 27, San Diego): UCLA (9-4) vs. Baylor (7-5)  Pac-12 runner-up UCLA should have nice crowd support for this bowl, and it may be a wild game against a Baylor team that ranks first in FBS in total offense and 119th in total defense.

8. Alamo (Dec. 29, San Antonio): Texas (8-4) vs. Oregon State (9-3)  Oregon State had one of the best turnarounds in the country going from 3-9 to 9-3 and has been one of the most entertaining teams to watch this season. As for Texas, you never know what you’re going to get or who’s going to be quarterbacking it. Still, this could end up being a great, tightly contested game.

9. Capital One (Jan. 1, Orlando): Georgia (11-2) vs. Nebraska (10-3)  This game had the potential to be one of the best of the bowl season, but Nebraska’s lackluster performance against Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship might have ruined it. Georgia expended a lot of energy in the SEC title game against Alabama and despite a fantastic season, has no BCS bowl to show for it. This is a poor substitute.   (US Presswire)

10. Outback (Jan. 1, Tampa): South Carolina (10-2) vs. Michigan (8-4)  Both teams had preseason Heisman Trophy candidates and neither worked out, but both programs remained solid despite adversity. Michigan’s Denard Robinson is one of the more exciting players on the field this bowl season.

11. Orange Bowl (Jan. 1, Miami): Florida State (11-2) vs. Northern Illinois (12-1)  Many don’t think NIU deserved a BCS bowl berth and they’re probably right, but the Huskies might be more motivated to play the game than Florida State. Both teams will be missing a coach in this game — NIU head coach Dave Doeren took the N.C. State job while FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops took the head-coaching job at Kentucky.

12. Gator (Jan. 1, Jacksonville, Fla.): Northwestern (9-3) vs. Mississippi State (8-4)  Northwestern is having an exceptional season while Mississippi State is trying to end on a high note. The Wildcats exceeded expectations and have a chance to win 10 games for the first time since 1995. Mississippi State started 7-0, but won just one game down the stretch.

13. Las Vegas (Dec. 22, Las Vegas): Boise State (10-2) vs. Washington (7-5)  Boise State, having narrowly missed out on a BCS bid, is going for a Las Vegas Bowl win for the third straight season against a Washington team that has wins against Stanford and Oregon State.

14. Idaho Potato (Dec. 15, Boise, Idaho): Utah State (10-2) vs. Toledo (9-3)  Utah State is a balanced, solid team that does just about everything well. Its only two losses came at Wisconsin and at BYU by five combined points. USU will face a Toledo team that lost two of its last three but is still potent.

15. Military (Dec. 27, Washington, D.C.): San Jose State (10-2) vs. Bowling Green (8-4)  San Jose State took Stanford to the wire in a three-point loss, a sign of things to come for the Spartans, and they get a tough test against Bowling Green, which ranks in the top 10 nationally in yards allowed and points allowed.

16. GoDaddy.com (Jan. 6. Mobile, Ala.): Kent State (11-2) vs. Arkansas State (9-3)  This is actually a good game if you like offense. Both of these teams can put points on the board early and often, and if you like running backs, Kent State’s Dri Archer is one of the best.

17. Buffalo Wild Wings (Dec. 29, Tempe, Ariz.): TCU (7-5) vs. Michigan State (6-6)  TCU fared well for its first season in the Big 12 while Michigan State was a disappointment. Both of these teams had their worst seasons since 2007 and ’09 respectively.

18. New Mexico (Dec. 15, Albuquerque, N.M.): Nevada (7-5) vs. Arizona (7-5)  The first matchup of the bowl season should be entertaining. Nevada is 105th in total defense in FBS, but that’s still better than Arizona, which is 116th. Points will be plentiful.

19. Poinsettia (Dec. 20, San Diego): BYU (7-5) vs. San Diego State (9-3)  The meeting between a pair of old Mountain West rivals pits a BYU team that rode its strong defense to seven wins against an Aztecs team that won its last seven games.

20. Music City (Dec. 31, Nashville): N.C. State (7-5) vs. Vanderbilt (8-4)  Vanderbilt overachieved while N.C. State underachieved and ultimately fired its coach. A win would give Vandy nine wins for the first time since 1982.

21. Pinstripe (Dec. 29, Bronx, N.Y.): Syracuse (7-5) vs. West Virginia (7-5)  Both of these teams are among the best passing programs in the country and both play little defense. That should make for a high-scoring and highly entertaining game.

22. Liberty (Dec. 31, Memphis): Tulsa (10-3) vs. Iowa State (6-6)  These two teams played in the season opener and Iowa State came away with a 38-23 win. Tulsa should give the Cyclones a better game this time around.

23. Russell Athletic (Dec. 28, Orlando, Fla.): Rutgers (9-3) vs. Virginia Tech (6-6)  The Scarlet Knights are probably disappointed to land here after blowing a chance for a BCS game in the season finale, and Virginia Tech’s whole season has been a disappointment with just six wins.

24. Kraft Fight Hunger (Dec. 29, San Francisco): Navy (7-4) vs. Arizona State (7-5)  These programs are moving in two different directions. ASU had a rough second half of the season while Navy thrived after a rough start. Arizona State will need the month to prepare for Navy’s option.

25. Independence (Dec. 28, Shreveport, La.): Louisiana-Monroe (8-4) vs. Ohio (8-4)  Lousiana-Monroe, whose upset of Arkansas was a great story early this season, will play in a bowl for the first time in program history. It will face an Ohio team that was ranked for the first time since 1968 at midseason but lost its last three games, all by double digits.

26. Compass (Jan. 5, Birmingham, Ala.): Pittsburgh (6-6) vs. Ole Miss (6-6)  Both of these teams came on late to make a push to get to six wins and both will be eager to finish with a winning season in the first year for both Pittsburgh coach Paul Chryst and Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze.

27. Belk (Dec. 27, Charlotte, N.C.): Duke (6-6) vs. Cincinnati (9-3)  The Blue Devils are back in a bowl for the first time since 1994, but come in on a four-game losing streak and face a Bearcats team that is 12th in the nation in scoring defense.

28. Beef ‘O’ Brady’s (Dec. 21, St. Petersburg, Fla.): Ball State (9-3) vs. UCF (9-4)  Ball State was 3-3 before an overtime win sparked a six-game winning streak, and it will face a UCF team that lost a shot at the C-USA title in a heartbreaking overtime loss to Tulsa on Saturday.

29. Hawaii (Dec. 24, Honolulu): SMU (6-6) vs. Fresno State (9-3)  Coach Tim DeRuyter’s first season with the Bulldogs resulted in a share of the Mountain West title, and Fresno State will go against an SMU team that got a win in its season finale against Tulsa to get eligible.

30. Sun (Dec. 31, El Paso, Texas): USC (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (6-7)  This is not where anyone expected USC to be at the end of the season and playing a team with a losing record is almost insult to injury. USC was supposed to be playing for the national title while Georgia Tech lost in its conference championship game and needed an exemption waiver by the NCAA.

31. Heart of Dallas (Jan. 1, Dallas): Purdue (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State (7-5)  Oklahoma State is unlike any team Purdue has faced this season with its up-tempo style and ability to put points on the board quickly. Purdue will be without its head coach Danny Hope, which might leave the Boilermakers uninspired.

32. Meineke Car Care of Texas (Dec. 28, Houston): Minnesota (6-6) vs. Texas Tech (7-5)  Texas Tech is second in the nation in passing offense, but its defense slipped after a great start to the season. Minnesota fattened up its record before conference play, then got bowl eligible despite going 2-6 in Big Ten play.

33. New Orleans (Dec. 22, New Orleans): East Carolina (8-4) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (8-4)  East Carolina won five of its last six games, and will be going against a Louisiana-Lafayette team that beat San Diego State in last year’s New Orleans Bowl on a field goal as time expired.

34. Armed Forces (Dec. 29, Fort Worth, Texas): Rice (6-6) vs. Air Force (6-6)  Air Force knows this bowl well, as it is the Falcons’ fourth appearance in the game in six years, while Rice is in just its third bowl game since 1961. It’s just hard to get too excited for a game between a pair of .500 teams.

35. Little Caesars Pizza (Dec. 26, Detroit): Western Kentucky (7-5) vs. Central Michigan (6-6)  Central Michigan was like the final at-large team to get into the NCAA tournament, with a 6-6 record after a 3-6 start. Western Kentucky was barely in the field, too, losing three straight before a one-point win against North Texas in the finale.

2012-13 College Football Bowl TV Schedule

Note: All times Eastern Time (ET). All games except for the Hyundai Sun Bowl and AT&T Cotton Bowl are also available at WatchESPN.

Gildan New Mexico – Nevada vs. Arizona, University Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico Saturday, December 15, 1:00 p.m., ESPN

Famous Idaho Potato – Toledo vs. Utah State, Bronco Stadium, Boise, Idaho, Saturday, December 15, 4:30 p.m., ESPN

S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia – BYU vs. San Diego State, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California, Thursday, December 20, 8:00 p.m., ESPN

Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg – UCF vs. Ball State, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida, Friday, December 21, 7:30 p.m., ESPN

R+L Carriers New Orleans – East Carolina vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana, Saturday, December 22, 12:00 p.m., ESPN

MAACO Las Vegas – Washington vs. Boise State, Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada, Saturday, December 22, 3:30 p.m., ESPN

Sheraton Hawaii – Fresno State vs. SMU, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii, Monday, December 24, 8:00 p.m., ESPN

Little Caesars Pizza – Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan, Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan, Wednesday, December 26, 7:30 p.m., ESPN

Military Bowl Presented By Northrop Grumman – San Jose State vs. Bowling Green, RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C., Thursday, December 27, 3:00 p.m., ESPN

Belk – Cincinnati vs. Duke, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina, Thursday, December 27, 6:30 p.m., ESPN

Bridgepoint Education Holiday – Baylor vs. UCLA, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California, Thursday, December 27, 9:45 p.m., ESPN

AdvoCare V100 Independence – Ohio vs. Louisiana-Monroe, Independence Stadium, Shreveport, Louisiana, Friday, December 28, 2:00 p.m., ESPN

Russell Athletic – Rutgers vs. Virginia Tech, Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Florida, Friday, December 28, 5:30 p.m., ESPN

Meineke Car Care of Texas – Minnesota vs. Texas Tech, Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas, Friday, December 28, 9:00 p.m., ESPN

Bell Helicopter Armed Forces – Rice vs. Air Force, Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas, Saturday, December 29, 11:45 a.m., ESPN

New Era Pinstripe – West Virginia vs. Syracuse, Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, Saturday, December 29, 3:15 p.m., ESPN

Kraft Fight Hunger – Navy vs. Arizona State, AT&T Park, San Francisco, California, Saturday, December 29, 4:00 p.m., ESPN2

Valero Alamo – Texas vs. Oregon State, Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas, Saturday, December 29, 6:45 p.m., ESPN

Buffalo Wild Wings – TCU vs. Michigan State, Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Arizona, Saturday, December 29, 10:15 p.m., ESPN

Franklin American Mortgage Music City – North Carolina State vs. Vanderbilt, LP Field, Nashville, Tennessee, Monday, December 31, 12:00 p.m., ESPN

Hyundai Sun – USC vs. Georgia Tech, Sun Bowl, El Paso, Texas, Monday, December 31, 2:00 p.m., CBS

AutoZone Liberty – Iowa State vs. Tulsa, Liberty Bowl, Memphis, Tennessee, Monday, December 31, 3:30 p.m., ESPN

Chick-fil-A – LSU vs. Clemson, Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia, Monday, December 31, 7:30 p.m., ESPN

TaxSlayer.com Gator – Mississippi State vs. Northwestern, Everbank Field, Jacksonville, Florida, Tuesday, January 1, 12:00 p.m., ESPN2

Heart of Dallas – Purdue vs. Oklahoma State, Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas, Tuesday, January 1, 12:00 p.m., ESPNU

Outback – South Carolina vs. Michigan, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida, Tuesday, January 1, 1:00 p.m., ESPN

Capital One – Georgia vs. Nebraska, Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Florida, Tuesday, January 1, 1:00 p.m., ABC

Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio – Wisconsin vs. Stanford, Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California, Tuesday, January 1, 5:00 p.m., ESPN

Discover Orange – Northern Illinois vs. Florida State, Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida, Tuesday, January 1, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

Allstate Sugar – Louisville vs. Florida, Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana, Wednesday, January 2, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

Tostitos Fiesta – Oregon vs. Kansas State, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona, Thursday, January 3, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

AT&T Cotton – Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma, Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas, Friday, January 4, 8:00 p.m., FOX

BBVA Compass – Pittsburgh vs. Ole Miss, Legion Field, Birmingham, Alabama, Saturday, January 5, 1:00 p.m., ESPN

GoDaddy.com – Kent State vs. Arkansas State, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama, Sunday, January 6, 9:00 p.m., ESPN

Discover BCS National Championship – Notre Dame vs. Alabama, Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida, Monday, January 7, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

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2012 Big Ten Championship

Posted on November 30, 2012. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

nebraska1vs. wiscbadgers1

by Kevin DeBartlo and Prez Ro

November 30, 2012

No. 14 Nebraska (10-2, 7-1) vs. Wisconsin (7-5, 4-4), 8:17 p.m. Saturday (Fox)

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WHAT’S AT STAKE
In short, the winner will play in the Rose bowl against whoever wins tonights Pac-12 championship game.

Nebraska, Legends Division champion, defeated Wisconsin in their first matchup in September, 30-27.

Wisconsin gets to play for a third straight Big Ten championship by default because the teams ahead of the Badgers in the Leaders Division, Ohio State and Penn State, are ineligible. Click here to see the trophy…

KEY MATCHUP
Wisconsin RB Montee Ball vs. Nebraska defense. The Badgers’ 1,500-yard rusher accounts for almost 35 percent of the Badgers’ offense. If Ball gets going, QB Curt Phillips will be more effective with play-action passes and Wisconsin will keep Nebraska’s high-powered offense on the sideline longer. The Huskers held Ball to 2.8 yards a carry in the first game. But Ball has been on a roll lately, and Nebraska is without defensive line anchor Baker Steinkuhler because of injury.

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Nebraska: RB Rex Burkhead, a 1,300-yard rusher a year ago, returned after a four-game injury layoff to spark the Huskers in the second half against Iowa last week. The Badgers rank second in the Big Ten against the run, but Penn State’s Zach Zwinak dented the Badgers for 179 yards last week. The fresh-legged Burkhead coupled with Ameer Abdullah give Nebraska a formidable 1-2 punch.

Wisconsin: Phillips is the Badgers’ third starter this season, and the question is how he will respond to the championship-game atmosphere. Phillips has completed just 52 percent of his passes and has been sacked nine times in his three starts. To his credit, he led fourth-quarter comebacks against Ohio State and Penn State, but the Badgers lost those games when he failed to move the offense in overtime.

FACTS & FIGURES
Wisconsin is designated as the home team for the game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The Huskers are in their third conference championship game in four years. They lost Big 12 title games to Texas in 2009 and Oklahoma in 2010.

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Ohter fun notes thanks to the fine folks at ESPN Stats & Info…

football_icon_small1Nebraska gives up 152.2 pass yards per game, the fewest in the FBS this season. Two reasons for the Cornhuskers’ success are they do not allow many yards after the catch and they do not allow downfield completions. They rank second among all BCS automatic-qualifying schools in yards after the catch allowed per game (54.2), and they lead the Big Ten in fewest completions allowed (22) on passes thrown 15 yards or longer.

football_icon_small1Wisconsin and Nebraska represent two of the winningest programs in the nation over the past four seasons. Wisconsin has the FBS’ 11th-best win percentage since the start of the 2009 season at .750 (39-13), while Nebraska ranks 13th at .736 (39-14).

football_icon_small1Huskers sophomore wide receiver Kenny Bell has caught six of Taylor Martinez’s nine touchdowns on passes thrown 15 yards or longer this season, the most such touchdowns for any Nebraska player in the last nine seasons.

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football_icon_small1Nebraska has fumbled 32 times this season, with its opponents recovering 20, the second most in the FBS. Martinez has the most fumbles (14) in the FBS this season. It is the third straight season that he had the most or tied for the most fumbles in the FBS.

football_icon_small1Wisconsin is converting 33.5 percent of its third downs this season, tied for 104th in the FBS. Last season, the Badgers led the FBS in third-down conversion percentage (52.2). One difference has been in the passing game. Wisconsin is completing 45.5 percent of its third-down passes, tied for the eighth-lowest percentage in FBS. The Badgers led the nation in third-down completion percentage last season (71.7).

football_icon_small1On designed running plays this season, Martinez is averaging a career-high 7.6 yards per rush against Big Ten opponents. That is three yards per carry more than last season. Martinez had 90 yards on eight such runs in the Big Ten opener against Wisconsin, including two runs that gained 20 yards or more.

football_icon_small1The nation’s top tackler over the past two seasons with 265 total stops, Wisconsin senior linebacker Mike Taylor has averaged 18.6 tackles in two career games against Nebraska. He had a career-high 22 tackles last season and totaled 15 stops in the teams’ Sept. 29 meeting in Lincoln.

football_icon_small1According to STATS LLC, Nebraska’s four second-half double-digit comebacks in 2012 not only lead the nation, but represent one of just four times since 1996 that an FBS team has posted as many as four double-digit second-half comebacks. North Carolina State had six such comebacks in 2000, while NU is one of three with four comebacks. The four second-half double-digit comebacks in 2012 are also the most in school history.

football_icon_small1Wisconsin has lost just 11 turnovers on the season, matching Iowa for the fewest in the Big Ten and tying for the fourth-fewest nationally. Only Ohio (8), Pittsburgh (8) and Kansas State (9) have fewer giveaways than UW this season.

Must see movie!!!!

Must see movie!!!!

football_icon_small1With 18 touchdowns on the year, Wisconsin running back Montee Ball is the first player to lead the Big Ten in scoring in three consecutive seasons since at least 1939. •Nebraska has defeated a team twice in a season only three times in school history. In 1891, Nebraska and Doane College met three times, with the Huskers winning two of those games. In 1894, Nebraska defeated the Omaha YMCA twice, while Nebraska also defeated Nebraska Wesleyan twice in 1896. The Huskers beat Wisconsin 30-27 on Sept. 29 in Lincoln.

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Illinois-Georgia Tech

Posted on November 28, 2012. Filed under: Basketball, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

November 27, 2012

Illinois plays host to Georgia Tech

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) – The Fighting Illini (8-0) had to lean on reserve guard Joseph Bertrand to knock off Georgia Tech 75-62 Wedneday night at Assembly Hall during the Big Ten / ACC Challenge.   The redshirt, 6’6″ junior hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions (sick and-1 http://youtu.be/9rNqfhfvp8w) and scored every point in a 10-0 run to ignite the Illini to the victory.

”It’s really helped my confidence,” Bertrand said. ”I’m looking to shoot them more this year. I was driving more last year. I’m looking to do both.”

After missing his first season with a knee injury, Bertrand relied upon his athleticism to get to the basket and create scoring opportunities for himself during the last two years. By concentrating on his perimeter game during individual practice sessions over the summer, he’s become tougher to guard.   ”Until you get to know him, Joe sometimes comes off like a quiet guy, but he’s got some big-time energy,” Illinois coach John Groce said. ”I very rarely will watch practice film or game film and say, ‘Bertrand isn’t playing hard.”’

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Georgia Tech rallied with two 3-pointers from guard Chris Bolden and a breakaway dunk by Jason Morris for a 54-50 lead with 10:16 left.

The lead changed hands six times in a back-and-forth first half, when Illinois shot 46.7 percent from the 3-point line while the Yellow Jackets hit 45.5 from behind the arc.

During the first half both teams played a solid, uptempo game as the home team take a 1 point lead into half 36-35. Both teams shot darn near identical: Yellow Jackets 46.2% from field and 45.5% from downtown, Illini 46.7% from both. But by the end of the contest, the home team increased their percentages, 474% from for the floor and 50% from downtown, and theYellow Jackets decreased  44.2% and 38.1% respectively.

Bertrand and Brandon Paul finished the contest with 15 points apiece, and Tyler Griffey and D.J. Richardson each had 14 points for Illinois.

Kammeon Holsey led Georgia Tech (4-2) with 14 points while Jason Morris and Mfon Udofia scored 10 apiece of which 8 came in the first half.

‘‘If you had said, ‘Would you predict 8-0?’ I probably wouldn’t have been bold enough to do that,’’ Groce said. ‘‘But our guys have been resilient. We’ve been popped in the mouth two or three times and come back in games and made big plays down the stretch. Hopefully, we continue to do that.’’

Coming into this Big Ten-ACC Challenge, the Fighting Illini are off to a fast, undefeated start of 7-0 and play host to Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in this years’ Big Ten – ACC Challenge. It just seems that first year coach John Groce and got the team to buy into his way of things and it’s working. Groce uses attacking, dribble-drive offense and they feel comfortable in it, and that is helping them make shots.

Groce said of Illinois’ Top 25 ranking. ‘‘We’re seven games in. It’s not that we don’t appreciate the recognition. But at the end of the day, what’s it mean in terms of the long-term mission we’re on to be the best team we can be in February and March?’’

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FUN NOTES

John Groce’s 8-0 start is the second-best by a first-year coach at Illinois along with Harry Combes (1947-48). Fletcher Lane started 12-0 in 1907-08, his only season as Illini coach.

After losing 12 of its last 14 games last season, Illinois is off to a strong start under Groce, who became the only coach since World War II to start his Illini career with eight straight wins.

Illinois holds a 7-1 advantage over Georgia Tech in the all-time series, including five straight wins.

 Illinois is 7-1 against Georgia Tech, including a 103-92 double-OT victory Jan. 22, 1989. That was the only other time Tech has come to Champaign. With that win, Illinois improved to 17-0 and was ranked No. 1 in the nation the next day.

Illinois entered the week as the nation’s leading 3-point shooting team, making an average of 10.9 per game.


Attendance: 12224 – Orange Crush!!!

For more on the 2012 Big Ten-ACC Challenge roundup click here.

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BIG Ten – ACC Challenge Roundup…

Posted on November 28, 2012. Filed under: Basketball, Basketball, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

November 27-28, 2012

The 2012 Big Ten-ACC Challenge ended in a tie, 6-6, and the Big Ten retains control of the Commissioner’s Cup, having won last year’s Challenge.

It only seems fitting that when the two best conferences in the country were matched up that it would end in a tie.

Of course, it’s only November. A lot can change before the March Madness dance cards are filled out. As N.C. State can attest, a lot can change in two weeks. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t plenty to learn from watching these games. Again it’s early but it might be another year with at least five teams earning spots in the Big Dance from the Big Ten. There were six teams in the Big Ten ranked in the Top 25 at the start of the week. Four of them won. Most impressively, Indiana, the No. 1 team in the nation, trounced No. 14 North Carolina by 24.

Illinois 75, Georgia Tech 62 
The Fighting Illini (8-0) had to lean on reserve guard Joseph Bertrand to knock off Georgia Tech 75-62 Wedneday night at Assembly Hall during the Big Ten / ACC Challenge. Click here to read our game summary as we were courtside.

Miami (Fla.) defeated Michigan State, 67-59
Keith Appling had 15 points for the Spartans (5-2), who lost to Miami, 67-59. It was Michigan State’s first loss since the season opener against Connecticut.

Duke defeated Ohio State, 73-68
Mason Plumlee had 21 points and a career-high-tying 17 rebounds, and No. 2 Duke rallied late and held on to beat No. 4 Ohio State 73-68 on Wednesday night. Deshaun Thomas scored 16 points for Ohio State (4-1), while Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. had 11 apiece.

Boston College defeated Penn State, 73-61
Despite a late 18-1 run that cut Boston College’s 20-point second half lead to only three with 3:08 to play, the Nittany Lions (3-3) were unable to take the lead and suffered a 73-61 loss to Boston College (3-4) in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Purdue defeated Clemson, 73-61
D.J. Byrd had 20 points and six 3-pointers in the first half as Purdue built a big lead and held on to defeat Clemson 73-61 in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge on Wednesday night.

Virginia defeated Wisconsin, 60-54
Ben Brust scored 15 points and Jared Berggren added 12, but Wisconsin was unable to hold an early second half lead as Virginia posted the 60-54 win over the Badgers in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge at the Kohl Center on Wednesday night.

BIG Ten 4, ACC 2 after one night of play…

INDIANA 83, North Carolina 59
Cody Zeller knocked down 20 points and teammates Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey added 19 each to help top-ranked Indiana (7-0) defeat North Carolina 83-59 Tuesday night in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge in Bloomington, Ind.

The Hoosiers led 46-37 at halftime, then separated themselves with a strong start after the break.

The Tar Heels’ were lead by Dexter Strickland with 14 points, Marcus Paige added 11 and team leading scorer James Michael McAdoo finished with 10 points on 4-for-15 shooting.

It was the largest margin of victory in the series for Indiana since the it won 107-81 in Bloomington on Dec. 12, 1964. The Hoosiers took an 8-5 lead in the series between programs that each have won five national titles.

MICHIGAN 79, N.C. State 72
Freshman Nik Stauskas came off the bench and lit it up with a game-high 20 points and Trey Burke added 18 points and 11 assists to lead the Wolverines past the visiting Wolfpack. The Wolverines (6-0) also got 16 points from Tim Hardaway Jr. and 11 points and seven rebounds from freshman Glenn Robinson III as they shot 50 percent from the field and were 9-for-24 from 3-point range.

The Wolfpack trailed 43-36 at halftime and were down by as many as 15 in the second half before a late rally. They pulled within five on three occasions down the stretch but didn’t get any closer.

T.J. Warren scored 18 points and C.J. Leslie had 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead N.C. State. Richard Howell added 12 points and Scott Wood scored 10 for the Wolfpack, who have lost two of their last three and barely eked out a two-point win over UNC Asheville in between.

MINNESOTA 77, Florida State 68
The Golden Gophers held the Seminoles to 37.9 percent shooting… That’s a season low folks…

Minnesota (7-1) led by four points with 9:15 left in the first half, then closed with a 19-10 run to build a 38-25 halftime advantage. The Gophers extended their lead to 21 points midway through the second half and withstood a brief rally that saw Florida State (4-2) pull within 10 points with 5:44 left.

The Golden Gophers had four players with double digit scoring: Joe Coleman with 16 points, Rodney Williams Jr., who added 14, Austin Hollins added 13 points and Andre Hollins scored 12 points. And the BIG man, Elliott Eliason, snagged with 10 rebounds.

The Seminoles were led by Terrance Shannon who knocked down 14 points.

NEBRASKA 79, Wake Forest 63
Ray Gallegos scored 17 of his 20 points in the second half as the visiting Cornhuskers dominated after the break and cruised past the Demon Deacons.

The Demon Deacons trailed by four at the half and were still within 42-37 with 14:09 left when the Cornhuskers began to pull away. Gallegos hit a pair of 3-pointers and totaled 12 points during a 20-3 run over the next 6:04.

Andre Almeida scored 20 points on 9-for-10 shooting and added 11 rebounds and three blocks for Nebraska (5-1), which shot 60 percent in the second half.

Codi Miller-McIntyre was the only player to reach double figures for Wake Forest (3-3) with 11 points. Stars Travis McKie and C.J. Harris combined for 10 points on 3-of-17 shooting.

VIRGINIA TECH 95, Iowa 79
Erick Green scored 24 points and Robert Brown added 18 as the Hokies pulled away late to beat the visiting Hawkeyes.

Roy Devyn Marble recorded 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and Aaron White chipped in 21 points and 10 boards for Iowa (5-2).

Maryland 77, Northwestern 57
The Terrapins were led by the hot hands of sophomore guard Dezmine Wells who knocked down 23 (game-high), followed by sophomore teammate Alex Len, who added 13.

The Wildcats was led by Reggie Hearns who scored 19.

This contest was close at the half, where Maryland held a two-pinit lead 28-26, but in the second half, they just stretched out and out-scored the Wildcats by 18 points (or 49-31).

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2012 NCAA Football – Week 9

Posted on October 29, 2012. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Upset week… or just good football?

October 28, 2012

Week 9 action around the Big Ten -let’s recount all that happens…

INDIANA 31, ILLINOIS 17
This was out NCAA Game of the Week… For our game summary, click here.

MINNESOTA 44, PURDUE 28
Minnesota owned the Boilermakers in the game, scoring 44 straight points from the middle of the first quarter to the middle of the third quarter. Oh, and this was also the Gopher’s first Big Ten win this year.

MICHIGAN STATE 16, WISCONSIN 13 (OT)
With the loss, Wisconsin’s road to the Leaders division spot in the Big Ten title game goes through Indiana, who is the only team who can prevent the Badgers from going to Indianapolis.

NEBRASKA 23, MICHIGAN 9
Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson was knocked out with a second quarter elbow injury, and Nebraska’s defense took over from there, holding the Wolverines to a season-low 188 total yards, intercepting backup quarterback Russell Bellomy three times and keeping Michigan out of the end zone for the second consecutive week. Nebraska has defeated its two main rivals for the Legends crown in back-to-back weeks with victories over Northwestern and Michigan and now is sitting pretty in first place in their division. During the game, Nebraska celebrated the 50th anniversary of the beginning of its NCAA-record sellout streak, currently at 323 games in a row and counting.

NORTHWESTERN 28, IOWA 17
Northwestern ran for 349 rushing yards on Iowa and was in control throughout the entire game. Iowa looks average and their record would agree as they are 4-4 overall and 2-2 in the Big Ten.

OHIO STATE 35, PENN STATE 23
This game was coined the “IneligiBowl” which went in favor of Ohio State who remains one of six unbeaten teams. Ohio State isn’t allowed to win many things, but Braxton Miller can still win the Heisman and he is definitely one of the favorites. The sophomore rushed for 134 yards and scored three total touchdowns. Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin, who leads the Big Ten in passing, threw for a career-high 327 yards and two touchdowns but threw a costly third-quarter interception that was returned for a touchdown. With the win, Ohio State will most likely now win the Leader Division but will be removed from the Big Ten title game like a bad tattoo.

NOTE: Ohio State has now won three consecutive games at Beaver Stadium for the first time in the history of this rivalry.

In additional games during week 9, four Top Ten teams fell this week and five ranked teams suffered their first losses of the season. Meanwhile, Collin Klein and Manti T’eo boosted their Heisman chances while Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame continued to make their case for a shot in the national title game.   Here are all highlights from a wild week in college football.

#1 ALABAMA 38, #13 MISSISSIPPI STATE 7
If Alabama was already looking ahead to next week’s matchup with LSU, you wouldn’t know it from their play. The Crimson Tide rolled up 38 unanswered points before finally surrendering a touchdown in the game’s final minutes. Once again, the Alabama defense was dominant, holding the Bulldogs to just 256 total yards, forcing three turnovers and holding LaDarius Perkins, the SEC’s leading rusher, to just 38 yards on the ground. Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron, who threw for 208 yards and two touchdowns, has now gone eight straight weeks without throwing an interception.

#2 OREGON 70, COLORADO 14
Colorado came into the game ranked next-to-last in scoring defense, and that stat isn’t likely to improve after the Ducks rolled up a season-high 70 points and 617 yards. Oregon led 56-0 at halftime, and most of the Ducks starters were pulled midway through the second quarter. Oregon running back Kenjon Barner rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns while DeAnthony Thomas added a 73-yard punt return touchdown to go along with 97 rushing yards and a score. Colorado has given up at least 50 points in each of the last three weeks.

#12 GEORGIA 17, #3 FLORIDA 9 – UPSET!!!!
Georgia’s defense had given up 300+ yards in every game and at least 20 in all but one this season. But they picked a great week to turn things around have their best game of the season, holding the Gators to just 266 yards and forcing six turnovers. Freshman running back Todd Gurley ran for 118 yards and a touchdown to provide most of Georgia’s offense against a Florida defense that had another solid game (held the Bulldogs to just 273 yards and intercepted quarterback Aaron Murray three times) but was unable to overcome the Gators’ offensive miscues. This is just the fifth time Georgia has won in their last 23 games against the Gators.

#4 KANSAS STATE 55, #15 TEXAS TECH 24
Collin Klein threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more to keep himself squarely in the Heisman mix and the Wildcats in the national title hunt. The Wildcats got off to a slow start (just 19 yards on their first three drives) against a Texas Tech defense that came into the game ranked seventh in the nation, but exploded to score on eight straight possessions. Red Raider quarterback Seth Doege threw 15 touchdown passes in his previous two games, but was held in check this week, throwing for 331 yards and two touchdowns, but also a pick-six interception. This is Kansas State’s first 8-0 start since 1999.

#5 NOTRE DAME 30, #8 OKLAHOMA 13
Are the Irish forreal? Notre Dame running backs Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick each ran for 74 yards and a touchdown as the Fighting Irish became just the second ranked team to beat a Bob Stoops-coached team in Norman. And while Notre Dame had decent success running the ball, the Fighting Irish defense made sure Oklahoma couldn’t do the same, holding the Sooners to just 15 yards on 24 carries. Linebacker Manti T’eo continued his stellar season with 11 tackles (two for loss), one sack and an interception. After missing last week’s game with a concussion, Fighting Irish quarterback Everett Golson threw for 177 yards and rushed for the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. Notre Dame is the only team in the nation with four wins over Top 25 teams. This was just the second time in their last 35 games that the Sooners were held to 17 or fewer points.

#6 LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY BYE LSU had a very well-timed bye to prepare for next week’s big showdown with #1 Alabama. R&R weekend….

WASHINGTON 20, #7 OREGON STATE 17 – UPSET
Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion’s return from an early-season knee injury didn’t go well, as the sophomore threw a career-high four interceptions before being pulled midway through the fourth quarter in favor of backup Cody Vaz. The Beavers outgained Washington 427-293, but Mannion’s interceptions twice ended drives in Washington territory and set up the Huskies’ go-ahead touchdown. Washington is one of the most difficult teams in the country to figure out—they have now beaten two Top Ten opponents, but hey have also lost three games by 30 or more points.

ARIZONA 39, #10 SOUTHERN CAL 36 – UPSET
Arizona quarterback Matt Scott accounted for 469 total yards and four touchdowns, leading the Wildcats back from a 15-point deficit late in the third quarter to upset the Trojans. USC led 28-13 with four minutes left in the third quarter before Arizona rallied to score 26 unanswered points in the next 14 minutes. USC receiver Marqise Lee caught 16 passes for a PAC-12 record 345 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. Arizona’s win snaps a four-game losing streak to the Trojans.

#11 FLORIDA STATE 48, DUKE 7
Despite losing star running back Chris Thompson with a knee injury last week, Florida State’s offense showed little sign of slowing down, rolling up 560 yards and 48 points. Seminoles quarterback E.J. Manuel threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns while Thompson’s replacement, sophomore Devonta Freeman rushed for 104 yards and two scores. Florida State’s defense and special teams were equally impressive in the win, holding the ACC’s second-best passing attack to just 129 passing yards, forcing four turnovers and getting a 75-yard punt return touchdown. The Seminoles are now 18-0 all-time versus Duke.

#14 CLEMSON 42, WAKE FOREST 13
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd threw for a school-record 428 yards and five touchdowns, including one to receiver Sammy Watkins, who caught eight passes for a school-record 202 yards. After managing just 16 yards on its first two drives, the Tigers’ offense erupted to find the end zone on its next five possessions, jumping out to a 35-0 lead in the second quarter. The Tigers have now won four in a row in this series.

#16 LOUISVILLE 34, CINCINNATI 31 (OT)
Louisville outgained the Bearcats 524-353 but needed a field goal and an interception in overtime to keep its undefeated season alive. Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw for 416 and two touchdowns, twice rallying Louisville from 10-point deficits. Cincinnati quarterback Munchie Legeaux threw three interceptions, including one that ended the Bearcats’ only possession in overtime. On Louisville’s field goal attempt in overtime, the snap was fumbled. But Cincinnati had called timeout to ice the kicker just before the snap, giving Louisville’s John Wallace another attempt at the 30-yarder that he made for the win.  The win snaps a four-game losing streak for the Cardinals in this series.

#17 SOUTH CAROLINA 38, TENNESSEE 35
South Carolina held off a late Volunteers rally to secure the win, but the Gamecocks may have bigger concerns this week as star running back Marcus Lattimore had to be carted off the field after suffering a gruesome knee injury. Even though coach Steve Spurrier declined on Sunday to discuss specifics of his horrific injury suffered in the second quarter of Saturday’s 38-35 victory over Tennessee, he confirmed the junior running back had a dislocated knee, the same injury incurred by freshman defensive back T.J. Gurley earlier this season.

“The knee sort of pops out of place, a dislocation,” Spurrier said. “They got it back in place pretty quickly, though. Dr. (Jeffrey) Guy said it was back in quickly.”

But Spurrier added it “remains to be seen” how long Lattimore’s rehab from his second major knee injury will take, and didn’t rule out the possibility of his recovery extending into 2014.

“Dr. Guy said there could be a chance (of a 2013 return), but there could be a chance that it could be two years down the road,” Spurrier said. “It could be a full year of recovery. We’ll have to wait and see, that’s what he said. We’ll take it one day at a time and allow the doctors and Marcus and a lot of prayers to do their work.”

Since Lattimore didn’t redshirt as a freshman in 2010, he has two years of eligibility left to play his final season, or he could opt for the NFL.

“It’s going to take a while, obviously, to recover and rehab this,” Spurrier said. “But Marcus has a good attitude today. We saw him and talked with him. He knows what the road ahead is. We’re all hoping and praying he will be back.”

South Carolina rolled up 510 yards of offense en route to their highest scoring game since late September. Quarterback Connor Shaw threw for 356 yards and tallied four total touchdowns for the win.

In the short term, the ball-carrying responsibilities fall to Kenny Miles (149 yards) and Mike Davis (157), while the plans to redshirt Brandon Wilds could be scrapped. Miles, a fifth-year senior, ascends to the No. 1 running back slot for the Arkansas game on Nov. 10 at Williams-Brice Stadium.  The Gamecocks will have to dig deep without Lattimore moving forward.

KENT STATE 35, #18 RUTGERS 23 – UPSET
Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova threw six interceptions that set up 21 Kent State points, ending the Scarlet Knights hopes for an undefeated season. Rutgers came into the game ranked third in the nation in rush defense, but allowed the Golden Flashes to roll up 224 yards on the ground. This is Kent State’s first-ever win over a ranked team (0-22 prior to this weekend) and the victory gives the Golden Flashes their first six-game winning streak since 1940.

#19 STANFORD 24, WASHINGTON STATE 17
Stanford’s defense was the story of this game, holding the Cougars to minus-sixteen yards rushing, sacking quarterback Jeff Tuel ten times and forcing one costly interception that was returned for a fourth-quarter touchdown that put the Cardinal up by two scores. This is the third time this season the Cougars have been held to negative rushing yards. By comparison, the rest of the FBS combined has just five such games. Washington State has lost 19 straight games to ranked teams, a streak dating back to 2006, while Stanford has now won 14 straight road games against unranked foes.

#21 BOISE STATE 45, WYOMING 14
Boise State overcame a slow start and put up 31 unanswered points to move to 7-0 all-time against Wyoming. The Broncos defense was once again dominant, holding the Cowboys to just 270 yards of offense (54 rushing) and returning a third-quarter fumble for a touchdown. Broncos running back D.J. Harper rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Wyoming was playing without head coach Dave Christensen, who was suspended for one game following an obscenity-filled tirade at Air Force coaches after their Oct. 13 game. The Broncos have won 48 straight games in the month of October, a streak dating back to 2001.

#22 TEXAS A&M 63, AUBURN 21
The stats really speak for themselves: at halftime, A&M had outgained the Tigers 464-91. The Aggies had 28 points on the board before Auburn ever made a first down. The Aggies scored on seven of their first eight possessions and jumped out to a 49-7 lead before the starters were pulled early in the third quarter. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel accounted for 350 total yards and four touchdowns in just over two quarters of play. Auburn is off to its first 1-7 start since 1952.

MIAMI (OH) 23, #23 OHIO 20 – UPSET
Ohio’s dreams of busting the BCS came to a dramatic end Saturday, as the Miami (OH) RedHawks took the lead with just 1:24 to go and then sealed the victory when Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton took a sack rather than throwing the ball away with just seconds on the clock. Miami receiver Nick Harwell caught eight passes for 138 yards and a touchdown in the upset win.

#24 LOUISIANA TECH 28, NEW MEXICO STATE 14
Louisiana Tech quarterback Colby Cameron threw for 292 yards and a touchdown while rushing for another score to lead the Bulldogs to their first-ever win as a ranked team. Louisiana Tech missed three field goals, but the Lobos were unable to capitalize, turning the ball over three times. This was New Mexico State’s seventh-straight loss.

#25 WEST VIRGINIA BYE
After back-to-back blowout losses, the Mountaineers got a much-needed week off to stop the bleeding and prepare for next week’s contest against fellow Big 12 newcomer TCU.

Our TOP 10

1. Alabama

2. Oregon

3. Kansas State

4. Notre Dame

5. LSU

6. Georgia

7. Florida State

8. Louisville

9. Clemson

10. Florida

Don’t discount… Oregon State, Texas A&M, USC, Boise State, Stanford. For a complete list of the BCS Standings, visit http://www.bcsfootball.org/

Our original, pre-season Top 10 can be found by clicking here.

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