BIG TEN Football Week Recap

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

BIG TEN Football Recap…

November 30, 2013

2013 Conference Leaders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

November 16, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NOTE: 2011 was Braxton Miller’s first season

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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November 9, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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BYU 17, wiscbadgers1 27

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November 1, 2013

illini helmet17, pennstate-helmetPenn 24 (OT)

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

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

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

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

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

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The Battle of Michigan….

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

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

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

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

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Cornhuskers hailmary answered to seal the narrow victory…

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

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

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

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October 19, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

10northwestern-helmet  iowa-helmet 17

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

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

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

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

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BIG Ten Week 9 Recap

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

Separation Week in the BIG TEN…

October 19, 2013

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The Golden Gophers edge ‘Cats 20-17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minnesota hosts Nebraska next Saturday while Northwestern travels to Iowa.

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Wisconsin has their way against Illinois 56-32

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Big Ten Week 7 recap

Posted on October 14, 2013. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Big Ten Week 7 Recap…

October 12, 2013

Michigan State 42, Indiana 28

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Nebraska 44, Purdue 7

The Cornhuskers has their way against the homecoming host Purdue Boilermakers, as they defeat them with ease 44-7 on Saturday.

Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah ran for 126 yards and a touchdown. Terrell Newby ran for 61 yards and Imani Cross added 56 yards and two touchdowns for the Cornhuskers (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten).

This victory came with QB Taylor Martinez on the bench who has a turf toe injury. So, Tommy Armstrong Jr. started and completed just 6 of 18 passes for 43 yards with three interceptions. Ron Kellogg III stepped in and completed 10 of 13 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown.

On the other side of the ball, Nebraska held Purdue to 216 yards, and the Boilermakers didn’t score until the final minute of the game. Purdue ran for just 32 yards on 25 carries.

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Northwestern 6, Wisconsin 35

The Badgers defense did all its talking on the field defeating the Cats 35-6. For most of the day, the Badgers pushed around an opponent that had been averaging 39 points and 474 yards a game. Players in red jerseys were flying around all over the field, especially in Northwestern’s backfield.

The Badgers (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) chased down quarterbacks Kain Colter and Trever Siemian. Jared Abbrederis burned the secondary for a 63-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter before leaving with a head injury. Gordon finished with 22 carries for 172 yards.

And, as usual, the heady Chris Borland was in the middle of what seemed like every play. That energy from the pregame speech seemed to carry over to both sides of the ball, building up as a slow start and defensive struggle turned into a decided blowout on homecoming weekend.

“Trust me, Chris Borland said whatever he needed to say in very (certain) terms,” coach Gary Andersen said. “Those kids listened to him.”

Northwestern (4-2, 0-2) the league’s peskiest defense, grabbed three more turnovers to increase its season total to 17.

The Wildcats just couldn’t turn those mistakes into enough points.

Clobbered by the pass rush. Shut down in the running game — just 44 yards on 25 carries, the lowest total since getting zero yards in a loss to Ohio State in 2007.

“I hope this gives our guys a punch in the face and wakes them up. It’s hard to win Big Ten football games,” coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When you get punched in the face, you’ve got to shake the cobwebs out.”

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Michigan 40, Penn State 43

It took overtime in Happy Valley for Penn to snag a 43-40 victory over visiting Michigan.

On fourth-and-1 and with an upset on the line, Belton leaped ahead for 3 yards. Three plays later, he was in the end zone, and Penn State’s party was on.

“If I don’t get the yard,” Belton said, “I’m going to hear it the rest of the time I’m here.”

Bill O’Brien celebrates arguably his biggest win as coach of Penn State with fans Saturday night.

The Nittany Lions (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten) stormed the field in wild celebration, sending more than 100,000 fans into a frenzy.

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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

indiana helmet

9. Indiana

purdue-helmet

10. Purdue

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11. Iowa

illini helmet

12. Illinois

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

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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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2012 NCAA Football – Week 8

Posted on October 22, 2012. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Heart pounding finishes in several contest…

October 2012

Big Ten football isn’t always pretty, but one thing is for sure lack of separation between most of the teams means close, hard-hitting games every week. Week 8 was no different – three games came down to the last or almost last snap: Michigan’s 12-10 win over Michigan State, Nebraska’s 29-28 squeaker over Northwestern, and Ohio State’s improbable 29-22 overtime comeback victory over Purdue. Indiana even went down to the wire in a 31-30 loss to Navy.

Ohio State 29 Purdue 22 OT

Ohio State pulled one out in a game that they should have lost.  Braxton Miller was injured on the late in the third quarter and was taken to the hospital.  Purdue led 22-14 when Ohio State drove 51 yards to tie the game after the two point conversion.  Kenny Guiton came in to relieve Miller and threw a two yard TD pass to tie the game.  The loss over-shadowed a good defensive effort by the Purdue defense led by DT Kawann Short. Short is one of the best DT in the country and has now had two good games against good competition.  Earlier this year Short had a monster game in a loss to Notre Dame.

Up Next: Ohio State at Penn State, Purdue at Minnesota

Michigan 12 Michigan State 10  

Somewhere up above Fielding Yost and Bo Schembechler are smiling as Michigan football recorded their 900th victory. The Wolverines are on a roll after early season losses to Alabama and Notre Dame.  This one wasn’t pretty as it was a defensive struggle most of the way.  Michigan was down 10-9 with two minutes to play when Denard Robinson drove the ball 36 yards to set-up a Brendan Gibbons 38 yard field goal to win the game.  Robinson had 259 yards of offense on the day. The Spartans are reeling offensively when Le’Veon Bell can’t get off running.  Bell was held to 68 yards on 28 carries.

Up Next: Michigan at Nebraska, Michigan State at Wisconsin

Nebraska 29, Northwestern 28

There isn’t really anything funny I can say about this matchup as it was actually a great game. Both Nebraska and Northwestern look like teams that will earn above-average bowl games.  Nebraska now has an important tie-breaking win that will factor in the much more interesting chase for the Legends Division crown. Up next: Michigan at Nebraska, Iowa at Northwestern

Wisconsin 38, Minnesota 13

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2012 Leaders Division winner Wisconsin Badgers! I know it’s only half way through the Big Ten schedule but seriously, Wisconsin (3-1 in Big Ten play) is the default winner of this division. Ohio State and Penn State are ineligible, Indiana can’t close out games, Purdue is mediocre and Illinois is terrible. Enjoy the trip to Indy, Wisconsin, you are the least terrible!

Up Next: Purdue at Minnesota, Michigan State at Wisconsin

Penn State 38, Iowa 14

Penn State continues to impress despite coming into the year following one of, if not the most, disastrous off-field distractions in sports history. Iowa wasn’t the strongest opponent but the Nittany Lions handled the Hawkeyes fairly easily, almost doubling them up in total offensive yards.

Navy 31, Indiana 30

For weeks it seemed that if Indiana’s defense could contain opponents, the Hoosiers could start winning games. Turns out what’s really keeping the Hoosiers from winning is their inability to finish games. For the third time during their current five game losing streak, the Hoosiers have blown fourth quarter leads, each one in a different way. The Ball State game was a double last-second comeback for both teams that ended in the Cardinals favor. The Michigan State game was controlled by the Hoosiers early, but gradually lost, resulting in a go-ahead score for the Spartans halfway through the fourth quarter. Now the Hoosiers blow a two-score lead in the final six minutes to Navy. The Hoosiers may lose almost every game, but at least they keep us guessing how they will lose it. The only way this team can truly get its confidence back is to beat up on a terrible team. Hello Illinois!

Illinois gets an extra week of practice before they play what looks like their only chance for a Big Ten win this season when it hosts Indiana. I researched, and yes, one of them will leave that weekend having won a Big Ten game, and we’ll be there LIVE.

FINAL OBSERVATION OF THE BIG TEN…

Big Ten football can almost expect these types of games over the final month and a half of the season, with unpredictable results and an exciting league race, especially in the Legends Division. They might not be as sexy or thrilling as watching a national championship contest, or most SEC games, but they will certainly keep Big Ten fans’ hearts pounding. Thus, a specific collision courses are all set for October. 27 in BIG Ten: Michigan and Nebraska! Both teams show grit to survive difficult tests, making their meeting in Lincoln a crucial one for the Legends Division race. With Iowa and Northwestern both losing, the Wolverines and Huskers stand as the top two teams in the division, and they have an intriguing game on tap. Nebraska’s high-scoring offense, which is even more potent at home, will try to top Michigan’s rapidly improving defense. Denard Robinson versus Taylor Martinez is a marquee matchup. In addition, Penn State – Ohio State!!!! Neither can make it to the Big Ten title game, due to sanctions, but they can have the best record in the Leaders conference and might just be the best two teams in the league, not just the division too. They will square off in State College in what should be a highly charged atmosphere. Add in the renewal of the recent rivalry between Wisconsin and Michigan State and a do-or-die Legends game between Northwestern and Iowa, and you can see why the Saturday before Halloween should be scary good.

NOTE: We will be LIVE in Champaign, Illinois for the Indiana – Illinois game!

Tune in next week for our recap!

****OTHER CONTEST ON OUR RADAR****
Notre Dame 17 BYU 14

A battle of great LB’s in this one with Notre Dame’s Manti T’eo and BYU’s Kyle Van Noy. T’eo is a Mormon by faith and spurned going to BYU which still doesn’t sit well in Provo.  Both Van Noy and T’eo answered the bell and had interceptions in the game.  Notre Dame’s defense is first class but this team isn’t national championship material with this offense.  Tyler Eifert is their only passing weapon and it seems they target him on every play. Notre Dame did rush for 279 yards on the ground.

NORTHERN 37, Akron 7

AKRON, Ohio (AP) – Jordan Lynch threw two touchdowns and rushed for two more as Northen Illinois routed Akron 37-7 Saturday in Mid-American Conference action. Lynch finished with 223 yards on 20 of 33 passing and threw touchdown passes of nine and four yards. Northern Illinois (7-1, 4-1) held a 13-7 lead before Lynch’s 15-yard touchdown run gave the Huskies a 20-7 advantage at halftime. After Lynch’s second touchdown pass pushed the lead to 30-7, his second touchdown run, this time a 35-yarder, created the final margin. Lynch, who finished with 131 yards on the ground, has rushed for 100-plus yards in each of the Huskies’ last six games. Akron (1-7, 0-4) struggled to move the ball, gaining just 194 yards on 65 plays from scrimmage.

Northern Illinois has won 16 of its last 17 games. Its last lost was by one point to Iowa in the 2012 season opener.

WEEK 8 FUN FACTS

 Interceptions this season of Alabama QB AJ McCarron. He ran his streak of attempts without an interception to 239 in the 44-13 win at Tennessee, extending his school record. He and Louisiana Tech’s Colby Cameron are the only QBs (minimum 15 attempts a game) in FBS not to be intercepted this season.

 There are only two unbeatens left in FCS… Cal Poly moved to 7-0 with a 37-25 Big Sky win against Portland State, and Lehigh moved to 8-0 with a 42-19 homecoming win against Bucknell.

 Southern Illinois has scored on three consecutive games on a blocked punt in a 38-21 win against Youngstown State. The Salukis, who also scored on a fumble recovery and interception, have won all three of those games.

 Savannah State has thirteen (13) consecutive losses and it’s the longest active streak in FCS, before outlasting Edward Waters (Fla.) of the NAIA 42-35. The Tigers had 51 points in their first six games this season.

 Harvard had fourteen (14) consecutive wins, longest active streak in all of Division I, before a 39-34 loss at Princeton. The Tigers had 29 points in the fourth quarter, including Quinn Epperly’s 36-yard touchdown pass to Roman Wilson with 13 seconds left.

 Southern Methodist scored a school record of 72-points  in their 72-42 win against Houston. The Mustangs had nine takeaways, tying a school record for most against an FBS team, converting four into touchdowns.

 USC’s Matt Barkley tossed a career record 102 touchdown passes, setting school and Pac-12 records. He had six TD tosses in all Saturday in a 50-6 win against Colorado. Four of them went to Robert Woods, who also set a school record for career receptions and now has 220.

Our TOP 10
1. Alabama (7-0)

2. Oregon (7-0)

3. Kansas State (7-0)

4. Florida (7-0)

5. Notre Dame (7-0)

6. LSU (7-1)

7. Oregon State (6-0)

8. Oklahoma (5-1)

9. USC (6-1)

10. Georgia (6-1)

Don’t discount… Florida State, South Carolina, Rutgers, Louisville. 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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