BIG Ten Week 9

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

Suspension, Movement, Emotions and Blow outs….

October 31, 2015

Let’s recap….

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

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

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

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

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

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Michigan 29, Minnesota 26

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

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

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

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

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

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Iowa 31, Maryland 15

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

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

Penn State 39, Illinois 0

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

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

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

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Wisconsin 48, Rutgers 10

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

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

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

Purdue 55, Nebraska 45

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

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

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

And finally…

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

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

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BIG TEN Week 8

Posted on October 28, 2015. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Small week but lots of excitement….

October 24, 2015

Only a handful of games this week, and while there were some surprises on the national front, everything went about as expected within the BIG Ten.

Let’s recap….

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Michigan State 52, Indiana 26

Things didn’t start out well for the Hoosiers Saturday in East Lansing as senior quarterback Nate Sudfeld was picked off by Spartan safety Grayson Miller on the first play of the game. Sudfeld would settle down and put together a nice game against a banged-up Michigan State secondary, but it just wasn’t enough in the end. After being down just 21-20 at the half, the Hoosiers weren’t able to keep up in the final quarter.

The Sparty ground game struggled through much of the game but was able to get things going late in the second half. True freshman L.J. Scott continued to do L.J. Scott things, finding the endzone for the fourth week in a row. The Hubbard, Ohio native ended the day with eleven carries for 68 yards and the touchdown.

Senior quarterback Connor Cook had a career day as he completed 30 of 52 passes for 398 yards and four touchdowns. Wide receiver Aaron Burbridge continues to be Cook’s go-to guy; the senior hauled in eight passes for 128 yards and a score which was especially confusing to ESPN’s Mike Patrick.

Sudfeld ended with 308 yards through the air and a trio of touchdowns. Wideout Simmie Cobbs Jr. caught five passes for 108 yards and a score. Junior running back Jordan Howard added 78 yards rushing and and found the endzone once.

 

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Ohio State 49, Rutgers 7
It was finally time for what many of us thought would happen from the start of the season — J.T. Barrett would lead the Ohio State (8-0, 4-0) offense out onto the field to start the game. Barrett got a lot of help from his teammates, but it was easily the Buckeyes’ most dominating performance of the season.

Rutgers entered the game riding high on the back of a huge road comeback win at Indiana in Kyle Flood’s return from suspension. The Scarlet Knights even had stud wide receiver Leonte Carroo back from an ankle injury (for a while). So they took the field with maximum swag on national television, after Flood proclaimed that it would be the country’s best atmosphere at kickoff.

But despite an early fumble, Barrett was brilliant, completing 14 of 18 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns without an interception, and ran for 101 yards and two scores on 13 carries. Rutgers was just 2/12 on third down before Urban Meyer trotted all the backups out there. There was no trap. The line started slowly but got rolling as the game wore on.

Urban Meyer praised J.T. after the game:  “J.T. is a great leader, a great player and he made those around him better today.”

The Buckeyes have an open date next week and will return to action on Nov. 7 at the Horseshoe against Minnesota.

 

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Penn State 31, Maryland 30

Penn State’s game plan against the Terps seemed to revolve around Christian Hackenberg throwing the ball downfield. The junior threw for 315 yards despite only completing thirteen passes on the day. Chris Godwin and DaeSean Hamilton led the Nittany Lion pass-catchers; Godwin caught four passes for 135 yards and a score while Hamilton added five catches for 96 yards and a touchdown of his own. Junior wideout Geno Lewis only had one catch on the day, but it was a nifty 27-yard score that gave Penn State the lead in the fourth quarter.

True freshman tailback Saquon Barkley came back down to earth on Saturday, rushing for just 65 yards and a score on 20 carries. The Penn State running game could only manage 48 yards on the day thanks to a number of negative plays.

Turnovers were the story of the day for new interim head coach Mike Locksley and the Terps. Junior quarterback Perry Hills notched 349 yards of total offense with a pair of touchdowns, but also had five turnovers on the day; three interceptions and two fumbles.

Northwestern 30, Nebraska 28

The Wildcats were able to bounce back in Lincoln after back-to-back losses to Michigan and Iowa. Mike Riley’s fourth-quarter struggles continued as the Huskers were unable to hold Northwestern’s offense late in the game.

Freshman quarterback Clayton Thorson led the way for Pat Fitzgerald’s Wildcats, putting up 303 yards of total offense and a pair of touchdowns. Tailback Justin Jackson added 40 yards on 14 carries and 55 yards receiving. Senior wideout Dan Vitale caught five passes for 55 yards including a 37-yard touchdown.

Tommy Armstrong led the Husker offense with 291 yards passing and a touchdown, but also threw a bad pick-six in the second quarter. Running back Terrell Newby struggled on the day, totaling just 52 yards on 16 carries. Jordan Westerkamp and Brandon Reilly led the way in the passing game with 92 and 83 yards respectively.

Riley has now lost five games in his inaugural season at Nebraska. In his seven seasons in Lincoln, Bo Pelini never lost more than four. The Wildcats are now bowl-eligible.

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Wisconsin 24, Illinois 13

Senior quarterback Joel Stave exited with concussion-like symptoms after being sacked in the first quarter, but the Badgers were still able to fend off the Illini. Junior Bart Houston—who had only thrown four passes in his first two seasons—filled in for Stave and completed 22 of 33 passes for 232 yards and two scores. Wideout Alex Erickson led the Badger rushing attack with 81 yards on just four carries while also accounting for 96 receiving yards and a score.

The Illini once again elected to go with their hideous “Ghost Gray” alternate uniforms to pay homage to Red Grange. The Galloping Ghost certainly would have been disgusted with the Illinois offense on Saturday as they could only manage 55 yards on the ground. Running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn was the lone ball-carrier for the banged-up Illini; the bulk of those 55 yards coming on a 36-yard touchdown scamper in the third quarter.

Conclusion…
So it was a pretty ho-hum week within the conference. Some of the Top 25 did go down so one would think some Big Ten teams could get a bit of a bump. Not much of a change in my conference power rankings. What about yours?

The Buckeyes and Spartans both have a bye next week. Bye weeks are pretty awful for the fans, but definitely a good opportunity for some guys to get healthy. Week nine will see Penn State hosting Illinois, Iowa taking on the Terps, and the Wolverines traveling to Minnesota.

By the way, how awesome would it be to party with these fellas?

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Big Ten Week 2 Recap

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

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

September 12, 2015

Michigan 35, Oregon State 7

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

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

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Michigan State 31, Oregon 28

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

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

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

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

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Minnesota 23, Colorado State 20

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

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

Iowa 31, Iowa State 17

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

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Nebraska 48, South Alabama 9

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

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

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

Illinois 44, Western Illinois 0

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

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

Purdue 38, Indiana State 14

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

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

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Ohio State 38, Hawaii 0

Indiana 36, Florida International 22

Penn State 27, Buffalo 14

Bowling Green 48, Maryland 27

Washington State 37, Rutgers 34

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

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

 

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BIG Ten Week 11 Recap

Posted on November 9, 2014. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Just another week of football….

November 8, 2014

Wow… what a week for the Big Ten… my staff and I are speechless. And people are questioning why isn’t any Big Ten teams in the top four… whew!!!

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Wisconsin 34, Purdue 16

The Badgers are balanced and have a well-oiled offense.

Melvin Gordon got Wisconsin going with two touchdown runs, and Joel Stave had a great game throwing the ball (17-27, 190 yards, 2 TDs). The only Purdue player to stand out was kicker Paul Griggs, who kicked three field goals. Purdue brought it within 24-16, but Wisconsin pulled away in the fourth quarter.

Michigan 10, Northwestern 9

Another last minute heartbreaking lose for Northwestern…. That’s three years in a row.

Overall, this game had no offense at all. On social media, Michigan-Northwestern was jokingly called the M00N game since the score remained 0-0 for most of the game.

In the third quarter, Michigan turned a botched punt return into a short field touchdown. Northwestern couldn’t respond until the mid-fourth quarter when it marched 95 yards only to kick a field goal (given the game’s context, the dumbest field goal I’ve ever seen).​ After a Michigan field goal, the Wildcats drove for a touchdown with three seconds left to cut it to 10-9. Pat Fitzgerald mercifully called for a two-point conversion to end the game, but Michigan knew what was coming and Trevor Siemian fell down to end the game.

Penn State 13, Indiana 7

This game featured the battle between punters as both teams had a grand total of 20 punts….

The Hoosiers’ struck first on a pick-six by Mark Murphy. A few seconds later, the Nittany Lions countered on Bill Belton’s 92-yard touchdown run, the longest by any player in Penn State history. It was the only offensive highlight on the day. Other than two second half field goals by Penn State’s Sam Ficken… that’s it folks….

Tevin Coleman finished the game with 71 yards on 20 carries.

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Minnesota 51, Iowa 14

Every year, Minnesota and Iowa play for Floyd of Rosedale, a bronze trophy shaped like a pig. The Big Ten’s most idiosyncratic trophy went to the Golden Gophers, as Minnesota handed Iowa its worst loss in 15 years.

Iowa opened with a touchdown, and that was it for a while for them… The Gophers rattled off 51 consecutive points, demolishing Iowa on the ground and through the air. Maxx Williams had three touchdown catches, including a fantastic spear in the second quarter, and the defense shut down Iowa until the waning seconds of the game.

After this dominant performance, it’s time for the nation to reconsider the Gophers as a force to be reckoned with. They are one of only four Big Ten teams to control their destiny in the conference championship race, and they have an outside chance of breaking into the top 25 rankings by year’s end. With games remaining against Ohio State, Nebraska and Wisconsin, Minnesota needs all the gravitas it can muster.

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Next week (week 12) brings some good action, namely a matchup between ranked Nebraska and Wisconsin teams and a consolation game between Michigan State and Maryland. Whatever happens, it ought to be better than this week. See you all then.

 

 

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2014 Big Ten Week 8 Recap

Posted on October 19, 2014. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Week 8…

October 18, 2014

Week 8… not sure how to describe it – you are either a fan of the B1G Ten or not. For me, this weekend was like going out on a second date, to a mediocre restaurant, and the check comes, and it’s a little more than you thought it would be – expectations were not met.

On the flip side, two B1G TEN teams did stamp their eligibility on for a bowl game. I guess this is when games start to really matter.

 

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Nebraska 38, Northwestern 17

Each team made a fashion statement: Northwestern with its alternate Gothic jerseys, Nebraska fans by taking over Ryan Field. Northwestern’s Justin Jackson made his own statement with two touchdown runs, and the Wildcats defense contained Nebraska en route to a 17-14 halftime lead.

Nebraska’s Blackshirts adjusted in the second half, shutting out Northwestern and limiting them to 30 yards of offense. Ameer Abdullah broke free for 146 rushing yards and four touchdowns, and Tommy Armstrong made you believe a large man could fly.

It’s a tough loss for Northwestern, which had shown some fight after a rough start to the season. Beyond the emergence of freshman running back Justin Jackson (who would be performing like Abdullah or Melvin Gordon if he had a better offensive line), not much is going well. To make a bowl, the Wildcats have to sweep Michigan, Purdue and Illinois or else pull an upset. As for the Cornhuskers, this finally looks like the year Bo Pelini loses fewer than four games.

 

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Minnesota 39, Purdue 38

Is Minnesota for real? Well Saturday they proved they deserve a seat at the table like everyone else.

It was sloppy but it’s a ‘W’ period.

The Gophers took the lead on Ryan Santoso’s 52-yard field goal. On Purdue’s final drive, Cedric Thompson intercepted Austin Appleby to preserve the win.

Purdue played a solid game in the first-half behind the play of running back, Raheem Mostert, who had 100 rushing yards after two carries, and Appleby’s second touchdown pass put the Boilermakers up 31-20 at the half.

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Maryland 38, Iowa 31

Hawkeyes got things started frist and jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but the home team, fought back behind the fine play of Stefon Diggs, who finished the day with 9 catches, 130 yards. And in the fourth, bam… a pick-six which sealed the victory.

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Michigan State 56, Indiana 17

The Spartans continue to dominate including three straight touchdown drives let the Spartans put the game out of reach by halftime, and then Mark Dantonio added three more in the fourth quarter for good measure.

Week 9 in the Big Ten, which has Rutgers-Nebraska, Maryland-Wisconsin, Minnesota-Illinois and Michigan-Michigan State going for it.

 

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Nebraska, RB Ameer Abdullah, 146 yards and a career-high four touchdowns

 

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2014 Big Ten Week 7 Recap

Posted on October 15, 2014. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Week 7…

October 11, 2014

No ranked games for any BIG TEN teams… Really? Wow… Well, at least every game was competitive. As a sidebar, I’m still a little confused on Big Ten football…

 

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Wisconsin 38, Illinois 28
Although the Illini took an early lead against the Badgers, 14-7, but it wouldn’t be for the entire game, of course. The Badgers dominated much of the second and third quarters behind Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement’s 339 rushing yards, but the Illini scored twice in the fourth quarter to make the final line more respectable.

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Michigan State 45, Purdue 31
The Spartans were just too much for the Boilermakers. There one-two punch of Connor Cook and Tony Lippett resembled an NFL-caliber quarterback-receiver duo.

The Boilermakers did make it a game beind for 21 in the fourth. The Boilermakers got the ball back with three minutes and a chance to tie, but pressure from the Spartan defense (which harassed Purdue QB Austin Appleby all game) forced an errant throw Darien Harris picked off and returned for a touchdown to seal the win.

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Michigan 18, Penn State 13
Close but necessary victory for Michigan.

The Nittany Lions led 13-10 at the half thanks to a Devin Gardner pick turned into a touchdown. From this, they were only able to score 3 points, and the Wolverines hit two field goals. Facing fourth and long in its own territory, Penn State took an intentional safety and attempted a last-ditch onside kick. They recovered it, only for a bogus offside penalty to wipe it out. Yawn….

Minnesota 24, Northwestern 17
Gophers keep doing just enough to win games and on this Saturday they improved to 2-0 in conference play. This is the first time in a decade. Way to go!!!

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Iowa 45, Indiana 29
In the first quarter, Iowa exploded for four touchdowns to take a 28-7 lead. The Hoosiers got it close, pulling within seven at 28-21, but returning Hawkeye quarterback Jake Rudock propelled Iowa to a couple more scores to ensure he could wear his plaid victory cap.

Running-back Tevin Coleman (15 carries, 219 yards) is doing all he can to buoy the Hoosiers, busting out for three 40+ yard touchdown runs, but he can’t save the season all by himself.

NOTE: Iowa is just one win away from bowl eligibility.

Week 8 features four Big Ten games outside of the Ohio State-Rutgers game: Purdue-Minnesota, Iowa-Maryland, Michigan State-Indiana and Nebraska-Northwestern. I recommend Iowa-Maryland for its delicate combination of crab and corn and Purdue-Minnesota for the gleeful uglyball the Gophers will play. See you all then.

 

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Tevin Coleman, Indiana, Jr., RB, Tinley Park, Ill./Oak Forest 15 carries, 219 yards

 

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2014 Big Ten Week 6 Recap

Posted on October 6, 2014. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Week 6…

October 4, 2014

What an EPIC college football weekend as five top-10 teams lost in the same week for the first time ever, and two others barely survived. The Big Ten was just as strange and after six weeks of play, the best conference record belongs to Northwestern. Who knew….

 

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Purdue 38, Illinois 27

Purdue coach Darrell Hazell promoted QB Austin Appleby to starter which lead to an efficient performance. The Boilermakers, led by Appleby and Akeem Hunt, exploited Illinois’ horrid rush defense for 551 yards of offense, 349 of those on the ground.

Illinois was never able to dig out of a 7-11 point hole, and quarterback Wes Lunt left the game late with a leg injury. Only receiver Mike Dudek (eight catches, 200 yards) was a bright spot for the Illini.

The Boilermakers won their first Big Ten game since 2012.

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Northwestern 20, Wisconsin 14

Northwestern pulled off a Big Ten stunner for the second week in a row, taking down a ranked Wisconsin team in Evanston for the fourth time since 1999.

It was Miles Shuler who put the Wildcats up 17-7 in the third quarter, and Godwin Igwebuike had three interceptions to move Northwestern to 2-0 in Big Ten play for the first time since 2000.

Melvin Gordon had a career high 259 rushing yards, but Wisconsin’s quarterbacks were worse than ever. Tanner McEvoy was so ineffective that he was pulled for Joel Stave, who is battling the yips. The Badgers are afflicted by Le’Veon Bell Syndrome, which occurs when a team relies on a star running back so much that the rest of a team’s offense becomes ineffective (see Michigan State, 2012).

Michigan State 27, Nebraska 22

The Spartans jumped out early with a 27-3 lead until the tables turned… The Spartans had three giveaways in their own territory, two of them in a row, and Nebraska still couldn’t score.

A good punt return gave Nebraska strong field position, which it converted into an Abdullah power-rush touchdown. Nebraska again pounded Abdullah for a rushing touchdown, and a 62-yard return by De’Mornay Pierson-El after a MSU punt made it a one score game. Michigan State’s field goal attempt with a minute left hit the upright; Nebraska advanced to the MSU 37, but an interception by Trae Waynes sealed the game.

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Rutgers 26, Michigan 24

The Scarlet Knights defeated Michigan to move one win away from bowl eligibility and send the Wolverines to 0-2 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1967. Michigan had a chance to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, but Kemoko Turay blocked a 56-yard field goal to preserve the win for Rutgers.

This was a classic good news/bad news game for Michigan. The good news: the rush defense is stout, the Wolverines averaged 4.5 yards a carry, and Devin Gardner was nearly good enough to guide Michigan to an upset of Rutgers. The bad news: Devin Gardner was not quite good enough to guide Michigan to an upset of Rutgers, and 2-10 is a real, horrifying possibility with Northwestern and Indiana looking spry.

Indiana 49, North Texas 24

Indiana has to be the Big Ten’s most hot-and-cold team. They were hot on Saturday, trouncing North Texas.

The Hoosiers used a short field and a timely onside kick to race out to a 21-0 lead, which they maintained for the rest of the game. The maligned defense, led by Donovan Clark, contained the Mean Green to 348 yards. Tevin Coleman, the Big Ten’s leading rusher, added 150 yards and a touchdown to seal the win.

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Week 7 will put some interesting matchups on the same field including Northwestern-Minnesota, Indiana-Iowa, and Penn State-Michigan among others. Hhhhmmmmm see you next week!

 

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Gary Nova, QB, Rutgers – 404 yards, 3 three touchdowns

 

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2014 Big Ten Week 5 Recap

Posted on September 29, 2014. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Week 5…

September 27, 2014

During Week 5 of the Big Ten, some teams established themselves solidly while others need a hug including Brady Hoke’s Wolverines…

Nebraska 45, Illinois 14

Last Big Ten undefeated team remained the last undefeated team as the crush the Illini. The Cornhuskers did it on the ground, as Ameer Abdullah, had 208 of Nebraska’s 458 rushing yards and scored the first three touchdowns.

Illinois made it 28-14 with a long Geronimo Allison touchdown reception, but Nebraska scored the last 17 points of the blowout.

Iowa 24, Purdue 10

Have you ever seen a game where both teams really don’t deserve a victory? Well, this is one of them… but in the end Iowa got it done.

The Boilermakers struck first with a pick-six by Frankie Williams and a field goal to go up 10-0, but nobody on Purdue’s low-powered offense (2.3 yards per pass, 2.8 yards per rush) besides Akeem Hunt could do a single thing to protect the lead.

Maryland 37, Indiana 15

Just when you thought Indiana was on the right track after a big win against SEC foe Missouri last week, the Hoosiers go Hoosier. The Terrapins C.J. Brown and Caleb Rowe combined for 361 passing yards as Maryland brushed the Hoosiers aside to win its first-ever Big Ten game.

Even with injuries to the offense, the Terrapins have been one of the most consistent Big Ten teams so far (one pass defense meltdown against West Virginia aside). Their home game next week against Ohio State will demonstrate where in the conference’s pecking order they fall. And with three road wins to date, Maryland is the senior day opponent nobody wants to play.

For Indiana, it’s back to the drawing board. On the bright side, Tevin Coleman kept his streak of games with 100+ rushing yards alive and the Hoosiers still have several gimme games to get to bowl eligibility.

Minnesota 30, Michigan 14

The Golden Gophers knocked off the Wolverines pretty handily especially in the second half as they took advantage of turnovers and field position, which turned in to a 27-7.

The Gophers reclaimed the Little Brown Jug for the first time since 2005.

They out-gained them 373 to 171. To make matters worst for the home team, when the PA announcer claimed 102,000 fans were in attendance (thus keeping Michigan Stadium’s 100,000+ attendance streak alive), Wolverine fans booed the obviously fraudulent number.

Northwestern 29, Penn State 6

The ‘Cats capitalized on mistake after mistake from the Nittany Lions’ and knock them off big up in Happy Valley.

Although the Wildcats took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, it was assumed that Christian Hackenberg would lead a comeback win. But Penn State could manage only two field goals through three quarters, and consecutive turnovers in the fourth quarter (including a pick-six) drove PSU to its doom.

Rutgers 31, Tulane 6

Nothing any worst than losing a key player for the season, as running back Paul James, suffered a torn ACL. But the Scarlet Knights used the ‘next man up’ regimen and put away the Green Wave with little trouble.

Michigan State 56, Wyoming 14

The Spartans continue winning and blew out Wyoming. Jeremy Langford rushed for 137 yards and a touchdown, while backup QB Tyler O’Connor ran for a touchdown and passed for another.

Wisconsin 27, South Florida 10

Talk about a slow starting game… it was 3-3 at the half. But in the second half the Badgets got things going as Mr. Melvin Gordon flexed his muscles and got his stride going strong as he rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns. Alex Erickson had six catches for 91 yards.

Week 5 is in the books… next week, Nebraska-Michigan State should be Big Ten Game of the Week!

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Cole Farrand (LB), Maryland – 19 tackles, 1.5 TFLs

 

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2014 Big Ten Week 4 Recap

Posted on September 21, 2014. Filed under: Football, NCAA Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Week 4…

September 20, 2014

The Big Ten needed Week 4 to help boost moral and confidence as conference play looms. And well, all of the teams responded except on as they went 12-1 – its best record of the season – with blowouts, road wins and an upset of a ranked team. For once, the Big Ten looked like an actual power conference.

Northwestern 24, Western Illinois 7

Lucky win? Who cares… it’s a victory for the Wildcats as they had 283 yards of offense, were out gained by nearly 100 yards at home, and have no passing game to speak of. The only bright spots were Ifeadi Odenigbo (three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery), Justin Jackson (92 rushing yards, one TD) and Solomon Vault (two rushing TDs).

Northwestern fans are mad at the playcalling and the effort. Give credit to Pat Fitzgerald, who said after the game, “[m]y size 12 is going where the sun don’t shine with this team for the rest of the year.” Should be an interesting week of practice.

Purdue 35, Southern Illinois 13

The Boilermakers jumped out to a 25-0 lead and never looked back. They did this mostly with takeaways and field position; their four touchdown drives on the day went 23, 44, 26 and 43 yards. Danny Anthrop had five catches for 106 yards and a touchdown, and the rushing defense excelled.

Illinois 42, Texas State 35

Illinois outscored Texas State 24-7 in the fourth quarter to survive an upset scare. WHEW!!! This game also had a weather delay, after which the Illini recovered from a 21-6 deficit thanks to Josh Ferguson’s 233 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns. V’Angelo Bentley had a pick-six in the waning minutes to give Illinois a two-score lead, which it needed when Texas State scored soon after. Illinois has struggled in every game this year, but find ways to win…

Indiana 31, Missouri 27

Indy put in work and it paid off with a huge win over ranked Missouri.

The Hoosiers led for much of the first half and third quarter, but they traded leads with Mizzou several times in the fourth quarter. Trailing 27-24 with two minutes left, Nate Sudfeld and Tevin Coleman engineered a 75-yard drive to win the game.

Indiana’s defense held up surprisingly well against the Missouri spread. The Hoosiers beat a ranked team despite going 1 of 14 on third down conversions, suggesting that things are looking up for Indiana.

Nebraska 41, Miami (FL) 31

Ameer Abdullah set a Nebraska record for most career all-purpose yards as the Cornhuskers outslugged Miami in front of a record crowd of 91,585 in Lincoln.

Nebraska chose to run on the Hurricanes, to great effect. The Cornhuskers racked up 343 rushing yards, paced by Abdullah’s 229 yards and Tommy Armstrong Jr.’s 96 yards.

Michigan State 73, Eastern Michigan 14

The Spartans had 320 yards of offense in the first half, and they out gained the Eagles by 319. Thorough stand in the State of Michigan!

Wisconsin 68, Bowling Green 17

The Badgers set a modern era Big Ten record for rushing yards (644), and Melvin Gordon is a shoe-in for offensive player of the week with 253 rushing yards and five TDs. Gordon is now averaging 8.26 yards per carry for his career, tied with Glenn Davis for the highest career average in history.

Iowa 24, Pittsburgh 20

The Hawkeyes knocked off Pitt on the road and upgraded their starting quarterback.

Iowa had trouble stopping Pitt running back James Conner, and the Hawkeyes trailed 17-7 at the half. With the offense stalling, it appeared starting QB Jake Rudock was yanked in the third quarter for CJ Beathard, whose magnificent hair sparked the offense. Iowa got into a late groove, Mark Weisman scored two touchdown runs to take the lead, and the stingy Hawkeye defense held on to preserve the win.

Maryland 34, Syracuse 20

Syracuse outgained Maryland by 220 yards and demolished Maryland’s rushing defense, but Maryland had all kinds of luck against Syracuse. Will Likely had an 88-yard pick six, Brandon Ross turned a swing pass into a 90-yard touchdown, and timely turnovers helped the Terrapins beat the Orange in the Carrier Dome. A late touchdown by Syracuse made the score closer to reality, but it was still a comfortable win for the Terrapins.

Rutgers 31, Navy 24

Rutgers overcame Navy’s triple option offense and a knee injury to Paul James to defeat the Midshipmen in Annapolis. They even had success pounding the ball with James, but he left the game after taking a helmet to the knee in the second quarter. Justin Goodwin and Desmon Peoples filled in with a combined 186 rushing yards, while Gary Nova had two short touchdown runs and didn’t screw up. Navy drove as far as the Rutgers 6-yard line in the final minute, but the Scarlet Knights’ defense held strong. While Rutgers won’t win the division, they’re playing like a potential bowl team.

Penn State 48, Massachusetts 7

The Nittany Lions displayed an active running game for the first time, destroying Massachusetts to improve to 4-0. Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak each had a pair of rushing touchdowns, while Akeel Lynch added 81 yards. Even more impressive was the Penn State rushing defense, which held UMass to 28 yards (sack-adjusted) on 28 carries.

Utah 26, Michigan 10

As I stated above, the Big Ten lost only one game on the day. It came in a miserable, rain delay-lengthened slog of a game, Utah defeated Michigan at the Big House. The Wolverines offense just couldn’t – period. They only scored 3 points, a field-goal, a-l-l game… the other score came on a pick six by Willie Henry.

Next week will feature more nonconference sleepers and a couple of conference games where teams better pay attention including Minnesota-Michigan; Maryland-Indiana and Michigan State-Wyoming. See you then…..

Minnesota 24, San Jose State 7

 

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Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska 229 yards, two touchdowns

 

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2014 BIG Ten – Week 3

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

Week 3…

September 13, 2014

BIG games this week across the board…

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

 Washington 44, Illinois 19

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

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

———

 Penn State 13, Rutgers 10

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

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

It was a rough introduction to the Big Ten for Rutgers

———-

 West Virginia 40, Maryland 37

Heartbreak type of game here….

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

———-
Notre Dame 30, Purdue 14

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

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

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

——–
 Bowling Green 45, Indiana 42

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

———-
 Michigan 34, Miami (Ohio) 10

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

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

———

Iowa State 20, Iowa 17

TCU 30, Minnesota 7

Nebraska 55, Fresno State 19

BYE: Northwestern, Michigan State, Wisconsin

 

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

 

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