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

 

“BIG TEN HELMET STICKER 4 the Week”

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Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska 229 yards, two touchdowns

 

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Illini win game one

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

Salukisillini helmet

Illini get the season rolling with a victory 42-34

August 31, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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