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 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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