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Big Ten Conference News and Notes

10:05 AM, Oct 8, 2012   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -

ILLINOIS: Nathan Scheelhaase threw for one TD and ran for another, but that effort went for naught as the Fighting Illini dropped a 31-14 decision at Wisconsin over the weekend. Illinois was outgained by 143 yards (427-284), and averaged just 3.1 yards per rush attempt. Scheelhaase, who finished with 178 yards passing and 84 yards rushing, was sacked four times and was picked off once. WR Darius Milliness led the UI receiving corps with five catches for 54 yards. The Illini have lost three straight games to fall to 2-4 on the year, and they've beaten only one FBS team (Western Michigan in the season opener). Coach Tim Beckman's squad will try to put the brakes on the current slide when it plays at No. 25 Michigan this Saturday.

INDIANA: The Hoosiers held a 10-point lead heading into the fourth quarter of Saturday's home game against Michigan State, but couldn't hold off the Spartans who wound up earning the 31-27 victory. QB Cameron Coffman threw for 282 yards and three TDs, hitting WR Shane Wynn a dozen times for 70 yards and a score. As for the Indiana ground attack, it was limited to 35 net yards by a MSU defense which allowed just 4-of-15 third-down attempts to be converted successfully. Second-year head coach Kevin Wilson has yet to taste victory in a Big Ten bout, going 0-8 last year and 0-2 this season. Changing that fact this week won't be easy as undefeated Ohio State comes to Bloomington. IU will then travel to Annapolis, Maryland for a non-conference clash with Navy before playing at Illinois on Oct. 27.

IOWA: The Hawkeyes were idle over the weekend, giving them additional time to prepare for this Saturday's road clash with Michigan State. Iowa has alternated wins and losses in its first five games, and it owns an overall record of 3-2 and 1-0 in conference. The team's most recent outing resulted in a 31-13 win over Minnesota on Sept. 29, putting the wraps on a four-game home stand in the process.

MICHIGAN: Denard Robinson was a one-man wrecking crew for the Maize and Blue at Purdue on Saturday, rushing for 235 yards and throwing for 105 more with a TD. The Wolverines finished with 409 yards of total offense compared to just 213 for the Boilermakers, who wound up on the short end of a 44-13 final. It was a nice bounce-back effort for UM, which lost at Notre Dame two weeks earlier, 13-6. Robinson's effort on the ground enabled him to set the Big Ten record for rushing yards by a QB (3,905), previously held by Indiana's Antwaan Randle El (3,895). He is just 576 yards away from claiming the NCAA's top spot. Back to the Purdue game, RB Fitz Toussaint scored a pair of first- quarter rushing TDs, while DB Raymon Taylor returned an interception 63 yards for a score early on, and PK Brendan Gibbons booted three field goals, all in the second half. It's Homecoming in Ann Arbor this week, as the struggling Illinois Fighting Illini come to town.

MICHIGAN STATE: Andrew Maxwell threw for a career-high 290 yards and two TDs to help the Spartans rally past the Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday, 31-27. It was the fourth straight win for Michigan State over Indiana in the battle for the Old Brass Spittoon, and the 12th in the last 14 meetings overall. In addition to Maxwell, other Spartan standouts included WR Aaron Burbridge (eight catches for 134) and RB Le'Veon Bell (121 rushing yards, two TDs). MSU, which gave up nearly 200 yards in the first quarter, made the necessary adjustments and held Indiana to just 37 yards and two first downs after intermission. The Hoosiers tallied a meager 35 net rushing yards for the game, and they were successful on only 4-of-15 third-down conversion attempts. The Iowa Hawkeyes are next on the docket for Michigan State, which will then face bitter rival Michigan in Ann Arbor the following week.

MINNESOTA: The Golden Gophers had this past weekend off, affording them some extra time to prepare for this Saturday's visit from the Northwestern Wildcats. Minnesota had opened the year at 4-0, but a 31-13 loss at Iowa on Sept. 29 has the team at 0-1 in conference. Including this week's game, the Gophers will play three of their next four, and four of their final seven in front of the hometown faithful.

NEBRASKA: The Cornhuskers jumped out to a 17-7 lead at Ohio State on Saturday, but the Buckeyes came storming back to claim a 63-38 win. The loss snapped a three-game win streak for Nebraska, and the 63 points scored by OSU was the fourth-highest total ever put up against the Huskers, who fell to 4-2 overall and 1-1 in conference. Nebraska got solid offensive performances from RBs Rex Burkhead (119 rushing yards) and Ameer Abdullah (two TDs), as well WR Kenny Bell (133 receiving yards). QB Taylor Martinez (15-of-25, 214 yards, one passing TD, two rushing scores) threw three interceptions, one of which was returned 41 yards for a TD just six and a half minutes into the contest. DE Eric Martin was one of three Nebraska defenders to log nine tackles in the game, and he posted both of the team's sacks. The Huskers are idle this coming week, next playing at Northwestern on Oct. 20.

NORTHWESTERN: Leading 28-17 heading into the fourth quarter at Penn State over the weekend, it appeared as if the Wildcats were going to keep their perfect 2012 record in tact and move to 6-0 to start a season for the first time since 1962. Unfortunately, the Nittany Lions had other plans as they scored 22 unanswered points in the final frame to complete the shocking comeback. The Northwestern offense was limited to 247 total yards in less than 21 minutes of possession time, and it generated just 14 first downs compared to 443 yards and 30 first downs for the home team. RB Venric Mark rushed for 72 yards and a TD, and he added another score on a 75-yard punt return near the end of the third quarter, becoming only the second player in school history to return two punts for TDs in the same season. A week after amassing 161 yards and four TDs on the ground, and 131 yards on nine receptions, Kain Colter was held to a combined 41 yards and a TD by the swarming PSU defense. LB Damien Proby led four NU defenders in double-digit tackles with 16. The 'Cats will try to get back in the win column when they play at Minnesota this Saturday.

OHIO STATE: Despite trailing early, the Buckeyes never lost faith in their recent clash with visiting Nebraska, scoring 56 points in the final three quarters to earn a 63-38 victory. QB Braxton Miller was a man possessed as he ran for 186 yards and a TD, while adding 127 yards and a score in the passing game. Not to be outdone, RB Carlos Hyde had a tremendous game of his own by rushing for 140 yards and four TDs -- the first four-TD rushing game by an OSU back since Eddie George turned the trick against Iowa on Oct. 28, 1995. The Buckeyes defense surrendered 223 rushing yards and 437 total for the game, but came up with four turnovers, one of which resulted in a TD when DB Bradley Roby returned an interception 41 yards to open the day's scoring. The Buckeyes also got a special teams score when Corey Brown returned a punt 76 yards to pay dirt with just under six minutes remaining in the third quarter. Ohio State puts its perfect record (6-0) on the line once again this week when it heads to Bloomington for a conference clash with the Indiana Hoosiers.

PENN STATE: Trailing by double digits heading into the fourth quarter, the Nittany Lions scored the game's final 22 points to claim a 39-28 win over visiting Northwestern on Saturday. It was Penn State's fourth straight win after opening the season at 0-2. QB Matt McGloin threw for 282 yards and two TDs against the Wildcats, while adding a five-yard rushing score late in the final frame to give PSU a lead it wouldn't relinquish. McGloin's 35 completions set a new school record, and his 51 attempts were a personal high. RB Zach Zwinak rumbled his way to a career-high 121 yards and a TD, while WR Allen Robinson finished with nine catches for 85 yards and was on the receiving end of both of McGloin's passing scores. The PSU defense did a tremendous job of keeping the dynamic Kain Colter (reigning co-Offensive Player of the Week in the Big Ten) to a combined 41 yards. Overall, the Wildcats tallied a mere 247 total yards in less than 21 minutes of possession time. LB Gerald Hodges was high man on the Penn State defense with 11 tackles, and he added 1.5 TFL, two PBU and a forced fumble to his solid stat line. The Lions are idle this week, allowing them some extra time to game plan for their next bout at Iowa on Oct. 20.

PURDUE: Try as they might, the Boilermakers simply could not stop Michigan's Denard Robinson, as the versatile signal-caller led the visiting Wolverines to a 44-13 win on Saturday. Robinson gutted the Purdue defense for 235 rushing yards, and in the process became the Big Ten's all-time leading ground gainer among quarterbacks. In stark contrast, the Boilermakers gained just 56 yards on the ground and only 213 total for the game. The PU offense turned the ball over four times, with only WR O.J. Ross doing much with his eight grabs for 46 yards and a TD. QB Caleb TerBush completed 16-of-25 passes for 105 yards with a TD and an interception, while backup Robert Marve threw a pick himself as he went 5-of-8 for 43 yards. DT Kawann Short recorded eight tackles to pace the defense, which forced only one turnover and failed to record a sack. The Boilermakers will play their Homecoming game this Saturday against the Wisconsin Badgers.

WISCONSIN: Joel Stave threw for a career-high 254 yards and two TDs, and Montee Ball ran for 116 yards and a pair scores to power the Badgers to a 31-14 victory over visiting Illinois on Saturday. The win was Wisconsin's 20th straight at home, giving the team the second-longest active home winning streak in the nation. WR Jared Abbrederis posted game-highs in both catches (seven) and receiving yards (117), and he scored on a 59-yard pass from Stave with just over three minutes gone in the third quarter. Abbrederis has gone over 100 receiving yards in three straight games, making him the first Badger to do so since Lee Evans back in 2001. Despite converting just 2-of-10 third- down opportunities, UW wound up with 427 yards of total offense compared to just 284 for the Fighting Illini, and the Badgers defense notched a pair of turnovers to go along with four sacks. Mike Taylor (12) was one of three Wisconsin defenders to finish with double-digit tackles. Next up for the Badgers is this Saturday's road clash with the Purdue Boilermakers.

 

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