Big Ten Conference News and Notes

9:52 AM, Oct 29, 2012   |    comments
MSU uniforms for the U-M game - from Freep/MSU
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -

ILLINOIS: The Fighting Illini suffered their fifth straight loss over the weekend, falling to visiting Indiana in a 31-17 final. The setback was Illinois' 10th straight against Big Ten competition, its last conference win coming against Indiana last October. The Illini outgained the Hoosiers, 372-292, but eight penalties (loss of 81 yards), two costly fumbles, and the fact that QB Nathan Scheelhaase was sacked seven times all doomed the home team. RB Donovonn Young carried the ball 21 times for 124 yards (both career- highs), while Scheelhaase finished 17-of-27 for 176 yards and a TD. WR Darius Milliness led all pass catchers in the game with five grabs for 80 yards. LBs Jonathan Brown and Mason Monheim paced the UI defense with 11 and 10 tackles, respectively, and the unit as a whole was credited with three sacks and one turnover. It also allowed Indiana just 1-of-13 success on third-down conversion attempts. Putting an end to their losing ways won't be easy this week, as the Illini head to Columbus to challenge undefeated Ohio State.

INDIANA: After a slow start in which they allowed Illinois to take a 14-7 lead in the second quarter, the Hoosiers got going on both sides of the ball as they scored 24 of the game's final 27 points en route to a 31-17 road victory. Indiana won the game despite being outgained (372-292), and converting just one of its 13 third-down attempts. QB Nate Sudfeld was efficient in completing 10-of-15 passes, but did so for just 107 yards. He did have a pair of TD tosses, and the Hoosiers got 71 hard-fought yards and two TDs from RB Stephan Houston. WR Cody Latimer turned his two receptions into 67 yards, and both Houston and WR Shane Wynn caught a TD pass. The IU defense recorded a whopping seven sacks in the contest, giving the unit 20 for the season. DB Greg Heban led the way with a career high-tying 13 tackles, while LB David Cooper finished with 10, including three in the Illinois backfield. Back home for the first time since Oct. 13, the Hoosiers will entertain the Iowa Hawkeyes this Saturday.

IOWA: The Hawkeyes were battered into submission by the hometown Northwestern Wildcats on Saturday, surrendering 349 rushing yards in what turned out to be a 28-17 loss. Iowa trailed 28-3 before scoring the game's final 14 points, both on one-yard runs by QB James Vandenberg. The UI defense allowed just 84 passing yards on the day, but the Wildcats didn't need to air it out often as the run game was proving to be highly effective. Vandenberg finished the game 24-of-38 for 214 yards, although without a TD pass or an interception, while the run game was highlighted by Damon Bullock and his 107 yards on 22 carries. WR Kevonte Martin-Manley led all Hawkeye receivers with seven catches for 46 yards. LB Christian Kirksey paced the UI defense with nine tackles, but the unit as a whole failed to record a sack and made just two stops behind the line of scrimmage. The Hawkeyes will try to stop a two-game slide when they play at Indiana this Saturday.

MICHIGAN: Had QB Denard Robinson been able to stay in the game, the Wolverines may have had a better chance of knocking off Nebraska on the road this past Saturday. But as it was, Robinson was knocked out late in the first half, and freshman backup Russell Bellomy was thrust into action and he was completely shell-shocked in completing a mere 3-of-16 passes for 38 yards and three interceptions. He was sacked twice as well. In all, the Wolverines finished with just 166 total yards, while allowing 326 to the Cornhuskers. PK Brendan Gibbons booted three field goals, including a career-best 52-yarder in the opening quarter. LB Kenny Demens led the UM defense with 10 tackles, but the unit as a whole notched just a single sack to go with a pair of turnovers. The Wolverines head to the Twin Cities for a clash with the Minnesota Golden Gophers this Saturday, the winner taking possession of the Little Brown Jug.

MICHIGAN STATE: In typical grind-it-out, Big Ten fashion, the Spartans outlasted the Wisconsin Badgers in Madison over the weekend, winning in overtime by a final of 16-13. Michigan State gained 277 total yards compared to 190 for Wisconsin, and the Spartans were particularly impressive in defending the run, holding UW star RB Montee Ball to just 46 yards, and the team as a whole to a paltry 19 net yards. LB Max Bullough led the MSU stand with nine tackles, which included two of the team's five sacks on the day. On the other side of the ball, QB Andrew Maxwell threw for 216 yards and two TDs, including the game-winner to WR Bennie Fowler in the extra session. RB Le'Veon Bell churned out 77 yards on 21 totes, while also adding a receiving TD near the end of regulation to knot the game at 13-13. Michigan State will attempt to win its second straight and even its league mark at 3-3 when it plays host to the Nebraska Cornhuskers this Saturday.

MINNESOTA: The Golden Gophers snapped a three-game losing streak and picked up their first Big Ten victory of the season by throttling visiting Purdue over the weekend, 44-28. Minnesota got solid individual efforts from freshman QB Philip Nelson (15-of-22, 246 yards, three TDs), WR A.J. Barker (five receptions, 135 yards, two TDs, and RB Donnell Kirkwood (22 carries, 134 yards) on the offensive side, while CB Michael Carter broke up six passes and returned an interception 43 yards for a score to start the third quarter, while CB Troy Stoudermire and S Brock Vereen paced the unit with seven tackles apiece for the UM defense. The Gophers were credited with three sacks on the day, while the Boilermakers had none. Nelson completed 13 of his first 14 passes in the game. PK Jordan Wettstein made 3-of-4 field goal attempts, two of which were from 40 yards and beyond. Minnesota will try to notch their first winning streak since starting the season at 4-0 when they play host to the Michigan Wolverines this Saturday in the battle for the Little Brown Jug.

NEBRASKA: Holding a pretty potent Michigan offense to 166 total yards, the Cornhuskers prevailed over the visiting Wolverines on Saturday, 23-9. Michigan was without the services of dual-threat QB Denard Robinson for the second half, and the Huskers took full advantage in frustrating rookie backup Russell Bellomy (3-of-16, 38 yards, three interceptions, two sacks). Offensively, QB Taylor Martinez went 14-of-24 for 166 yards with a TD and an interception, while RB Ameer Abdullah accounted for 101 yards and a score on 24 carries. Martinez chipped in with 58 yards on 14 totes. WR Kenny Bell caught only two passes, but turned them into 51 yards and a TD. LB David Santos was Nebraska's most active defensive player, logging 10 tackles. A total of nine TFL were recorded by the unit. The Huskers will try for their third straight win when they hit the road to tangle with the Michigan State Spartans this Saturday.

NORTHWESTERN: It was a happy Homecoming for the Wildcats on Saturday, as they posted a 28-17 win over Iowa to mark their sixth victory in the last eight meetings between the two. The 'Cats churned out 349 yards on the ground, as QB Kain Colter ran for a career-high 166 yards and three TDs, while also throwing a 47-yard TD pass and finishing with 80 yards through the air. RB Venric Mark rumbled his way to 162 yards, pushing him past the 1,000-yard mark for the season. It was the second time this year that both Colter and Mark went over 100 yards rushing in the same game. LB David Nwabuisi was a man possessed, recording personal-bests of 11 solo and 18 total tackles. Fellow LB Damien Proby was also highly productive, making a dozen stops on the day. Pat Fitzgerald is just three wins away from becoming the winningest coach in Northwestern history, and he will get the chance to inch ever closer when his Wildcats return to action at Michigan on Nov. 10 after enjoying a bye this coming week.

OHIO STATE: As expected, Saturday's showdown with Penn State in Happy Valley proved to be a physical one as the two teams fought tooth and nail to a 7-7 standstill at intermission. But then, the Buckeyes took control, as QB Braxton Miller accounted for 277 combined yards (143 passing, 134 rushing) in leading Ohio State to a 35-23 victory, thus keeping the team perfect through nine games. Miller, who a week prior suffered a neck/head injury that obviously looked worse than it was, finished the night 7-of-19 passing with a TD and an interception. It was the sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season for Miller, and he is only the third Big Ten QB and first in Ohio State history to rush for a 1,000 yards in a season. Defensively, the Buckeyes stuffed the PSU run game to the tune of 32 net yards on 28 attempts, but allowed 327 yards and a pair of scores through the air. The two teams combined for 17 penalties for a loss of 160 yards, and each posted four sacks. LB Ryan Shazier registered seven tackles and returned an interception 17 yards for a TD at the start of the third quarter. The Buckeyes entertain the struggling Illinois Fighting Illini this Saturday.

PENN STATE: The Nittany Lions stood toe to toe with the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday evening, but the visiting team exploded for 28 points in the second half to claim a 35-23 victory, snapping Penn State's five-game win streak in the process. The game was tied at 7-7 at the break, the Lions' TD coming on a blocked punt recovery midway through the second quarter. They would then go without a TD until the 9:14 mark of the final frame, as the Ohio State defense allowed just 32 net rushing yards to the home team. PSU QB Matt McGloin was a busy guy, completing 27-of-45 passes for a career-high 327 yards, two TDs and one interception, as TE Kyle Carter proved to be his favorite target as he hit him six times for 77 yards and a score. WR Allen Robinson finished with five grabs for 68 yards, while WR Brandon Moseby-Felder turned four catches into 70 yards. Penn State's outstanding LB duo of Gerald Hodges (14) and Michael Mauti (13) both posted double-digit tackles, but the team as a whole was credited with only one takeaway, but did manage to notch four sacks. PSU plays at Purdue this Saturday.

PURDUE: The Boilermakers suffered their fourth straight loss on Saturday, falling at Minnesota in a 44-28 final. Purdue simply could not contain UM freshman QB Philip Nelson, who completed 13 of his first 14 passes on his way to 246 yards and three TDs. They also allowed 212 rushing yards while failing to come up with a turnover or register a sack. Three different guys threw passes in the game for PU, with Robert Marve (11-of-19, 97 yards, two TDs) and Rob Henry (5-of-6, 52 yards, one TD) having better days than Caleb TerBush (5- of-18, 49 yards, one TD, one interception). RB Akeem Shavers tallied 78 yards on 11 carries, while pass catchers Dolapo Macarthy and Antavian Edison combined for 10 grabs, 106 yards and two scores. The Boilermakers did manage to convert half of their 18 third-down tries, but eight penalties proved costly. Next up for Purdue is this Saturday's home game against the Penn State Nittany Lions.

WISCONSIN: The Badgers saw their 21-game home winning streak come to an end over the weekend, as they dropped a 16-13 overtime decision to the Michigan State Spartans. The setback also put a stop to Wisconsin's 12-game home win streak against conference foes. The Badgers were held to 19 net rushing yards, as standout RB Montee Ball finished with just 46 yards on 22 carries. QBs Joel Stave and Danny O'Brien combined to go 14-of-22 for 171 yards and a TD, but they were sacked a total of five times. Defensively, the Badgers also performed well against the run, allowing MSU to muster just 61 yards. LBs Mike Taylor and Ethan Armstrong paced the unit with eight tackles apiece, while collectively the team recorded six TFL, among them being three sacks. Wisconsin has time to lick its wounds a bit, as the team is idle this week, next returning to the field on Nov. 10 at Indiana.


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