Big Ten Conference News and Notes

3:28 PM, Nov 5, 2012   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -

ILLINOIS: The Fighting Illini suffered their sixth straight loss on Saturday, as they fell at undefeated Ohio State, 52-22. The Illinois offense spun its wheels all afternoon, finishing with a mere 170 total yards. By comparison, the Buckeyes rolled up 330 yards on the ground and 567 total for the game, with five of their seven TDs coming via the run. Terry Hawthorne logged a team-high 10 tackles, nine of which were solo efforts, while Glenn Foster notched two of the Illini's four sacks. The UI defense did manage to come away with a pair of fumble recoveries. QB Nathan Scheelhaase completed 19-of-34 passes, but for only 96 yards with an interception, and he was also the team's leading rusher with just 36 net yards on 15 carries. Illinois has lost 11 in a row against Big Ten competition, and the team will try to end that streak when it begins a two-game home stand this Saturday against Minnesota.

INDIANA: Cameron Coffman threw for a career-high 315 yards and three TDs to lead the Hoosiers past the visiting Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday, 24-21. As a result, Indiana improved to 2-3 in Big Ten play, and can tie Wisconsin for the top spot in the Leaders Division when the Badgers come to Bloomington this Saturday. Despite that fact, Indiana is still only 4-5 on the year and in need of a pair of wins just to be eligible for a bowl game, and with the Badgers, Penn State Nittany Lions and Purdue Boilermakers left to go, turning that trick isn't going to be easy. With Coffman enjoying a career game against the Hawkeyes, Cody Latimer (seven rec., 113 yards, three TDs), Kofi Hughes (six rec., 110 yards) and Ted Bolster (six rec., 82 yards) certainly all benefited. Neither team could muster much in the way of production out of the run game, with Iowa gaining just 96 yards and Indiana a mere 67. RB Stephen Houston saw his streak of scoring at least one TD end at nine games, as he was held to 52 yards on 18 carries.

IOWA: The Hawkeyes jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but couldn't make it hold up as they dropped a 24-21 decision at Indiana over the weekend. The loss snapped a four-game win streak for Iowa over the Hoosiers, and was the team's third straight of this season. Both teams had trouble running the football, combining for just 173 yards and one TD, but the pass accounted for 654 yards and four scores, 406 and three TDs belonging to Indiana. Iowa QB James Vandenberg went 21-of-34 for 249 yards with a TD and an interception, and his favorite target was Kevonte Martin-Manley who finished with seven grabs for 131 yards and a score. Damon Bullock carried the ball 25 times for 83 yards and a TD. Anthony Hitchens was once again the most active defensive player for Iowa, logging a game-high 14 tackles, and he now has more than 100 stops on the season. At 4-5, Iowa needs two wins in its final three games to be eligible for a bowl game, and it will try and take that first step when it plays host to Purdue this Saturday.

MICHIGAN: Making his first career start at QB, Devin Gardner accounted for three TDs to help the Wolverines retain the Little Brown Jug by knocking off Minnesota on the road, 35-13. Gardner, who was filling in for the injured Denard Robinson, set several career highs as he wound up going 12-of-18 for 234 yards and two TDs, while adding 21 yards and a score on the ground. RB Fitz Toussaint rumbled his way to 70 yards and a TD, while pass catchers Jeremy Gallon and Drew Dileo combined to tally eight grabs, 141 yards and two scores. The Michigan defense allowed just 128 yards rushing and another 147 passing to the Golden Gophers, and the Wolverines have now held six foes this season to 13 points or fewer. Kenny Demens led the Michigan defense with 10 tackles, while Jake Ryan chipped in with nine, three of which were for negative yardage. Already eligible for a bowl game, the Wolverines take aim at their seventh win of the campaign and fifth in the conference this weekend when they return home to take on the Northwestern Wildcats.

MICHIGAN STATE: Despite a 188-yard, two-TD performance from RB Le'Veon Bell, the Spartans came out on the short end of a 28-24 decision at home against Nebraska on Saturday. Michigan State had a 24-14 lead midway through the fourth quarter, but allowed the Cornhuskers to score a pair of late TDs to earn the victory. The Spartans were outgained, 473-361, as both teams used a potent rushing attack to keep the other off balance. Nebraska tallied 313 yards on the ground, averaging 7.8 ypc along the way. MSU QB Andrew Maxwell completed just 9-of-27 passes for 123 yards and a TD. The two teams combined for 18 penalties for a loss of 172 yards, 100 of which were credited to the Spartans. Kurtis Drummond and Max Bullough each finished with 10 tackles, with the former making two stops behind the line of scrimmage, forcing a fumble and coming up with an interception. Darqueze Dennard had two picks. Michigan State is idle this week, next returning to action on Nov. 17 versus Northwestern.

MINNESOTA: The Golden Gophers scored first in Saturday's home game against Michigan, but they wouldn't do so again until adding a pair of fourth-quarter field goals as they suffered a 35-13 loss to the Wolverines. The Minnesota offense generated just 275 total yards (128 rushing, 147 passing), and the team was flagged nine times for a loss of 68 yards while converting just 4- of-14 third-down opportunities. QB Philip Nelson completed a dismal 13-of-29 passes for 142 yards and a TD, while Donnell Kirkwood tallied just 58 yards on 16 carries. The Minnesota defense allowed 155 yards on the ground and 234 yards through the air to the Wolverines, who were highly efficient on third down (7-of-12). The Gophers were credited with three sacks, but came up with only one turnover. Troy Stoudermire and Brock Vereen each finished with nine tackles for Minnesota, which will try to earn bowl eligibility by securing its sixth victory of the season when it plays at Illinois this Saturday.

NEBRASKA: Taylor Martinez ran for 205 yards and two TDs while throwing for 160 yards and two more scores to rally the Cornhuskers to a 28-24 win at Michigan State over the weekend. Trailing by 10 points in the fourth quarter, Nebraska scored the game's final 14 points to post its third straight win and seventh of the season. The Huskers churned out 313 yards on the ground, 110 of which were credited to RB Ameer Abdullah, and 473 total for the game, compared to 361 for the Spartans. Nebraska actually totaled 214 yards in the final frame. The two teams combined for 18 penalties for a loss of 172 yards. A total of three Nebraska defenders logged double-digit tackles as P.J. Smith (12), Daimion Stafford (11) and Will Compton (11) all had busy days. The Cornhuskers kick off a two-game home stand this Saturday against the Penn State Nittany Lions.

NORTHWESTERN: With a record of 7-2, the Wildcats are already eligible for a bowl game, and they are coming off their first and only bye week of the season. Northwestern faces a couple of tough opponents the next two weeks as it will play at Michigan this Saturday, and then travel to East Lansing to challenge Michigan State on Nov. 17. The 'Cats close the regular season with a home game versus Illinois.

OHIO STATE: It was the legs of Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller that propelled the Buckeyes to their 10th victory of the season, as they easily disposed of visiting Illinois on Saturday, 52-22. Hyde rushed for 137 yards and three TDs, while Miller added 73 yards on the ground and 226 yards and a pair of scores through the air. Corey Brown and Rod Smith combined for six catches, 134 yards and both of Miller's scoring strikes. Ohio State wound up outgaining the Illini, 567-170, despite two lost fumbles and six penalties which cost the team nearly 80 yards. Linebacker Ryan Shazier continued his superb play by recording a game-high 14 tackles, 11 of which were unassisted. The OSU defense allowed just 74 net rushing yards and only 96 passing yards, and Illinois was successful on only 2-of-14 third-down conversion attempts. The Buckeyes' 52- point outburst this past weekend gives them four games with at least 50 points this season -- the first time that's happened in school history. OSU also improved to 274-0-1 all-time when scoring at least 35 points in a contest. The Buckeyes are idle this week, giving them ample time to prepare for their final two bouts -- at Wisconsin on Nov. 17, and home versus Michigan on Nov. 24.

PENN STATE: Matt McGloin threw for 321 yards and two TDs to power Penn State to a 34-9 win at Purdue on Saturday. It was the sixth win of the season for the Nittany Lions, who have rebounded from an 0-2 start. The team is 4-1 in conference, but ineligible to participate in the conference title tilt or go to bowl game due to Big Ten and NCAA sanctions. Other standouts in the Purdue game included Brandon Moseby-Felder (six rec., 129 yards), Zach Zwinak (21 carries, 134 yards) and Michael Zordich (two rushing TDs). Defensively, Gerald Hodges logged eight tackles, three of which were behind the line of scrimmage. The Lions allowed just 87 net rushing yards, and Purdue didn't score its lone TD of the game until the end of the fourth quarter. Penn State brings its 3-0 record in the Big Ten road bouts to Lincoln this Saturday for a pivotal clash with the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

PURDUE: The Boilermakers were never able to get into an offensive rhythm as they dropped a 34-9 decision to visiting Penn State on Saturday afternoon. The loss was the fifth straight for Purdue, which must now win out for it to claim the requisite six wins to be eligible for a bowl invite. Caleb TerBush threw for 155 yards, hitting Antavian Edison nine times for 93 yards and a TD. Robert Marve took the majority of the snaps and wound up going 22-of-39 for 138 yards. The PU run game accounted for just 87 net yards, while Penn State was more than 100 yards better in that regard and finished with 506 yards of total offense. Josh Johnson led the Boilermakers with a career-high 10 tackles, all of which were unassisted. Purdue will try to snap its current slide and notch its first conference win of the campaign when it plays at Iowa this Saturday.

WISCONSIN: The Badgers were idle this past weekend, giving them ample time to reflect on their recent loss to Michigan State (16-13) and prepare for the home stretch which begins this Saturday at Indiana. Wisconsin is 6-3 overall and 3-2 in conference, and in control of its own destiny with regard to reaching the Big Ten Championship Game since both Ohio State (10-0, 6-0) and Penn State (6-3, 4-1) are both ineligible for postseason play.


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