Big Ten Conference News and Notes

11:22 AM, Sep 23, 2013   |    comments
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ILLINOIS: After opening the season at 2-0, the Fighting Illini suffered their first loss to Washington in Chicago on Sept. 14. They were idle this past weekend, and will play their final non-conference game on the schedule this Saturday when they entertain the RedHawks of Miami-Ohio.

INDIANA: With the game tied at 14-14 midway through the second quarter, the Hoosiers allowed visiting Missouri to score the next 24 points en route to a 45-28 setback. The Tigers ended an eight-game losing streak in the series, and it was their first win in Bloomington since 1953. For Indiana, Nate Sudfeld threw for 229 yards with a TD, but he was intercepted three times. Tre Roberson also saw time under center, going 8-of-14 for 148 yards and a score. Cody Latimer went over 100 receiving yards for the second straight game as he hauled in eight balls for 136 yards and a TD. Mizzou churned out 623 yards of total offense, running a whopping 97 plays in keeping the ball for nearly 37 minutes. Greg Heban was IU's standout performer on defense, logging eight tackles and a pair of picks. The Hoosiers are 2-2 on the year, and get a bye this coming week, giving them ample time to prepare for their Big Ten opener at home versus Penn State on Oct. 5.

IOWA: The Hawkeyes blasted visiting Western Michigan over the weekend, scoring their most points in more than a decade in winning, 59-3. Iowa piled up 446 total yards, 258 of which came on the ground. Jordan Canzeri was high man with 73 yards and a TD on 13 carries, while Jake Rudock connected on 10-of-15 passes for 134 yards and two scores. The Hawkeyes scored four combined TDs on special teams and defense, with Kevonte Martin-Manley returning a pair of second-quarter punts for scores, and B.J. Lowery taking two interceptions back for TDs -- both of which set new school records. The Broncos were limited to 209 total yards, and the Iowa defense came up with four turnovers and was on the field for less than 24 minutes. James Morris led the Hawkeyes with seven tackles, five being solo efforts, but the unit had only two TFL and no sacks. Iowa takes a 3-1 record into its Big Ten lid lifter at Minnesota this Saturday.

MICHIGAN: Trailing 21-7 well into the third quarter on Saturday, the Wolverines kicked it into gear and scored the final 17 points in slipping past the Connecticut Huskies on the road, 24-21. It was second straight close call for Michigan, which needed a late hold against Akron the week prior to keep its perfect record in tact. At 4-0, the Maize and Blue will use a bye this coming week to get ready for the Big Ten opener versus visiting Minnesota on Oct. 5. Against UConn, Fitzgerald Toussaint rushed for 120 yards and two TDs, both in the second half, helping the Wolverines amass 192 yards on the ground. Devin Gardner was ineffective under center, hitting only 11-of-23 passes for 97 yards with no TDs and two interceptions. He did manage to gain 106 yards and score once on 19 carries, but he was sacked three times leading to a net of only 64 rushing yards. The UM defense held the Huskies to only 206 yards of total offense, including a paltry 47 rushing, and the unit recorded eight TFL and four sacks. Frank Clark tallied two QB takedowns himself, while Desmond Morgan came up with an interception -- the first of his career, and the team's only turnover in the game.

MICHIGAN STATE: The Spartans dropped a hard-fought 17-13 decision at Notre Dame on Saturday, saddling coach Mark Dantonio's club with its first loss of the season. Both teams struggled offensively, with Michigan State tallying only 254 total yards and the Fighting Irish just 224. MSU was flagged 10 times for a loss of 115 yards, including a couple of costly pass interference calls late in the game. Connor Cook hit half of his 32 passes for 135 yards and a TD, while the rushing attack, what there was of one, was paced by Jeremy Langford and his 68 yards on 14 carries. RJ Williamson spearheaded the Spartans' defensive stance with 10 tackles, only one of which was unassisted, and the unit as a whole was credited with six TFL, but zero sacks and no turnovers. Michigan State is idle this coming weekend, allowing Dantonio and his staff additional time to game plan for the conference opener at Iowa on Oct. 5.

MINNESOTA: Filling in for injured starting QB Philip Nelson, Mitch Leidner ran for 151 yards and four TDs to power the Golden Gophers past visiting San Jose State on Saturday, 43-24. Head coach Jerry Kill was back on the sidelines just a week after suffering yet another game day seizure. Leidner threw for just 71 yards, but it was the Minnesota ground attack that did the bulk of the damage, accounting for 353 yards and six scores in all. David Cobb also went over the century mark in the contest, rumbling his way to 125 yards and a pair of TDs. The UM defense allowed SJSU QB David Fales to throw for 439 yards, but the unit was credited with four TFL (no sacks) and three turnovers. The Gophers more than doubled the Spartans in time of possession, and the win improved coach Kill's club to 4-0 as it prepares for this week's conference opener at home against Iowa.

NEBRASKA: The Cornhuskers broke open a nip-and-tuck battle in the first quarter against visiting South Dakota State on Saturday, turning an early 17-14 advantage into a 59-20 rout. The Jackrabbits, the sixth-ranked team in The Sports Network's FCS Top-25 poll, tallied a respectable 465 total yards, but Nebraska churned out 645 (335 rushing, 310 passing), converting 7-of-10 third-down opportunities and scoring on 7-of-9 trips to the red zone along the way. It was the first time in school history that the Huskers had surpassed 300 rushing and 300 passing yards in the same game. Ameer Abdullah rushed for 139 yards and a TD, while Imani Cross and Terrell Newbill each found the end zone twice. Filling in for the injured Taylor Martinez, who had made 32 consecutive starts prior, the tandem of Tommy Armstrong, Jr. and Ron Kellogg III combined to complete 20-of-24 passes for 305 yards and two scores. Quincy Enunwa led the receiving corps with six grabs for 78 yards. Both Corey Cooper and Zaire Anderson had 10 tackles, with each recording a sack, the Huskers logging five sacks in all, while also coming up with three turnovers. Nebraska is idle this week, next taking the field at home on Oct. 5 in its league lid lifter against Illinois.

NORTHWESTERN: A pair of defensive scores played an integral role in the Wildcats' 35-21 victory over FCS foe Maine on Saturday afternoon. Northwestern was narrowly outgained by the Black Bears, 379-373, but used 251 rushing yards to chew up yardage and minutes off the clock. Mike Trumpy paced the 'Cats with 94 yards and a TD on 17 carries, while Kain Colter accounted for 38 net yards and a score on 12 totes. Colter was 5-of-9 passing for 85 yards with an interception and a TD, and Tony Jones led the receiving corps with six grabs for 69 yards and a score. Defensively, the Wildcats got a career-high 12 tackles from Chi Chi Ariguzo, and nine each from Traveon Henry and Collin Ellis. Damien Proby and Dean Lowry each returned interceptions for TDs, with the former also being credited with four QB hurries, and the latter notching one of the team's two sacks. NU is 4-0 for the second consecutive season and the fourth time in the last six, and the team will be in action next on Oct. 5 when it opens Big Ten play at home versus Ohio State.

OHIO STATE: Kenny Guiton has certainly made the most of his time as the Buckeyes' starting QB this season, and in Saturday's 76-0 shellacking of FCS foe Florida A&M the senior signal caller set a new school record by throwing six TD passes, all in the first half. The loss was FAMU's worst ever, and it was OSU's most lopsided win since an 85-7 triumph over Drake way back in 1935. In a truly dominant performance, the Buckeyes had a 34-2 edge in first downs and outgained the overmatched Rattlers, 603-80. Ohio State, which scored TDs on 11-of-12 trips to the red zone, also got an outstanding individual effort from Ezekial Elliott, who rushed for a career-high 162 yards and two TDs on only 14 carries. Evan Spencer led all pass catchers with 50 yards and a pair of scores. The Buckeyes allowed only 30 passing yards and were credited with six TFL, two sacks and a pair of turnovers. Ohio State faces a major test this Saturday when it puts its 16-game winning streak on the line at home against No. 23 Wisconsin in the Big Ten opener for both clubs.

PENN STATE: Behind a bruising rushing attack and a stout defensive effort, the Nittany Lions trounced visiting Kent State over the weekend, 34-0. The shutout was Penn State's first since also blanking the Golden Flashes in a 24-0 final on Sept. 18, 2010. Akeel Lynch led the Lions with a career-high 123 yards, Bill Belton tallied 90 yards, and Zach Zwinak scored three TDs, as the home team piled up 287 yards on the ground -- its most since churning out 338 yards at Illinois back in 2009. In contrast, KSU had just 56 rushing yards in averaging a mere 2.3 ypc. Christian Hackenberg was off the mark for much of the day, completing only 13-of-35 passes for 176 yards with a TD and an interception. Glenn Carson led the PSU defense with seven tackles, two of which were behind the line of scrimmage, and Ryan Keiser came up with the team's only turnover on his first career pick in the third quarter. Keiser also notched his first career sack in the contest. After a bye this week, Penn State will play its first true road game of the season when it opens Big Ten action at Indiana on Oct. 5.

PURDUE: The Boilermakers were steamrolled in their Big Ten opener at Wisconsin over the weekend, falling to the Badgers in a 41-10 final. Purdue tallied just 180 yards of total offense compared to 546 for the home team, and it was particularly inept on the ground in gaining a mere 45 net rushing yards. At the other end the spectrum, the Badgers amassed 388 yards on the ground, and had two players rush for more than 140 yards and account for a combined four TDs. The PU passing attack was stymied as well, with Rob Henry completing only 18-of-36 passes for 135 yards with one interception and no TDs. He did account for the team's only TD in the game by scoring on a 22-yard run at the beginning of the second quarter. Frankie Williams and Taylor Richards paced the Purdue defense with eight and seven stops, respectively, while Ricardo Allen picked off a pass and Will Lucas recorded the team's only sack. The Boilermakers will step out of conference one last time this coming Saturday, as they play host to the Huskies of Northern Illinois.

WISCONSIN: The Badgers opened conference play in impressive fashion this past Saturday, battering the visiting Purdue Boilermakers into submission in what wound up being a 41-10 final. Wisconsin rolled up 388 yards on the ground, 546 in all, as they got tremendous individual performances from Melvin Gordon (16 carries, 147 yards, three TDs) and James White (16 carries, 145 yards, one TD). The Badgers are 19-1 when White scores, and he leads all active FBS players with 35 career rushing TDs and 36 total TDs. As for the passing attack, Joel Stave converted 12-of-19 attempts for 158 yards against Purdue, hitting Jared Abbrederis seven times for 94 yards. Defensively, the Badgers notched four sacks, eight TFL and a turnover, all while holding the Boilermakers to a meager 45 net rushing yards and only 180 total yards. The UW defense has not surrendered a passing TD this season. The Badgers will face one of their toughest tests all season when they play at No. 4 Ohio State this Saturday.

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