Jan. 3, 2010
[ONE // all roses in buckeye land]
In its fifth-consecutive BCS bowl appearance and first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1997, the Ohio State Buckeyes captured “The Granddaddy of Them All” with a 26-17 victory over No. 7 Oregon on Friday. The eighth-ranked Buckeyes dominated the time of possession, 41:37-18:23, and were led by quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who recorded career highs in completions (23), attempts (37) and passing yards (266). Wideout DeVier Posey had eight catches for 101 yards in the win. Ohio State, now 8-0 all-time over Oregon, held the Ducks to 20 points and 164 yards below their season averages.
[TWO // joe pa and penn state “rain” on tigers’ parade]
Penn State’s Joe Paterno earned his NCAA record 24th bowl victory on Friday as the No. 11 Nittany Lions claimed a rain-soaked 19-17 win over No. 13 LSU in the Capital One Bowl. The Tigers rallied from 13 points down to hold a slim 17-16 advantage over Penn State late in the game, but Collin Wagner nailed a 21-yard field goal with 57 seconds left to seal with the win. It was a wet and muddy day in the Orlando area as the field was likened to a mosh pit. In the end, Daryll Clark finished 18-of-35 for 216 yards to lead the Nittany Lions, while both teams combined for a bowl record 15 punts in the sloppy conditions.
[THREE // badgers blow away hurricanes]
The Big Ten earned its first of three postseason wins this past Tuesday as No. 24 Wisconsin defeated 14th-ranked Miami 20-14 in the Champs Sports Bowl. Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year John Clay, who was also named the bowl’s MVP, ran for 121 yards and two touchdowns and Scott Tolzien threw for 260 yards to lead the Badgers in the win. Wisconsin held the ball for 39:15, its highest time of possession in a bowl game in school history. Additionally, the Badgers held Miami’s offense, which entered the game ranked 36th nationally in total offense (412.5 ypg), to 249 total yards. By downing Miami, UW improved to 10-3 on the season to finish with at least 10 wins for just the sixth time in school history, and the first time since going 12-1 in 2006.
[FOUR // heartbreaks and honors in postseason]
With one postseason game to play – Iowa’s Orange Bowl – the Big Ten has posted a 3-3 record over the past week. All three conference bowl losses have been by a combined 14 points. Minnesota was edged 14-13 by Iowa State in the Insight Bowl on Thursday, while Northwestern dropped a 38-35 heartbreaker in overtime to Auburn on Friday in the Outback Bowl. On Saturday night, Michigan State fell just shy of Texas Tech in the Valero Alamo Bow, 41-31. In addition, a former conference coach and several players were honored at postseason bowls this past week. Wisconsin athletics director Barry Alvarez was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame, while Indiana’s Jammie Kirlew, Michigan’s Zoltan Mesko, Northwestern’s Andrew Brewer and Wisconsin’s Chris Maragos were honored at halftime of the Allstate Sugar Bowl as members of the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.
[FIVE // big ten boasts ten pro bowl selections]
Ten former Big Ten football standouts were named NFL Pro Bowl selections on Tuesday, including six that were tabbed as starters. Selected to play for the AFC offense was New England quarterback Tom Brady (Michigan), Indianapolis tight end Dallas Clark (Iowa, *-denotes starter), Miami tackle Jake Long (Michigan*), Cleveland tackle Joe Thomas (Wisconsin), San Diego guard Kris Dielman (Indiana) and N.Y. Jets center Nick Mangold (Ohio State*). San Diego placekicker Nate Kaeding (Iowa*) was also tabbed to the AFC squad. Three former conference players were selected as starters to the NFC team. Congrats to New Orleans QB Drew Brees (Purdue*), Minnesota guard Steve Hutchinson (Michigan*) and Green Bay cornerback Charles Woodson (Michigan*). The annual contest between the AFC's and NFC's best will take place Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010 (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), at Dolphin Stadium in South Florida.
[SIX // badgers and golden gophers share men’s basketball lead]
Conference play got underway this past week in men’s basketball and Minnesota and Wisconsin share the early league lead with 2-0 marks. The Golden Gophers topped Penn State 75-70 and Iowa 86-74, while Wisconsin defeated Ohio State 65-43 and Penn State 63-46. Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State and Purdue all ended the week having won their lone Big Ten contest.
[SEVEN // wildcats scratch their way into the top 25]
Although Northwestern opened its men’s basketball conference season by falling 89-83 in overtime to Illinois and 91-70 to No. 11 Michigan State, it was a milestone week for the Wildcats and head coach Bill Carmody. Winners of nine straight contests prior to the two losses, Northwestern cracked the Associated Press rankings on Monday for the first time since Jan. 14, 1969. The 25th-ranked Wildcats opened the season 10-1, which marked their best start since the 1982-83 season.
[EIGHT // ohio state sets pace for another women’s basketball title]
While the men’s basketball conference schedule opened this past week, the women’s basketball slate picked up where it left off prior to the holidays. Ohio State has won eight straight games and owns a 4-0 lead in the Big Ten. Illinois, Minnesota and Purdue follow with 2-1 conference marks, respectively. The Boilermakers face Notre Dame in West Lafayette on Jan. 4.
[NINE // buckeyes’ basketball mentor eclipses milestone mark]
Congratulations to Ohio State women’s basketball coach Jim Foster, who earned his 700th career victory with an 86-60 win over Northwestern on Thursday. He is the ninth-winningest active coach in Division I (by wins) and is 12th all-time in his 32nd season. Foster spent 11 seasons at Vanderbilt (256-99) and 13 at St. Joseph's (248-126) before coaching Ohio State. In the victory, four Buckeyes scored in double figures. Sarah Schulze and Samantha Prahalis each scored 16 points, while Jantel Lavender had 14 and Tayler Hill added 12.
[TEN // hawkeyes take home another midlands title]
In front of a packed house at Northwestern’s Welsh-Ryan Arena Wednesday, the Iowa Hawkeyes captured their second straight Midlands Championship. Iowa scored 168.5 points and came away with three individual champions, while Wisconsin (90.5) placed fifth, Illinois (64.0) and Purdue (58.5) were 10th and 11th, respectively, and Michigan State (33.5) was 14th. The Big Ten boasted six champions including Illinois’ John Dergo (184), Iowa’s Matt McDonough (125), Brent Metcalf (149) and Jay Borschel (174), and Wisconsin’s Tyler Graff (133) and Andrew Howe (165). Metcalf earned Dan Gable Most Outstanding Wrestler honors and was the meet’s High Scorer Award winner with 32.5 points. Iowa’s Nate Moore claimed the Fastest Fall Award (0:46).
[ELEVEN // big ten network expands agreement with charter]
Finally this week, the Big Ten Network has yet another coverage agreement. Charter Communications and Big Ten Network announced this past Monday that they reached an agreement to provide the network to Charter customers in St. Louis and Southern Illinois. Charter will launch the Big Ten Network on its Expanded Basic-Digital level of service, channel 414 on January 4, 2010, for customers in the St. Louis Metro area and in Southern Illinois.