This Week in the Big Ten
Sept. 6, 2009
[ONE // big ten opens football season 10-1]
A new Big Ten football season has officially begun! The conference opened the first week of play with an impressive 10-1 record. Indiana kicked off the 2009 campaign on Thursday night with a 19-13 victory over Eastern Kentucky on the Big Ten Network. The remaining 10 league squads were in action on Saturday, with Iowa (17-16, Northern Iowa), Michigan (31-7, Western Michigan), Michigan State (44-3, Montana State), Minnesota (23-20, Syracuse), Northwestern (47-14, Towson), Ohio State (31-27, Navy), Penn State (31-7, Akron), Purdue (52-31, Toledo) and Wisconsin (28-20, Northern Illinois) all finding the win column. Illinois dropped its annual rivalry game to Missouri by a score of 37-9.
[TWO // news and notes from the gridiron]
In Big Ten football’s opening week of play, several headlines were made in addition to impressive individual performances, ranging from coaching debuts, a thrilling 2-point conversion, blocked field goals and sentimental stories. Purdue’s Danny Hope captured a win in his first contest as the Boilermakers’ head coach, Michigan’s Rich Rodriguez silenced critics with a convincing 31-7 victory, and Penn State’s Joe Paterno added to his long list of wins from the sideline Saturday, his first game back on the field since having hip replacement surgery last November. A 2-point conversion was also the talk around the league Saturday as Ohio State denied Navy the chance to tie the game and potentially upset the Buckeyes in Columbus when Brian Rolle intercepted the Midshipmen’s 2-point conversion pass in the closing minutes and returned if for two points to change what could have been a 29-29 tie into a 31-27 OSU victory. Perhaps most bizarre was Iowa blocking two field goal attempts in the final 10 seconds to secure a 17-16 win over Northern Iowa. Among the sentimental stories of the week, Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio announced his team will wear a silver-outlined decal of the state of Michigan throughout the season that represents the “silver lining” for the state and the ailing auto industry. And finally, we go back to Columbus where former astronaut and Ohio senator John Glenn and his wife joined select company as they earned the privilege to dot the “I” in Script Ohio during halftime Saturday. Prior to Glenn, Jack Nicklaus, Bob Hope and Woody Hayes were the only non-band members to receive the honor.
[THREE // cross country campaigns commence]
The majority of Big Ten men’s and women’s cross country teams took to the turf this past week and opened each of their 2009 campaigns, respectively. Fifteen teams, including seven men’s and eight women’s squads, competed this weekend, with most of the events taking place on their home courses. Looking back at last season, five conference men’s and women’s teams finished in the top 15 at the NCAA Championships, led by the Wisconsin men, who placed fourth in 2008. Illinois led all women’s teams with a 10th-place finish at the national meet.
[FOUR // men’s soccer teams take to the pitch]
All seven conference men’s soccer teams opened their respective campaigns this weekend, with Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin competing at home. Among the highlights, Wisconsin’s first-year head coach Todd Yeagley earned his first victory as a Badger on Sunday when Mark Roos headed in the game-winning goal with just three seconds left in the game to give UW a 1-0 win over Western Illinois. To make things even more special for Yeagley, his father Jerry, the legendary Hall of Fame coach that guided Indiana to six national championships, was in attendance for the big win. The Yeagleys’ former team, Indiana, hosted top-rated competition this past weekend in the adidas/IU Credit Union Classic. The Hoosiers battled No. 5 St. John’s to a scoreless tie on Friday and dropped a 2-1 heartbreaker to third-ranked Wake Forest on Sunday – a game that marked the Big Ten Network’s first live soccer match of the year.
[FIVE // speaking of indiana soccer…]
The Hoosier women have had a lot to talk about on the soccer pitch recently, as IU has opened its campaign with a 5-0 start – the team’s best opening mark in school history. On Friday afternoon, the Hoosiers recorded their fourth win of the season with a 2-1 victory over sixth-ranked Florida. At No. 6, the Gators were the highest-ranked team IU had defeated in school history. Indiana earned its fifth win of the season with a 2-1 road victory at Mercer on Sunday.
[SIX // first players of the week announced for 2009]
In addition to women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and field hockey got an early start to the 2009 season by opening up the schedule two weeks ago. This past week, the conference office announced its first Player of the Week honorees of the fall season for both volleyball and field hockey. Michigan State middle blocker Kyndra Abron earned Offensive Player of the Week, while Minnesota libero Christine Tan and Northwestern libero Kate Nobilo shared Defensive Player of the Week honors. In field hockey, Northwestern forward Chelsea Armstrong and Indiana goalkeeper Alex Mann earned the weekly Offensive and Defensive honors, respectively. Newcomers Manouk Vernij of Michigan State and Berta Queralt of Ohio State shared Freshman of the Week accolades.
[SEVEN // a hoosier honored as a hall of fame hawkeye]
Congratulations to current Indiana wrestling coach Duane Goldman as he was honored this past weekend in Iowa City for his former collegiate days as a heralded Iowa grappler. Goldman, who was a four-time NCAA finalist and the 1986 NCAA Champion at 190 pounds, was one of six inducted into the National Iowa Varsity Club Athletics Hall of Fame this past week. Having placed runner-up as a freshman, sophomore and junior, Goldman put together an undefeated 36-0 record as a senior in 1985-86 to capture the national crown. He compiled a winning clip of 93 percent as a Hawkeye and has found continued success as head of the Indiana program. Now in his 20th season, Goldman has a career coaching record of 216-116-5 with seven national top-20 finishes.
[EIGHT // nothing small about another golf title]
While we are in the mood of tipping our caps to conference coaches, let’s honor yet another achievement by Illinois head men’s golf coach Mike Small. The Fighting Illini mentor captured his seventh-consecutive Illinois PGA Championship title this past week in Grayslake, Ill. The championship is Small’s record-breaking eighth overall, which he won with a 54-hole, 9-under score of 207. Next up for Small will be representing the United States in the 24th PGA Cup – an event that pits a 10-member American squad against golfers from Great Britain and Ireland on Sept. 18-20 in Loch Lomond, Scotland.
[NINE // small not the only illini golfer making headlines]
That’s right… it’s the PGA Tour Playoffs and there is no Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson to speak of. Instead, former Illinois golfer Steve Stricker owns the 54-hole lead with 18 holes to play Monday at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Norton, Mass. Stricker is tied for the lead with Retief Goosen and Sean O’Hair at 13-under 200. Also sneaking up the leaderboard, thanks largely in part to a 5-under 66 on Saturday, is former Indiana standout and Big Ten Player of the Year Jeff Overton. Entering Monday’s final round, Overton is tied for 17th overall, five shots off the lead at 8-under 205.
[TEN // forget boring summer camp… this is big ten fan camp!]
[ELEVEN // pizza pizza!]