Sept. 12, 2010
[ONE // big ten football goes 8-2 in week two]
Week two of Big Ten football is in the books and the conference boasted yet another winning record on Saturday. Big Ten teams posted an 8-2 mark, including keys wins by Iowa, Michigan and Ohio State. The Buckeyes topped Miami (FL) 36-24, the Wolverines went on the road to defeat Notre Dame 28-24, and Iowa retained the Cy-Hawk Trophy with a 35-7 victory over Iowa State. In other wins, Illinois bested Southern Illinois 35-3, Michigan State defeated Florida Atlantic 30-17, Northwestern beat Illinois State 37-3, Purdue ousted Western Illinois 31-21, and Wisconsin took out San Jose State 27-14. Suffering losses on the weekend were Penn State top top-ranked Alabama, 24-3, and Minnesota to South Dakota, 41-38.
[TWO // denard does it again; chekwa honored by camp as well]
The Big Ten swept the national honors from the Walter Camp Football Foundation, as Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson was honored on the offensive side while Ohio State defensive back Chimdi Chekwa collected defensive accolades. For the second consecutive week, sophomore quarterback Robinson earned Offensive Player of the Week honors - and is the first player to do so since the award began in 2004. Robinson accounted for a school-record 502 yards of total offense as the Wolverines defeated Notre Dame, 28-24. Robinson's two-yard rushing touchdown with 27 seconds left was the game-winner. Senior defensive back Chekwa had two interceptions and six tackles (four solo), including one for a loss, as second-ranked Ohio State defeated 12th-ranked Miami 36-24. Chekwa also broke up two passes as the Buckeyes improved to 2-0.
[THREE // the big ten in the nfl]
While it was week two in college football Saturday, it was the season-opening week of the National Football League on Sunday. The NFL actually kicked off on Thursday with 221 former Big Ten student-athletes appearing on 53-man rosters for various NFL teams. The Big Ten leads all conferences with seven schools featuring at least 20 players on NFL 53-man rosters, while the league and SEC are the only conferences with four schools boasting at least 28 players on NFL 53-man rosters. Ohio State leads all Big Ten schools with 33 former Buckeyes taking the field and every Big Ten institution has at least five players on NFL 53-man rosters. In addition, four Big Ten schools are represented among the 12 institutions featuring at least 28 NFL players, including Ohio State (33), Iowa (29), Michigan (29) and Penn State (28).
[FOUR // iconic decisions]
This past week the Big Ten Network continued counting down its top 50 iconic figures in conference history. Big Ten Icons, presented by Discover, is the network’s most ambitious multi-platform initiative to date. The program is counting down the top 50 student-athletes in Big Ten history on www.BigTenIcons.com based solely on their collegiate playing careers. Icons 50 through 21 are being unveiled through Sept. 16 at www.BigTenIcons.com. Congratulations to Icons No. 42 Curt Warner (Penn State football, 1990-84), No. 41 Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern football, 1993-96), No. 40 Bobby Bell (Minnesota football, 1960-62), No. 39 Howard “Hopalong” Cassady (Ohio State football, 1952-55), No. 38 Calbert Cheaney (Indiana basketball, 1991-93), No. 37 Leroy Keyes (Purdue football, 1966-68), No. 36 Jim Abbott (Michigan baseball, 1985-88), No. 35 Glenn Robinson (Purdue basketball, 1991-94), No. 34 Desmond Howard (Michigan football, 1989-91), No. 33 Alex Karras (Iowa football, 1954-58), No. 32 Scott May (Indiana basketball, 1973-76), No. 31 Neal Broten (Minnesota hockey, 1979-81), No. 30 Alan Ameche (Wisconsin football, 1951-55), and No. 29 Cazzie Russell (Michigan basketball, 1964-66). The television show, hosted by legendary college sports broadcaster Keith Jackson, debuts Sept. 18 following a Big Ten Network football telecast in which Icon No. 20 will be revealed. The countdown continues at 9 PM ET every Tuesday night through the end of football season and into the spring. The No. 1 Big Ten Icon will be revealed around the 2011 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament.
[FIVE // pair of men’s golf teams honored by golfweek]
Illinois and Michigan earned spots in Golfweek's preseason men's golf top 30 on Friday. The Illini checked in at No. 18, while the Wolverines rounded out the poll at No. 30. Illinois' Scott Langley also received preseason recognition, slated at No. 4 in its preseason individual top 30.
[SIX // illini, spartans, boilers capture titles on the links]
The majority of the conference’s men’s golf teams were in action this past week with Illinois, Michigan State and Purdue capturing titles. The Fighting Illini took home the Wolf Run Intercollegiate, hosted by Indiana and played in Zionsville, Ind., with a 54-hole score of 859 (290-288-281). Indiana (290-306-286) and Northwestern (296-295-291) tied for fifth at 882, while Michigan (294-294-303--891) and Penn State (299-302-298--899) placed ninth and 12th, respectively, in the 15-team field. Illinois’ Luke Guthrie (71-73-69) and defending NCAA Champion Scott Langley (73-71-69) each fired 213 to tie for third as the Big Ten’s top finishers in the field. Michigan State was also in action this week, claiming victory on its home course at the Fossum Invitational. The Spartans finished up the second round with a 9-over par 297 to conclude the weather-shortened event with a 15-over par 591 (294-297). Junior Chris Mory and sophomore James Ross finished the tournament tied at 2-over 146, but Ross beat Mory with a par on the 10th hole in a playoff for the individual title. In a one-day affair at the Purdue/Midwest Shootout at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex Saturday, Purdue carded rounds of 297 and 291 for a total of 12-over par 588 by 15 strokes over runner-up Miami (Ohio). Boilermaker freshman Adam Schenk posted a total of 1-under 143 to claim the individual medalist honors.
[SEVEN // trio of women’s golf teams ranked by golfweek]
Purdue, Ohio State and Michigan State have been tabbed as top-30 teams in Golfweek's preseason women's golf rankings. The defending NCAA and Big Ten Champion Boilermakers entered the season as the No. 1 team in the country, while the Buckeyes held No. 21 and the Spartans checked in at No. 23. Three Purdue golfers also earned preseason laurels as Maude-Aimee LeBlanc, Numa Gulyanamitta and Laura Gonzalez-Escallon entered the season ranked in the individual top 30. LeBlanc, ranked fourth in the individual top 30, finished in a tie for third at the NCAA Championships last season.
[EIGHT // women’s golf opens at wolverine invite]
Three women’s golf teams open the campaign in Ann Arbor this past weekend at the Wolverine Invitational. Northwestern (300-313-306) tied for third with Western Michigan at 919, with Michigan (307-305-312) fifth at 924 and Indiana (308-306-311) sixth at 925 in the 17-team field. Michigan’s Min Yean Tan (75-71-79) and Northwestern’s Devon Brown (73-78-74) led Big Ten golfers in a third-place tie at 225.
[NINE // penn state’s wright battling for wnba title]
In the opening game of the 2010 WNBA Finals, former Penn State and Big Ten defensive standout Tanisha Wright helped guide her Seattle Storm to a 79-77 win over Atlanta on Sunday. Wright recorded 4 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds and 1 steal in more than 33 minutes of play. In her sixth season with Seattle, Wright has accounted for 9.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, a career-best 4.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game. She ranks 10th in the WNBA in assists per game and eighth in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.17). The three-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year has also been steady at the free throw line, ranking 13th in the WNBA with an 84.4 percent mark from the stripe. Wright was also recently selected to the WNBA All-Defensive first team for the second consecutive season.
[TEN // an impressive run]
Speaking of Penn State, we use this space this week not to highlight a loss, but rather celebrate an unbelievable accomplishment in college sports. After three storybook volleyball seasons, No. 1 Penn State's record-breaking 109-match winning streak came to an end Saturday night with a 3-0 (28-26, 25-12, 25-18) loss to No. 2 Stanford. During the streak, which is the longest Division I women's streak in history and second overall only to the Miami men's tennis team's streak of 137 straight matches, the Nittany Lions won an unprecedented three straight NCAA titles. Between Sept. 21, 2007 and Sept. 10, 2010, Penn State lost just 19 sets and won a record breaking 111 straight sets beginning with the final set of the 2007 National Championship match against Stanford and ending in the third set of the 2008 NCAA National Semifinal against Nebraska. In addition, Penn State won an NCAA-best 55 straight road matches and was not out-blocked for 68 consecutive matches. Quite an impressive run and we wish the Nittany Lions the best of luck throughout the year.
[ELEVEN // the loss of a michigan man]
Finally this week, when we begin by praising the newest “Michigan Man” in Denard Robinson, we close by saying goodbye to another. Two-time University of Michigan football consensus All-American (1955-56) and All-Pro tight end Ron Kramer passed away on Saturday at the age of 75. Kramer was a nine-time letterman in three sports at Michigan: football, basketball and track. He led the Wolverines in scoring for two seasons on the gridiron, and did the same in basketball. As a basketball player he scored 1,119 points and was the team's Most Valuable Player as a junior. Kramer’s No. 87 is one of just five numbers retired by Michigan football, having captured three first-team All-Big Ten honors as a standout two-way player, seeing time at offensive and defensive end, running back, quarterback, kicker and receiver, often in the same game.