Sept. 11, 2011
[ONE // big ten football blanks opponents at day; shocks opponents at night]
Big Ten football boasted a balance of dominance and dramatics in week two of the 2011 season this past Saturday. Russell Wilson tossed three touchdowns to help Wisconsin to a 35-0 shutout over Oregon State, while Kirk Cousins and LeVeon Bell helped Michigan State blank Florida Atlantic, 44-0. Illinois produced a dominant 56-3 result over South Dakota State and Michigan used last-minute dramatics to defeat rival Notre Dame 35-31 under the lights of the "Big House." Among the other conference winners, Ohio State topped Toledo 27-22, Northwestern doubled up Eastern Illinois, 42-21, and Nebraska dropped Fresno State, 42-29. In other competition, Iowa State beat Iowa 44-41 in triple overtime, Alabama took out Penn State 27-11, Minnesota fell to New Mexico State 28-21, Purdue lost at Rice 24-22, and Virginia beat Indiana at the last second, 34-31.
[TWO // minnesota's kill continues to improve following seizure]
The Big Ten's thoughts and prayers are with Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill and the entire Golden Gopher football family after the first-year mentor suffered a seizure on the sideline in the final seconds of the team's home-opening 28-21 loss Saturday. The school's medical staff believes the seizure stemmed from a mix of dehydration and his medication releated to his kidney cancer. Kill continued to show signs of improvement Sunday and is resting comfortably at a Minneapolis hospital. For more information on Kill's condition, click here for the latest from gophersports.com.
[THREE // several football standouts earn honors throughout the week]
A number of Big Ten football standouts were honored this past week for their performances during the first week of the 2011 season. Michigan's Brandon Herron was named the College Football Performance National Defensive Performer of the Week, Ohio State's Jake Stoneburner earned National Tight End of the Week, Penn State's Chaz Powell was honored as National Kickoff Returner of the Week and Nebraska's Brett Maher was tabbed the National Place Kicker of the Week. Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs was named the Lott IMPACT Player of the Week and Nebraska's Brett Maher was tabbed as one of three "Stars of the Week" by the Lou Groza Collegiate Place Kicker Award, college football's top kicking award. Ohio State's Stoneburner was also named the John Mackey Tight End of the Week by the Nassau County Sports Commission.
[FOUR // covering the conference olympic style]
Going around the Big Ten Conference on the Olympic sports scene, Illinois volleyball captured the MTSU Invitational this past week with a thrilling five-set victory over Tulsa. Goals from Chris Estridge and Alec Purdie gave Indiana men's soccer its fourth-straight victory with a 2-1 win over Denver Sunday at the Mike Berticelli Memorial Tournament. With the win the Hoosiers improved to 4-0-1 and were crowned champions of the tournament. Iowa volleyball rallied to defeat Oakland, 3-2, Saturday to win the Iowa Invitational, while No. 20 Michigan swept No. 23 Dayton in the finale of the Dayton Marriott Flyer Classic on Saturday as well. Capturing its first win of the season, the Michigan State field hockey team downed No. 7 Virginia, 3-0. Redshirt goaltender Molly Cassidy recorded her first shutout of 2011 while freshman Abby Barker and juniors Adelle Lever and Elizabeth Helffrich all tallied their first goals of the season. Back to volleyball, No. 6 Minnesota topped No. 15 Northern Iowa in five sets to win the Clarion Inn-vitational, where Ashley Wittman was named the tournament MVP after notching 60 kills in three matches. The No. 11 Nebraska volleyball team made quick work of the Weber State Wildcats 3-0 Saturday afternoon in the final match of the 2011 Ameritas Player's Challenge. For the second time in as many years, Northwestern field hockey knocked off a top-10 opponent, this time toppling No. 8 American, 2-1, at the Terrapin Invitational in College Park, Md. Freshman Maddy Carpenter accrued six saves in 10 shots on goal for the second day in a row, helping the 'Cats pull out the upset win. Ohio State volleyball finished undefeated to win the Rocket Classic with a 3-1 win over host Toledo Saturday night. Penn State women's soccer handed No. 7 Virginia its first loss of the season with a 3-2 victory this past weekend. The Purdue men's and women's cross country teams dominated the IPFW Invitational as both teams took the top spot in their second meet of the season. The Boilermaker men had the 8K race's top five finishers and eight of the top 10, with Charles White crossing the line first with a time of 25:27.63. On the women's side, Dana Payonk won in just her second race as a Boilermaker with a 5K time of 18:35.62. Finally, the Wisconsin volleyball team swept its third-straight opponent to win the Art Carmichael Invitational on Saturday morning. The Badgers beat Columbia 25-15, 25-22, 25-20 to win their first tournament of the season.
[FIVE // big ten well represented on nfl rosters]
The Big Ten was heavily represented when the 2011 National Football League (NFL) season kicked off this past Thursday with 234 players appearing on the 53-man active rosters of the 32 NFL teams. Former student-athletes from all 12 Big Ten programs appear on an NFL roster, led by 35 players from Ohio State. The Buckeyes are one of seven college football programs to boast at least 35 players on the NFL's 53-man rosters. In all, five Big Ten teams feature at least 25 former players on NFL rosters, including Ohio State, Iowa (31), Michigan (26), Nebraska (25) and Penn State (25). The Big Ten and SEC are the only conferences to feature five schools with 25 or more players on the 53-man rosters. Only 16 college football programs can boast 25 or more NFL representatives. The Big Ten's 234-player contingent ranks second among all conferences behind only the SEC (268). Check out how some of the Big Ten's former stars did in week one of the NFL season.
[SIX // ready to watch some hoops]
This past week the Big Ten announced the men's basketball schedule and television coverage for the 2011-12 season. On Tuesday, it was announced that 44 Big Ten games will be televised on CBS Sports or an ESPN network. CBS Sports will carry eight weekend games this season, while 36 contests will appear on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU. ESPN will air its first Big Ten conference matchup on Dec. 27, the first day of the conference schedule. Nebraska will host Wisconsin at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The first CBS Sports broadcast of the conference season comes on Jan. 8 as Michigan hosts Wisconsin. On Wednesday, an additional 64 games were announced to air on the BTN, marking the fifth consecutive year that every regular-season conference game will be nationally broadcast. BTN will carry the first game of the conference season as Illinois hosts Minnesota at 7:30 p.m. ET on Dec. 27.
[SEVEN // women's hoops schedule released]
The Big Ten announced on Wednesday its 2011-12 conference women's basketball schedule, revealing extensive exposure for its 12 institutions. In total, 45 regular season conference games will be broadcast to a national audience, 38 of which will be televised live by BTN, six on ESPN2 and one on CBS Sports. Numerous non-conference games will be televised nationally by BTN, and the network will stream a select number of games throughout the entire 2011-12 season on www.btn.com. Dates, times and distribution for the non-conference schedule will be announced prior to the start of the season. For the first time in conference history, the Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament will feature 11 games, all of which will be broadcast to a national audience. For more on the national television coverage, click here.
[EIGHT // spartan, former hoosier nominated for courage in sports]
Michigan State offensive lineman Arthur Ray Jr. and former Indiana basketball standout Landon Turner have been nominated for the America's Choice Honor for Courage in Sports, Intersport announced Monday. The America's Choice Honor, wholly determined by fan voting, recognizes individuals that have overcome monumental challenges to achieve greatness in the world of sports. The winner will be announced on a one-hour "Courage in Sports" special airing at 5 p.m. ET Nov. 13 on CBS. A standout lineman at Chicago's Mount Carmel High School and ranked among the nation's top offensive guards, Ray signed to play for the Spartans in 2007 but was diagnosed with bone cancer soon after. After four years, frequent chemotherapy, nine surgeries, multiple infections and almost two years on crutches, Ray was cleared to practice in April 2011 and is on the Spartans roster this season. Although taking a rest period following a setback in camp, Ray remained vigilant and returned to the field this season, earning his first collegiate start against Youngstown State. Turner, a dominant power forward, and teammate of Isaiah Thomas, led the Hoosiers to an NCAA National Championship in 1981. Just four months later, Turner suffered a fractured spine in an automobile accident and was left paralyzed from the chest down. Despite his tragic injury, the budding star was selected in the 10th round of the 1982 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics. Confined to a wheelchair for the last 30 years, Turner has remained an adored figure in the eyes of the Indiana faithful. He now works as a motivational speaker, educating young people in Indiana about disability awareness. Turner was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.
[NINE // boiler earns first golfer of the week honor; duo named to golf world's watch list]
Congratulations to Purdue's Tyler Duncan, who was named the Big Ten Men's Golfer of the Week on Wednesday. Duncan tied for third place with a score of 5-under-par 211 at the Turning Stone Tiger Intercollegiate, helping Purdue to a tie for third in the team standings. Duncan wasn't the only golfer honored this week. Illinois' Luke Guthrie and Iowa's Chris Brant were selected this past week as two of Golf World's 50 college golf players to watch. Guthrie and Brant finished first and second, respectively, at the 2011 Big Ten Championships. Guthrie, who is listed at No. 5 on the players to watch list, followed with a top-15 performance at the NCAA Championships, tying for 13th place at the event, while Brant tied for 20th.
[TEN // golf world and conference coaches name big ten linksters to watch]
In addition to the men's watch list, Golf World also released a women's watch list, which including a trio of conference golfers. Michigan State's Caroline Powers, Northwestern's Lauren Weaver and Purdue's Laura Gonzalez-Escallon were among Golf World's 50 women's college golf players to watch. Weaver earned runner-up status at the 2011 Big Ten Championships, while Powers followed in fourth place and Gonzalez-Escallon took sixth. Gonzalez-Escallon finished third individually at the NCAA Championships to lead the Boilermakers to a runner-up finish, while Powers tied for sixth. The Big Ten also got into the mix as the conference office announced its 2011-12 Women's Golfers to Watch List on Wednesday, with three student-athletes from each conference team decorating the list. Seven golfers among the group of 36 closed the 2010-11 season with All-Big Ten honors. Michigan State's Powers, Northwestern's Weaver and Purdue's Gonzalez-Escallon and Paula Reto finished the 2011 conference championships as first-team All-Big Ten honorees and open the 2011-12 season among the Big Ten Golfers to Watch. All four golfers also finished the season ranked in the top 100 nationally by Golfweek/Sagarin. The complete list of Big Ten Women's Golfers to Watch can be found by clicking here.
[ELEVEN // women's golf opens the 2011 fall campaign]
The Big Ten women's golf fall campaign got underway this past week with five of the 12 conference squads in action, while four others are set to hit the course this upcoming Monday and Tuesday. Indiana fired a round of 297 Sunday to win the IU Fall Kickoff by nine strokes over second-place IUPUI and Indiana State. The Hoosiers finished with a two-round total of 602 (+26). The Jaguars placed second at 611 (+35), along with the Sycamores. IU junior Rosie Davies won her first tournament as a Hoosier, carding a 72 on Sunday to finish with a two-round total of 144. Minnesota, Penn State and Wisconsin all opened their respective seasons together at the Cougar Classic in Charleston, S.C. Sunday marked the first round of the 54-hole tournament, with Minnesota's 305 tying for 15th and Penn State's and Wisconsin's 308 tying for 19th. Minnesota's Aubrie Nelson led all Big Ten golfers with a 2-over 74. Michigan State opened the first round of the "Mo"Morial in Bryan, Texas with a score of 321 to place tied for 11th.
[TWELVE // remembering 9-11, 10 years ago]
Finally this week, the Big Ten along with the rest of the sporting world and country paused to reflect on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Several Big Ten squads over the entire sports landscape honored the anniversary in a variety of different ways, from decorating their competition fields to wearing stars and stripes apparel and decals on their helmets. For Penn State football players Stephen Obeng-Agyapong and Stephfon Green and Illinois' Tavon Wilson and Trulon Henry, the day will always have added significance. All four were living near the destruction, either in New York City or Washington DC, at the times of the attacks. In this great BTN feature, watch all four players share their memories of that fateful morning in 2001 when America forever changed. Also, catch this other amazing feature story examining Big Ten football before and immediately after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Also this week, the Big Ten provided an update on its Big Ten 9-11 Scholarship Fund. For more information on the progress the conference has made with this, please click here.