Sept. 20, 2009
[ONE // football posts six wins in week three]
With Illinois idle this past week, Big Ten football teams went 6-4 on Saturday. Winners included Indiana (38-21, Akron), Iowa (27-17, Arizona), Michigan (45-17, Eastern Michigan), Ohio State (38-0, Toledo), Penn State (31-6, Temple) and Wisconsin (44-14, Wofford). Michigan State suffered a 33-30 heartbreaker at Notre Dame, just as Northwestern did at Syracuse, 37-34. Also dropping a game Saturday was Minnesota (35-21, California) and Purdue (28-21, Northern Illinois).
[TWO // news and notes from the gridiron]
There were so many impressive individual performances on the football field Saturday that the conference office honored five schools with weekly honors. Michigan’s Carlos Brown and Northwestern’s Mike Kafka shared Offensive Player of the Week laurels. Brown averaged 14.4 yards per carry against Eastern Michigan, racking up a career-high 187 rushing yards on only 13 carries while scoring a pair of touchdowns. Kafka got it done everywhere, connecting on a school-record 16 straight pass attempts to open the game and setting a single-game record by completing 83.3 percent of his passes while accounting for five touchdowns to keep Northwestern close in a high-scoring shootout at Syracuse. The senior quarterback completed 35-of-42 passes for a career-best 390 yards with three touchdown passes. He also added a touchdown run and reception, becoming the first Big Ten player with at least one passing, rushing and receiving score in the same game since Penn State’s Zack Mills accomplished the feat against Akron in 2004. Penn State’s Sean Lee was named Defensive Player of the Week after posting 12 defensive stops to help the Nittany Lions hold Temple to only a pair of field goals. Iowa’s Ryan Donahue and Wisconsin’s Chris Borland shared Special Teams Player of the Week honors as well. Donahue averaged 51 yards on five punts against Arizona, including placing two boots inside the 20-yard line with a long of 62 yards. Borland made his presence felt on special teams against Wofford, blocking a punt and forcing a fumble on another punt while adding four tackles on defense.
[THREE // women’s basketball gets more air time]
The Big Ten announced Thursday expanded broadcast opportunities for its 11 women’s basketball programs. Included in the broadcast schedule is a streaming initiative that will encompass approximately 100 Big Ten women’s basketball games. Expanded streaming on www.BigTenNetwork.com, combined with the conference’s linear television package, will give Big Ten women’s basketball television or internet coverage for nearly 90 percent of its home games in 2009-10. In addition to its streaming package, the Big Ten Network will broadcast 55 games on its linear network, while six more will be shown on ESPN2 and another will be aired by CBS Sports. Games streamed on www.BigTenNetwork.com will be produced in HD-quality.
[FOUR // …and volleyball does too]
Also on Thursday, the Big Ten Network announced it will double its commitment to several Olympic sports this season by streaming at least 200 live events on www.BigTenNetwork.com. The network has made a significant financial investment to provide fans with a high-quality streaming experience that is comparable to watching a game in high definition. The streaming initiative will offer two major benefits. First, it will allow fans to follow teams and sports that for the most part received significantly less coverage than other sports. And second, students on campus will have the opportunity to help produce the streamed events and learn more about television sports production, a highly competitive field. Furthermore, the 200 streamed events are in addition to the more than 350 events already airing on the network, creating a total of approximately 550 campus events the Big Ten Network is bringing to fans.
[FIVE // hail the hawkeyes]
A few weeks back we put the spotlight on the Indiana women’s soccer team for its best start in school history. Now the spotlight shines on the Iowa women’s soccer team. After a 3-0 blanking of Northern Iowa on Sunday, the Hawkeyes improved to 7-2 on the season, marking the best start in the program’s 13-year history. The 2000 squad has the second best start with a 6-3 record through nine games. The team has only allowed six goals in nine games, three coming to then No. 24 Missouri in Iowa's season opener (3-2).
[SIX // buckeyes boast shutout streak]
Keeping with women’s soccer, but moving from an impressive team performance to an outstanding individual mark. Congratulations to Ohio State senior goalkeeper Lauren Robertson on setting the school’s career shutout record Friday. Robertson broke Amber Barnes' career shutout record with 23 as the Buckeyes topped North Texas, 2-0, at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. On Sunday, Robertson extended her new school record to 24 as OSU earned its third-consecutive shutout and sixth consecutive win, downing Toledo 2-0.
[SEVEN // first men’s cross country poll announced]
The Big Ten was well represented in the preseason U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Men's Cross Country Top 30 Preseason Coaches' Poll, with five programs receiving votes, including one in the top five. The Big Ten, the Pac-10 and the Big East lead all conferences with four teams apiece in the national poll. Pacing all Big Ten schools is Wisconsin, leading the pack at No. 4. Also in the top 30 is Minnesota, who voted in at No. 17, while Michigan and Penn State checked in at No. 22 and No. 28, respectively. Ohio State is also receiving votes.
[EIGHT // women rank high as well]
The Big Ten also boasts six teams in the preseason U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Women's Cross Country Top 30 Preseason Coaches' Poll, including two top-10 teams. The six conference squads ranked are tied for the most among any conference in the nation. Minnesota and Illinois lead the conference contingent, checking in at No. 8 and No. 10, respectively. Following close behind in the initial poll are Wisconsin (No. 15), Michigan State (No. 17) and Michigan (No. 19). Rounding out the conference squads is Penn State, voting in at No. 26. Indiana and Iowa also received votes.
[NINE // osu volleyball has banner weekend]
The Ohio State women’s volleyball team enjoyed a banner weekend as the Buckeyes captured the Sports Imports Classic and honored one of their own. OSU swept Xavier by scores of 27-25, 25-18 and 25-6 and was led by Katie Dull’s match-high 17.5 points with 13 kills (.476), an ace serve, three solo blocks and one assist block. In addition to the win, former women's volleyball player Danielle Meyer (Greaves) was honored by having her All-American banner displayed in St. John Arena. Meyer was a three-time All-Big Ten selection and Academic All-Big Ten player, a four-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and was a first team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American as a senior.
[TEN // buckeye field hockey goes pink, honors former coach]
Speaking of the Buckeyes, the Ohio State field hockey team promoted Breast Cancer Awareness this past weekend as it defeated Vermont and Central Michigan Friday and Sunday. On Sunday against Central Michigan, the Buckeyes wore pink socks and passed out pink and yellow ribbons to all fans. Central Michigan, led by former Buckeye Cristy Freese (1976-79), joined in support of the cause by wearing pink wristbands. Harriet Reynolds, head coach of the Ohio State field hockey team from 1973-86, was honored at halftime after suffering from the disease for nearly three years, passing away in 1987. The Buckeyes also collected donations for Breast Cancer Awareness that was to the James Cancer Hospital at Ohio State.
[ELEVEN // the passing of a change agent]
Finally this week, we learned of the passing of NCAA president and former Indiana president Myles Brand. After battling pancreatic cancer for nearly a year, Brand passed away on Wednesday. He was 67. Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany echoed the sentiments that many of us in the conference are feeling. “This is a sad moment for the Big Ten and the NCAA as a whole. Myles Brand was a tremendous leader at Indiana University and an active change agent in spotlighting academic improvement as the NCAA president. He made tremendous progress in moving the NCAA closer to its educational roots and transformed it into an organization concerned about the student component of the student-athlete. On behalf of the Big Ten, its institutions, presidents, faculty, coaches and student-athletes, we greatly appreciate the contributions made by Myles Brand, and our hearts go out to his family during this difficult time.”