Oct. 4, 2009
[ONE // close games highlight week five of big ten football]
Four Big Ten football games that kicked off early Saturday were all decided by six points or less in an exciting weekend. Wisconsin defeated Minnesota, 31-28, to stake claim to Paul Bunyan's axe, while Northwestern held on to defeat Purdue, 27-21, in West Lafayette. Iowa held off a pesky Arkansas State by a score of 24-21, but the game of the day took place in the state of Michigan. Michigan State’s Larry Caper ran for a 23-yard touchdown in overtime to give the Spartans a 26-20 victory over the No. 22 Wolverines, marking MSU’s first two-game winning streak against their in-state rival since 1967. Later in the afternoon Penn state topped Illinois, 35-17, while Indiana fell at home to Ohio State in primetime, 33-14.
[TWO // football players of the week announced]
The Big Ten announced its weekly football honors Sunday night and a pair of Badgers took home Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week awards. Wisconsin’s John Clay earned Offensive honors after setting career highs with 184 rushing yards and three touchdowns while matching a career best with 32 carries to lead Wisconsin to a road triumph at Minnesota. Clay’s teammate, O’Brien Schofield, took home Defensive honors after filling the stat sheet with six tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, a career-best two sacks and a pass breakup while also forcing a fumble to end Minnesota’s last-chance drive and secure a three-point road victory. Sharing Special Team Player of the Week honors are Northwestern’s Stefan Demos and Penn State’s Jeremy Boone. Demos connected on all four of his field goal attempts and added an extra point for a career-best 13 points to help Northwestern rally from a 21-3 deficit and earn a road triumph at Purdue, while Boone averaged nearly 50 yards per punt and pinned Illinois inside the five-yard line on two kicks to help Penn State win the field position battle and pick up a road victory.
[THREE // iowa’s clayborn earns national honor]
Congratulations to Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who was voted by college football fans from all over the country as the AT&T All-America Player of the Week. The Hawkeye defender earned the award after he had two tackles and a blocked punt returned for a touchdown in Iowa's 21-10 upset over fifth-ranked Penn State. In December, four finalists for the AT&T All-America Player of the Year Award will be announced during a one-hour special on ESPN in conjunction with the announcement of the AT&T ESPN All-America Team as selected by the Football Writers Association of America. Best of luck to Adrian!
[FOUR // all things are possible]
In addition to its exceptional coverage of all things Big Ten, the Big Ten Network has also produced several great features on current and former conference standouts. This past week, the conference-owned network took an inside look at Michigan State's Arthur Ray, a football recruit who has been battling cancer for the last two-plus years. Check out Dave Revsine’s feature on Ray, proving that yes, “all things are possible.”
[FIVE // northwestern goes wild in field hockey win]
How about the offensive output of the 17th-ranked Northwestern field hockey team on Sunday? The Wildcats routed Saint Louis 12-1 in Evanston, breaking 23-year-old records for goals in a single game and largest margin of victory. NU's 12 tallies topped the previous single-game record of 11 set on Sept. 21, 1986, against Northern Illinois, the same game in which the school's record for margin of victory (nine) had been set. With the victory, Northwestern (10-4) also reached the 10-win plateau for the first time since the 1995 campaign when the 'Cats finished 13-6.
[SIX // number 1 gets number 80]
From school records to national records… Congratulations to the top-ranked Penn State women’s volleyball team as it concluded its first home weekend of Big Ten play with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-16) victory against Wisconsin. The victory over the Badgers was more notable for Penn State because it extended its NCAA-record winning streak to 80 consecutive matches. Alisha Glass recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 31 assists and a team-best 14 digs. Currently PSU is 16-0 on the season and 4-0 in league play.
[SEVEN // kudos for the cross country course]
Both the Wisconsin men’s and women’s cross country teams have long awaited the inaugural Wisconsin adidas Invitational since it was put on the schedule. Not just because it was the first-ever event, but because it would be held on the new Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course. Several nationally-ranked cross country teams traveled to Madison over the weekend and left blown away with the caliber of the course itself. On the men’s side, the fourth-ranked Badgers led all Big Ten squads with a third-place finish (94 points), followed by Iowa (176), Illinois (192) and Michigan (234) in fifth, sixth and ninth, respectively. Iowa freshman Jeff Thode finished second with an 8,000-meter time of 23:54.8. In the women’s event, Illinois (95) placed third, followed by Michigan (118) and Iowa (157) in fifth and sixth. The host Badgers finished 11th with 291 points. Illinois’ Angela Bizzarri was the conference’s top finisher, placing second with a 6,000-meter time of 17:03.2.
[EIGHT // more hoops seasons for penn state’s dechellis]
Good news out of State College this past week as one of the good guys in college basketball will be around the Nittany Lions for a few more years. Penn State’s men’s basketball coach Ed DeChellis earned a contract extension that will keep him at the helm of the Nittany Lion program through the 2013-14 season. The 2008-09 campaign was a season of "firsts" for the PSU program. Selected the 2009 Big Ten Coach of the Year, DeChellis led Penn State to a school-record 27 victories, culminating in the 2009 NIT Championship, the program's first-ever national post-season tournament title. The Nittany Lions (27-11) earned four victories over RPI Top 25 opponents and seven wins over Top 50 teams, including their first-ever victory at Michigan State, the NCAA Tournament runner-up.
[NINE // purdue women score “big ten” win at lady northern]
It was a rain-soaked “Big Ten Fall Preview” at the University Ridge Golf Course in Madison, Wis., but the Purdue women’s golf team earned an impressive win earlier in the week against several conference foes. The Boilermakers recorded a 54-hole score of 1-over-par 865 (291-285-289) to claim the title. Ohio State and Michigan State tied for second at 878, followed by Northwestern in fourth, two shots back. Among the other conference teams, the host Badgers were sixth (908) and Indiana (910), Minnesota (914), Illinois (916) and Michigan (920) rounded out the top 10. Iowa (939) and Penn State (951) finished 12th and 14th, respectively, in the 15-team field. Purdue’s Maude-Aimee LeBlanc claimed the individual title with a 6-under 210 (68-72-70) and was followed in the top five by teammate Junthima Gulyanamitta (213), Ohio State’s Allie White (215) and Rachel Rohanna (218), and Michigan State’s Laura Kueny and Caroline Powers tied at 219.
[TEN // grapplers gain attention]
This past week the Amateur Wrestling News released its preseason rankings for each individual weight class and the Big Ten was well-represented in each division. Among the highlights, Michigan State’s Franklin Gomez is rated No. 1 at 133 pounds, as is Ohio State’s Reece Humphrey at 141, Iowa’s Brent Metcalf at 149 and Ohio State’s Mike Pucillo at 184. Five wrestlers will open the 2009-2010 season with a No. 2 rating, including Indiana’s Angel Escobedo at 125, Minnesota’s Jayson Ness at 133 and Dustin Schlatter at 165, Ohio State’s Lance Palmer at 149, and Iowa’s Phil Keddy at 184.
[ELEVEN // big ten represented in wnba finals]
Former Big Ten standouts continue to post impressive performances in the WNBA Finals. The Indiana Fever, which have recently played before sellout crowds at Conseco Fieldhouse – home of the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament – hold a 2-1 advantage over the Phoenix Mercury in the best-of-five series. In the opening game, which the Phoenix won 120-116 in overtime, Indiana’s Katie Douglas, formerly of Purdue, scored 30 points in the loss, while Iowa standout Tangela Smith netted 14 points for the Mercury. In Game 2, Douglas scored 14 points while former Ohio State star Jessica Davenport recorded 10 points for the Fever in their 93-84 win. Smith scored 12 points in the loss while former Penn State leader Kelly Mazzante saw playing time in the loss. In Sunday’s 86-85 win for the Fever, Douglas earned 15 points for Indiana, while Smith netted five points and 10 rebounds in the loss.