Oct. 6, 2013
[ONE // hoosiers end streak; buckeyes/wildcats clash in prime-time special]
Five Big Ten football games were on the docket this past Saturday, which included the end of an impressive streak, two career performances, a rivalry game, and a prime-time top-25 matchup in Evanston. No. 4/3 Ohio State remained perfect on the season with a come-from-behind 40-30 victory at No. 16/15 Northwestern Saturday night. Earlier in the day, Indiana snapped a 16-game losing streak to Penn State with a 44-24 victory in Bloomington, while Michigan retained the Little Brown Jug with a 42-13 victory over Minnesota. Elsewhere, Ameer Abdullah ran for a career-high 225 yards to help Nebraska top Illinois 39-19, and Connor Cook threw for a career-high 277 yards as Michigan State defeated Iowa, 26-14.
[TWO // several headline makers in big ten olympic sports]
Several headlines were made this past week in Big Ten Olympic-sport competition. In volleyball, Illinois fought back Sunday to upset No. 14 Michigan 3-2 in Ann Arbor, while No. 24 Purdue knocked off No. 12 Ohio State 3-0 on Friday. In men’s soccer, Penn State defeated defending NCAA Champion Indiana 2-0 in Bloomington, which marked the Nittany Lions’ first-ever shutout victory at Indiana in program history. Also, Michigan State scored an upset win over No. 5 Northwestern, 3-2, while the Minnesota women’s soccer team posted a 1-0 stunner over No. 7 Penn State on Sunday. Elsewhere, Illinois men’s golf claimed the Macdonald Cup, and Michigan field hockey netted 10 goals in a non-conference win over Ball State. For more on Big Ten fall sports action, follow the B1G blog by clicking here.
[THREE // iowa’s meyer getting his kicks nationally]
Iowa's Mike Meyer was recognized as one of the "Stars of the Week" by the Lou Groza Award this past Monday. Meyer accounted for 12 points in Iowa's 23-7 victory over Minnesota, helping the Hawkeyes secure the Floyd of Rosedale for the second straight year. In addition to field goals of 49, 46 and 25 yards, the Dubuque, Iowa, native was 2-for-2 on extra point attempts to extend his PAT streak to a school record 100, which is sixth in Big Ten history and the fourth-longest active streak in the nation.
[FOUR // the great eight]
Eight Big Ten student-athletes were among 54 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) players to be named candidates for the 2013 National Football Foundation (NFF) National Scholar-Athlete Awards and semifinalists for the NFF William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation. Big Ten honorees are Illinois' Nathan Scheelhaase, Iowa's James Morris, Michigan's Courtney Avery, Michigan State's Max Bullough, Minnesota's Aaron Hill, Nebraska's Spencer Long, Penn State's John Urschel and Purdue's Rob Henry. Candidates must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first-team player or significant contributor and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. The NFF Awards Committee will announce up to 16 players as members of the 2013 National Scholar-Athlete Class on Oct. 31, with recipients earning an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. The National Scholar-Athlete Class honorees will also be finalists for the Campbell Trophy, which will be announced Dec. 10. Four student-athletes from Big Ten schools have won the Campbell Trophy - Nebraska's Rob Zatechka (1994) and Kyle Vanden Bosch (2000) and Ohio State's Bobby Hoying (1995) and Craig Krenzel (2003).
[FIVE // spartans’ wicinski named volleyball’s top player]
Michigan State outside hitter Lauren Wicinksi was named this past week as the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player of the Week after leading then-No. 15 Michigan State to road victories over No. 1 Penn State and No. 13 Ohio State to open Big Ten play 2-0 for the fourth time in school history. On the week, the senior averaged 4.1 kills and 1.4 digs per set. Wicinski is the third Big Ten student-athlete to be named National Player of the Week this season and second in a row, joining Ohio State's Kaitlyn Leary (Sept. 10) and Northwestern's Stephanie Holthus (Sept. 24).
[SIX // alashe and medina go top drawer for soccer honors]
Michigan State's Fatai Alashe and Northwestern's Brandon Medina earned spots in the Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week this past Tuesday, while Alashe was also named Player of the Week. A junior midfielder, Alashe scored his first goal of the season in a 2-2 overtime draw against No. 3 Creighton on Sept. 24. Alashe also assisted on a goal that helped the Spartans shut out Northern Illinois, 2-0, on Sept. 28. Medina, Northwestern's freshman midfielder, scored a goal and assisted on the game-winning goal in a 2-0 shutout of Michigan on Sept. 28.
[SEVEN // seth davis to really start talking big ten basketball]
Seth Davis, a studio host for CBS Sports and a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated, has joined the BTN broadcast team for men’s basketball this year. It was one of several schedule and talent-related announcements made by the BTN this past week. BTN will be the fans' destination for high-quality hoops this season, with more than half of all Big Ten Conference matchups airing on the network, including nine straight weeks of doubleheaders on "Super Wednesdays." In all, BTN will televise 67 men's conference basketball matchups, including four Big Ten Tournament games and an additional number of non-conference games. With as many as six Big Ten teams included in 2013-14 preseason polls, BTN's conference schedule will feature 42 appearances by a projected top-25 squads. Teams appearing in the current preseason rankings include Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin.
[EIGHT // btn releases women’s basketball slate]
A total of 61 Big Ten women's basketball conference or tournament games are scheduled for live television coverage during the coming season, the Big Ten announced Tuesday. BTN will televise 53 games, ESPN networks will carry seven contests and CBS Sports will broadcast one conference matchup. During the regular season, 50 conference contests are scheduled for live television coverage, beginning with the opening night of Big Ten play on January 2. The Big Ten Digital Network (BTDN) will also stream numerous other conference matchups throughout the season. That schedule will be finalized at a later date.
[NINE // four featured in wnba finals]
The WNBA Finals featured four former Big Ten standouts when the Atlanta Dream and Minnesota Lynx faced off this past weekend, as Minnesota's Janel McCarville and Lindsay Whalen, Nebraska's Lindsey Moore and Penn State's Alex Bentley chase the title. McCarville, Moore and Whalen are part of a Lynx squad that enters its third WNBA Finals appearance in a row, having won the title in 2011. Bentley plays for the Dream, which is making its third finals appearance in the last four years. The total of four representatives from the Big Ten is tied for most among all conferences nationally. Whalen and Bentley have already picked up individual accolades this year, as Whalen was named to the All-WNBA first team and Bentley was an All-Rookie team pick. Game 1 of the WNBA Finals tipped off late Sunday night.
[TEN // big ten hockey alums earn nhl roster spots]
With 63 players earning spots on National Hockey League opening-night rosters, Big Ten schools have certainly made their mark on the NHL. Leading all programs across the nation with 17 players on NHL rosters is Wisconsin, followed by Michigan (15 players), Michigan State (14), Minnesota (12) and Ohio State (five). In all, Big Ten programs account for 30 percent of the 210 Division I college hockey alums currently plying their trade in the NHL. A sortable spreadsheet of all NCAA alums on NHL rosters is available on collegehockeyinc.com.
[ELEVEN // big ten country all smiles for hockey]
Whether you call yourself a hockey fan or not, you have to respect the new Big Ten hockey public-service announcement (PSA), which was aired this past weekend on several football broadcasts. In the 30-second spot, a number of Big Ten representatives, including Wisconsin athletics director Barry Alvarez, Penn State football coach Bill O’Brien, and Michigan State men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo, were seen sporting their new hockey smiles, sans a tooth or two. A tip of the cap to Coach Izzo as well for driving a mean zamboni. To view the new hockey PSA, click here.
[TWELVE // big ten simply doing bigger things]
Finally this week, when it is so easy to get wrapped up in wins and losses, streaks, and trophies, we end with two B1G emotional stories that involve a pair of B1G football teams. In Columbus, credit goes to the Ohio State football family for how it consoled longtime Dom Tiberi, a local sports anchor a CBS-affiliate WBNS since 1981. Tiberi lost his 21-year-old daughter in a car crash on Sept. 17. Prior to last week’s win over Wisconsin, OSU held a moment of silence for the Tiberi family, while after the victory the entire team lined up to give him a hug. Elsewhere in Big Ten Country, terrific news was learned out of the extended Nebraska football family as Jack Hoffman, the eight-year-old Huskers fan and brain cancer patient who won an ESPY for his touchdown run during Nebraska’s spring game, is now in remission. An MRI revealed that 60 weeks of chemotherapy treatments not only stopped his tumor from growing but also shrank it. For more on Jack’s recovery, click here.