Oct. 10, 2010
[ONE // spartans capture win in ann arbor, buckeyes earn nation’s top ranking]
In week two of Big Ten football action, Ohio State claimed a 38-10 victory over Indiana and then earned the No. 1 overall ranking in the country after top-ranked Alabama fell to South Carolina Saturday night. The Buckeyes received 34 first-place votes from the media, 49 first-place votes from the coaches and 79 first-place votes from Harris voters to give the Big Ten the nation's top-ranked team for the first time since Dec. 2, 2007, when OSU was ranked first in all three polls. Michigan State also made headlines by capturing a 34-17 victory over Michigan in Ann Arbor – its most-lopsided victory in the series since beating the Wolverines 34-0 in 1967. Wisconsin retained the Paul Bunyan Axe with a 41-23 win over Minnesota, while Illinois and Purdue both earned impressive road victories over Penn State and Northwestern, respectively. The Fighting Illini topped the Nittany Lions 33-13 in State College, while the Boilermakers earned a 20-17 result over the Wildcats.
[TWO // a candidate for another weekly honor?]
After Michigan State’s impressive 34-17 outcome in Ann Arbor, the Spartans might be up for a repeat honor as the nation’s top team. Last Monday, following a 34-24 win over nationally ranked Wisconsin, Michigan State was named the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week for games of the weekend of Oct. 2. Playing without head coach Mark Dantonio, who suffered a mild heart attack after the Spartans defeated Notre Dame in overtime two weeks ago, the Spartans improved to 5-0 for the first time since 1999. Dantonio planned to return for the game, but the school announced hours before kickoff that he had been hospitalized again because of a blood clot in his leg. Kirk Cousins threw three touchdown passes, the last a one-yard pass to B.J. Cunningham to cap a 15-play, 84-yard drive that sealed the win with 2:43 left in the game. The Football Writers Association of America has named a national team of the week since the 2002 season. This is the seventh season that the award has been sponsored by the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Members of the FWAA All-America Committee decide the weekly honor.
[THREE // quarterback quality]
This past week three Big Ten quarterbacks earned recognition from national award committees. The Manning Award named Indiana's Ben Chappell, Michigan's Denard Robinson and Northwestern's Dan Persa as "Players to Watch" based on their performances on Oct. 2. The Manning Award, given annually to the nation's top quarterback, honors the best performances every week for players not currently on the watch list as "Players to Watch." Also on Monday, Robinson was named the Davey O'Brien Quarterback of the Week after leading the Wolverines to a 42-35 victory over Indiana. He received the same honor after beating Notre Dame the second week of the season.
[FOUR // penn state’s cappelletti named big ten icon]
Earlier this week Penn State's John Cappelletti was named Big Ten Icon No. 16. Cappelletti will forever be remembered for his emotional speech in accepting the 1973 Heisman Trophy, when he stated that he wanted to give the trophy to his younger brother, Joey, who was battling leukemia. Cappelletti began his Penn State career on defense, unable to earn playing time behind established stars Franco Harris and Lydell Mitchell. When his time came, the native of suburban Philadelphia was a workhorse tailback for Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions. As a senior, the year he took home college football's top individual prize, Cappelletti carried for more than 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns. He ran for more than 200 yards in three straight games, and helped Penn State complete a perfect 11-0 regular season. The countdown of Big Ten Icons, presented by Discover, continues at 9 PM ET on Tuesday, Oct. 12, with a profile of the 1973 Heisman Trophy winner.
[FIVE // a courageous gopher]
Minnesota fullback Jon Hoese was the weekly nominee this past week for the 2010 Discover Orange Bowl Courage Award, which will be announced at the end of the season by the Football Writers Association of America. Hoese, a senior from Glencoe, Minn., is playing this season with a heavy heart after losing his father, Terry Hoese, who suffered a stroke Aug. 26 and passed away 11 days later. After his father's stroke, Hoese missed a day of practice, then returned to the team - a decision made with his family, believing his father would want him to play. In the Gophers' season opener at Middle Tennessee, he scored all three of Minnesota's touchdowns, caught a 23-yard pass to convert a third down and keep a drive alive, and recovered a late fourth-quarter fumble on a kickoff return to ice the victory.
[SIX // the big “ten” named on wooden watch list]
The Big Ten leads all conferences with 10 players on the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list, which was announced this past week. Purdue is the only school in the nation with three players on the list, while Michigan State is one of five squads with two players named. The conference standouts on John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 List are: Demetri McCamey (Illinois), Kalin Lucas (Michigan State), Durrell Summers (Michigan State), John Shurna (Northwestern), William Buford (Ohio State), Talor Battle (Penn State), Robbie Hummel (Purdue), JaJuan Johnson (Purdue), E'Twaun Moore (Purdue), and Jon Leuer (Wisconsin).
[SEVEN // women’s trio named to wooden watch list]
Three Big Ten student-athletes were named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 30 List, it was announced on Tuesday. Iowa's Kachine Alexander and Ohio State's Jantel Lavender and Samantha Prahalis made the preseason award watch list, which honors college basketball's top player each season. Alexander, Lavender and Prahalis were each Big Ten first team selections last season and led their teams to the 2010 Big Ten Tournament final and the NCAA tournament.
[EIGHT // men’s swimming and diving season begins]
The 2010-11 season of Big Ten men's swimming and diving began Friday with Wisconsin taking 12 of 13 events to defeat in-state rival Milwaukee, 146-84. Also in action this past week was Iowa, which competed in the first official swim meet at the new Campus Recreation and Wellness Center (CRWC). The Hawkeyes claimed a win over Truman State with a score of 180-75.
[NINE // women hit the big ten pools as well]
The 2010-11 season of Big Ten women's swimming and diving also began Friday with Iowa defeating Truman State, 159-99, while Wisconsin won all 13 events en route to a 166-66 victory over Milwaukee. Minnesota defeated two conference foes this week as the Golden Gophers topped Michigan 169-131 on Friday and then bested Michigan State on Saturday, 186-108. Illinois took to the pool on Saturday with a 189.5-110.5 victory over future Big Ten opponent Nebraska.
[TEN // big ten reps earn top grades in ryder cup play]
We gave a lot of publicity to the Big Ten representation in the 2011 Ryder Cup last week, but since the major golf event between the United State and Europe ended on Monday due to inclement weather, we pause to tip our caps one last time to three former conference standouts who received rave reviews for their play. In Jason Sobel’s ESPN.com article Monday, the respected ESPN golf writer handed out letter grades to all participants of the Ryder Cup, which went back to Europe following a 14½-13½ victory. Leading the way was former Northwestern star and European player Luke Donald, who received an “A” after carding a 3-1-0 record on the winning team. On the U.S. side, Illinois grad Steve Stricker was also given an “A” for his 3-1-0 performance, while Indiana alum Jeff Overton was handed a “B+” following his 2-2-0 record in his first Ryder Cup.
[ELEVEN // sign here]
Finally this week, congratulations to former Big Ten standout and Michigan State Spartan Kirk Gibson, who was given a two-year contract to manage the Arizona Diamondbacks, becoming the fifth permanent manager in franchise history. Gibson was a two-sport standout in baseball and football in East Lansing from 1975-78, earning All-America honors in both sports as a senior. He was the No. 1 draft pick of the Detroit Tigers in 1978 and later played key roles on two World Series Championship teams.