Oct. 30, 2011
[ONE // a bronze pig, a milestone win, and another thrilling primetime game]
Six Big Ten football contests took place this past Saturday, thickening the race for spots in the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis. Rex Burkhead scored three touchdowns and ran for 130 yards on 35 carries as No. 13 Nebraska defeated ninth-ranked Michigan State 24-3 to take control of the Big Ten Legends Division. Penn State remained unbeaten in the Leaders Division with a 10-7 victory over Illinois, which gave Joe Paterno his 409th career win, making him the winningest coach in FBS history. Ohio State moved to second place in the Leaders Division with an impressive 33-29 primetime thriller over Wisconsin. Fitzgerald Toussaint ran for a career-high 170 yards and tied a career high with two touchdowns, leading No. 17 Michigan to a 36-14 win over Purdue, while Minnesota retained the Floyd of Rosedale bronze pig trophy for the second straight year following a 22-21 victory over Iowa. In addition, Dan Persa and Kain Colter combined to throw five touchdown passes, and Drake Dunsmore hauled in a school-record four TDs to lead Northwestern past Indiana 59-38.
[TWO // minnesota hosts mobile tour]
This past week Minnesota's Kate Garcia took over the Honoring Legends. Building Leaders. Mobile Tour blog, Twitter account and YouTube page while the tour was in town for the Golden Gophers' matchup against Iowa. The Big Ten bus and Stagg-Paterno trophy traveled to Joe Senser's in Roseville for Gopher Football Weekly with Jerry Kill on Thursday and then headed over to Minnesota's Recreation Center on campus. The Mobile Tour then checked out Centennial Hall and the women's soccer battle between Minnesota and Nebraska on Friday, before traveling to TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday. For more on Kate's recap from the Mobile Tour, click here to check out the Big Ten Mobile Tour blog.
[THREE // several big ten standouts earn spots on national award lists]
Several Big Ten football players and coaches placed their names on national award ballots this past week. Michigan's Denard Robinson, Michigan State's Kirk Cousins and Wisconsin's Russell Wilson were named three of the 16 semifinalists for the 2011 Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award, given annually to the nation's top quarterback. Cousins and Purdue's Joe Holland were two of 16 recipients named as finalists for the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards. Cousins and Holland were selected from a nationwide pool of 127 semifinalists from among all NCAA divisions and the NAIA. The Big Ten leads all conferences with six of the 20 quarterfinalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, awarded to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. Big Ten quarterfinalists are Michigan safety Jordan Kovacs, Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy, Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David, Ohio State defensive tackle John Simon, Purdue linebacker Joe Holland and Wisconsin defensive back Aaron Henry. The Big Ten's six quarterfinalists are more than any other conference. Nebraska's David was also named a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, named for Illinois legendary linebacker and Hall of Famer Dick Butkus and given annually to the nation's top linebacker. Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus and Michigan State's Jerel Worthy were named semifinalists for the Rotary Lombardi Award, which honors the nation's outstanding lineman. The Big Ten was one of only three conferences with multiple players appearing on the list of 12 semifinalists. Iowa's Mike Meyer, Nebraska's Brett Maher and Penn State's Anthony Fera were selected as semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award, which is given to the top place-kicker in the country. And finally, the Big Ten led all conferences with five coaches named to the 2011 Bryant Coach of the Year Award Watch List. The Big 12 and SEC ranked second with four coaches each on the watch list, while no other conference had more than two nominees. Big Ten coaches on the watch list are Michigan's Brady Hoke, Michigan State's Mark Dantonio, Nebraska's Bo Pelini, Penn State's Joe Paterno and Wisconsin's Bret Bielema.
[FOUR // ohio state and sullinger the talk of big ten men's hoops media day]
It was finally time to start talking Big Ten hoops as the conference hosted its annual Big Ten Men's and Women's Basketball Media Days on Thursday. On the men's side, defending conference champ Ohio State was chosen as the conference favorite heading into the 2011-12 season, as voted on by a panel of Big Ten media. The media also tabbed Buckeye sophomore Jared Sullinger as the Preseason Player of the Year. Wisconsin and Michigan State were selected to finish second and third, respectively. Joining Sullinger on the Preseason All-Big Ten team are Michigan State's Draymond Green, Minnesota's Trevor Mbakwe, Purdue's Robbie Hummel and Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor. For a complete recap of Big Ten Basketball Media Day, click here.
[FIVE // lady lions picked for women's basketball title; preseason honors shared]
On the women's side, the Big Ten announced on Thursday that Ohio State's Samantha Prahalis and Penn State's Alex Bentley shared conference Preseason Player of the Year accolades from the coaches, while Bentley earned the nod from a selected media panel. Penn State was selected as the preseason favorite by both the coaches and media. Purdue and Iowa follow were rated second and third in the coaches poll, while the Boilermakers and Michigan State were second and third in the media poll. Both the coaches and media selected identical Preseason All-Big Ten squads. In addition to Bentley and Prahalis, Illinois' Karisma Penn, Iowa's Jaime Printy and Michigan State's Lykendra Johnson were selected as members of the coaches' and media's preseason teams.
[SIX // wisconsin cross country does it again]
Wisconsin won its 13th consecutive and 45th overall Big Ten Men's Cross Country Championship, placing five runners in the top six en route to the title on Sunday. The Badgers were led by individual champion Mohammed Ahmed, who set a Big Ten Championships 8K record with a time of 23:18 to give Wisconsin its 28th winner at the conference meet all-time. Wisconsin posted a team score of 17, tying the second-lowest winning score in championships history. Indiana followed in second place with 60 points, while Michigan and Minnesota tied for third with 104 points. Joining Ahmed in the individual top five were teammates Maverick Darling (second), Elliot Krause (third) and Reed Connor (fifth), along with Minnesota's Hassan Mead (fourth). A complete look at the first and second All-Big Ten teams, as well as full team and individual results, can be found by clicking here.
[SEVEN // spartans snag second straight cross country title]
Michigan State won its second straight Big Ten Women's Cross Country Championship on Sunday, placing three runners in the top 10 to earn its fourth conference title all-time. Penn State's Caitlin Lane finished first individually, finishing the 6,000-meter course in 19:58 to mark the third individual title in Nittany Lion history. The Spartans posted a winning score of 55 as Julia Otwell placed sixth, Sara Kroll took eighth and Carlie Green finished ninth. Michigan finished just six points behind Michigan State, notching 61 points en route to second place. Penn State took third with 71 points. Wisconsin's Caitlin Comfort followed Lane individually in second place, while Michigan's Danielle Tauro took third and fellow Wolverine Rebecca Addison placed fourth. Minnesota's Stephanie Price rounded out the top five in fifth place. A complete look at the first and second All-Big Ten teams, as well as full team and individual results, can be found by clicking here.
[EIGHT // illinois and nebraska suffer first conference losses; big ten title race tightens]
Big Ten volleyball continued in the second half of its season this past week, with newly-ranked No. 1 Nebraska maintaining its conference lead at 11-1, although it suffered its first league loss. The Huskers topped No. 23 Ohio State 3-1 on Friday, but dropped a 3-1 battle to No. 8 Penn State on Saturday. Coupled with a 3-1 victory over Iowa on Friday, Penn State moved into a tie for second place with Illinois at 10-2. The No. 3 Fighting Illini stopped Wisconsin 3-1 on Friday, but was blanked by No. 15 Minnesota on Saturday. No. 11 Purdue sits fourth in the conference at 9-3, following a 3-2 thriller over No. 22 Michigan and a 3-1 decision over Michigan State. For a complete look at this past week's results, click here.
[NINE // buckeyes take control of men's soccer race]
Three Big Ten men's soccer games took place Sunday with the outcomes resulting in a shift atop the conference standings. Ohio State blanked Wisconsin 2-0, while Indiana and Northwestern battled to a 2-2 tie. Michigan State also blanked rival Michigan 1-0 on Sunday. With the victory and the Indiana-Northwestern draw Sunday, the Buckeyes lead the Big Ten with 12 points at 4-1-0 and are followed by Northwestern (11) at 3-0-2 and Wisconsin (9) 3-2-0 for the Top 3 spots. Heading into the final weekend, Ohio State is guaranteed a first or second-place finish in the Big Ten regular-season standings, marking the seventh time in the last eight seasons it has been among the Top 2.
[TEN // penn state earns top speed in women's soccer tournament]
After winning its 14th consecutive Big Ten Championship, Penn State earned the No. 1 seed in the 2011 Big Ten Women's Soccer Tournament on Sunday. Illinois will enter as the No. 2 seed, followed, by No. 3 Michigan State, No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 5 Minnesota, No. 6 Iowa, No. 7 Ohio State and No. 8 Northwestern. The tournament will be held on the Northwestern campus in Evanston, Ill., with opening-round matchups played on Wednesday, semifinals on Friday and the championship game on Sunday, which will be held at 3 p.m. CT and televised live by BTN. The tournament winner will earn the Big Ten's automatic berth to the NCAA Championship.
[ELEVEN // michigan earns top seed in field hockey tournament]
After winning the Big Ten Championship on Friday, Michigan earned the No. 1 seed and an automatic spot in the semifinals of the 2011 Big Ten Field Hockey Tournament. Ohio State earned the No. 2 seed, followed by No. 3 Penn State, No. 4 Iowa, No. 5 Indiana, No. 6 Northwestern and No. 7 Michigan State. The tournament will be held on the Penn State campus in State College, Pa. with opening-round matchups played on Thursday, semifinals on Friday and the championship game on Sunday. The tournament winner will earn the Big Ten's automatic berth to the NCAA Championship.
[TWELVE // time for tennis]
Finally this week, Iowa played host to the annual Big Ten Men's Tennis Singles/Doubles Championship. Michigan sophomores Barrett Franks and Alex Buzzi captured the doubles title on the first day of competition Friday at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Center, while the singles title is to be determined on Monday. In semifinal competition Monday morning, Iowa's Jonas Dierckx will face Michigan State's Aaron Pfister, while Illinois' Stephen Hoh and the Spartans' Drew Lied in the second semifinal matchup. The singles championship will take place at noon on Monday.