Nov. 1, 2009
[ONE // big ten championship race tightening up on gridiron]
The Iowa Hawkeyes needed yet another fourth-quarter comeback to remain undefeated Saturday, ousting Indiana 42-24 in Iowa City. Wisconsin blanked Purdue 37-0, Penn State captured a 34-13 road win at Northwestern, while Illinois picked up its first Big Ten victory of the season by a score of 38-13 over Michigan. In prime-time action, Minnesota defeated Michigan State 42-34, while Ohio State shut out New Mexico State 45-0 in non-conference play.
[TWO // football announces weekly honors]
Three Big Ten programs earned weekly football honors as Minnesota’s Adam Weber and Garrett Brown captured Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week accolades, respectively. Weber became the first Minnesota quarterback to surpass 400 passing yards in more than a decade, throwing for a career-best 416 yards and matching a career high with five touchdown passes in a victory over Michigan State. Brown set career highs with seven defensive stops and three tackles for loss, while also forcing and recovering a fumble in the win over the Spartans. Wisconsin’s Chris Borland shared Defensive Player of the Week honors with Brown, after he recovered two fumbles and forced another while adding four tackles and one tackle for loss to help the Badgers record a shutout against Purdue. Special Teams honors went to Michigan State’s Keshawn Martin, who compiled a career-best 284 all-purpose yards, including four kickoff returns for 176 yards and a 93-yard touchdown to open the second half at Minnesota.
[THREE // wisconsin men win again]
For the 11th-straight season the Wisconsin men’s cross country team captured the Big Ten Championship in dominating fashion, placing five of their runners among the top eight finishers to best the field by an astonishing 65 points. The Badgers extended their own conference record for consecutive championships, collecting 26 team points en route to the conference crown on Sunday at the Penn State University White Golf Course. Ohio State (91) edged Minnesota (97) for second place in the final team standings, while Indiana and Michigan rounded out the top five teams with 106 and 117 team points, respectively. Minnesota junior Hassan Mead captured his second Big Ten individual title in as many seasons, completing the 5.2 mile-course a full five seconds ahead of the field in 25:00.2 Wisconsin’s Elliot Krause claimed runner-up honors on the strength of a 25:05.9 effort while senior Jeff See paced the Buckeye contingent with a 25:07.3 mark to finish in third.
[FOUR // penn state women defend the home turf]
The Penn State women’s cross country team captured its first Big Ten Championship Sunday, amassing 71 team points to edge Illinois (77) by a narrow six-point margin. Nittany Lion senior Bridget Franek claimed top honors in the event, crossing the finish line in a time of 20:03 - the second fastest six-kilometer mark ever recorded by an individual titlist in Big Ten Championships history. Franek earns All-Big Ten first team honors for her performance. Illinois senior Angela Bizzarri raced her way to a second-place finish, trailing just seven seconds behind the Big Ten frontrunner with a time of 20:10 to earn her fourth top-10 finish in as many conference championship appearances. Joining Bizzarri on the All-Big Ten first team was fellow Illini Kristen Sutherland, who bested her previous showing from 2008 by 12 spots, finishing in seventh place to boost the Orange and Blue to the runner-up position in the final team standings. For the second consecutive year, Minnesota's Megan Duwell paced the Golden Gophers, becoming the third senior to collect hardware on the day with a sub-20:30 mark. Her bronze-medal winning performance propelled Minnesota to a third-place finish with 80 team points and also earned her a place on the All-Big Ten first team. Rounding out the top five teams was Michigan and Michigan State, who tallied 122 and 137 team points, respectively.
[FIVE // big ten field hockey tournament bracket announced]
By clinching their first outright Big Ten Championship last week, the Michigan State Spartans earned the No. 1 seed and an automatic spot of the semifinals in the 2009 Big Ten Field Hockey Tournament, which will be held on their home campus, Nov. 5-8. The tournament winner will earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Championships. Ohio State earned the No. 2 seed, followed by No. 3 Indiana, No. 4 Iowa and No. 5 Michigan. Rounding out the bracket is No. 6 Northwestern and No. 7 Penn State. Iowa is the three-time defending Big Ten Tournament champion. For a complete bracket breakdown, click here!
[SIX // big ten basketball bracket adjusted as well]
The Big Ten office announced Thursday bracket changes for the 2010 Big Ten Women’s and Men’s Basketball Tournaments to be held at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. The 2010 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament, which will be contested from March 4-7, will begin the semifinal and championship rounds one hour earlier than the 2009 event. On Saturday, March 6, the semifinals will now begin at 5 p.m. ET, while the championship game on Sunday, March 7, will now start at 4:30 p.m. ET. The 2010 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, which will be played from March 11-14, has pushed back the start time for the opening round games. On Thursday, March 11, the opening game of the tournament between the eighth and ninth seeds will now begin at 2:30 p.m. ET.
[SEVEN // men’s hoops among nation’s best]
With the men's basketball season less than two weeks away, the Big Ten was well represented in the preseason Associated Press poll. Six programs rank in the top 25, the most by any conference in the nation, with two of those schools among the poll's top 10. Additionally, five teams are among the top 25 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll. Michigan State will enter the 2009-10 campaign ranked second overall in both the AP and USA Today Coaches polls after advancing to the NCAA Championship Game last season. The Spartans will look to make their sixth NCAA Final Four appearance in the last 12 seasons under head coach Tom Izzo, who in his 14 years at the helm has guided each of his recruited four-year players to a Final Four. Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State and Purdue also received recognition in the polls.
[EIGHT // michigan state grabs headlines at big ten media day]
Defending Big Ten Champion and national runner-up Michigan State was selected Thursday as the preseason conference favorite for the 2009-10 men's basketball season, as voted upon by a 24-member media panel. Purdue and Ohio State were chosen to finish second and third, respectively. In addition, after five sophomores were named to the All-Big Ten first team last season, five juniors were selected for the 2009-10 Preseason All-Big Ten Team. Reigning Big Ten Player of the Year Kalin Lucas of the Spartans was tabbed as the Preseason Player of the Year. The other four juniors earning preseason accolades were Michigan's Manny Harris, Ohio State's Evan Turner, Penn State's Talor Battle and Purdue's Robbie Hummel.
[NINE // buckeyes dominate preseason hoops honors again]
Ohio State junior Jantel Lavender was selected as the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year by the conference coaches and a panel of media members, the league announced on Thursday at its annual media day. Lavender's Buckeyes were selected to finish first in the conference standings by both groups. An All-American and the Big Ten's Player of the Year last season, Lavender earns her second Preseason Player of the Year nod. The Buckeyes return four starters from last year's 29-6 squad that won the Big Ten Championship and Tournament before advancing to the NCAA Sweet 16. Among OSU's returnees is last year's Big Ten Freshman of the Year Samantha Prahalis, a Preseason All-Conference selection, and two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Shavelle Little. Joining Lavender and Prahalis on the Preseason All-Big Ten team is Illinois' Jenna Smith, a unanimous pick by the coaches, Michigan State’s Alyssa DeHaan and Penn State's Tyra Grant.
[TEN // cosida honors big ten soccer standouts for success in classroom]
The Big Ten saw 12 women's soccer student-athletes named to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District teams, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced Thursday. Congratulations to Illinois' Krystin Miller (District Five, second team); Indiana's Devon Beach (District Five, second team); Michigan's Jackie Carron (District Four, second team) and Kristen Goncalves (District Four, third team); Michigan State's Lauren Hill (District Four first team) and Laura Heyboer (District Four, third team); Minnesota's Kylie Kallman (District Five, first team); Northwestern's Emily Langston (District Five, second team); Penn State's Katie Schoepfer (District Two, second team); Purdue's Jessica Okoroafo (District Five, first team) and Katie Seeger (District Five, second team); and Wisconsin's Laurie Nosbusch (District Five, first team). The Big Ten also boasted four men' soccer players on the CoSIDA ESPN the Magazine Academic-All District Team. Indiana's Ofori Sarkodie, Michigan's Chris Blais and Penn State's Jason Yeisley were named to the first team while Nittany Lion defender Andy Parr earned second team honors.
[ELEVEN // honoring a heralded hawkeye]
Finally this week, with the Iowa football team making so much news around the country, it is only fitting we honor a fallen Hawkeye. Forest Evashevski, who guided Iowa from the bottom of the Big Ten to a pair of Rose Bowl trips in the 1950s, died Friday night from cancer. He was 91. Evashevski was hired at Iowa in 1952, seven years after its last winning season. Evashevski won 52 games in nine seasons and later served as the school's athletics director. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.