Nov. 2, 2008
[ONE // week 10 of big ten football completed]
Another week of Big Ten football has come and gone and despite having No. 3 Penn State and No. 12 Ohio State sidelined with a bye, the conference still saw amazing fireworks and endings in Week 10. In fact, all four league games were decided in the final 26 seconds or less. No. 22 Michigan State rallied to defeat Wisconsin 25-24 on a Brett Swenson 44-yard field goal with 7 seconds left. With 12 seconds remaining, Northwestern’s Brendan Smith returned an interception 48 yards for the game-winning score in a 24-17 Homecoming defeat for No. 20 Minnesota. Illinois’ Matt Eller kicked a 46-yard field goal with 24 seconds left to boost the Illini over Iowa, 27-24. And with 26 seconds left in the game, Purdue’s Desmond Tardy took a lateral from Greg Orton to score the game-winner in a 48-42 victory over Michigan. In non-conference action, Indiana suffered a 37-34 setback to Central Michigan.
[TWO // news and notes from the gridiron]
Over the past few weeks, the Big Ten has seen quite the impressive performances from tailbacks. Saturday, however, was a day when quarterbacks chose to get involved in both the passing and rushing games. Northwestern’s Mike Kafka was 12-of-16 passing for 143 yards, but he ran the ball 27 times for 217 yards – a school record for a quarterback. Purdue’s third-string quarterback Justin Siller got his first start this past week, and was 21-of-34 for 266 yards and had 77 markers on 15 carries. In Illinois’ win, Juice Williams threw for 272 yards on 22-of-37 passing and rushed for 30 yards as well. MSU’s Brian Hoyer was only 19-of-44 in the air, but threw for 252 yards, 164 of which went to Blair White on seven tosses. In that same game, Iowa’s Shonn Greene recorded 103 yards on 21 carries, eclipsing the 100-yard rushing mark for the ninth straight game.
[THREE // conference champions crowned]
In the first conference championship of the 2008-09 season, the Big Ten saw the Minnesota women and the Wisconsin men defend their cross country titles, respectively. In the men’s race, the Badgers scored 40 points and were followed by Michigan (57), Minnesota (60), Penn State (133) and Indiana (135) in the top five. Minnesota’s Hassan Mead captured the individual crown with a winning time of 24:26.4. On the women’s side, the Gophers captured their second-straight title with a four-point win over Wisconsin, 63-67. Michigan State (83), Illinois (101) and Michigan (116) rounded out the top five. Michigan State's Nicole Bush won the individual title, placing first in a time of 20:15.8.
[FOUR // big ten sets field for women’s soccer tournament]
The 2008 Big Ten Women's Soccer Tournament bracket was released Saturday by the conference office. Iowa is set to serve as host for the event that begins Thursday, Nov. 6 and runs through Sunday, Nov. 9. Penn State has the top seed after compiling an 8-2-0 mark in league play. For a complete look at the bracket, click here.
[FIVE // soccer one of many tournaments you’ll be able to see]
The Big Ten Network announced Thursday its coverage plans for several of the fall conference championship and tournaments. The network will televise live the semifinals and finals of the upcoming Big Ten Field Hockey Tournament, Men’s Soccer Championship and Women’s Soccer Tournament and will also cover the Big Ten Cross Country Championships, which took place on Sunday. Check out a look at the BTN’s championship and tournament schedule here.
[SIX // spartans’ men’s soccer squad earns big ten title]
The No. 25 Michigan State men's soccer team defeated sixth-ranked Northwestern 1-0 on Sunday to earn the Big Ten title. Louis Stephens III scored the lone goal of the game on an assist from Doug DeMartin. The victory extended MSU’s unbeaten streak to seven games, and perhaps most importantly, sent legendary head coach Joe Baum out a winner in his final regular season game of his 32-year career. Baum will retire at the end of the season.
[SEVEN // speaking of men’s soccer]
Congratulations to Michigan senior defender Michael Holody, who was named this past Wednesday as the NSCAA Men's National Player of the Week. Holody played integral roles in shutting out No. 5 Akron, 1-0, in a mid-week game, and upsetting second-ranked Northwestern, 3-1, last weekend. Holody is the second Wolverine to be tabbed as the nation's best weekly player, making the Maize and Blue the only team to produce two winners.
[EIGHT // big ten basketball heads to the polls]
Just days before all of America heads to the polls on Election Day, coaches across the country submitted its votes for the nation’s best men’s and women’s basketball teams this week. In the 2008-09 USA Today/ESPN Preseason Top 25 men’s poll, Michigan State is ranked seventh, followed by Purdue in 10th and Wisconsin at No. 22. In the Associated Press preseason women’s poll, No. 18 Ohio State and No. 22 Purdue are ranked in the top 25.
[NINE // from top 25 to top 1,000]
Congratulations to the top-ranked Penn State women's volleyball team, which became just the sixth NCAA Division I women's volleyball program to reach 1,000 wins this past Saturday. The Nittany Lions took home a three-game sweep of Iowa (25-16, 25-13, 25-15) at Rec Hall. PSU improved to 24-0 and 12-0 in the Big Ten and increased its consecutive-match win streak to 50, two shy of the NCAA record of 52 set by Southern California. Penn State joined UCLA (1,074), Nebraska (1,048), Missouri State (1,042), Brigham Young (1,027) and Long Beach State (1,018) as the only programs in NCAA Division I women's volleyball history to reach 1,000 wins.
[TEN // which conference punter will be the guy?]
This past week three Big Ten punters were named as semifinalists for the 2008 Ray Guy Award, which honors the nation’s top punter. The conference had nearly a third of the representation as Iowa sophomore Ryan Donahue, Michigan junior Zoltan Mesko and Ohio State senior A.J. Trapasso were named among the list of 10 punters by the Greater Augusta Sports Council.
[ELEVEN // indiana grad to take over Indiana athletics]
The Big Ten was introduced to a new member of the conference family this past Tuesday as Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie named Fred Glass as the school’s next director of intercollegiate athletics. Glass, an Indianapolis attorney and civic leader, has played a key role in bringing several major sporting events to the city, including the multi-year agreement with the conference men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. For more information on Glass, who will take over for Rick Greenspan on Jan. 2, click here.