This Week in the Big Ten

Dec. 13, 2009

[ONE // silver football shared for first time]
Big Ten history was made this past Tuesday evening when Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark and Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham were awarded the Chicago Tribune Silver Football on the Big Ten Network.  Tuesday marked the first time the award, which has been given annually to the conference’s most valuable football player since 1924, was shared between two individuals.  Clark threw for nearly 2,800 yards and a league-high 23 touchdowns, while adding 191 rushing yards and seven scores on the ground.  Graham recorded 64 tackles, 26 of which were for loss, as well as 10.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two blocked kicks.

[TWO // football standouts earn all-america accolades]
The Big Ten boasted two linebackers on the 2009 Football Writers Association of America All-America Team, which was announced on Saturday.  Iowa’s Pat Angerer and Michigan State’s Greg Jones were named to the team that is the second-longest continuously-published team in major college football.  Jones led the Big Ten and ranked third in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision with 141 tackles, the eighth-best single-season total in MSU history, while Angerer totaled 135 tackles to finish second among Big Ten defenders.

[THREE // more all-america honors awarded]
In addition to the FWAA All-America accolades, the Walter Camp Football Foundation also announced its postseason squad – the nation’s oldest All-American team – on Thursday during The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show.  Iowa offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga was tabbed to the second-team offense squad, while Iowa linebacker Pat Angerer, Michigan defensive lineman Brandon Graham and punter Zolton Mesko, and Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones were all second-team defensive honorees.  

[FOUR // big ten makes up half of ncaa volleyball semis]
Congratulations to the Minnesota and Penn State volleyball teams, which advanced this past weekend to the NCAA Championship Semifinals.  It is the first time the conference has boasted two national semifinalists since 1994.  Minnesota captured a 3-1 victory over Colorado State on Friday and a 3-1 win over No. 3 Florida State on Saturday.  Top-ranked Penn State continued its dominance with 3-0 sweeps over No. 16 Florida and No. 9 California, the latter of which marked the Nittany Lions’ 100th-straight victory.  Michigan advanced to the regional finals with a 3-1 upset over No. 4 Stanford on Friday, but fell in three games to No. 12 Hawaii on Saturday.  Illinois was ousted by Hawaii in four games on Friday.

[FIVE // illini national champ earns honda award]
Senior and eight-time All-American Angela Bizzarri was named the winner of the 2010 Honda Sports Award in cross country, the Collegiate Women Sports Awards announced Wednesday. Bizzarri beat out Florida State senior Susan Kuijken, Washington sophomore Kendra Schaaf, and Virginia junior Catherine White in a national ballot among 1,000 NCAA member schools to capture the honor of the nation's top collegiate female athlete in cross country. Along with this award, the senior is now automatically nominated for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year.  Bizzarri, who was the Big Ten runner-up, captured the 2009 NCAA Championship in a school record breaking 6K time of 19:46.8 and was named the USTFCCCA National Cross Country Athlete of the Year last month. 

[SIX // penn state tabbed as women’s gymnastics favorite]
In the inaugural women's preseason gymnastics poll, the conference coaches voted Penn State this past Tuesday as the early favorite to claim the 2010 Big Ten Championship. Illinois was voted second, while Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Minnesota and Iowa rounded out the conference projections. Additionally, each coach selected two of their gymnasts to form a 14-member Gymnasts to Watch List.

[SEVEN // spartan mentor earns field hockey honor]
Coming off of one of the most successful seasons in program history, Michigan State field hockey head coach Rolf van de Kerkhof was named West Region Coach of the Year by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) on Tuesday.  Van de Kerkhof, the 2009 Big Ten Coach of the Year, led the Spartans to an 18-4 record, tying for the second-most victories in a single season at MSU. The Spartans also won the Big Ten regular season and Tournament titles, becoming only the second school in conference history to finish regular season and tournament play unbeaten. The Green and White also advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season and seventh time in school history.

[EIGHT // soccer all-americans named]
Five Big Ten soccer standouts were named this past week as the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-Americans.  On the men’s side, Northwestern senior defender Mark Blades was tabbed a second-team selection, while four individuals on the women’s side earned third-team accolades.  Michigan State sophomore forward Laura Heyboer, Ohio State senior midfielder Ashley Bowyer and Penn State senior goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and senior forward Katie Schoepfer were among the women’s honorees.

[NINE // making a splash in the big ten record book]
While he is just a sophomore, Purdue’s David Boudia has again made Big Ten history.  This past week Boudia was named the conference’s Diver of the Week, marking his ninth career weekly laurel, surpassing Indiana’s Marc Carlton (2001-05), Michigan’s Jason Coben (2000-04) and Minnesota’s Dan Croaston (1998-2001) for the most weekly honors in league annals. The Boilermaker sophomore earned a win and a runner-up finish in his two events last weekend at the Ohio State Invitational. Boudia started his weekend by scoring a season-best total of 415.75 points off the one-meter platform to defeat the field of 25 competitors. The Noblesville, Ind., native then finished second in the three-meter competition with his score of 431.30.

[TEN // qualifying for the tour]
This past Monday yet another former Big Ten golfer earned the right to play on the PGA Tour next year.  Weeks after former Indiana standout Steve Wheatcroft and 1987 Northwestern graduate Fran Quinn earned their PGA Tour cards for their efforts on the Nationwide Tour, NU graduate and 2006 Big Ten champion Chris Wilson was rewarded with his card after finishing tied for 12th Monday during the final stage of the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament.  Wilson earned his card by finishing in the top-25 and ties out of the 152 entrants in the 108-hole final round of Q-School, which is considered to be the most grueling test in golf.

[ELEVEN // remembering a spartan]
Finally this week, the Big Ten and Michigan State mourned the loss of Spartan All-American quarterback Al Dorow, who passed away on Monday at the age of 80.  Dorow led MSU to a 9-0 record and the 1951 National Championship, compiled a 17-1 career record, and finished his collegiate career as Michigan State's all-time leader in pass completions (125), pass attempts (259), passing yards (1,875) and touchdown passes (19). Dorow accounted for 26 total TDs, including four scoring runs and three TD receptions.