BigTen.org takes an in-depth look at each of the conference teams in action this week
Sept. 9, 2011
(1-0, 0-0 MVC)
SOUTH DAKOTA STATE at ILLINOIS
Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011 • 11 a.m. CT • Champaign, Ill. • Memorial Stadium (60,670)
BTN • Announcers: Kevin Kugler, Kelly Stouffer, Tony Banks
Series: First Meeting
(1-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Saturday’s game between Illinois and South Dakota State marks the first meeting between the two schools. The Fighting Illini owned a 33-15 win over Arkansas State last week, while the Jackrabbits are 1-0 after a 29-28 win over Southern Utah. SDSU was 5-6 overall in 2010 with one of those losses coming to new Big Ten member Nebraska, 17-3, in Lincoln.
Fresh off a record-breaking 2010 season, the Illini offense racked up 473 total yards, 202 rushing yards and 33 points in the season-opening win over Arkansas State. Last season, the Illini broke school records for both total points scored (423) and points per game (32.53) and led the Big Ten in rushing (246.1 ypg). Illinois sophomore QB Nathan Scheelhaase completed 16-of-23 passes for a career-high 267 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. A model of efficiency, Scheelhaase has now thrown 15 touchdowns against just one interception over the last eight games and owns a 195.77 passer rating, which ranked 10th in the nation after the season opener. Two of Scheelhaase’s primary targets were A.J. Jenkins and Darius Millines, both owners of 100-yard receiving games. Jenkins ranks eighth nationally in receptions per game (11.0) and 10th in receiving yards per game (148.0) – two totals that pace the Big Ten after week one. Millines is tied for 21st nationally after hauling in 119 yards last Saturday. On the ground, Jason Ford rushed 22 times for 86 yards and two touchdowns. Most importantly, Illinois’ offense was penalty-free in the opener, marking the first time in 18 years the Orange and Blue did not commit a penalty in a game. Through three quarters last week, the Jackrabbits allowed just seven points on defense, but allowed 21 in the final 15 minutes and needed linebacker Dirk Kool to deflect a two-point conversion attempt to save the game. In addition to his heroics, Kool registered a team- and career-high 10 tackles and earned Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts. SDSU held the Southern Utah ground game in check, allowing only 53 net yards rushing. The Jackrabbit defense recorded four sacks in the game, including two by Doug Peete and 1.5 by Jake Steffen.
The Jackrabbit offense was led last week by Tyrel Kool, who gained 107 yards on 28 carries in his first career start at running back. Quarterback Thomas O'Brien was 27-of-40 passing for 279 yards and tied a career-high with three touchdowns. O’Brien enters this week just 37 yards markers shy of 4,000 passing yards for his career. A converted wide receiver, Kool led Jackrabbit pass-catchers with six receptions for 79 yards, with Aaron Rollin adding six catches for 48 yards. Illinois’ defense allowed 350 yards of offense last week, including just 60 yards on the ground. Senior linebacker Trulon Henry led the Illini defense with a team-high eight tackles and one interception, while fellow linebacker Ian Thomas registered four stops and a QB hurry. Junior safety Supo Sanni returned to the field after missing all of last season with a ruptured Achilles and recorded a career-high six tackles and a forced fumble. Perhaps the brightest spark on the Illini defense came from newcomer Houston Bates, who earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors after racking up five stops, two tackles for loss, one sack and one fumble recovery in his Illini debut.
(1-0, 0-0 ACC)
VIRGINIA at INDIANA
Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011 • 7 p.m. ET • Bloomington, Ind. • Memorial Stadium (52,929)
BTN • Announcers: Tom Werme, Jon Jansen, Stacy Paetz
Series: Virginia leads, 1-0 • Last Meeting: Oct. 10, 2009: Virginia 47, Indiana 7
(0-1, 0-0 Big Ten)
Indiana returns to Memorial Stadium after a 27-20 season-opening loss to Ball State last week. The Hoosiers host Virginia, which will be heading to Bloomington for the first time in school history. The Cavaliers, who topped William & Mary 40-3 in their home opener last Saturday, earned a 47-7 home win against IU back in 2009. Virginia is just 5-11 against Big Ten teams, but it looking to start the year 2-0 for the first time since 2005. Indiana, however, hopes to rebound on its home turf and give first-year head coach Kevin Wilson his first victory with the Cream and Crimson. The Hoosiers are 35-16 in Memorial Stadium openers with nine straight victories and wins in 26 of their last 29 home starters.
The Indiana offense debuted to a new, fast-tempo style that had the Hoosiers marching down the field almost immediately. In fact, IU scored on its first drive in just over six minutes, but earned 76 yards in 15 plays while spending approximately 15 seconds in between plays with the clock running. There were certainly some things to work on following the game, seeing that IU’s offensive line did allow four sacks on that first drive, but there were some bright spots in the backfield. Edward Wright-Baker earned his first career start in the season opener, completing 20-of-32 passing for 272 yards with a 65-yard score and zero interceptions against the Cardinals. He hit eight different receivers and connected with Damarlo Belcher four times for 101 yards and a 65-yard TD as well as Dre Muhammad for 68 yards on six catches. Freshman tailback Matt Perez scampered 12 times for 41 yards and a score. One of the questions entering week two is the health of wideout Duwyce Wilson and tight end Ted Bolser. The pair battled injuries in the spring and were thought to see playing time last Saturday, but were still not listed on the IU depth chart released Monday. Last year the Virginia defense suffered mightily. The Cavs ranked 10th in the 12-team ACC in scoring defense (28.2) and total defense (396.1), were 11th in rush defense (203.7) and last in yards allowed per carry (5.1). Despite those stats and a switch to a new defensive scheme, the Cavs held William & Mary to 48 rushing and 169 total yards. Virginia returns nine starters, including first-team All-ACC cornerback Chase Minnifield, who had three stops last week and Henry Coley and Will Hill who each garnered a team-high four tackles.
Offensively, Virginia recorded 496 yards of total offense in week one thanks in large part to the trio of quarterback Michael Rocco, wideout Kris Burd, and redshirt freshman tailback Kevin Parks. Making his first career start last week, Rocco stormed out of the gates by completing his first 11 passes before finishing 21-of-29 passing for 174 yards. Rocco found 10 different receivers last week, including four times to Burd. Despite being held to 29 yards last week, Burd ranks 15th in school history with 1,306 career receiving yards. The top aerial target against William & Mary was Tim Smith, who caught a career-high seven passed for 72 yards in his first game back since missing the final 10 contests of last year with an injury. In the backfield, Parks rushed 16 times for 114 yards and three scores. Indiana’s defense allowed Ball State to rack up 383 yards, including 210 on the ground. One of the Hoosiers’ top defenders, senior defensive end Darius Johnson, missed the opener for undisclosed reasons which clearly hurt the leadership the Hoosiers needed on the defensive side of the ball. Linebacker Jeff Thomas (11), safety Chris Adkins (11) and defensive tackle Adam Replogle (10) reached double figures in tackles against Ball State, but linebacker Leon Beckum was injured in the contest and his services are unlikely Saturday. Expect IU to continue to look for new contributors as the Hoosiers played 10 true freshmen against Ball State, its highest total since fielding 11 in 2003.
(1-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
IOWA at IOWA STATE
Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011 • 11 a.m. CT • Ames, Iowa. • Jack Trice Stadium (55,000)
FOX Sports • Announcers: Joel Meyers, Joel Klatt, Jim Knox
Series: Iowa leads, 39-19 • Last Meeting: Sept. 11, 2010: Iowa 35, Iowa State 7
(1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
It’s the annual battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy and Iowa holds a commanding 39-19 advantage over in-state rival Iowa State in the 58-game series. The Hawkeyes have won 21 of the last 28 meetings, including the last three outings and four of the last five. Iowa earned a 35-3 win at Iowa State in 2009, but the teams have split the last four meetings in Jack Trice Stadium. The Hawkeyes enter the weekend on the heels of a 34-7 victory over Tennessee Tech, while Iowa State rallied for a 20-19 win over Northern Iowa last Saturday evening in Ames.
Iowa’s offense, and defense for that matter, came to play last week as the Hawkeyes charged a 27-0 lead through three quarters before the only thing that proved to stop them – a lightning storm – did. Following an 84-minute delay, the score reached 34-0 before Tech scored in the final five minutes of the game. Quarterback James Vandenberg, who started for the third time in his career, but for the first time since the final regular season game in 2009, netted 219 yards and a pair of TDs on 13-of-21 passing, with perennial aerial target Marvin McNutt, Jr. leading the way. McNutt hauled in scoring strikes of 88 and 19 yards to finish with six catches on the day for 140 yards. Seven Iowa receivers had at least one reception, but McNutt was the only Hawkeye with more than two catches. Freshman RB Mika'il McCall rushed nine times for 61 yards in the first period before being injured. Iowa will be looking for another quick start, just as it did last year in the victory over the Cyclones. The Hawkeyes’ complete domination of the first half last year included 288 yards total offense and 20:35 in time of possession, compared to 85 yards and 9:25 possession time for Iowa State. In last week’s win over Northern Iowa, the Cyclones allowed 385 total yards, including 204 on the ground. Linebacker Jake Knott registered a team-high 15 tackles, his ninth career game with double-digit stops, including 2.5 for loss. DB Jacques Washington added 11 tackles, while Willie Scott posted nine hits and one fumble recovery on the night.
The Cyclones’ offense, primarily quarterback Steele Jantz, was lauded for its game-winning heroics a week ago, however the final drive was not so indicative as to how the unit played the rest of the game. In that final possession, Jantz scrambled for a 17-yard gain on third-and-11 for a first down and later tossed a 32-yard completion to Aaron Horne to set up his winning score, a one-yard run. He led the offense by rushing 20 times for 80 yards and completing 18-of-40 passes for 187 yards. Horne paced all ISU receivers with 69 yards on seven receptions. ISU will need to cut down on the mistakes this week as it gave up three turnovers – all in Northern Iowa territory – and struggled with a lack of consistency all game. Iowa has allowed Iowa State just one touchdown in the last 18 periods, dating back to the 2007 meeting. That touchdown came in the fourth quarter of Iowa's 35-7 win in Iowa City a year ago. Iowa won 17-5 in 2008 and 35-3 in 2009. Senior DB Shaun Prater, who registered an interception against ISU last year, had an 89-yard pick-six return for a touchdown in the second quarter of last week’s contest against TTU. Sophomore LB James Morris had a 52-yard interception return earlier in the period that led to an Iowa field goal. Morris and sophomore LB Christian Kirksey each had 10 tackles to lead Iowa's defense – a unit that allowed Tennessee Tech just 296 total yards in the game.
Michigan and Notre Dame are set to meet on the gridiron for the 39th time and the first under the lights of the “Big House.” The Wolverines hold a 22-15-1 advantage in the all-time series and are one of only 10 teams that have a winning record against the Irish. Michigan has won five of its last six games against the Irish in Ann Arbor, including two 38-0 routes in 2007 and 2003. ESPN College GameDay will be on campus for the annual rivalry contest, which is good news for the Maize and Blue. Of the nine previous occasions GameDay has visited campus, the Wolverines own a 7-2 record. Last week both Michigan and Notre Dame opened the season in horrid weather. Constant rain and thunderstorms delayed each opener, prompting Michigan to even shorten the game. The Wolverines defeated Western Michigan 34-10 after the contest was called with 1:27 remaining in the third quarter due to thunderstorms. Notre Dame endured two long weather delays and then ended the 5 hour, 59 minute game on the short end of the stick, falling 23-20 at home to South Florida.
In last week’s victory, junior quarterback Denard Robinson completed 9-of-13 passes for 98 yards and rushed for 46 yards on eight carries. Considering what he did against the Irish last year, many would say he has a lot to live up to this week. Robinson garnered the eyes of critics nationwide last season after posting 502 of the Wolverines’ 532 total yards in last year’s 28-24 victory over Notre Dame. Robinson’s 502 yards of total offense (258 rushing, 244 passing) marked the most in school history, while his rushing total set a Big Ten record for a quarterback. Last week Robinson did have some help on the ground as Fitzgerald Toussaint and Michael Shaw helped Michigan to 193 yards rushing on 26 carries – an average of 7.3 yards per carry. Toussaint boasted a career-high 80 rushing yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns, while Shaw added a 44-yard touchdown run, the longest ground score of his career. In last week’s loss to South Florida, Notre Dame’s defense gave up only 254 yards, which would have been the fewest amount of yards allowed in a game in all of last year. In fact, no USF player rushed for 50 yards, but what hurt the Irish the most on defense what ultimately self-damaging penalties. Manti Te’o paced the Irish with nine tackles, while Darius Fleming and Kapron Lewis-Moore each added eight stops in the loss.
Offensively, Notre Dame did not do much to help its case last Saturday with five turnovers, including several that were in the red zone. In fact one fumble in the first quarter caused South Florida to return the recovery 96 yards for the first score of the game. Notre Dame did rack up 508 total yards, including 391 in the air. The passing game, however, has been the talk of the week. Head coach Brian Kelly pulled Dayne Crist after 7-of-15 passing for 95 yards with an interception, for Tommy Rees, who led them to four victories last year. Rees came in and went 24-for-34 for 296 yards with two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. Michael Floyd became the Irish’s all-time receiving leader last week, notching 12 catches for 154 yards and two scores. On the ground, Cierre Wood scampered for 104 yards and a score on 21 carries. Michigan’s defense allowed 279 yards to Western Michigan last week, including just 114 yards on the ground. The highlight of the season opener wasn’t so much the team defensive effort as it was the effort of linebacker Brandon Herron. The Big Ten Defensive Player and Walter Camp National Player of the Week became the first Michigan player in the modern era to record two defensive touchdowns in a single game -- on a 94-yard interception return in the second quarter and a 29-yard fumble recovery in the third. Safety Jordan Kovacs led the Wolverines with 10 tackles and included two sacks, a forced fumble, and a pass breakup.
(0-1, 0-0 Sun Belt)
FLORIDA ATLANTIC at MICHIGAN STATE
Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011 • Noon ET • East Lansing, Mich. • Spartan Stadium (75,005)
ESPN2 • Announcers: Beth Mowins, Mike Bellotti
Series: Michigan State leads, 2-0 • Last Meeting: Sept. 11, 2010: Michigan State 30, Florida Atlantic 17
(1-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Saturday’s game marks the third meeting in four seasons between Michigan State and Florida
Atlantic. MSU leads the all-time series 2-0, as the Spartans defeated the Owls 17-0 at Spartan Stadium in 2008 and posted a 30-17 win over FAU at Detroit’s Ford Field in 2010. Last week Michigan State made quick work of Youngstown State, winning the opener by a 28-6 margin. Florida Atlantic enters 0-1 after falling 41-3 to Florida.
Michigan State’s offense garnered 396 total yards last week, including 237 yards in the air. With his 222 passing yards against Youngstown State, ﬁfth-year senior Kirk Cousins became just the fourth Spartan quarterback to eclipse the 6,000-yard mark. Cousins was effective too, completing 18 of his 22 passes on the night, which increased his career completion percentage to .648 – a mark that is first in school history and third all-time in Big Ten annals. Cousins’ primary target also made some headlines last week. B.J. Cunningham produced career highs for receptions (9) and receiving yards (130) in the season opener against Youngstown State, and enters week two tied with Matt Trannon for the school record of 148 career catches. Keshawn Martin, who tallied 28 receiving yards on a pair of grabs last week, needs 35 receiving yards to reach the 1,000-yard career milestone. The ground game was once again paced by Edwin baker, who racked up 91 yards on 15 carries, while fellow backs Le’Veon Bell and Larry Caper combined to find the end zone three times against the Penguins. The FAU defense allowed Florida to rack up 468 total yards last week, with 271 yards in the air and 197 markers on the ground. The Owls did manage to pick off the Gators three times, with grabs coming from linebacker Toney Moore and defensive backs Marcus Bartels and Keith Reaser. The last time FAU had three interceptions in a game was in 2010 against FIU, when Bartels had two of those picks. Bartels led all Owl defenders with seven tackles, including four solo stops. Reaser and Brentley Harstad followed with six tackles apiece.
The Gators’ defense proved too strong for the FAU offense last week. The Owls netted only 11 first downs and 137 total yards in the game, including just 30 markers on the ground. Alfred Morris was the team’s leading rusher, averaging just over a yard per carry with 14 rushes for 16 yards. Under center was Graham Wilbet, who recorded 107 yards on 14-of-26 passing, while tight end Nexon Dorvilus had a team-high 55 receiving yards on three catches. Michigan State allowed 254 total yards to Youngstown State with a balanced breakdown of 126 yards in the air and 128 yards allowed on the ground. Sophomore linebacker Max Bullough made his first career start a memorable one last Friday as he compiled a career-high 15 tackles (3 solos, 12 assists), the most of any Big Ten player on the first weekend of action. Bullough had 23 tackles all of last season playing as a true freshman, primarily on special teams. Bullough was not the only Spartan to make headlines on the defensive side of the ball. Denicos Allen recorded a career-best nine stops, including 1.5 for losses, Johnny Adams matched his career highs for tackles (7) and pass break-ups (2); William Gholston set career highs for tackles (6) and tackles for loss (2); and Darqueze Dennard posted a career-high six tackles.
(0-1, 0-0 WAC)
NEW MEXICO STATE at MINNESOTA
Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011 • 2:30 p.m. CT • Minneapolis, Minn. • TCF Bank Stadium (50,805)
BTN • Announcers: Wayne Larrivee, Brett Basanez, Rebecca Haarlow
Series: First Meeting
(0-1, 0-0 Big Ten)
Minnesota is hoping that New Mexico State’s bad luck streak against the Big Ten continues Saturday when the Golden Gophers return to TCF Bank Stadium to host the Aggies for the first time in school history. NM State is 0-6 all-time against the Big Ten, with the first meeting being a 69-13 defeat in 1962 against Wisconsin. The most recent loss came at Ohio State in 2009 – a 45-0 shutout that saw the Aggies earn just two first downs and 62 total yards of offense in the contest. First-year head coach Jerry Kill is looking for his first win as the Gophers’ mentor and nearly picked it up last week when the Maroon and Gold fell 19-17 at USC.
In the close defeat, the Golden Gophers racked up 302 yards of total offense against the Trojans, including 110 on the ground and 192 through the air. Minnesota opted to use two quarterbacks against USC, both of which saw similar success. MarQueis Gray threw for 94 yards on 7-of-12 passing, while Max Shortell registered 98 yards on 7-of-13 passing, with one touchdown and an interception after coming off the bench in the fourth quarter. Running back Duane Bennett led the ground attack with 53 yards and a touchdown, while wide receivers Malcolm Moulton and DaJon McKnight each caught four passes with 51 yards and 48 yards respectively. Wide receiver Brandon Green caught the lone Minnesota touchdown in the game. The NM State defense allowed Ohio to rack up 452 yards, including 211 yards in the air and 241 on the ground. Safety Donyae Coleman led the Aggies with 14 tackles and grabbed both an interception and fumble recovery for the first time in his career. Sophomore linebacker Bryan Bonilla recorded his first double-digit tackle performance in his first career start with 10 tackles, including nine assists. Also notching 10 stops on the night was linebacker B.J. Adolpho, who had his second double-digit tackle effort of his career.
In last week’s 44-24 loss to the Bobcats, NM State registered some rather eye-popping offensive totals. Of the Aggies’ 368 total yards, 362 were in the air, leaving six yards on the ground. On 23 rushing attempts, the Aggies averaged just 0.3 yards per carry while losing 56 of its 62 yards gained. QB Andrew Manley finished the game throwing for 362 yards on 22-of-44 with two touchdowns and an interception, and is just 34 yards shy of 1,000 yards for his career. Wide receiver Kenny Turner registered a team-high seven receptions for 93 yards and led the team in rushing with 41 yard on three carries. Wide receiver Todd Lee notched career highs in both receptions (5) and receiving yards (140), while also notching a TD pass in the loss. One of the Aggies’ dual threats is Taveon Rogers, who was named the Western Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week after returning four kickoffs for 177 yards, including a career-long 97-yard TD. Rogers had a total of 259 all-purpose yards in the game as he also caught five passes for 92 yards and another touchdown. Defensively last week, Minnesota allowed 371 yards of total offense, but had issues locking down some of USC’s top standouts in the passing game. Matt Barkley completed a school-record 34 passes for 304 yards, while Robert Woods caught a school-record 17 passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Trojans. Brock Vereen (12), Troy Stoudermire (11) and Kim Roysten (11) were all double-figure tacklers for in the loss. Vereen’s total, which included nine solo stops, was a career- and game-high mark.
(0-1, 0-0 WAC)
FRESNO STATE at NEBRASKA
Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011 • 6 p.m. CT • Lincoln, Neb. • Memorial Stadium (81,067)
BTN • Announcers: Eric Collins, Chris Martin, Dionne Miller
Series: First meeting
(1-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Following a 36-32 defeat to Cal last Saturday, Fresno State heads to Lincoln for a matchup against the 10th-ranked Cornhuskers, who overwhelmed Chattanooga last week, 40-7. Nebraska has had its way against schools from the Western Athletic Conference, winning 19-of-20 games against a WAC school, but Fresno State has a respectable record against BCS schools, winning its last seven of 11 contests versus schools from the major conferences. The Huskers, competing in their first season in the Big Ten, have gone 135-19 at home since 1989.
NU rolled to 364 yards of total offense on 68 plays, including 229 rushing yards against the Mocs last week. Once again, sophomore quarterback Taylor Martinez was leading the way. Martinez rushed for 135 yards on 19 carries for his sixth career 100-yard rushing game and ran for three touchdowns for the fourth time in his career. On the ground, junior I-back Rex Burkhead added 75 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries. Martinez also completed 11-of-22 passes for 116 yards. Quincy Enunwa led the NU receivers with four receptions for 58 yards, while tight ends Ben Cotton and Kyler Reed also contributed to the Huskers’ passing attack. Perhaps what was most astounding was the fact that Nebraska opened the season with a fullback running the ball. Tyler Legate took the pigskin on Nebraska's opening snap, marking the first carry by a Nebraska fullback had a carry since the 2004 season finale. Defensively, the Bulldogs limited Cal's Zach Maynard to only 16-of-35 passing through the air, but often gave up big-yardage plays. Maynard averaged 16.6 yards per completion while totaling 266 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, FSU allowed two large runs of 39 and 48 yards, but otherwise held the Bears' rushing attack to 60 yards on 32 carries. The `Dogs had seven tackles for a loss against the Bears, including two by preseason Lombardi and Outland Trophy candidate Logan Harrell. Cornerback L.J. Jones had a career-high seven stops in addition to one tackle for a loss and one interception in the loss last week.
The Fresno State offense has certainly shown in the past that it is not afraid to put points on the board when visiting BCS conference schools. The Bulldogs scored 38 points at Mississippi last season, 31 at Wisconsin in 2009, 31 at UCLA in 2008 and 45 points at Texas A&M in 2007. Against Cal, however, FSU struggled to get going as they mustered just 210 yards of offense and converted only 2-of-14 third downs. The Bulldogs were sacked four times and had just 68 net yards rushing. Robbie Rouse ran 17 times for 86 yards and scored one touchdown, while quarterback Derek Carr threw for 150 yards on 21-of-33 passing with one TD and one interception in his starting debut. One of FSU’s aerial attacks does have a family tie to one of Nebraska’s all-time greats. The Bulldogs’ fourth-leading receiver is redshirt freshman Josh Harper, who is the son of former Husker Willie Harper – a consensus All-American defensive end on Nebraska's back-to-back national championship teams in 1970 and 1971. Speaking of the Huskers’ defense, last week the NU defenders had three sacks and 11 tackles for a loss in the game and limited the Mocs to just 6-of-18 on third down attempts. Cameron Meredith had a pair of sacks for 22 yards in losses, intercepted a pass, and also scooped up a Chattanooga field goal attempt that was blocked at the line. Tackle Jared Crick finished the game with five tackles, including two for a loss.
(1-0, 0-0 OVC)
EASTERN ILLINOIS at NORTHWESTERN
Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011 • 2:30 p.m. CT • Evanston, Ill. • Ryan Field (47,130)
BTN • Announcers: Matt Devlin, Glen Mason, Rhett Kleinschmidt
Series: First meeting
(1-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Eastern Illinois and Northwestern are scheduled to meet for the first time on Saturday, but it won’t be the first time the Panthers are battling a Big Ten school. In fact, Saturday marks the sixth straight season EIU will be squaring off against a team from the Big Ten and it will be the first time in 40 years the team has traveled to Chicago. The Panthers have lost all five previous matchups against the conference and now face a Northwestern squad that has never faced a team from the Ohio Valley Conference. Both schools are hoping to get to 2-0 on the season. For EIU, the Panthers are coming off a 33-26 win over Illinois State in the 100th playing of the Mid-America Classic, while Northwestern recorded an impressive 24-17 road victory at Boston College.
Much was said about the Boston College defense heading into last week’s game, and rightfully so. The Eagles had led the nation in defending the rush last year by allowing just under 83 yards per game. Safe to say, Northwestern went straight at the Eagles… and straight through them. NU rushed for 227 yards last Saturday, the most yards a BC team had given up since 2009. Often known for its aerial attack, Northwestern has now put together back-to-back 200-yard rushing games (dating back to the 2011 TicketCity Bowl) for the first time since 2003. Mike Trumpy (85), Kain Colter (71) and Adonis Smith (53) all rushed for over 50 yards in the game, while Colter earned his first start under center for the still ailing Dan Persa. Colter finished 17-of-24 passing for 197 yards and totaled a career-best 268 yards of total offense. Wideout Jeremy Ebert finished with team highs in receptions (4) and receiving yards (54). Eastern Illinois allowed 392 yards of offense last week, including 240 yards in the air, and 6.1 average yards per play. Senior Cory Leman, the top returning tackler in the Ohio Valley Conference with 95 tackles last season, recorded 11 stops against Illinois State in the opener. EIU was active in the secondary as well, with Nick Martinez picking off two passes after the team recorded just five interceptions in 11 games last year.
The majority of the 367 yards of total offense last week came from the EIU passing attack. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo opened the season with 304 yards and has now thrown for 1,356 yards with 15 touchdown passes, going 93-of-144 for a 64 percent completion rate in his last five games. Senior Lorence Ricks was Garoppolo's favorite target of the day hauling in seven passes for 114 yards. Ricks big reception was a 42-yard touchdown grab in the fourth quarter. He finished the day with 255 all-purpose yards after averaging 35.2 yards on four kickoff returns. Despite rushing for nearly 100 yards last week, EIU netted just 63 yards on 35 attempts. Redshirt freshman AJ Woodson was the top ground gainer for the Panthers with 52 yards on 14 carries. Northwestern on the other hand, allowed 104 yards on the ground, but following a 69-yard rush on the game’s first play from scrimmage, NU held the Eagles to 35 rushing yards the remainder of the game. NU's defense was relentless getting to the ball, totaling three pass sacks and nine TFL's for a loss of 29 yards. Senior Jordan Mabin finished the game with eight tackles, an interception and one pass breakup, while junior David Nwabuisi shared the team lead with Mabin in tackles with eight. Senior Brian Peters, last year's leading team tackler, added five tackles, including an 8-yard pass sack.
(1-0, 0-0 MAC)
TOLEDO at OHIO STATE
Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011 • Noon ET • Columbus, Ohio. • Ohio Stadium (102,329)
BTN • Announcers: Tom Hart, Derek Rackley, Lisa Byington
Series: Ohio State leads, 2-0 • Last Meeting: Sept. 19, 2009: Ohio State 38, Toledo 0
(1-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
After blanking fellow in-state school Akron last week by a count of 45-0, Ohio State will look to continue the trend this Saturday against Toledo – a team that has never scored against the Buckeyes in two previous meetings. The Buckeyes defeated the Rockets, 38-0, at Cleveland Browns Stadium in 2009, more than 10 years after shutting them out 49-0 at Ohio Stadium in 1998. Toledo, which is 6-8 all-time against top-25 teams, does enter weekend play on the heels of a dominant 58-22 performance over New Hampshire, which marked its first season-opening win since 2005.
Ohio State stormed out of the gates last week with an impressive offensive outing, racking up 517 total yards, which marked the fifth time in the past six years that the Buckeyes opened the season with at least 400 yards of total offense. Joe Bauserman started his first career game under center and accounted for four TDs (three passing) while completing 12-of-16 passes for 163 yards. He also rushed for 32 yards, including a 15-yard TD run. Starter Carlos Hyde rushed for 93 yards on 19 carries (4.9 avg.) and his backup, Rod Smith, added 74 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries (4.1 avg.). Tight end Jake Stoneburner set a modern day school record for tight ends by catching three touchdown passes after ending last season with just two TDs to his credit. He finished the Akron win with four catches for 50 yards. The Rockets’ defense allowed 332 total yards to New Hampshire last week, including 180 yards in the air and 152 on the ground. Toledo made quick work on defense, recording three first-half turnovers that all led to touchdowns. One of those first-quarter interceptions belonged to senior free safety Diauntae Morrow, who also posted six tackles in the win. The Rockets' defense registered eight tackles for loss, including a game-high 2.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage by junior defensive end T.J. Fatinikun. Fellow classmate Robert Bell made his first career start at linebacker and was credited with a career-high eight tackles.
On the offensive side of the ball, UT featured a balanced offense in the win with 304 yards passing -- including five TDs -- and 287 yards rushing. The Rockets are led by two quarterbacks in junior Austin Dantin and sophomore Terrance Owens. Dantin completed 15-of-21 passes for 161 yards and three TDs, while Owens connected on 10-of-13 for 122 yards and two scores. Senior RB Adonis Thomas rushed for 115 yards on just nine carries, including a 46-yard TD run in the first half. Sophomore wideout Bernard Reedy led all UT receivers with five passes for 113 yards and two scores. Ohio State’s defense simply overwhelmed Akron’s offense last week, racking up 10 tackles for loss, including five sacks, and holding the Zips to just 55 passing yards on 19 attempts and 35 yards rushing on 27 carries. Additionally, the Buckeyes gave up just five first downs in the game, while allowing Akron to cross the 50-yard line just once in the game. Andrew Sweat led the defense with six tackles, including two for a loss, and an interception. Darryl Baldwin, Michael Bennett, Nate Ebner and Ryan Shazier all upset the Akron passing game, each registering their first sack of their career in the win.
(1-0, 0-0 SEC)
ALABAMA at PENN STATE
Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011 • 3:30 p.m. ET • University Park, Pa. • Beaver Stadium (106,572)
ABC • Announcers: Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge, Holly Rowe
Series: Alabama leads, 9-5 • Last Meeting: Sept. 11, 2010: Alabama 24, Penn State 3
(1-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
For the 15th time overall and the second in as many years, Alabama and Penn State will square off in what has certainly been billed as a true meeting of the minds. Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide make their first appearance in Beaver Stadium since the 1989 season, when Alabama earned a 17-16 victory. Penn State head coach Joe Paterno has been on the sidelines for all 14 meetings between the two schools, the first coming in the 1959 Liberty Bowl while Paterno was still a Nittany Lion assistant coach. Alabama leads the series 9-5, including a slight 3-2 edge over the Nittany Lions in State College. The Tide captured the 1978 national championship with a victory over the Nittany Lions in the Sugar Bowl. Both teams enter the weekend on the heels of dominant victories last Saturday. Penn State defeated Indiana State 41-7, while Alabama topped Kent State, 48-7.
It’s expected that Paterno will be observing the Nittany Lions from the press box Saturday after sustaining injuries in a player collision earlier this year. Hopefully, he will be able to see the big holes that were created last week for the PSU ground game to thrive once again. The Lions earned 16 of its 21 first downs on the ground and recorded 245 of its 359 yards with the run game. Sophomore Silas Redd led the rushing attack with a pair of touchdowns and 104 yards, while Curtis Dukes had a career-best 47 yards on his six carries. Because of the dominant ground game, Penn State didn’t spend too much time in the air, but as expected, both Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin saw action in the opener. Bolden got the start and went 6-of-12 for 37 yards, while McGloin was 6-of-8 for 77 yards. Derek Moye led all PSU receivers with four catches for 57 yards. Against Kent State last week, Alabama just dominated the Golden Flashes. The Crimson Tide gave up 90 yards for the game and did not allow a first down until the seven minutes were left before halftime. The Tide registered four sacks and seven tackles for a loss and allowed Kent State to cross midfield just once for the entire contest. Freshman linebacker Trey Depriest led Alabama with 10 tackles on the day while junior linebacker Dont'a Hightower and senior linebacker Courtney Upshaw each added seven tackles. Senior cornerback Phelon Jones added an interception for the Tide as well.
Alabama’s offense totaled 482 yards last week and had several players stepping up at different spots in the game. Sophomore QB AJ McCarron was 14-of-23 passing for 226 yards and two touchdowns, while redshirt freshman Philip Sims was 7-of-14 for 73 yards and two picks in limited play. Marquis Maze hauled in 118 yards on eight catches with a score and added 135 return yards on special teams as well. On the ground, the Tide was led by Trent Richardson, who scored three touchdowns en route to 37 yards on 13 carries. Sophomore Jalston Fowler earned the yardage crown with a team-high 69 rushing yards on four carries, including a 49-yard scamper for a score. Sophomore running back Eddie Lacy added 134 total yards (76 receiving, 58 rushing) and a touchdown. Just as it did on offense, Penn State had seven seniors start on the defense last week and that leadership helped the Lions create three turnovers, two of which turned into touchdowns. Safety Drew Astorino notched the fifth interception of his career in the first quarter, while tackle Jordan Hill recorded his first career forced fumble and his first fumble recovery in the third period. Mike Hull was PSU’s leading tackler with seven stops, followed by Mike Yancich with six. As a team, Penn State allowed Indiana State just 170 total yards, including 65 yards on the ground.
Purdue and Rice will meet Saturday for the fourth time in the all-time series, with the Boilermakers holding a 2-1 advantage. The Owls captured the inaugural meeting in 1934, but have dropped the last two contests against the Boilers in 1958 and 1998. Purdue blanked the Owls 24-0 in 1958 in the only previous meeting between the two schools at Rice Stadium. Thirty years later, Drew Brees led Purdue to a 21-19 victory, despite having the ball for less than 18 minutes in the game. Rice is 5-15 against the Big Ten and has dropped six straight against conference teams since defeating Northwestern 40-34 in Evanston during the 1997 season.
The Boilermakers finished with 420 yards of offense, including 201 on the ground, in last week’s 27-24 come-from-behind victory over Middle Tennessee State. In his first start under center, Caleb TerBush was 19-of-33 for 219 yards and two touchdowns, and showed poise while leading his Boilers to the game-winning touchdown with 50 seconds left in the game. Purdue was also pleased with the return of Ralph Bolden in the backfield. Bolden played in his first game since the 2009 season, racking up 120 yards rushing on 17 carries. The effort was the third 100-yard rushing game of his career. Justin Siller led the Boilermakers in receiving with five catches for 55 yards. In Rice’s 34-9 loss to Texas last week, the Owls allowed 506 yards, including 277 yards in the air and 229 yards on the ground. Cameron Nwosu paced the Owls with 12 tackles, including nine solos, while Xavier Webb added nine stops and Justin Allen had eight. Brian Stacey and Phillip Gaines also teamed up for back-to-back sacks in the first series of the second half.
The Rice offense mustered 224 yards against the Texas defense last week, with just 94 yards recorded through the air. The Owls lost two of three fumbles, were sacked twice, and were 2-of-12 on third-down conversions. Taylor McHargue completed 14-of-29 passes for 79 yards, while Sam McGuffie, the 12-game starter from a year ago, came off the bench to complete the only pass he threw in the game. Led by Tyler Smith's 67 yards on 10 carries, Rice also had multiple caries given to Turner Petersen (7 rushes, 43 yards) and Charles Ross (4 rushes, 20 yards). Vance McDonald led all wideouts with five grabs for 36 yards. The Boilermakers allowed 330 of Middle Tennessee State’s 460 yards in the air last week, giving up 27 completions in 47 attempts. This is a Purdue unit that is trying to replace All-American pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan and following no sacks last week, the Boilers are focused on applying the pressure to a shaky Owls’ aerial game this week. Joe Holland collected a career-high 14 tackles, including eight solo takedowns in the win, while Will Lucas and Albert Evans added seven stops each with five solo tackles apiece. Dwayne Beckford grabbed his first career interception for the first takeaway of the 2011 season.
(0-1, 0-0 Pac-12)
OREGON STATE at WISCONSIN
Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011 • 11 a.m. CT • Madison, Wis. • Camp Randall Stadium (80,321)
ESPN • Announcers: Dave Pasch, Chris Spielman, Urban Meyer, Quint Kessenich
Series: Wisconsin leads, 1-0 • Last Meeting: Oct. 14, 1961: Wisconsin 23, Oregon State 20
(1-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
It has been 50 years since Oregon State and Wisconsin last met, which was also the first matchup between the two schools in the series. The first meeting came on Oct. 14, 1961, with the Badgers winning 23-20 at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin has won 29-straight regular-season non-conference games – a mark that ranks second nationally. UW is coming off a strong performance against UNLV, one in which it opened the college football season last Thursday with a 51-17 victory over the Rebels. Oregon State on the other hand, ran into a hornet’s nest last week, falling 29-28 in its home opener to the Sacramento State Hornets.
Wisconsin’s offense was nothing shy of impressive last week, from its dominant ground game to the poise and skill of a new leader under center. NC State transfer Russell Wilson accounted for 317 total yards, including 255 through the air on 10-of-13 passing with two touchdown throws. His completion percentage (76.9) and pass efficiency (292.5) were the highest by a Wisconsin QB making his debut since 1951. He also ran for 62 yards on a pair of carries, highlighted by a 46-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, and earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts. In the backfield, Montee Ball accounted for 130 all-purpose yards (63 rushing and 67 receiving) while James White had 181 all-purpose yards (64 rushing, 40 receiving and 77 on kickoff returns). As a team, the Badgers posted 499 yards of total offense, averaging 9.42 yards per play, which was the second-best total in country during week one. UW was one of just nine teams in the country to run and pass for at least 240 yards in its season opener. Perhaps the scariest note of them all is the fact that the Badgers have scored at least 37 points in the first half in each of their last three home games. Fourteen players made their first career starts for Oregon State last week, including eight on the defensive side of the ball. Feti `Unga, one of the 14 first-time starters, led the Beavers defensively with eight tackles, while Scott Crichton, also a first-time starter, was credited with one sack and two tackles for loss. Overall, OSU had six tackles for loss totaling 24 yards and allowed 367 total yards for the game.
The stats seemed to favor Oregon State in its opener. Offensively, OSU outgained the Hornets, 496-397, and finished with 266 rushing yards to just 71 for Sacramento State. Among the several freshman playing last week was Sean Mannion. The redshirt QB did not make the start, but filled in midway through going 8-for-12 passing for 143 yards in relief of Ryan Katz, who started and was 11-of-22 for 87 yards. The offensive standout for the Beavers was freshman running back Malcolm Agnew, who rushed for 223 yards and three touchdowns. Agnew's 223 yards rushing was tops among any FBS rusher last week and the ninth-best single-game total in school history. His three touchdown rushes helped the Beavers rally from a 21-6 deficit to even the score midway through the fourth quarter. The Beavers are still without veteran standout James Rodgers, the school’s all-time leader with 5,784 all-purpose yards, who is still recovering from knee surgeries. In the win against UNLV, the Badgers held the Rebels under 300 yards of total offense – a feat they accomplished just three times last season. UW is now 24-2 under head coach Bret Bielema when holding its opponent to less than 300 yards. Chris Borland paced the Badgers with seven tackles on the night, while Devin Smith had six solo stops and Mike Taylor totaled six as well. Defensive ends Louis Nzegwu and David Gilbert combined for three sacks and a forced fumble on the night.