Big Ten Weekly Football Release - Oct. 28

Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook completed 15-of-16 passes at Illinois on Saturday.

Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook completed 15-of-16 passes at Illinois on Saturday.

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Oct. 28, 2013

B1G MOMENTS IN ROSE BOWL HISTORY - Jan. 1, 1949 - Northwestern 20, California 14: Northwestern scored the game-winning touchdown with just under three minutes to play in its first bowl appearance. With Cal carrying a 14-13 lead in the fourth quarter, Wildcat halfback Ed Tunnicliff took a direct snap and sprinted 43 yards for a touchdown with 2:59 to play. Cal's final drive was thwarted by a Loran Day interception, sealing the Northwestern win.

BIG TEN MEDAL OF HONOR 100TH ANNIVERSARY SPOTLIGHT - Michigan State's Morten Andersen: Andersen, who won the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1982, was a first-team All-Big Ten selection at Michigan State and also garnered Academic All-Big Ten accolades as a senior in 1981, a year in which he recorded the Big Ten's longest field goal with a 63-yarder. His success at Michigan State earned him a spot on the Walter Camp All-Century Team. Andersen was drafted in the fourth round of the 1982 NFL Draft and went on to become the NFL's all-time leading scorer with 2,544 points. In his NFL career that spanned from 1982 to 2007, Andersen was a three-time All-Pro, a seven-time Pro Bowler and a member of the NFL's 1980s and 1990s All-Decade teams.

Looking at the Legends Division:  Michigan State has reached the halfway point of its Big Ten slate, standing atop the division standings with a 4-0 conference mark. Each of the Spartans remaining conference games will be intra-division showdowns, including matchups with Michigan and Nebraska, which are tied for second in the standings with 2-1 Big Ten records. The Wolverines visit Michigan State this weekend while Nebraska returns home to face Northwestern. Iowa and Minnesota are tied for fourth in the division standings, holding 2-2 conference marks and two games back of the Spartans.

Leaders Division Breakdown: Ohio State is in first place in the Leaders Division with a 4-0 mark, while Wisconsin stands one game back at 3-1. The Buckeyes defeated division foe Penn State last weekend to remain perfect in the conference, and three of the Buckeyes remaining four contests will be division contests. The Badgers head to Iowa this week following a bye last Saturday. Ohio State holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over Wisconsin following the meeting in Columbus earlier this season. Penn State and Indiana are tied for third in the division race at 1-2, with the Nittany Lions hosting Illinois and the Hoosiers welcoming Minnesota on Saturday.

Twenty and Counting:  Ohio State improved the country's longest active winning streak to 20 consecutive last Saturday following its win over Penn State. It is the second-longest winning streak in program history, trailing only the 22 consecutive victories during the 1967-69 seasons. It is tied for the seventh-longest streak in Big Ten history. Conference programs have combined for eight stretches of at least 20 or more wins, with the 1901-03 Michigan squads holding the conference record of 29 consecutive victories. Ohio State is one of only four teams nationally with an 8-0 record and one of eight programs who enter the week undefeated.

Going Bowling:  Minnesota became the fourth Big Ten team, and third Legends Division squad, to reach the six-win standard and achieve bowl eligibility. The Gophers knocked off nationally ranked Nebraska last weekend to reach the landmark for the second straight season. Minnesota has been to 15 postseason contests in program history, having last appeared in the 2012 Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas. The Gophers join Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State as the Big Ten's bowl-eligible programs. Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin each have five victories and could become eligible for postseason play with one more win.

Where We Rank:  Four Big Ten teams appeared among the top 25 in the latest Bowl Championship Series (BCS) standings, with Michigan State and Wisconsin making their first appearances this season. Ohio State improved to 8-0 overall and won its 20th straight game to hold steady at No. 4 in the BCS poll, while Michigan had a bye and moved up to No. 21. The Spartans moved to 7-1 on the year and were ranked No. 22, their first BCS ranking since Dec. 4, 2011, while the Badgers had a bye on Saturday and were slotted at No. 24, their first appearance since Oct. 21, 2012.

Division Matchups:  Four conference contests this weekend will be division matchups, including two within each division. In the Legends Division, Michigan travels to face first-place Michigan State and Northwestern heads to Nebraska. In the Leaders Division, Purdue hosts division-leader Ohio State and Penn State welcomes Illinois. As part of divisional play, the Big Ten has instituted a tiebreaker to determine the Big Ten Football Championship Game participants, if necessary. After head-to-head matchups, the next tiebreaker is records within the division, which makes winning divisional games an important part of the Big Ten title chase. See Page 11 of this release for the full tiebreaker.

Forty is the New 30:  With five teams ranked among the top 16 in scoring offense, and the conference as a whole second nationally at 33.46 points per game, Big Ten offenses are among some of the most prolific in the nation. With Ohio State and Michigan State both scoring more than 40 points last weekend, conference teams have combined to score 40 points or more 36 times this season, already surpassing last year's total of 27 such instances. Seven conference teams have crossed the 40-point barrier at least three times in 2013, with Ohio State leading the way with six such outings. Michigan has scored at least 40 points five times, Wisconsin and Indiana have done so four times and Illinois, Michigan State and Minnesota have three 40-point performances. Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska and Wisconsin are among the nation's top 16 in scoring offense, each averaging 39.9 points or more per game this year.

Efficient Cook:  Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook now ranks among the conference's all-time single-game leaders in completion percentage with his effort against Illinois last Saturday. Cook completed 15 of 16 passes, a 93.8 completion percentage, for 208 yards and three touchdowns. His 93.8 percentage is seventh on the Big Ten's single-game list and he joins Northwestern's Kain Colter as this year's additions to the chart. Colter was a perfect 12-for-12 against Ohio State on Oct. 5, which is tied for first in Big Ten single-game history.

Trophy Time:  Two rivalry trophies will be on the line this weekend when Iowa hosts Wisconsin and Michigan State welcomes Michigan. The Hawkeyes and Badgers first competed for the Heartland Trophy, a brass bull statue, in 2004, with Iowa holding a 4-3 edge in the series. Saturday's Michigan-Michigan State contest features the battle of the Paul Bunyan Trophy. It is the 61st time the teams will meet with the traveling keepsake on the line, with Michigan holding the all-time edge in the series, 35-23-2. In 1953, then-Michigan Governor G. Mennen Williams donated the four-foot wooden statue to mark Michigan State's acceptance into the Big Ten.

Four-Million Strong:  Thanks to the attendance figures following last weekend's games across the conference, Big Ten stadiums have welcomed more than four million fans through the turnstiles this year. It is the 21st straight season the conference has crossed the four-million mark in total attendance and the 24th year overall. The all games average of 70,932 fans per contest would rank sixth on the conference's all-time chart, and the conference games only average of 73,675 is on pace to be the highest in Big Ten history.