Big Ten Weekly Football Release - Nov. 11

Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase threw for a career-best 450 yards last week against Indiana.

Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase threw for a career-best 450 yards last week against Indiana.

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Nov. 11, 2013

B1G MOMENTS IN ROSE BOWL HISTORY - Jan. 1, 1988 - Michigan State 20, USC 17: After opening the 1987 season against USC, Michigan State found itself in a rematch with the Trojans in the 1988 Rose Bowl Game. With the score tied at 17, the Spartans drove 54 yards in nine plays, using a John Langeloh field goal to give them a 20-17 lead. USC's final drive ended with an interception, one of five turnovers forced by the Spartans defense, led by game MVP Percy Snow.

BIG TEN MEDAL OF HONOR 100TH ANNIVERSARY SPOTLIGHT - Indiana's John Hammerstein: Hammerstein was Indiana's Big Ten Medal of Honor winner in 1996. He is the only two-time Academic All-American in Indiana football history, earning the honors following his junior and senior seasons. A four-year letterwinner, he started at defensive tackle his final three years and was team captain as a senior in 1995. After completing his undergraduate work in biology, Hammerstein attended the IU School of Medicine before completing his orthopedic surgery residency at Michigan State. Currently he is a spinal surgeon in Bloomington.

Looking at the Legends Division:  Five teams are still in the running to earn a share of the Legends Division title as four squads are within three games of division leader Michigan State. With three weeks to play, the Spartans carry a perfect 5-0 record in conference play, followed by second-place Nebraska at 4-1. Minnesota is third with a 4-2 mark, Iowa is fourth at 3-3 and Michigan is fifth with a 2-3 record in conference play. The division's top two teams will square off this weekend when the Spartans travel to Nebraska, with the winner earning the inside track to represent the division in the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis on Dec. 7. A Spartan win would secure at least a share of the division title. The Gophers and Hawkeyes each have a bye this weekend, while Michigan meets Northwestern

Breaking Down the Leaders Division:  Four teams are still able to earn a share of the Leaders Division title with three weeks remaining in the Big Ten season. Ohio State, which had a bye last weekend, heads into the week with a 5-0 record, one game ahead of second-place Wisconsin. The Badgers are 4-1 in conference play, while Penn State and Indiana are tied for third with 2-3 Big Ten records. The Buckeyes can earn at least a share of the division title and clinch their spot in Indianapolis with a win over Illinois coupled with an Indiana victory over Wisconsin this weekend.

Golden Gophers:  Minnesota posted its eighth victory of the season last Saturday against Penn State, sending the Gophers to their first top-25 ranking since 2008, appearing at No. 25 in the coaches poll. The Gophers, who have a bye this week, are 4-2 in the Big Ten and are third in the Legends Division, one of five divisional squads still in the running for the division title. The eight triumphs mark the most since Minnesota won 10 games in 2003 and its four consecutive Big Ten victories matches a feat last achieved in 1973.

BCS Trio:  Three Big Ten teams appear in the latest Bowl Championship Series (BCS) standings, with all three squads moving up at least one slot from last week's poll. Ohio State had a bye on Saturday but moved up one spot to No. 3 in the BCS rankings, the Buckeyes' highest ranking since ending the 2007 campaign at No. 1 overall. Michigan State also had a bye and climbed one slot to No. 16, cracking the top 16 for the first time since ranking No. 13 on Nov. 27, 2011. Wisconsin wrapped up non-conference play with a victory over BYU to move up to No. 22, the Badgers' highest ranking since ending the 2011 season at No. 10 overall.

A Full Slate of Division Matchups:  All five Big Ten matchups this weekend will be divisional clashes, with three Leaders Division contests and two Legends Division games on tap. In the Leaders Division, Illinois welcomes Ohio State, Penn State hosts Purdue and Wisconsin takes on Indiana. Nebraska hosts Michigan State and Northwestern will face Michigan in the Legends Division. As part of divisional play, the Big Ten 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.

Bowl-Hawks:  With its victory over Purdue last Saturday, Iowa reached the six-win mark to become bowl eligible. The Hawkeyes become the seventh Big Ten team to reach the standard, joining Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin. Iowa carries a winning record in postseason competition, boasting a 14-11-1 mark, including wins in three of its last four bowl appearances.

Seasonal Specials:  Five Big Ten standouts recorded some of the conference's top statistical performances of the season last weekend. Nebraska's Randy Gregory posted a personal-best three sacks in the Huskers' win over Michigan, the most by a Big Ten defender this season. Indiana receiver Cody Latimer tied for the single-game conference lead with three touchdown receptions versus Illinois. The Illini's Nathan Scheelhaase completed a Big Ten-best 38 passes against the Hoosiers, throwing for a career-best 450 yards, second-most among conference signal callers this year. Teammate Steve Hull finished with a career-high 224 yards receiving, which ranks second in the conference this year, while Indiana's Tevin Coleman totaled 215 rushing yards against the Illini, a career best and the second-most in the Big Ten this season.

Trophy Time:  Another traveling conference keepsake will be on the line this weekend as Ohio State and Illinois will compete for the Illibuck. The teams have been competing for the trophy since 1925 and the winner takes home a wooden replica of the original Illibuck - a living turtle that was selected for its long life span to represent the anticipated longevity of the Illinois-Ohio State contest. It will be the 87th time the programs have played for the Illibuck, with the Buckeyes carrying 60 official wins in the series. Saturday's game will also mark the 100th all-time matchup between the two teams, making it the seventh Big Ten series to have been played on at least 100 occasions.

Making the Grades:  Seventeen Big Ten standouts were named to the 2013 Capital One Academic All-District Football Teams. The conference's honorees are Illinois' Nathan Scheelhaase, Indiana's Mark Murphy, Iowa's James Morris, Jake Rudock and Brett Van Sloten, Michigan State's Max Bullough and Mike Sadler, Nebraska's Jake Long, Spencer Long and C.J. Zimmerer, Northwestern's Collin Ellis, Mike Trumpy and Brandon Vitabile, Penn State's Ben Kline and John Urschel and Purdue's Robert Kugler and Shane Mikesky. To be eligible for the award, a player must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.30 on a scale of 4.00 and have achieved sophomore academic eligibility. Academic All-District selections are eligible for Academic All-America honors to be announced in December.


 

 

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