Big Ten Weekly Football Release - Nov. 29

Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins led the Spartans to their first Big Ten title since 1990.

Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins led the Spartans to their first Big Ten title since 1990.

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Nov. 29, 2010

Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin Share Big Ten Championship: For the first time since the 2000 campaign, three teams ended the season atop the Big Ten standings as Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin each finished 7-1 in conference play to earn a share of the 2010 Big Ten Championship. The Buckeyes have won at least a share of the last six Big Ten titles to match the conference record, equaling the feat first accomplished by OSU from 1972-77. Ohio State has now claimed 35 Big Ten Championships, which ranks second among all conference teams behind only the 42 titles for Michigan. The Badgers collected their first Big Ten crown since 1999 and 12th overall, the fifth-most titles in conference annals. The Spartans earned their first Big Ten Championship since 1990 and seventh overall.

A History of Sharing: The Big Ten has featured multiple champions in five of the last 10 seasons, including Ohio State and Penn State sharing first place in 2008 and 2005 with identical 7-1 marks. Iowa and Michigan split the title in 2004 with 7-1 records, while the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes shared the championship in 2002 after producing unblemished 8-0 conference slates. The last three-way tie for the Big Ten Championship occurred in 2000, when Michigan, Northwestern and Purdue each finished 6-2 atop the standings.

Ohio State Claims Seventh Big Ten Title in Last Decade: Ohio State tops all Big Ten schools with seven titles over the last decade, finishing first in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. Three teams have won two championships over that time span - Iowa (2002, 2004), Michigan (2003, 2004) and Penn State (2005, 2008).  Three teams have claimed one title over the last decade - Illinois (2001), Michigan State (2010) and Wisconsin (2010).

More on the Buckeyes' Run of Titles: Ohio State has now won at least a share of the last six titles, splitting the crown with Michigan State and Wisconsin this season, sharing the title with Penn State in 2005 and 2008 and ending the 2006, 2007 and 2009 seasons alone atop the standings. The Buckeyes have compiled a Big Ten mark of 43-5 over the last six years. Michigan and Ohio State are the only two teams in Big Ten annals to post four or more consecutive first-place finishes on multiple occasions, accomplishing the feat a combined seven different times.

Seven Titles in 10 Years: The Buckeyes are one of only three Big Ten programs to claim seven or more titles over a 10-year span and the first since Michigan and Ohio State both finished in first place seven times between 1973-82. OSU holds the conference record with nine Big Ten Championships over a 10-year span, accomplishing the feat from 1968-77. The Buckeyes have also won eight titles over 10 years on three occasions (1972-81, 1970-79 and 1969-78), a streak of success matched only by Michigan (eight from 1971-80 and 1969-78). Minnesota is the only other Big Ten team to finish first seven or more times in a 10-year span with seven titles from 1933-41.

Big Ten Championship Coaches: Five active Big Ten coaches have now won at least one Big Ten Championship.  Ohio State's Jim Tressel has claimed seven titles in his first 10 seasons on the sideline, while Michigan State's Mark Dantonio and Wisconsin's Bret Bielema earned their first titles this season.  Penn State's Joe Paterno has claimed three Big Ten titles (1994, 2005, 2008), while Iowa's Kirk Ferentz has earned two Big Ten crowns (2002, 2004). 

A Rare Coaching Fraternity: Ohio State's Jim Tressel is one of only three head coaches to win seven or more titles in their first decade with a Big Ten institution. Michigan's Bo Schembechler holds the Big Ten record by finishing first in eight of his first 10 campaigns from 1969-78, while Minnesota's Bernie Bierman won seven titles from 1932-41. Tressel is also just the second coach to win at least a share of six straight Big Ten Championships, as the Buckeyes' Woody Hayes earned six straight crowns from 1972-77. Only eight Big Ten coaches have claimed seven or more conference titles, a group that includes Schembechler (13 titles), Hayes (13), Michigan's Fielding Yost (10), Minnesota's Henry Williams (8) and Bierman (7), Chicago's Amos Alonzo Stagg (7), Illinois' Bob Zuppke (7) and Tressel.

Big Ten BCS AQ Still TBD: With Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin ending the regular-season in a tie for first place, the Big Ten's automatic representative to the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) will be determined by the conference tiebreaker.  Since the Spartans and Buckeyes did not play and all three teams ended the regular season with identical 11-1 overall records, the highest-ranked team in the final BCS standings will be the Big Ten's BCS automatic qualifier. The final BCS standings will be announced on Sunday, Dec. 5.

Big Ten in the BCS: Six different Big Ten schools have earned the conference's BCS automatic berth in the first 12 years of the system, including Illinois (2001), Michigan (2003, 2004), Ohio State (2002, 2006, 2007, 2009), Penn State (2005, 2008), Purdue (2000) and Wisconsin (1998, 1999). Overall, the Big Ten entered the 2010 campaign with a conference-best 21 BCS berths, sending a second team to the BCS in 1998 (Ohio State), 1999 (Michigan), 2002 (Iowa), 2003 (Ohio State), 2005 (Ohio State), 2006 (Michigan), 2007 (Illinois), 2008 (Ohio State) and 2009 (Iowa).

Eight Big Ten Teams Ready to Bowl: With only one more regular season game remaining, eight Big Ten teams are eligible for postseason play. The Big Ten's bowl-eligible group consists of Michigan State (11-1), Ohio State (11-1), Wisconsin (11-1), Iowa (7-5), Michigan (7-5), Northwestern (7-5), Penn State (7-5) and Illinois (6-5). The Illini wrap up regular season play with a game at Fresno State on Friday.

Big Ten Ties Conference Record with Eight Bowl Teams: The Big Ten's eight bowl teams will match the conference record for most bowl berths in a season. The Big Ten also made eight bowl appearances following the 2003 and 2007 campaigns. The 2010-11 bowl season will mark the sixth straight year that seven or more Big Ten programs have earned postseason berths, the longest streak in conference history. The conference qualified seven schools for postseason play after the 1993, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009 seasons. The Big Ten will send six or more teams to bowl games for the 12th straight year and 19th time overall. Including the upcoming bowl season, conference programs will have made 71 bowl appearances over a 10-year span (2001-10) and 256 appearances all-time.

Know Your Big Ten Bowls: The Big Ten has eight bowl tie-ins for the first time in conference history - the Rose Bowl Game/Bowl Championship Series (BCS) game, Capital One, Outback, Gator, Insight, Texas, TicketCity and Little Caesars Pizza Bowls. If one of the Big Ten co-champions is ranked No. 1 or 2 in the final BCS rankings, that team will play in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 10, 2011, in Glendale, Ariz.

Spartans, Buckeyes and Badgers Hit 11-Win Plateau: Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin earned their 11th victories of the season to give the conference at least three teams with double-digit wins for the second straight year and the eighth time in the last 13 campaigns. The Buckeyes are the first team in Big Ten history to record six straight years of 10 or more triumphs, breaking a record that had stood for more than a century after Michigan  posted five consecutive seasons with 10-plus wins from 1901-05. OSU has produced 11 or more victories in six of the last nine seasons and 11 times overall, including a 12-win campaign in 2006 and a 14-victory season in 2002. The Spartans set a new school record with their 11th win, surpassing the previous program-best of 10 triumphs in 1999 and 1965. The Badgers reached the 11-win plateau for the third time in school history, including 11 victories in 1998 and a program-record 12 wins in 2006.

The Rarity of 11-Win Trios: After becoming the first conference among the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC to produce three teams with 11 or more wins in 2006, the Big Ten duplicated that accomplishment in 2009 and 2010. Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State stand at 11-1 with bowl games still to be played. The Buckeyes were joined by Iowa and Penn State with identical 11-2 records last season and in 2006, OSU and the Badgers ended the year at 12-1 while Michigan posted an 11-2 mark. The Big Ten has produced two teams with 11 or more wins on four other occasions - 2002, 1998, 1996 and 1903. The only other conference to boast three schools with 11 or more wins in a single season is the Big 12, which accomplished the feat in 2007 and 2008.

Big Ten Attendance Records: Just one season after setting a record for overall attendance in all games, the Big Ten established two more records in 2010 for overall and average attendance for conference games only. In 44 games this season, conference schools welcomed 3,176,509 patrons for an average of 72,193 fans per contest. The Big Ten's total and average attendance in conference games breaks the previous records of 3,175,427 fans for an average of 72,169 per contest during the 2005 campaign. The Big Ten also averaged more than 72,000 fans in all games for just the second time in conference history, averaging a crowd of 72,106 in 76 games to trail only the 72,566 average in 2005. The Big Ten welcomed more than 5.4 million fans in all games for just the fourth time in conference annals, including the conference record of 5,526,237 in 2009.

Paterno Still the One: Penn State's Joe Paterno ends the regular season with 401 victories, the all-time record among Football Bowl Subdivision coaches. Paterno stands at 401-134-3 in his 45th season leading the Nittany Lions, joining  John Gagliardi (478-active) and Eddie Robinson (408) as the only coaches in NCAA history with more than 400 victories. He has served as head coach at PSU in 538 games, which ranks second in college football history behind only the 578 games for Chicago's Amos Alonzo Stagg. Paterno is the longest serving head coach at one school in major college football history, as Stagg served as head coach at Chicago for 41 years (1892-1932) during his 57-year tenure as a head coach.

Two Active Coaches in Big Ten Century Club: Penn State's Joe Paterno and Ohio State's Jim Tressel are two of only 13 mentors to collect 100 or more wins while at a Big Ten school. Paterno entered the season as part of the century club and currently ranks fourth with a record of 154-67 in the Nittany Lions' 18 years in the Big Ten. Tressel earned his 100th victory with the Buckeyes on Oct. 9 and ends the regular season with a record of 105-22, just four wins shy of Michigan State's Duffy Daugherty (109-69-5) for 12th place on the list. Tressel has won 82.7 percent of his games at OSU, which ranks second in conference history among coaches with 10 or more years on the sidelines behind only Michigan's Fielding Yost (88.8 percent; 113-13-3 from 1901-26).

Big Ten Individual Leaders . . . : With the Big Ten season now complete, the conference crowned new statistical champions for conference games only in all categories appearing in the records book. Michigan featured stat leaders in three different categories with quarterback Denard Robinson topping the Big Ten with 317.5 yards of total offense per game, wide receiver Roy Roundtree leading the way with 83.9 receiving yards per contest and punter Will Hagerup averaging a conference-best 46.0 yards per punt. The last Wolverines to lead the Big Ten in those categories were quarterback Jim Harbaugh (247.4 yards of total offense per game in 1986), wideout Mario Manningham (109.8 receiving yards per game in 2007) and punter Zoltan Mesko (45.2 average in 2009). Wisconsin produced a pair of stat leaders with quarterback Scott Tolzien posting a conference-best pass efficiency rating of 166.5 and running back Montee Ball leading the way with 12.0 points per game. The last Badgers to rank first in those categories were quarterback Jim Sorgi (162.8 pass efficiency rating in 2003) and kicker Philip Welch (7.8 points per game in 2009). Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure averaged a conference-high 121.6 rushing yards per game, becoming the first Illini to top the Big Ten in ground yardage since Jim Grabowski led the conference with 996 yards in 1965. Indiana wideout Tandon Doss led the Big Ten with 6.38 receptions per outing, making him the first Hoosier to rank first in receptions since Eddie Baety averaged 5.0 catches per contest in 1994.

. . . and Team Leaders: In team statistics, Big Ten Co-Champion Ohio State led the way in conference games only in all four major defensive categories for the third time in the last six years. The Buckeyes limited opponents to a conference-low 12.8 points, 255.8 total yards, 149.8 passing yards and 106.0 rushing yards per contest. OSU also topped the Big Ten in those four categories in 2007 and 2005. Ohio State has now led the Big Ten in scoring defense in each of the last six seasons, the only school since 1936 to accomplish that feat, breaking the previous record of four consecutive seasons set by Michigan from 1969-72. On the offensive side of the ball, Big Ten Co-Champion Wisconsin led the conference with 45.2 points and 242.2 rushing yards per game. The Badgers become just the second team since at least 1936 to average more than 45 points in conference play, trailing only the Penn State unit that averaged 48.1 points per contest in 1994. Wisconsin led the Big Ten in points for the second straight year after averaging 29.5 points per outing last season. The last time the Badgers topped the Big Ten in rushing was when the unit averaged 272.8 yards per game on the ground in 1999, the last year Wisconsin won the Big Ten title. Michigan led all Big Ten schools with 470.0 yards per contest, topping the conference in that category for the first time since 1992. Indiana paced the Big Ten with 268.9 passing yards per outing, leading the conference for the first time since 1991.

Students of the Game: The Big Ten tied for the lead among all Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) conferences with five student-athletes named to the ESPN Academic All-America first or second teams in football. The Big Ten has now led all FBS conferences in Academic All-Americans for six straight seasons, with 48 football honorees over that time span. The Big Ten also tied for the lead among all conferences with four first-team selections. The Big Ten's total of five Academic All-Americans was tied with the Big 12 for the lead among all FBS conferences and ranked second only to the nine selections from the Missouri Valley Conference of the Football Championship Subdivison. The Big Ten and Missouri Valley both produced a conference-best four first-team honorees, followed by three first-team selections from the Big 12. Penn State led the country with three first-team Academic All-Americans. The Academic All-America first-team honorees from the Big Ten are the Penn State trio of Chris Colasanti, Pete Massaro and Stefen Wisniewski and Purdue's Kyle Adams, while fellow Boilermaker Joe Holland was named to the second team. Wisniewski was one of four student-athletes to earn first-team accolades for the second straight season. To be eligible for the award, a player must be in at least his second year of athletic eligibility, be a first-team or key performer and carry a cumulative 3.30 grade point average (GPA).

OTHER TOP PERFORMERS - NOV. 27

OFFENSE:
IND QB Ben Chappell:
Completed 31 of 50 passes (62.0 pct.) for 330 yards and three TDs at Purdue.
MSU QB Kirk Cousins: Connected on 17 of 22 passes (77.3 pct.) for 152 yards and two TDs at PSU.
OSU RB Dan Herron: Compiled 175 yards on 22 carries (8.0 avg.) with one TD against Michigan.
PSU QB Matt McGloin: Connected on 23 of 43 passes (53.5 pct.) for 312 yards and two TDs.

DEFENSE:
IND LB Jeff Thomas:
Posted eight tackles (six solo) and three TFLs (-7 yards) while picking off a pass in overtime against Purdue.
MSU DE Colin Neely: Compiled five tackles (two solo) and two TFLs (-11 yards) at PSU.
MINN CB Troy Stoudermire: Collected four tackles (all solo), two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup against Iowa.
OSU DE Nathan Williams: Recorded six tackles (two solo), 2.5 TFLs (-12 yards), a nine-yard sack, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery against Michigan.
PSU LB Nate Stupar: Registered a game-high 10 tackles (five solo) with one TFL (-6 yards) and a forced fumble against Michigan State.

SPECIAL TEAMS:
IOWA KR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos:
Returned three kickoffs for 118 yards (39.3 avg.), including an 88-yard TD at Minnesota.
MSU P Aaron Bates: Recorded four punts for 186 yards (46.5 avg.) with two inside the 20-yard line.
MINN K Eric Ellestad: Connected on both field goal attempts (26, 35) and three extra points and recovered an onside kick against Iowa.
OSU KR Jordan Hall: Returned his lone kickoff 85 yards for a TD against Michigan.
PUR P Cody Webster: Recorded six punts for 336 yards (56.0 avg.) with three inside the 20-yard line.
WIS P Brad Nortman: Registered five punts for 198 yards (39.6 avg.) with four inside the 20-yard line.