Big Ten Conference News and Notes

10:03 AM, Sep 17, 2012   |    comments
Michigan Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson (16) passes the ball during the second half against the Air Force Falcons at Michigan Stadium. Michigan won 31-25. (Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE)
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -

ILLINOIS: With starting QB Nathan Scheelhaase on the sidelines due to injury, Reilly O'Toole threw for 333 yards and five TDs to lead the Fighting Illini to a 44-0 win over visiting FCS foe Charleston Southern on Saturday afternoon. With the victory, Illinois improved to 12-0 all-time against teams from the FCS, posting an average margin of victory of 33 points in those contests. In addition to O'Toole's career day in which he also set a new single-game school record for completion percentage (.839, 26-of-31), WR Ryan Lankford also had the best game of his career, logging seven receptions for 97 yards and two scores. WR Justin Hardee enjoyed a solid outing as well, finishing with five grabs for 99 yards. The UI defense permitted only 125 yards on the day, including a mere 29 through the air, and the shutout was the team's first since blanking Western Illinois on Sept. 8, 2007. The Illini will play their final non-conference game of the regular season this Saturday, as they welcome the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs to Champaign.

INDIANA: The Hoosiers fought tooth and nail to give the hometown faithful something to smile about on Saturday, but their comeback bid fell just short as they dropped a 41-39 decision to in-state rival Ball State. Indiana, which had opened the season 2-0 with wins over FCS foe Indiana State and FBS newcomer UMass, rolled up 558 yards of total offense, compared to 440 for the Cardinals, who got a 42-yard field goal as time expired to pull out the victory. IU quarterbacks Cameron Coffman and Nate Sudfeld combined to complete 37-of-55 pass attempts for 423 yards and four TDs. WR Kofi Hughes caught seven balls for 88 yards and a TD, while Cody Latimer made the most of his opportunities, posting four grabs for 115 yards and a pair of scores. RB Stephen Houston led all ball carriers in the game with 102 yards and a TD on only 12 carries. The Hoosiers are idle this week, and will use the time off to prepare for their Big Ten opener at Northwestern on Sept. 29.

IOWA: Forced into duty due to injury, sophomore walk-on RB Mark Weisman ran for 113 yards and three TDs to help power the Hawkeyes to a 27-16 win over the visiting Northern Iowa Panthers on Saturday. The win was the second of the young season for Iowa, which scored more TDs in the first 20 minutes of the game than it had in the previous two outings combined. In addition to Weisman's effort, QB James Vandenberg also enjoyed a successful afternoon as he completed 18-of-28 passes for 228 yards, hitting WR Kevonte Martin-Manley five times for 101 yards -- the first 100-yard receiving game of the sophomore's career. The UI defense limited its FCS foe to 94 net rushing yards and only 2-of-10 success on third-down conversion attempts. LB Anthony Hitchens led the Hawkeye defense with 10 tackles, giving him 29 stops in the last two games. Iowa entertains the Central Michigan Chippewas this Saturday, and the team will open conference play the following week at home against Minnesota.

MICHIGAN: The Wolverines scored early and often in their recent rout of FBS newcomer Massachusetts, the home team easily prevailing in a 63-13 final. A total of eight different players scored a TD for Michigan, with QB Denard Robinson accounting for four scores (three passing, one rushing), as he finished with 291 yards through the air and 106 yards on the ground. Robinson currently sits fifth on the school's all-time passing list with 5,630 career yards, and he is a little more than 500 yards away from taking over the top spot on UM's total offensive yards list (Chad Henne, 9,715). RB Fitzgerald Toussaint rumbled his way to 85 yards and a TD against UMass, while WR Drew Dileo had just three catches but turned them into 91 yards. The Michigan defense permitted just 259 total yards to the Minutemen, who were penalized 10 times for a loss of nearly 70 yards, and averaged just 3.9 yards per offensive play compared to 8.6 ypp by the Wolverines. The Maize and Blue will play their final non-conference game of the regular season this week as they head to South Bend to battle undefeated Notre Dame.

MICHIGAN STATE: The Spartans had their 15-game home winning streak come to an end in Saturday's clash with Notre Dame, as the Fighting Irish snapped a six- game losing streak against ranked teams by taking a 20-3 decision. It was a horrendous offensive showing by Michigan State, as the team produced a mere 237 total yards and failed to score a TD at home for the first time since the 1991 season opener against Central Michigan. MSU tallied just 50 net rushing yards in the contest, although RB Le'Veon Bell finished with 77 yards on 19 carries. QB Andrew Maxwell completed just 23-of-45 passes for 187 yards, with WR Keith Mumphery and TE Dion Sims combining for 12 grabs and 123 yards. The Spartans held the Irish to just 1-of-14 on third-down conversion attempts, but the visitors finished with 300 total yards on offense, while coming up with four sacks on defense. Michigan State plays its final non-conference game of the regular season this weekend, as in-state rival Eastern Michigan comes to East Lansing.

MINNESOTA: The Golden Gophers made a double-digit lead at halftime stand up, as they outlasted visiting Western Michigan on Saturday, 28-23. As a result, Minnesota is off to its first 3-0 start since 2008, and the team has won four straight games overall dating back to last season. Playing in place of injured starter MarQueis Gray, QB Max Shortell threw for 188 yards, three TDs and one INT, with WR A.J. Barker being on the receiving end of all three scoring strikes. Barker, who finished with five grabs for 101 yards, had just one career catch coming into this, his junior season, but has 10 receptions for 231 yards and four TDs in the first three games to lead the team in all three categories. RB Donnell Kirkwood tallied 110 yards on 23 carries as UM's workhorse out of the backfield against the Broncos, and the team's defensive effort was led by DB Derrick Wells and LB Mike Rallis with 10 tackles apiece. The Gophers will play the finale of a three-game home stand this Saturday, as they welcome the Syracuse Orange to Minneapolis.

NEBRASKA: With their head coach out of commission due to a halftime trip to the hospital, the Cornhuskers maintained their focus as they routed visiting Arkansas State on Saturday, 42-13. Bo Pelini fell ill during the game but is expected to be on the sideline when Nebraska puts the wraps on its non- conference schedule this Saturday at home against FCS foe Idaho State. With RB Ameer Abdullah (career-best 167 yards, two TDs) leading the charge, the Huskers rolled up 347 yards on the ground against the Red Wolves. Additionally, QB Taylor Martinez was nearly perfect in completing 13-of-14 passes for 180 yards and two scores, his .929 completion percentage now serving as the school record for someone with at least 10 pass attempts. Martinez also added 54 rushing yards, and in the process became the fourth signal-caller in NU history to rush for 2,000 yards (2,015). WR Kenny Bell caught only three balls for 71 yards against ASU, but two were for TDs. Defensively, the Huskers held the Red Wolves to 286 total yards, which was half of what they averaged (574.5 ypg) coming in. Safety P.J. Smith led the Huskers with nine tackles, which included one of the unit's three sacks on the day, and he added an INT as well.

NORTHWESTERN: The Wildcats got a school record-tying five field goals from PK Jeff Budzien as they topped visiting Boston College on Saturday, 22-13. As a result, Northwestern is 3-0 for the third time in the last five years, and the win also marked the team's 12th straight at home against non-conference foes during the regular season. The 'Cats rolled up season highs in both rushing (293 yards) and passing (267 yards), while the defense held the Eagles to a mere 25 net rushing yards. RB Mike Trumpy finished with 106 yards and a TD for Northwestern, while QBs Trevor Siemian and Kain Colter combined to complete 30-of-40 passes, but neither threw a TD pass. WR Demetrius Fields led the receiving corps with nine grabs for 77 yards. LB Chi Chi Ariguzo, the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, continued his solid season by notching 10 tackles, which actually paled in comparison to the 24 total stops logged by BC's Nick Clancy. The Wildcats close out the non-conference portion of their schedule this Saturday with a home game against FCS foe South Dakota.

OHIO STATE: The Buckeyes were fortunate to escape Saturday's home game against California with a victory, as the Golden Bears missed three FGs in what turned out to be a 35-28 final. Cal outgained Ohio State, 512-412, but Buckeyes' QB Braxton Miller had his hand in on enough big plays to help keep Urban Meyer's record with the team perfect after three games. Miller accounted for all five TDs the Buckeyes would score in the contest, including a career-best four passing TDs. His final yardage totals were 249 passing and 75 rushing. RB Jordan Hall led the OSU ground attack with 87 yards on 17 carries, the team averaging just about five yards per attempt. WR Devin Smith caught five balls for 145 yards and two TDs, with his biggest play proving to be the game-winner as he took a Miller pass 72 yards to paydirt with 3:26 left in the fourth quarter. Cal RB Brendan Bigelow ripped off a pair of long TD runs (81 yards, 59 yards), and he finished with 160 yards on only four carries. The Buckeyes, who were credited with six sacks on the day, saw LB Ryan Shazier, DL Johnathan Hankins and DB C.J. Barnett each finish with double-digit tackles. OSU plays the finale of its season-opening, four-game home stand when it welcomes the UAB Blazers to Columbus this Saturday.

PENN STATE: The Nittany Lions gave new head coach Bill O'Brien his first career win as they sank the Navy Midshipmen in a 34-7 final at Beaver Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Offensively, Penn State was led by QB Matt McGloin who completed 13-of-21 passes for 231 yards and four TDs, three of which were hauled in by WR Allen Robinson, who finished with five receptions for a career-high 136 yards. Defensively, the Lions were paced once again by standout LB Michael Mauti and his 12 tackles, and the unit as a whole came up with four turnovers (three fumbles, one INT), one of which it returned for a TD, and four sacks, two of which were credited to redshirt freshman Anthony Zettel. Navy rushed for 255 yards, but did so on 60 carries, and the Mids converted just 4-of-15 third-down attempts while holding the ball for more than 36 minutes. Penn State plays its final non-conference game of the regular season this Saturday, as the Temple Owls fly into Happy Valley seeking to knock off their in-state rivals.

PURDUE: Up by only four points approaching the mid-way point of the second quarter of Saturday's clash with Eastern Michigan, the Boilermakers cranked up the offense and steamrolled the visiting Eagles in what turned out to be a 54-16 final. Purdue utilized a bruising rushing attack (392 yards, six TDs) to post 576 yards of total offense. RB Akeem Hunt led the Boilermakers with 106 yards, and he was one of six different players to score a rushing TD. Brandon Cottom added 95 yards and a score on only two totes -- his longest being an 87-yard TD jaunt in the second quarter. QB Caleb TerBush threw for 158 yards, two TDs and one INT, but with the ground game firing on all cylinders, he didn't need to do much. WR Antavian Edison finished with five catches for 78 yards and a score, and he now has at least one catch in 24 consecutive games. From a defensive standpoint, PU allowed 313 total yards, came up with three INTs and held EMU to just 2-of-14 on third-down conversion attempts. The Boilermakers get a break this week, as they'll return to the field on Sept. 29 when they play host to Marshall. Their Big Ten slate gets underway the following week versus Michigan, also at home.

WISCONSIN: The Badgers claimed their 18th straight home win over the weekend, but it certainly wasn't easy as they slipped past Western Athletic Conference foe Utah State in a 16-14 final. The Aggies actually had a chance to pull off the upset, but a last-second field goal attempt sailed wide right. Wisconsin RB Montee Ball carried the ball 37 times for 139 yards and a TD. It was the only offensive TD of the game for Wisconsin, which had only a 19-yard field goal and an 82-yard punt return for a score (WR Kenzel Doe) to show for its effort until Ball ran one in from 17 yards out late in the third quarter. The UW passing attack was non-existent, as QB Danny O'Brien threw for just 63 yards and backup Joel Stave, making the first appearance of his career, contributed a mere 15 yards. LB Mike Taylor tallied 15 tackles in the game, and he now has 290 career stops. The Badgers will try to make amends for a trio of lackluster efforts to open the season as they play host to the UTEP Miners this Saturday. Their conference slate kicks off the following week at Nebraska.


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