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Big Ten Conference News and Notes

8:56 AM, Oct 1, 2012   |    comments
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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -

ILLINOIS: QB Nathan Scheelhaase went 28-of-46 for 270 yards, and WR Ryan Lankford caught seven balls for a career-high 104 yards, but those efforts went for naught as the Fighting Illini suffered a 35-7 home loss to Penn State in the Big Ten opener for both squads on Saturday. Scheelhaase was intercepted twice by PSU star LB Michael Mauti, Illinois turning the ball over three times in all while committing eight penalties to just two for the Nittany Lions. The UI run game was stymied to the tune of 74 net yards, and the Illini came up empty in three trips to the red zone. Defensively, Illinois allowed 173 yards on the ground, another 211 through the air, and gave up four TDs on Penn State's seven trips inside the 20-yard line. LB Mason Moonheim (11) led three players in double-digit tackles, but the unit failed to come up with a takeaway and permitted PSU to convert 40 percent of its third-down opportunities. Illinois will try to put the brakes on a two-game slide when it plays at Wisconsin this Saturday.

INDIANA: The Hoosiers were battered into submission by the Northwestern Wildcats over the weekend, surrendering 704 total yards in what wound up being a 44-29 loss on the road. It was the team's second straight setback following two wins to open the campaign, and the chances of putting an end to the current slide in the next couple of weeks seems like a long shot as both Michigan State and Ohio State are headed to Bloomington. The Indiana offense generated 425 yards against Northwestern, with QBs Cameron Coffman and Nate Sudfeld combining to throw for 266 yards, one TD and one interception. WRs Kofi Hughes (five receptions, 110 yards, one TD) and Cody Latimer (four receptions, 97 yards) both had big games for the Hoosiers, while the run game saw RB Stephen Houston tally 91 yards and a score on 11 carries. The IU defense came up with three turnovers in the game, but gave up nearly 400 yards on the ground. Safety Mark Murphy paced the unit with 11 tackles.

IOWA: Floyd of Rosedale is back in Iowa City after the Hawkeyes claimed a 31-13 win over the visiting Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday afternoon. Both teams appeared a bit sluggish to start the game, but Iowa got it going in the second quarter, taking a 24-0 lead into intermission. In the end, the Hawkeyes gained 374 yards compared to 299 for the Gophers. RB Mark Weisman ran for 177 yards and a TD for Iowa, which committed twice as many penalties as did the visitors. QB James Vandenberg hit the mark on 18-of-31 pass attempts for 177 yards and a score, while the Iowa defense stood its ground against the run, yielding just 102 yards on 32 carries, and notched three interceptions on the day, one of which was returned 68 yards for a TD by LB Christian Kirksey in the fourth quarter. LB Anthony Hitchens was credited with a dozen tackles, giving him four straight games with double-digit stops. Iowa has a bye this coming week, next returning to action at Michigan State on Oct. 13.

MICHIGAN: The Wolverines were idle this past weekend, allowing head coach Brady Hoke some additional time to construct a game plan for this Saturday's Big Ten opener at Purdue. Michigan is 2-2 on the season, losing to ranked foes Alabama and Notre Dame, while beating lesser opponents in Air Force and Massachusetts. Following this week's clash with the Boilermakers, the Wolverines will return home to battle Illinois and Michigan State in their next two bouts.

MICHIGAN STATE: QB Andrew Maxwell threw for 269 yards and a TD, but the Spartans dropped a 17-16 decision to visiting Ohio State on Saturday. It was the fourth straight home loss to the Buckeyes for Michigan State, which will hit the road for only the second time this season this week when it plays at Indiana. The MSU run game never found its footing against OSU, finishing with a paltry 34 yards on 22 attempts. PK Dan Conroy booted three field goals in the game, including a career high-tying 50-yarder in the third quarter. Defensively, the Spartans permitted 204 rushing yards, 136 of which were credited to Buckeyes' QB Braxton Miller. LB Max Bullough and S Isaiah Lewis logged 12 and 10 tackles, respectively, and the unit as a whole was credited with three takeaways.

MINNESOTA: The Golden Gophers fell for the first time this season, dropping a 31-13 decision to the Iowa Hawkeyes on the road this past Saturday. QB Max Shortell passed for 197 yards and two TDs, but he threw three interceptions, one of which was returned 68 yards for a TD in the fourth quarter. The Minnesota run game was of little help, tallying just 102 yards on the day, with Shortell leading the way with 46 yards on 16 totes. WR A.J. Barker paced the receiving corps with five grabs for 74 yards. The UM defense had difficulty stopping Iowa RB Mark Weisman (177 yards, one TD), and the unit as a whole made just two stops behind the line of scrimmage and did not record a takeaway. Minnesota is idle this coming week, giving coach Jerry Kill and his staff additional time to prepare for the team's Oct. 13 home date against Northwestern.

NEBRASKA: The Cornhuskers matched the second-largest comeback in school history over the weekend, battling back from 17 points down in the second half to claim a 30-27 win over the visiting Wisconsin Badgers. The win avenged last year's embarrassing 48-17 loss to UW in Nebraska's first-ever Big Ten bout. QB Taylor Martinez threw for 181 yards and two TDs on Saturday, while rushing for 107 yards and a score to fuel the Husker rally. RB Rex Burkhead added 86 yards on 18 totes for a NU offense that gained 440 total yards compared to just 295 for the Badgers. UW's Heisman-worthy RB Montee Ball ran for 90 yards and three TDs, but the Huskers were credited with three sacks and 12 TFL in all, dropping their net rushing yield to just 56 yards. LB Will Compton had 10 tackles, including three TFL and one sack. Nebraska takes aim at its fourth straight win when it heads to Columbus for this week's conference showdown with the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes.

NORTHWESTERN: The Wildcats churned out a school-record 704 yards of total offense, as they topped visiting Indiana on Saturday, 44-29. Trailing 20-0 at halftime, the Hoosiers made a game of it after the break, scoring 21 points in the third quarter alone. However, Northwestern didn't let up offensively, scoring 24 points in the second half to earn its fifth victory in as many games this season. The 'Cats amassed nearly 400 yards on the ground, with Kain Colter (164 yards) and Venric Mark (139 yards) both going over the century mark, with the former scoring four TDs along the way, and the latter adding one of his own. The versatile Colter was also a force in the passing game, hauling in nine balls for 131 yards. QB Trevor Siemian hit the mark on 22- of-32 passes for 308 yards. The NU defense surrendered 425 yards to Indiana, with LB Damian Proby pacing the unit with 14 tackles, 10 of which were solo efforts. The Wildcats will try to keep their perfect record in tact when they play at Penn State this Saturday.

OHIO STATE: QB Braxton Miller threw for 179 yards and ran for another 136, helping the Buckeyes slip past Michigan State in East Lansing over the weekend, 17-16. As a result, Ohio State is undefeated, making Urban Meyer just the third head coach in school history to begin his tenure at 5-0. Meyer is now 11-0 in conference openers as a head coach. In addition to Miller's exploits against the Spartans, WR Philly Brown finished with a career-high 12 catches for 84 yards, and WR Devin Smith turned a pair of grabs into 79 yards and a TD. The Ohio State defense did an exceptional job shutting down the Michigan State rushing attack, yielding a mere 34 net yards on 22 carries. DB Bradley Roby led the team with nine tackles and a pair of PBU. Next up for Meyer and his Buckeyes is a clash with visiting Nebraska this Saturday.

PENN STATE: QB Matt McGloin threw for 211 yards and a TD and ran for two more scores, while RB Zach Zwinak rushed for a career-high 101 yards and two TDs to lead the Nittany Lions to a 35-7 rout of Illinois in the Big Ten opener for both teams on Saturday. TE Matt Lehman was the team's leading receiver with five catches for 70 yards and a TD. Penn State's linebackers led the team's defensive stand, which allowed just 74 net rushing yards, came up with three turnovers and logged three sacks, as Glenn Carson and Gerald Hodges made nine tackles apiece, and Michael Mauti recorded a pair of interceptions, one of which he brought back 99 yards to establish a new school record. The Illini went scoreless in three trips to the red zone. Penn State will try to notch its fourth straight win when it plays host to the undefeated Northwestern Wildcats this Saturday.

PURDUE: The only Big Ten team in action over the weekend not to play a conference foe, the Boilermakers entertained the Marshall Thundering Herd in a wild affair that ended up as a 51-41 victory for the home team. QB Caleb TerBush threw for a career-high 294 yards and four TDs, three of which went to WR Gary Bush, who finished with seven grabs for 83 yards. WRs O.J. Ross and Antavian Edison had big games catching the ball as well, combining for 15 receptions, 168 yards and a score. The PU rushing attack was led by Akeem Shavers and his 73 yards and a TD on 25 carries. The Boilermakers did a solid job defending the run (95 net yards), but were torched through the air (439 yards, five TDs). They did manage to come up with four turnovers, three of which were interceptions. CB Ricardo Allen was high man with eight tackles and he returned a second-quarter pick 39 yards for a TD, while DT Kawann Short logged three TFL. Purdue opens it conference slate this Saturday at home against Michigan.

WISCONSIN: Star RB Montee Ball ran for 90 yards and three TDs, but it wasn't enough as the Badgers fell at Nebraska on Saturday, 30-27. Leading by 17 points in the second half, the Wisconsin defense allowed the Cornhuskers to battle back, thus putting an end to the Badgers' five-game conference winning streak. Despite Ball's effort, the team finished with just 56 net rushing yards, averaging a meager 1.4 ypc. QBs Joel Stave and Danny O'Brien combined to throw for 239 yards and a TD, and WR Jared Abbrederis had a monster game with seven catches for 142 yards and a score. LB Mike Taylor led the UW defense with 15 tackles, but the unit as a whole was credited with only one sack. The Badgers did pounce on a pair of fumbles, both by LB Chris Borland, to record their first two turnovers of the season, but they allowed a total of 440 yards, including 259 on the ground. Wisconsin will try to get back on track this weekend, as the team entertains the Illinois Fighting Illini.

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