Football Focus 2014

Articles filed under Big Ten

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  • Springfield will host Illini hoops 5 times in 2015 Oct 30, 2014 2:08 PM
    The University of Illinois says the men’s basketball team will play five 2015-16 games in Springfield while work continues on the State Farm Center in Champaign.

     
  • Lunt may be back soon, but Illini count on O’Toole Oct 27, 2014 7:17 PM
    The formula for backup Illinois quarterback Reilly O’Toole’s success against Minnesota was deceptively simple. Filling in for the injured Wes Lunt, O’Toole’s job was essentially to not give away the game when he dropped back to pass, and take advantage of his somewhat surprising running ability to make plays with his feet.

     
  • Big Ten honors Illinois punter Oct 27, 2014 7:15 PM
    The Big Ten has named Illinois punter Justin DuVernois its special teams player of the week after the senior averaged almost 50 yards a punt against Minnesota.

     
  • Abdullah leads No. 16 Nebraska over Rutgers 42-24 Oct 25, 2014 5:18 PM
    Ameer Abdullah says someday he’ll look back and revel in the kind of game he played against Rutgers. Not now, though, because he believes he has a lot more to accomplish this season. Abdullah nudged his way back into the Heisman Trophy conversation Saturday by running for 225 yards and three touchdowns and setting a school record with 341 all-purpose yards in the No. 16 Cornhuskers’ 42-24 victory. “Every time I step on the field, whether practice or games, I’m always creating memories here,” Abdullah said. “These are always things I’m going to remember, coming here and playing football for this great university.” Abdullah surpassed 200 yards rushing for a nation-leading fourth time this season and fifth time in his career. He broke Roy Helu Jr.’s record of 321 all-purpose yards with his 23-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Cornhuskers (7-1, 3-1) reached the halfway point of conference play tied with Minnesota for first in the West Division, but coach Bo Pelini was in no mood to celebrate. There were too many defensive breakdowns for his liking, particularly early and late, and too many penalties on offense. “We got the win and I’m happy about that. That’s all I’m happy about,” Pelini said. “I didn’t like the way we played. I thought we were sloppy, inconsistent and we didn’t play up to the standard we need to.” The Scarlet Knights (5-3, 1-3) lost quarterback Gary Nova on the second-to-last play of the first half. Nova held his right knee after Maliek Collins brought him down as he got rid of the ball. Chris Laviano played the rest of the game. Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said it would take a couple of days to determine the extent of Nova’s injury. Rutgers lost 56-17 at Ohio State a week ago and has been outscored 98-41 in its past two games. “We’re disappointed that we’re 0-2 if you look at it from a two-game perspective,” Flood said. “I think we’ve come out of it a better football team. I think just from the experience of it, going on the road and playing some of the best teams in the country, we’re going to be a better football team.” Abdullah ran for 149 yards and two long touchdowns in the first half. He hit the right corner hard, put a move on safety Lorenzo Waters and continued on for a 53-yard TD. On the next series, Abdullah went left for 48 yards to put the Huskers in front 21-7. Abdullah broke a 49-yard run on the first play of the second half to start a series that ended with Tommy Armstrong Jr.’s short TD pass to Sam Cotton. After Kyle Federico’s 41-yard field goal for Rutgers, Abdullah ran back the kickoff 76 yards to set up a short scoring drive. “Once he gets through the first level he does a good job of bursting,” Rutgers defensive lineman David Milewski said. “If you’re able to slow him down before he gets to that, then you can do a good job of holding him up. If he finds a gap, he puts his foot in the ground and gets upfield faster than a lot of backs.” Abdullah moved from fourth to second on the Big Ten’s career all-purpose yards list. His 6,604 yards are 825 behind the 7,429 by Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne. Abdullah, who came in as the nation’s third-leading rusher at 146.2 yards a game, averaged 11.8 yards on his 19 carries. He took a snap out of the wildcat formation and caught a couple passes for 26 yards. Kenny Bell made six catches for 63 yards and became Nebraska’s career leader in receptions with 167. The Knights generated 160 yards in the first quarter, with 71 coming on Leone Carroo’s catch-and-run for a touchdown. Desmon Peoples and Robert Martin had short touchdown runs for the Knights after the Huskers had broken the game open. Rutgers, which lost its eighth straight game against a Top 25 opponent, played the first half without wide receivers Janarion Grant and Andre Patton, who were suspended for violating team rules.

     
  • Wisconsin defense throttles Maryland in 52-7 rout Oct 25, 2014 5:10 PM
    Six-foot-3 nose guard Warren Herring stood tall at the line of scrimmage. Linebacker Marcus Trotter could not stop smiling after the game. Whole again with their two senior starters back from injuries, Wisconsin’s defense put together a dominating performance on homecoming weekend at Camp Randall Stadium. Melvin Gordon rushed for 122 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries, and the Badgers’ restocked defense stifled mistake-prone Maryland for a 52-7 win on Saturday. “We haven’t been completely healthy the whole year, but I feel like everybody is coming back,” said outside linebacker Joe Schobert, who had five tackles, a sack and forced fumble. “We showed today what we could do today on defense at Wisconsin. We were being explosive and playing assignment-sound football.” With their running game rolling, the Badgers (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten) overpowered Maryland (5-3, 2-2) in every facet of the game. Gordon had his three scores in the first half, when Wisconsin raced out to a 24-0 halftime lead on a picture-perfect fall afternoon. Joel Stave threw for two scores in the second half. Wisconsin also checked off another item on its to-do list after limiting Maryland’s special teams returners Stefon Diggs and William Likely. The Big Ten rookie Terrapins accomplished little in their first visit to Camp Randall Stadium. “We got outcoached. We got outplayed today, and didn’t do a real good job — and that’s on me as a head coach,” Maryland’s Randy Edsall said. His team only avoided a shutout on Diggs’ 21-yard touchdown catch from dual-threat quarterback C.J. Brown with 57 seconds left in the game. Otherwise, Wisconsin brought Maryland’s five-game road winning streak to an emphatic end. The Terps were held to 175 yards of total offense, 227 below their season average. Most of the yardage came late in the blowout loss. “That defense was swarming to the ball, they tackled well,” Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen said. Fresh off a bye, the Badgers even dusted off a couple trick plays, including punter Drew Meyer’s floating pass to open tight end Troy Fumagalli over the middle for a 17-yard gain on fourth-and-9 from the Maryland 36. It set up a 36-yard field goal by Rafael Gaglianone to give Wisconsin a 10-0 lead at 3:46 of the first quarter. “Everyone — defense, offense, special teams — did their roles,” a proud Trotter said. Maryland fumbled the ball away on the next drive after a handoff bounced off running back Brandon Ross’ chest. Linebacker Vince Biegel pounced on the ball, and Gordon barreled in from a yard out six plays later for a 17-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter. The next drive exemplified the Terps’ trying day. Brown hit Deon Long on first down for a 22-yard gain to the Wisconsin 49 before two straight penalties pushed the Terps back 10 yards. Trotter tackled Ross from behind for a 3-yard loss. Fellow inside linebacker Derek Landisch easily snuffed out a short pass to Ross for a 4-yard loss. Under yet more pressure on third-and-27, Brown tossed a long incompletion. The sure-tackling Badgers consistently contained Maryland’s skill players and diagnosed read-option plays. Maryland had just 3 yards in total rushing at the half and finished with 46 on the day. Trotter said the defense benefited from having extra time to prepare for the run. Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda also limited the play calls. “It was really simple this week, just so we could fly around and make plays,” Trotter said. He finished with six tackles and a sack. Keep this up and the Badgers will be a force down the stretch in the Big Ten West Division with Gordon spearheading the offense. A sputtering passing game also found success with its two-quarterback system. Stave finished 9 of 15 for 155 yards in his second straight start. Tanner McEvoy provided a change of pace with his ability to scramble. He led Wisconsin on two touchdown drives, including an entertaining 60-yard run for a touchdown with 13:42 left in the fourth quarter for a 45-0 lead. For Maryland, Brown finished 13 of 29 for 129 yards passing, with 14 yards rushing on 13 carries. Ross had 6 yards on seven carries, and Maryland was just 3 of 15 on third-down plays. “From the offensive side of the ball and the penalties that we had, you can’t start first and second down being backed up,” Brown said. “We kept shooting ourselves in the foot, especially in the beginning.”

     
  • No. 13 Ohio State beats Penn State 31-24 in 2OT Oct 26, 2014 12:13 AM
    Quarterback J.T. Barrett scored twice in overtime to help No. 13 Ohio State escape with a 31-24 double-overtime victory over Penn State on Saturday night.

     
  • No. 16 Nebraska looks to start faster vs. Rutgers Oct 24, 2014 4:18 PM
    Nebraska goes into its game against Rutgers hoping to carry over the momentum from the second half of last week’s game against Northwestern.

     
  • Maryland next to try to stop Wisconsin’s Gordon Oct 24, 2014 4:23 PM
    Maryland’s next game after rallying from 14 points down to beat Iowa? A date with the nation’s top rusher on his home turf. Welcome to the Big Ten, Terrapins.

     
  • Loud crowd? No. 13 Buckeyes say they’re used to it Oct 24, 2014 4:19 PM
    A Beaver Stadium crowd of more than 100,000 will be wearing the dominant color of Penn State’s iconic yet plain helmets when the Nittany Lions host No. 13 Ohio State on white-out night The place will be really loud. And that’s just the way Buckeyes defensive end Joey Bosa likes it.

     
  • Spartans hoping for another win over Michigan Oct 24, 2014 4:16 PM
    No matter how many times the Spartans batter their in-state rivals, it will never be enough. No. 8 Michigan State hosts Michigan on Saturday, having won five of their last six meetings with the Wolverines, who seemed to be in disarray before a win over Penn State two weeks ago.

     
  • Minnesota clicking while Illinois struggles Oct 24, 2014 4:14 PM
    Minnesota has won four straight, is undefeated in the Big Ten and has locked up a spot in some kind of bowl game. Coach Jerry Kill says his Gophers (6-1, 3-0) have done all that without really playing their best. That’s probably not what Illinois (3-4, 0-3) wanted to hear. The Illini face the Gophers on Saturday, looking end a three-game losing streak.

     
  • Gordon geared up for season’s 2nd half Oct 20, 2014 5:02 PM
    Northwestern's loss this weekend put Wisconsin right back into the Big Ten West race. The goal of making it to Indianapolis for the Big Ten title game is back in play. “It’s on us now,” star running back Melvin Gordon said Monday. “If we win out, we’ll be exactly where want to be.”

     
  • Records mean little to Abdullah without wins Oct 20, 2014 4:56 PM
    Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah says this is no time for him to celebrate his personal achievements, not with six weeks left in the regular season.

     
  • Buckeyes trying hard not to look past next 2 games Oct 20, 2014 4:55 PM
    There’s always the danger of a powerhouse looking past a couple of struggling teams to the marquee game on its schedule. But Urban Meyer says that won’t be the case for No. 13 Ohio State at Penn State on Saturday.

     
  • Michigan faces huge task as Spartans game arrives Oct 20, 2014 4:53 PM
    Brady Hoke knew that having a bye week before taking on No. 8 Michigan State could be a good thing for his struggling Wolverines. He just needed to make sure that he didn’t try to fix a bad season in one quiet weekend.

     
  • Illini plan 2-quarterback system vs. Gophers Oct 20, 2014 5:22 PM
    In the absence of the injured Wes Lunt, Illinois will play a pair of quarterbacks Saturday against Minnesota. Coach Tim Beckman said Monday that the Gophers (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten) can expect to see both senior Reilly O’Toole and sophomore Aaron Bailey, something he believes will make their preparations more difficult.

     
  • Barrett runs, passes Buckeyes past Rutgers, 56-17 Oct 18, 2014 6:17 PM
    J.T. Barrett completed his first nine passes, ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns and threw for three more scores to lead No. 13 Ohio State past Rutgers 56-17 on Saturday. The Buckeyes (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) have averaged 56 points in a four-game win streak since losing at home to Virginia Tech.

     
  • No. 8 Spartans roll past Hoosiers 56-17 Oct 18, 2014 6:25 PM
    Connor Cook threw three touchdown passes, Jeremy Langford ran for three more scores and No. 8 Michigan State scored the final 35 points Saturday in a 56-17 rout at Indiana. Cook finished with 332 yards, Langford and Nick Hill each topped 100 yards on the ground and Tony Lippett had 123 yards receiving as coach Mark Dantonio moved into a tie for second on the school’s all-time victory list with No. 70.

     
  • Nebraska shuts down Northwestern in 2nd half Oct 18, 2014 11:30 PM
    Ameer Abdullah had four 1-yard touchdown runs and quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. scored on a 16-yard reception, leading No. 19 Nebraska to a 38-17 victory at Northwestern on Saturday night. Northwestern (3-4, 2-2) wasted another big game for freshman Justin Jackson in its second consecutive loss. Jackson had 128 yards and two touchdowns in his third straight 100-yard game.

     
  • Maryland rallies past Iowa 38-31 Oct 18, 2014 4:27 PM
    Will Likely returned an interception 45 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown, and Maryland rallied from an early 14-point deficit to beat Iowa 38-31 Saturday for its first Big Ten home victory.

     
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