Big Ten Conference News and Notes
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
ILLINOIS: Nathan Scheelhaase threw for a career-high 416 yards and two TDs, as the Fighting Illini got past visiting Southern Illinois in the 2013 season opener on Saturday, 42-34. It was the 16th consecutive home-opening win for Illinois, and improved to the team 14-0 all-time against foes from the Football Championship Subdivision. Neither team could get much going on the ground (115 combined rushing yards), and the Illini finished with a mere 49 net yards, despite Josh Ferguson averaging 5.4 ypc on his team-high nine attempts. Ferguson was one of two UI players to go over 100 receiving yards on the day, turning his four grabs into 103 yards and a score, while Ryan Lankford hauled in six balls for 115 yards. Jonathan Brown led the Illinois defense with nine tackles, while Earnest Thomas III and Mason Monheim finished with eight apiece. Next up for the Illini is another home date, this Saturday against Cincinnati.
INDIANA: It was a record-setting night for the Hoosiers in their 73-35 season- opening rout of FCS foe Indiana State last Thursday, as coach Kevin Wilson's team piled up 632 yards of total offense and scored 10 TDs. Indiana scored 45 points in the first half, its highest total since 1949, and broke the Memorial Stadium scoring record by topping the 69 points Nebraska put up back in 1978. The 73 points are the second-most in school history. Nate Sudfeld threw for 219 yards and four TDs, two each going to Ted Bolser (six rec., 78 yards) and Shane Wynn (two rec., 46 yards). Kofi Hughes turned his three catches into 69 yards and a score, while the run game was bolstered by Tevin Coleman, who raced for 169 yards and two TDs on only 14 carries. The Indiana defense allowed just 306 yards on the night, logged four sacks and came up with a pair of turnovers. T.J. Simmons led the Hoosiers with nine stops. The Hoosiers play host to Navy this Saturday in the second of five straight home games to open the season.
IOWA: The Hawkeyes had a 24-17 advantage at halftime of Saturday's season opener against visiting Northern Illinois, but couldn't make the lead stand up as they wound up falling in a 30-27 final. Jake Rudock made his first career start for Iowa, going 21-of-37 for 256 yards with a TD and two interceptions. A total of nine different Hawkeyes had a catch, with Kevonte Martin-Manley logging a career-high nine receptions for 79 yards. In the run game, Mark Weisman was credited with his fifth career 100-yard rushing game after hitting the mark right on the head on 20 carries. On defense, Christian Kirksey forced and recovered a fumble in the second quarter, returning it 52 yards for his third career TD. He also led the team with 10 tackles, just a half stop better than Anthony Hitchens. Iowa will try once again to secure its first win of the campaign this Saturday when it entertains FCS foe Missouri State.
MICHIGAN: The Wolverines used a bruising rushing attack to batter visiting Central Michigan into submission over the weekend, taking a 59-9 season- opening win in the process. No UM player finished with more than 58 yards (Derrick Green), but instead the Wolverines had three guys (Fitz Toussaint and Devin Gardner being the others) gain at least 52 yards, and the three combined for five rushing TDs. Gardner was efficient under center as well, completing 10-of-15 passes for 162 yards and a score, although he was picked off twice. The Michigan defense stood tall in allowing only 66 yards on the ground, and 210 yards total, while coming up with four sacks and a pair of turnovers. Desmond Morgan was high man on the UM defense with seven tackles, while Cameron Gordon led the way with two sacks. The schedule gets noticeably tougher this coming weekend as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish come to Ann Arbor for a pivotal early-season matchup.
MICHIGAN STATE: The Spartans got a dominating effort from their defense in Friday night's season opener against Western Michigan, thus giving the hometown faithful reason to smile as they prevailed in a 26-13 final. The MSU defense scored a pair of touchdowns and came up with four turnovers, all while holding the Broncos to 11 net rushing yards and 204 total yards on the night. As for the Spartans offense, it generated 297 total yards behind a career-high 94-yard, one-TD rushing effort by Jeremy Langford. Andrew Maxwell didn't fare well under center for Michigan State, going 11-of-21 for 74 yards with no TDs. Instead, this night belonged to the defense, which was led by Max Bulloughs with his nine tackles, 2.5 of which were in the WMU backfield. Kurtis Drummond (21-yard interception return) and Shilique Calhoun (16-yard fumble recovery) accounted for the two defensive scores. Marcus Rush had two sacks. MSU will play the middle game of a three-game homestand to kick off the season when it hosts South Florida this Saturday.
MINNESOTA: The Golden Gophers used a 35-point second half to pull away from visiting UNLV in the season opener for both teams last Thursday, prevailing in a 51-23 final. The setback extended the Rebels' lengthy road losing streak to 23 games. Minnesota was outgained on the night, 419-320, and quarterback Philip Nelson was inefficient in hitting a mere 10-of-22 passes for 99 yards with a TD and an interception. He did lead the team in rushing (83 yards, two TDs). RB Donnell Kirkwood was bottled up to the tune of 30 yards on 11 carries. As for the UM defense and special teams, it accounted for three scores (INT return, kickoff return, blocked field goal return), all after halftime. Brock Vereen was high man for the Gophers with eight tackles, six of which were solo efforts. Minnesota hits the road for the first time this season when it plays at New Mexico State on Saturday.
NEBRASKA: It wasn't easy, but the Cornhuskers won their 28th straight season opener on Saturday by outlasting a pesky Wyoming squad in a 37-34 final. Nebraska churned out 375 yards on the ground, getting solid efforts from both Ameer Abdullah (114 yards) and Imani Cross (105 yards, two TDs), as well as from quarterback Taylor Martinez (80 yards) who hit the mark on 17-of-22 pass attempts for 155 yards and three scores. Kenny Bell led the receiving corps with seven grabs for 57 yards, while Quincy Enunwa turned two of his three catches into scores. Wyoming hung around thanks to a pair of late turnovers and 10 penalties committed by the Huskers. David Santos led the Nebraska defense with 12 tackles. The Cornhuskers have won nine consecutive home games, and they'll try to add to that when they play the second of five straight in Lincoln this Saturday versus Southern Miss.
NORTHWESTERN: The Wildcats raised the curtain on the 2013 campaign at California on Saturday night, and improved head coach Pat Fitzgerald's record in openers to a perfect 8-0 by knocking off the Golden Bears, 44-30. Both teams had their way offensively, combining for 1,056 yards. Northwestern amassed 508 total yards (209 rushing, 299 passing), while Cal was stymied on the ground (93 yards), but lit it up through the air (455 yards). Treyvon Green led the NU rushing attack with a career-high 129 yards and two TDs, while QB Trevor Siemian went 18-of-29 for 276 yards, one TD and two interceptions. Three guys caught five passes in the game, with Dan Vitale securing the most yards (101). Chi Chi Ariguzo was a busy guy for the Wildcats on defense, logging 10 stops, while Collin Ellis came up with a pair of second-half picks, the first of his career, both of which he returned for scores. The Wildcats will play the first of four straight home games this Saturday when they entertain the Syracuse Orange.
OHIO STATE: The Buckeyes appeared to be in mid-season form early on in their season opener against Buffalo, and used that initial burst to claim a 40-20 victory. The win was Ohio State's 13th straight, the longest active winning streak in the nation, and its 35th consecutive to kick off a campaign. Braxton Miller ran coach Urban Meyer's offense to near perfection, completing 15- of-22 passes for 178 yards and two TDs before succumbing to leg cramps that cut his day short. Chris Fields caught two TD passes, while Devin Smith had one in amassing a team-high 61 receiving yards. RB Jordan Hall had an impressive outing as well, rushing for a career-high 159 yards and two scores. As for the Ohio State defense, it allowed just 258 total yards to the Bulls, who managed a mere 73 yards on the ground. The Buckeyes only logged one turnover and one sack on the day, and Meyer would surely like to see the penalties diminish as his team was flagged nine times for a loss of 94 yards. OSU will play its second straight home game, the team opens with four home dates in five games, this Saturday against San Diego State.
PENN STATE: Year two of Bill O'Brien's tenure in Happy Valley got off to a good start as the Nittany Lions knocked off the Syracuse Orange on a neutral field this past Saturday, 23-17. Christian Hackenberg, only the second true freshman to start a game at quarterback for Penn State since 1910, shook off some early jitters to throw for 278 yards, two TDs and a pair of interceptions. WR Allen Robinson turned his seven catches into 133 yards and a score, while Brandon Feller finished with six grabs for 40 yards. Zach Zwinak led the PSU ground attack, what there was of one, with 61 yards. Overall, the Lions finished with just 57 net rushing yards, but the defense came to play, limiting the Orange to just 71 yards rushing. The unit didn't allow a passing score, and came up with a pair of picks and two sacks. Da'Quan Jones led the way with a career-high nine tackles, three of which were behind the line of scrimmage, and he and Malcolm Willis were credited with eight solo stops apiece. PSU opens the home portion of its schedule this Saturday when it welcomes the Eastern Michigan Eagles to Beaver Stadium.
PURDUE: The Boilermakers took it on the chin in their season opener at Cincinnati on Saturday, falling to Tommy Tuberville's Bearcats in a 42-7 final. The loss was the first suffered by new head coach Darrell Hazell, as he was hoping to make his inaugural game at Purdue a memorable one for more positive reasons. Veteran quarterback Rob Henry hit just over half of his 35 pass attempts, amassing 161 yards with two interceptions in the process. He did manage to score on a seven-yard run in the second quarter, but the team as a whole finished with a paltry 65 yards on the ground. The Bearcats used a balanced attack in generating 221 yards rushing and 204 yards through the air, but they committed three turnovers. Purdue, which wound up playing 14 freshmen in the contest, suffered four giveaways. Hazell will have a much better chance to secure his first win this weekend, as the Boilermakers raise the curtain on their home schedule against FCS foe Indiana State.
WISCONSIN: The Badgers dominated every aspect of their season opener against the visiting Massachusetts Minutemen on Saturday afternoon, rolling to a 45-0 victory in the first game under new head coach Gary Andersen. The three-time defending Big Ten champs churned out 598 yards of total offense, compared to a mere 212 for the overmatched visitors, and it was the most lopsided shutout win for Wisconsin since blanking Temple in 2005, 65-0. UW has now won 16 straight season openers, 17 consecutive home openers, and 27 straight home games against non-conference opponents. The Badgers had three backs rush for 100 yards in the same game for only the third time in school history, as Melvin Gordon (144 yards, TD), James White (143 yards, TD) and Corey Clement (101 yards, TD) helped the team average nearly nine yards per carry. Quarterback Joel Stave went 9-of-17 for 197 yards, two TDs and one interception, hitting Jared Abbrederis with two long scoring strikes (65 yards, 57 yards). The UW defense allowed just 212 total yards, and came up with a pair of turnovers despite not recording a sack. Chris Borland led the stand with nine tackles. Next up ... the Badgers welcome FCS foe Tennessee Tech to Madison this Saturday.
09/02 12:41:31 ET