Posted on: November 15, 2010 11:34 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
It's been a pretty frustrating last few weeks for Illinois football. The team was at 4-4, and only had to split its final four games against beatable teams like Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern and Fresno State to get back to a bowl game. So far the Illini have dropped one to Michigan in triple-overtime, and just lost at home to Minnesota -- a team that had won one game and fired its head coach earlier this season.
So, it would be hard to blame anybody on the team from being upset, but even so, that doesn't mean you should go out and beat the crap out of somebody. Which is apparently what sophomore lineback Evan Frierson did. Frierson was arrested for aggravated battery, and has been suspended indefinitely according to a team spokesman.
Frierson has played in limited duty this season, playing in nine games, but only making six tackles. He played more as a freshman last season while helping to fill in for Martez Wilson, who missed most of the 2009 season with a neck injury.
Posted on: November 14, 2010 2:32 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
1. The Iowa defense is the biggest fraud in the Big Ten. Credit must go to Dan Persa and Northwestern for their gutsy fourth-quarter comeback against the Iowa Hawkeyes, but it's time to stop lauding the Iowa defense as one of the nation's best, because it isn't -- not when the game is on the line. Iowa has given up game-winning drives -- and long, sustained ones, at that -- to three different opponents this season, and if it hadn't been for an unconscionable end zone drop by Indiana wideout Damario Belcher on 4th down last week, that total would be four, in just 10 games. It's one thing to hold lightweights like Iowa State and Eastern Illinois to just one score. It's another to get a stop when the team needs one the most, and Iowa's defense just doesn't seem capable of doing that.
2. Bret Bielema's empathy generator is broken. Quick, name the one Big Ten coach who would run up 83 points on a conference opponent. It's probably the same one that goes for two while up by 25 with under seven minutes to play, isn't it? Why yes it is. Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema continued his quest to get every mediocre coach in the Big Ten fired with an 83-20 firebombing of Indiana in Madison. And though Bielema will again claim not to be running up the score, it's worth pointing out that Scott Tolzien was throwing passes to fellow starters Lance Kendricks and David Gilreath with a 39-point lead and under five minutes left in the third quarter. Yes, it's up to Indiana to make the stop, and Indiana never did, but in a 63-point win, it's never good to see the winning team converting a 76-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter -- regardless of whether a backup threw it. Wisconsin, we're looking at you here.
3. There's plenty of Hawkeye fans in East Lansing. The Big Ten title race is down to three one-loss teams, and as of right now, Wisconsin owns the tiebreaker for the trip to Pasadena (or if all hell really breaks loose, Glendale, but let's assume Pasadena). Of the three teams, only one -- Ohio State -- faces a ranked team down the stretch, and that's OSU's trip to Iowa next weekend. If Iowa wins, all of a sudden, Michigan State has the upper hand for the league title. Ohio State wins, and we're back to the three-team non-round-robin tiebreaker, which is BCS standing. MSU is not such a big fan of that idea: the Spartans are firmly mired at third among Big Ten teams in that department. So yes, there's still plenty of endgame drama left in the Big Ten, even if it involves two teams that are at best longshots for the title.
4. Matt McGloin has "moxie," but Ohio State has a secondary. Advantage, OSU. It's hard to believe, looking at the 38-14 final score from Columbus, but Penn State actually led the Buckeyes 14-3 at the break, and it could have been worse. PSU QB Matt McGloin threw two touchdown passes in the first half, and unlike the two he threw in the second half, the first half scores were to his own team. Yes, things sort of fell off a cliff for Penn State, and the turning point was likely late in the first half, when Joe Paterno got greedy on 4th and 1 at the OSU 20 and went for it. The Evan Royster rush failed, the Buckeye defense's heart grew three sizes, and PSU never even threatened to score for the rest of the game.
It was a sobering return to reality for Penn State fans who witnessed McGloin's dissection of the Northwestern defense last week and were entertaining dreams of McGloin as a wildly successful three (or two-and-a-half, anyway) -year starter over true freshman Rob Bolden, Joe Paterno's choice at the beginning of the season. The fact of the matter is, there's usually plenty more to turning a struggling offense around than just making a switch at quarterback, and when Bolden's got a full year of film study and practice under his belt, he's probably going to be a better quarterback than McGloin. That fact doesn't have much relevance today, which is why McGloin started at Columbus and probably will next week, but it would be extremely presumptive to look at McGloin's first two quarters at OSU and attach a tag like "the future" to him -- unless the words "clipboard holder for Rob Bolden" immediately follow.
Tags: Ball State, BCS Tiebreakers, Big Ten, Big Ten Tiebreakers, Bret Bielema, Damario Belcher, Dan Persa, David Gilreath, Evan Royster, Indiana, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Lance Kendricks, Matt McGloin, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Rob Bolden, Rose Bowl, Rose Bowl Tiebreakers, Scott Tolzien, What I Learned, Wisconsin
Posted on: November 13, 2010 4:08 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
On first and goal from the Iowa 6-yard line, Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa took the snap, scrambled, and leapt to throw a pass. That pass found Jeremy Ebert for what would be the game-winning touchdown. And as if the pass weren't consequential enough, when Persa came down, he appeared to injure his ankle, and was helped off the field.
According to head coach Pat Fitzgerald , the worst-case scenario for that leg injury has come true: Dan Persa has a ruptured Achilles tendon. The injury will cost Persa the rest of his season, of course, and it's not even certain that Persa will be healthy for the start of next season.
Obviously, this is a tough blow for Northwestern, even as the Wildcats celebrate their fifth victory over Iowa in their last six meetings. Persa was the 10th-ranked quarterback in the nation in passing efficiency, and he was also the Wildcats' leading rusher on the season (he still may end up being the team leader even after missing the last three games). He single-handedly tired out the Iowa defense on Northwestern's two fourth-quarter touchdown drives. Dan Persa basically is the Northwestern offense. How the 'Cats will respond to this devastating news against Illinois next week will be something worth watching.
Posted on: November 13, 2010 3:37 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
When the season started, the hot seat discussion in the Big Ten centered on their either-or question of who'd get the ax first? The so-fired-already Tim Brewster at Minnesota , or the equally-fired Ron Zook at Illinois .
It turned out that the correct answer was Brewster, as the head Gopher couldn't even make it past midseason and Zook's inspired-looking new hires at both coordinators' positions got the Illini out to a surprising 5-3 start. But if you can take the Zook out of the hot seat, however, temporarily, you really can't take the hot seat out of the Zook; his Illini handed the coach-less, hapless Gophers their first Big Ten win of the season today, falling 38-34 at home.
Making the loss even more brutal was how close the Illini came to another comfortable victory, going up 34-24 with 8:14 to play in the fourth quarter on a 55-yard Mikel LeShoure touchdown run. But the Gophers answered back with a 90-yard kickoff return for a DeLeon Eskridge touchdown run just 19 seconds later, and an expertly-executed Gopher two-minute drill resulted in a second Eskridge score with just 16 seconds to play.
Let's be clear about this: Zook is probably still safe at Illinois. There won't be a long list of better candidates available for the Illini, and even after today, 2010 has still been a dramatic improvement on the program's crushingly disappointing 2009.
But Illinois has now whiffed twice on the sixth win necessary for a bowl invite, and in two eminently winnable games. Now they'll need a big road win at either Northwestern or Fresno State , or the Illini will stay home for the third straight season. Improvement on 2009 or not, weak pool of candidates or not, there's a breaking point even at Illinois, and more than ever it seems like Zook's tenure is simply determined to find out where that is.
Posted on: November 13, 2010 2:35 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Denard Robinson can do a lot of things. He can run faster than the wind, he can throw for some long touchdowns, and if today is any indication, he can turn the ball over with anybody in the country.
You know what he shouldn't do, though?
Thanks to @WorstFan
Posted on: November 13, 2010 1:28 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Things started out well enough for the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday morning. A defense that has been much maligned all season started the game off by forcing a fumble from Purdue running back Dan Dierking, which was scooped up by Cameron Gordon and taken 58 yards for a touchdown. Michigan's offense would get in on the fun a few minutes later when Denard Robinson hit Roy Roundtree for a 9-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
Since then? Well, the Wolverines have gotten sloppy and made some questionable decisions.
The Wolverines have turned the ball over three times in the first half, which have led to all of Purdue's points. The biggest one came when Denard Robinson had the Wolverines in the red zone and made a bad pass into coverage that was picked off by Ricardo Allen and taken back 94 yards for a touchdown to make the game 14-10.
Then Rich Rodriguez decided he wanted to get in on the questionable decisions.
Purdue had driven into Michigan territory during the second quarter and faced a third down. The Boilers then threw an incomplete pass -- that was nearly intercepted -- but a flag was thrown on the play for holding. Rodriguez could have accepted the penalty and pushed the Boilermakers back another ten yards, which would have pushed them out of field goal range.
Instead Rodriguez declined the penalty, and Carson Wiggs booted a 46-yard field goal to cut Michigan's lead to 14-13.
So, yes, Michigan still has the lead at halftime, but they hold it in spite of themselves.
Posted on: November 13, 2010 12:22 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. It's definitely fall these days, and the wind will be whipping across the heartland. All times are Eastern.
No. 13 Iowa at Northwestern , 12:00, Evanston, IL: Mid 50s, scattered showers
Indiana at No. 6 Wisconsin , 12:00, Madison, WI: Low 50s, scattered showers
Kansas State at No. 20 Missouri , 12:30, Columbia, MO: Mid 40s, cloudy, windy
No. 15 Utah at Notre Dame, 2:30 , South Bend, IN: Low 60s, scattered thunderstorms
No. 16 Virginia Tech at North Carolina , 3:30, Chapel Hill, NC: Mid 60s, clear
Penn State at No. 8 Ohio State , 3:30, Columbus, OH: Upper 60s, partly cloudy
Georgia at No. 2 Auburn , 3:30, Auburn, AL: Low 70s, clear
Texas Tech at No. 19 Oklahoma , 3:30, Norman, OK: Mid 50s, partly cloudy, windy
San Diego State at No. 3 TCU , 4:00, Ft. Worth, TX: Mid 50s, partly cloudy, windy
No. 23 Texas A&M at Baylor , 7:00, Waco, TX: Upper 40s, clear, breezy
No. 22 South Carolina at No. 24 Florida , 7:15, Gainesville, FL: Upper 50s, clear
No. 17 Mississippi State at No. 11 Alabama , 7:15, Tuscaloosa, AL: Upper 50s, scattered showers
USC at No. 18 Arizona , 8:00, Tucson, AZ: Upper 60s, clear
Late night kickoffs
No. 21 Nevada at Fresno State , 10:15, Fresno, CA: Mid 50s, clear, breezy
Tags: Alabama, Arizona, Auburn, Baylor, Big 12, Big Ten, Florida, Fresno State, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas State, Kickoff Weather, Mississippi State, Missouri, MWC, Nevada, North Carolina, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Pac-10, Penn State, San Diego State, SEC, South Carolina, TCU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, USC, Utah, Virginia Tech, WAC, Wisconsin
Posted on: November 11, 2010 4:23 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor is not done playing football for the Buckeyes. In fact he's not even close, and he clearly wants to make sure everyone understands that fact. After making Buckeyes fans nervous with his talk of playing basketball again, and now eligible for the 2011 NFL Draft, Pryor took two different opportunities on Wednesday to inform the media of his future plans.
"I'm a Buckeye until I break all the records," Pryor first said during a conference call with reporters. He followed that up by meeting face-to-face with the media at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. He discussed his will not only to get his jersey retired (which would require winning the Heisman Trophy), but to finish his education and earn his degree. But Pryor's reassurances may fall on skeptical ears in Columbus. As Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer points out, Beanie Wells, Antonio Pittman, Anthony Gonzalez, and basketball player Mike Conley, Jr. have all offered simliar commitments to Ohio State before departing early for their respective drafts.
Skeptic or not, Pryor appears to be genuine in his pursuit of a college degree. Check out the video below from yesterday's address at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, courtesy of Cleveland.com. Do you think Pryor is coming back after this season?