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Tag:James White
Posted on: December 30, 2011 6:49 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2011 6:52 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Rutgers 27, Iowa State 13



Posted by Chip Patterson


RUTGERS WON. The Scarlet Knights jumped out to a 17-6 halftime lead thanks to some stellar running from Jawan Jamison, and the defense held off a late charge by Iowa State for a 27-13 win in the Pinstripe Bowl.

HOW RUTGERS WON: It didn't matter whether Chas Dodd or Gary Nova was under center for Rutgers, as long as they were handing the ball off to Jawan Jamison. The sophomore running back was a star for the Scarlet Knights on Friday, rushing 27 times for 132 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Iowa State also featured a performance from their backup quarterback, but Steele Jantz' appearance on the Yankee Stadium field more out of necessity. Starting quarterback Jared Barnett sacked by Khaseem Greene early in the second quarter, coughed up the ball and was apparently rattled from the hit. Jantz struggled early but was able to mount a couple of impressive drives into Rutgers' territory to keep things interesting late in the game.

WHEN RUTGERS WON: After Jantz led a scoring drive to cut the Rutgers lead to 20-13, the Scarlet Knights delivered the ultimate answer with a 86 yard touchdown pass from Chas Dodd to Brandon Coleman. Dodd simply tossed the ball deep and high for the 6-foot-6 wide receiver, who used his 11-inch height advantage to pull down the ball over the defender and carry it to the end zone. Much of the emotion and momentum on the Iowa State sideline was erased, as the Cyclones then faced a two-touchdown deficit with less than ten minutes to play.

WHAT RUTGERS WON: Redemption. Finishing the 2010 season with six straight losses led to some serious discontent within the Rutgers community. Head coach Greg Schiano spoke before the season about bringing the toughness back to Rutgers football. Getting things done on the ground, and winning games with defense were the hopes for his 2011 team, and that's exactly how they won the Pinstripe Bowl on Friday.

WHAT IOWA STATE LOST: An opportunity to finish an already successful season with a win. The Cyclones have had a much better season than their 6-7 record indicates, and not just because they knocked off Oklahoma State in arguably the biggest upset of the season. Paul Rhoads has plenty of these pieces coming back next season, but replacing offensive coordinator Tom Herman will be his first and most important offensive challenge. Jared Barnett can have a bright future with the Cyclones, and this overachieving squad will be back for more in 2012.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Anytime you have football in Yankee Stadium it's an odd experience to observe. The fans were right on top of the end zone in some areas, but empty stands behind midfield stood out in the awkwardly attended stadium.

FINAL GRADE: C+. Iowa State fans will walk away with that empty feeling, because of Jared Barnett's injury. Steele Jantz was able to channel some of his early-season success late in the fourth quarter to keep it interesting, but it still doesn't compare to the threat the offense presents with Barnett under center.

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Posted on: December 28, 2011 11:06 pm
 

Pinstripe Bowl Key Matchup



Posted by Chip Patterson


A look at the key matchup that could decide the Pinstripe Bowl

Jawan Jamison, RB, Rutgers vs. Jake Knott and A.J. Klein, LB, Iowa State

Rutgers had one of the worst rushing offenses in the nation this season, finishing with an average of 91.5 yards per game. That mark put them at No. 115 among FBS schools, and has become is an immediate concern with head coach Greg Schiano indecisive about his starting quarterback for the bowl game. However, the dreadful statistics from the season do mask one glimmer of hope for the Scarlet Knights' rushing attack: sophomore Jawan Jamison.

Jamison ran for 90+ yards four different times this season, including a 200 yard, two touchdown performance in a 20-3 win against Cincinnati. It wasn't always consistent, but when Jamison got going good things happened for the Scarlet Knights. Schiano would prefer the run to set up the pass with his shaky quarterback situation, and the best chance he has is with Jamison.

The responsibility to keep Jamison in check will fall on Iowa State linebackers Jake Knott and A.J. Klein. The pair combined for 208 tackles this season, tied for the most of any other defensive duo in the Big 12. They will need to stuff the run early to force either Gary Nova or Chas Dodd into third and long situations. Then you can hope the turnover prone Scarlet Knights will slip up, giving Iowa State a chance to capitalize on the opportunity. But if Jamison can establish the run, he will give better coverage opportunities to All-Big East wide receiver Mohamed Sanu.

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Posted on: December 28, 2011 10:59 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Pinstripe Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

RUTGERS WILL WIN IF: They can limit turnovers and establish the run early. The Scarlet Knights have been their own worst enemy at times this season, turning the ball over more times (28) than any team in the Big East. The impact on the game's result has been clear, with Rutgers averaging 3.25 turnovers per game in their four losses while the average in their eight wins was 1.875. Head coach Greg Schiano has stressed a desire to let the run setup the pass in this matchup, and that will require a strong showing from sophomore running back Jawan Jamison. Jamison has been up and down during the regular season, and the Pinstripe Bowl will be his first healthy opportunity to follow up on his 200 yard, two touchdown effort in a win over Cincinnati on Nov. 19. Jamison suffered an ankle injury early in the regular season finale against Connecticut, and the offense sputtered down the stretch in a 40-22 loss.

IOWA STATE WILL WIN IF: They can get a big performance from Jared Barnett. The freshman quarterback took over the starting job midway through the season, finishing with a 3-2 record as a starter. Barnett was a huge part of Iowa State's upset of Oklahoma State, throwing for 376 yards and adding 84 rushing yards in the overtime win. The rookie sensation was not given an easy task for an encore, having to finish the season on the road against Oklahoma and Kansas State. But with extra time to prepare, expect the Cyclones to utilize Barnett along with running backs James White (701 yards, eight touchdowns) and Jeff Woody (360 yards, five touchdowns) in a spread zone read attack. If Iowa State can spread that disciplined Rutgers defense and create some gaps, Barnett, White, and Woody should have opportunities to create big plays for the Cyclones.

X-FACTOR: Iowa State's offensive preparation. Head coach Paul Rhodes holds no ill-will towards offensive coordinator Tom Herman, who has accepted the same position on Urban Meyer's staff at Ohio State. But before making the final move to Columbus, Herman has pledged his dedication to preparation and execution of a game plan for the Pinstripe Bowl. Herman's creativity and talent as a play-caller has been obvious in Iowa State's surprising success during the 2011 season, and freshman quarterback Jared Barnett will need as much guidance as he can get heading into his first career bowl start. It's only natural to wonder if Tom Herman's focus over the holiday season has been split between the two positions, and question if that will have an effect in Iowa State's preparation for Rutgers.

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Posted on: November 29, 2011 6:18 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2011 6:22 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Wisconsin vs. Michigan State

Posted by Adam Jacobi

WISCONSIN WILL WIN IF: Montee Ball handles a heavy workload. It was plainly apparent in the first game Wisconsin and Michigan State played this year that backup tailback James White was ineffective when Ball was out after (sigh) "getting his bell rung." Ball appeared to lose consciousness on a first-quarter hit, missed roughly two quarters of action, and almost certainly had no business risking further head injury by coming back in the game. We can admit that, right? At any rate, Ball did come back in and led the Badgers back to tie the game, and that probably wouldn't have happened with White staying in at running back. So Ball's going to need to stay healthy and get at least 30 carries this week -- or at the very least Wisconsin's going to need to use White in more unconventional ways -- or the Badger offense is going to be in trouble of sputtering again.

MICHIGAN STATE WILL WIN IF: Wisconsin's defense is the same one we saw in October. Wisconsin's defense is not bad, and we've seen the Badgers effectively neutralize many an opponent en route to a lopsided victory this season. But Michigan State took it to them in a big way in the teams' first encounter in October, and it's not exactly an accident that MSU scored 37 points on Wisconsin. Kirk Cousins was able to throw the ball at will against a Badger defense that spent a lot more time chasing than covering ground. Michigan State can't just run the exact same gameplan as the first game; Wisconsin's going to have gameplanned around that. But the end aim has to be the same: a Badger defense on its heels, and MSU receivers running free.

X-FACTOR: Wisconsin center Peter Konz's left ankle. Continuity is crucial for the success of an offensive line, and Wisconsin's has stayed relatively healthy through the courst of the season. Unfortunately, Konz went out with a dislocated left ankle in the Badgers' 42-13 romp over Minnesota on November 13, and while he's eager to get back on the field, there's no guarantee that's going to happen -- he's still not out of a walking boot, much less practicing, and the coaches aren't going to play Konz without practice. The interior of the line has struggled at times in Konz's absence, with Travis Frederick and Ryan Groy having to switch spots between left guard and center at one point because of Groy's difficulties getting a clean snap off. The Badgers did rush for 264 yards on Penn State, but Montee Ball was held under four yards per carry in the first half, and Wisconsin's probably not going to have the luxury of waiting a whole half for Ball to start breaking big runs.

Posted on: October 29, 2011 10:51 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2011 10:51 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Iowa State 41 Texas Tech 7

Posted by Tom Fornelli

IOWA STATE WON. So much for any momentum that Texas Tech may have brought into this game after beating Oklahoma last week. Texas Tech came out like a team that spent a bit too much time celebrating that upset, and Iowa State had no problem punching the Red Raiders right in the face from the opening whistle. Thanks to a couple of Texas Tech turnovers, Iowa State had a 21-0 lead in this one before the first quarter had even ended, and if not for an Iowa State fumble at the goal line, it easily could have been 28-0.

Jared Barnett didn't have a great night passing in his first career start, but he did rush for 92 yards and a touchdown. As a team Iowa State finished the night with 368 yards on the ground, led by James White's 138 yards and Duran Hollis' 102 yards.

WHY IOWA STATE WON. It actually came to Lubbock ready to play a football game, while Texas Tech seemed to figure that beating Oklahoma meant it would beat Iowa State as well. Also playing a large factor, you know those 368 rushing yards I mentioned earlier? Yeah, well all those yards helped Iowa State keep possession of the ball for 40 minutes in this game. Time of possession is an overrated stat in football, but when you're down 21 points so early, you need to have the ball to come back. Texas Tech rarely had it.

WHEN IOWA STATE WON. After Seth Doege scored a touchdown in the second quarter to cut Iowa State's lead to 21-7, there was a sense that Texas Tech was going to get back into this one. Only, they never did. Iowa State would tack on a field goal before the break and when Duran Hollis took off for a 71-yard touchdown run a minute into the second half, this one was over.

WHAT IOWA STATE WON. The Cyclones finally picked up their first conference win of the season on Saturday night, and they also got back to 4-4 on the season. Which means that a bowl game is not out of the picture for Paul Rhoads and Iowa State.

WHAT TEXAS TECH LOST. Well, let's just say the Raiders time in the Top 25 will be short-lived after this one. Also, any positive feelings about the direction of the program after the Oklahoma upset are gone after taking such a beating at home.

THAT WAS CRAZY. As I documented on the blog earlier, the fact that Jared Barnett was put back in the game after taking a blow to the head in the first half was not an intelligent decision.
Posted on: October 18, 2011 2:00 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Wisconsin at Michigan State

Posted by Adam Jacobi

WISCONSIN WILL WIN IF: The offensive line keeps doing its job. At this point, it's just not plausible that Russell Wilson will make unforced errors at quarterback, or that the Montee Ball/James White tandem won't be able to take advantage of a point of attack being dominated by blockers. Thus, if Wisconsin's blockers are able to keep up their performance from this season (and really, the last two seasons as well), the Badger offense is probably going to score at least 31 points (and possibly much more). Assuming the defense doesn't completely gag, that should be enough to seal a victory in East Lansing.

MICHIGAN STATE WILL WIN IF: Its defense can exert its will once again. Ever since the Spartans allowed 31 points to Notre Dame in that embarrassing Week 3 loss, their defense has bowed up substantially. They almost managed a shutout at Ohio State, frequently eliciting boos from the Buckeye faithful as the defensive front forced Braxton Miller from the game. The defense held Denard Robinson and Michigan to 14 points the next week, even icing the game with a pick-six in the fourth quarter. And now, it's got to solve a Badger offense that has basically done everything correctly thus far this year. So what defensive performance will we see from MSU? The one it got against Notre Dame, or against OSU?

X-FACTOR: Will Gholston's status. The MSU defense is going to need all the help it can get slowing down Wisconsin's offense, so whether stud DE Will Gholston will play is going to be hugely important. Gholston was flagged for punching Michigan OL Taylor Lewan during last week's game, and though he wasn't ejected for the foul, the Big Ten may still choose to suspend Gholston for a game, as it did with Illinois LB Jonathan Brown after Brown gave Northwestern OL Patrick Ward a "low blow" via a well-placed knee. For what it's worth, MSU is not choosing to suspend Gholston, as he remains atop the depth chart for this week's game, but until the Big Ten agrees that no suspension is needed, Gholston's status remains in doubt.
Posted on: October 2, 2011 4:26 am
Edited on: October 2, 2011 12:07 pm
 

What I learned from the Big Ten (Oct. 1)



Posted by Adam Jacobi

1. Wisconsin should probably go undefeated this year. Seventh-ranked Wisconsin faced its first stiff test of the season, as No. 8 Nebraska came to town for a night game at Camp Randall in the Big Ten opener for both schools. Wisconsin treated Nebraska like just another speed bump, crushing the Huskers 48-17 in a game that saw the Badgers outscore Nebraska 41-3 in the last 33 minutes of play. It was equal parts savage, brilliant, and awe-inspiring -- the type of game that only great teams play.

Wisconsin's slate from here on out is heavy on intriguing road games, but if Nebraska can't even keep the game within 30 points, what hope would Ohio State or Illinois or anybody else left on the schedule have of winning a game against the Badgers? Russell Wilson can basically do whatever he wants on offense, and with a duo of tailbacks like Montee Ball and James White behind him, the Wisconsin attack is basically as complete as offenses can get.

So yes, Wisconsin should go undefeated this year. That would be quite welcome, especially if it ends in a game against whoever takes the SEC between LSU and Alabama. Would the SEC team win? Possibly. Plausibly. Probably. I'd sure like to see that determined on the field of play, and doubtless so would Wisconsin fans.

2. That team that just got wrecked by 31 points is still probably going to win its division. I don't know what's more infuriating -- that Nebraska has underperformed so badly in every game this season that they're probably just plain average as a whole, or that this average Nebraska team is still a favorite to win the Legends Division. Michigan's on a roll but has a nasty back half of the schedule, Michigan State has a brutal schedule and only managed 10 points against the Ohio State defense, Northwestern has major defensive issues to work out, Iowa struggles mightily against mobile quarterbacks while playing in a division full of them, and Minnesota... no.

Of course, the actual most likely result of this traffic jam of mediocrity is five teams tied at 4-4 and Minnesota eating paste at 0-8. This is the result I will be openly rooting for. because nothing would be funnier than Jim Delany taking a look at that situation, taking a look at Wisconsin, and then just canceling the First Ever Big Ten Championship Game and just handing the Rose Bowl to Wisconsin. And nobody would think that was the wrong thing to do.

3. Whatever you thought about the quarterback situation at Ohio State, I assure you, it's actually worse. Joe Bauserman was Ohio State's leading passer on Saturday, and if that doesn't sound troubling, please consider that Bauserman didn't enter the game until early in the fourth quarter, and he threw for all of 87 yards. Starter Braxton Miller, meanwhile, passed for 56 yards (not just on one drive, for the entire game), lost 27 on the ground, and led the OSU offense to all of six first downs in the first three quarters. The Buckeye faithful were booing early and often in this game, and while they generally weren't booing Miller himself, it certainly stands to reason that the mood at the 'Shoe would have been far more jovial if Terrelle Pryor had still been under center.

It didn't help that the Michigan State defensive front was teeing off on Miller, and generally overwhelming the Buckeye offensive line in the process, but it's just shocking that Ohio State could have such a dearth of production at the quarterback position like this. Miller's got talent, but is in no way game-ready, whereas Bauserman looks like someone who just doesn't belong on a two-deep of a BCS-level team. This is a personnel problem for Luke Fickell and Ohio State, and personnel problems like these don't generally solve themselves mid-season.

4. At this rate, Illinois might actually enjoy endgame pressure. Illinois is 5-0 for the first time in 60 years, and it's doing so at the expense of the cardiac health of Ron Zook and all the Illini fans. For the third straight week, Illinois won a game by three points, and for the third straight week, it needed to take the lead late in the fourth quarter and hang on for dear life. This week's victim was Northwestern, who capitalized on a Jason Ford fumble and drove for a go-ahead score with 75 seconds left ... only to see Nathan Scheelhaase and A.J. Jenkins drive the ball down the field with ease and punch the ball in for the game-winning score with 13 seconds left. 

It's too early to start making assumptions about Illinois' postseason fate as yet, because if the Illini keep getting into these 50-50 late-game situations, the odds are pretty low that they'll keep winning them consistently. And with games like home dates with Ohio State and Michigan -- not to mention a road match at Penn State -- still on the schedule, Illinois probably isn't even near done with the close contests yet this season. But perhaps it does, and perhaps the games won't be close, and perhaps Ron Zook -- he of the hottest seat in the Big Ten six weeks ago -- has another 10-win season up his sleeve just yet. Perhaps. We're at least on the right road for that to happen, at least.

5. Pssst... Michigan might be legitimate. Maybe. As long as Minnesota keeps proving itself to be far more MAC-worthy than BCS conference-caliber, it's going to be useless to read much into a team's performance beating the Gophers -- even the final score is 58-0. And yes, Michigan started 5-0 last year too and that season still ended with Rich Rodriguez fired. That's all true. The problem, though, is that Michigan started 5-0 in 1997 and it just so happened to finish 12-0 and win a national championship, and most teams that start 5-0 don't end up giving up the most points in program history and firing their coach.

So while it's easy to just say "But 2010" whenever someone mentions the fact that Michigan is still undefeated, there's one difference that's crucial to point out: the defense is showing up too. Last season, Michigan gave up over 25 points per game in its first five games. This year? 10.2. Yes, it's relevant that 31 points came against Notre Dame in a game the Wolverines had zero business winning and 20 came against tomato cans like Eastern Michigan and Minnesota, but consider that Michigan also spanked Western Michigan 34-10, and that's a Broncos team that came up just shy in a 23-20 loss at Illinois and just took a 38-31 win at Connecticut. So yes, given the context we've got, Michigan is not just pulling a 2010.

I still don't think Michigan survives that brutal November that awaits, and it's possible that with Dan Persa and Kirk Cousins looming as opposing quarterbacks in the next two games, Michigan might take a 5-2 (1-2) record into its bye week. But 6-1 (2-1) is more likely now, and being undefeated through seven games is definitely on the table. That's good news in Ann Arbor, especially when everyone else in the Legends division is staring at major problems that need fixing. But that's a topic best left for November; for now, Michigan would do well to focus on the next game in front of it.
Posted on: September 17, 2011 6:42 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2011 6:48 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Wisconsin 49, Northern Illinois 7

Posted by Adam Jacobi

WISCONSIN WON. Russell Wilson ripped the Northern Illinois defense for 347 yards and three touchdowns on 23-32 passing, and Wisconsin rushed for 274 more yards in its 49-7 demolition of the Huskies on Saturday.

WHY WISCONSIN WON: Northern Illinois was simply no match for the physical Wisconsin offensive front, and the Huskies' attack on offense never really got into gear. It looked like just another MACrifice, really. Montee Ball got most of the carries (18 for 91 yards and 2 TDs) for Wisconsin's backfield today, but James White was a beast during his snaps (8 carries, 91 yards, 1 TD). No issues for Wisconsin here.

WHEN WISCONSIN WON: This game wasn't a foregone conclusion from the start, and NIU had played the game to a 7-7 tie late in the first quarter. But Wisconsin scored on a three-play, 51-yard drive to answer NIU's score, and then the Badgers engineered an easy 10-play, 97-yard drive on its next possession to remove all doubt about how this game would end.

WHAT WISCONSIN WON: For Wisconsin, this game was a de facto road test, as the Badgers met NIU at Chicago's Soldier Field with a decidedly mixed crowd on hand. The Badgers passed the test with flying colors, and Russell Wilson's ascension to the top of the Big Ten's hierarchy of quarterbacks continues unabated.

WHAT NORTHERN ILLINOIS LOST: For Northern Illinois, there's not a lot to feel bad about with this loss. Yes, it wasn't nearly as close as the 18-point line would have indicated, but NIU wasn't going to have a chance if Wisconsin was on its game, and there's no doubt the Badgers were rolling today. If nothing else, the NIU coaching staff can find the plays that worked, note that they came against the best team Northern Illinois is going to face all year, and build off that.

THAT WAS CRAZY: After NIU's first quarter score to tie the game at 7-7, the Huskies tried a surprise onside kick that caught Wisconsin slightly off-guard. Two Huskies appeared to get their hands on the ball after the kick, but the ball came loose and eventually Wisconsin recovered. That short field led to the aforementioned 51-yard drive and the pounding was on.

As a strategy, it's not entirely insane -- NIU head coach Dave Doeren had to figure that the difference between Wisconsin getting the ball at midfield and at its own 20 or 30 was small enough that shooting for an extra possession on the onside kick was worth it -- but if that's his thinking, he needed to employ the strategy more than once instead of giving up on it as a failed ploy. Of course, NIU only had one more opportunity to try it, thanks to the Wisconsin defense, but that was just a harmless kickoff to open the second half (one that led to, what else, a Wisconsin touchdown drive).

 
 
 
 
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