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Tag:MAC
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).

Posted on: September 17, 2011 5:25 am
Edited on: September 17, 2011 5:28 am
 

Game day weather updates, Week 3

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Pretty chilly this morning, eh? Yep -- that's football weather. We've got a lot of games on today's schedule of Top 25 teams. A LOT of games. Almost seems like it practically doesn't matter whether a program schedules a tough opponent or a cupcake in the non-conference, doesn't it? At any rate, not much bad weather on the horizon today, but summer's sure not sticking around this year. Happy tailgating/game-going!

Noon kickoffs

No. 21 Auburn at Clemson, 12:00, Clemson, SC: Mid 60s, overcast

No. 18 West Virginia at Maryland, 12:00, College Park, MD: Mid 60s, mostly cloudy

Afternoon kickoffs

Louisiana-Monroe at No. 23 TCU, 2:00, Fort Worth, TX: Mid 80s, mostly cloudy

Tennessee at No. 16 Florida, 3:30, Gainesville, FL: Upper 80s, partly cloudy, storms

Washington at No. 11 Nebraska, 3:30, Lincoln, NE: Lower 60s, cloudy, storms

No. 7 Wisconsin at Northern Illinois, 3:30, DeKalb, IL: Mid 60s, partly cloudy

Missouri State at No. 12 Oregon, 3:30, Eugene, OR: Mid 60s, partly cloudy

No. 23 Texas at UCLA, 3:30, Los Angeles, CA: Lower 70s, clear

No. 15 Michigan State at Notre Dame, 3:30, South Bend, IL: Mid 60s, partly cloudy

Arkansas State at No. 13 Virginia Tech, 4:00, Blacksburg, VA: Lower 60s, mostly cloudy

Evening kickoffs

Navy at No. 10 South Carolina, 6:00, Columbia, SC: Lower 60s, cloudy, light rain

Florida A&M at No. 20 South Florida, 7:00, Tampa, FL: Mid 80s, partly cloudy, storms

No. 22 Arizona State at Illinois, 7:00, Champaign, IL: Mid 60s, partly cloudy

Stephen F. Austin at No. 19 Baylor, 7:00, Waco, TX: Lower 90s, mostly cloudy

Idaho at No. 9 Texas A&M, 7:00, College Station, TX: Upper 80s, partly cloudy

No. 17 Ohio State at Miami, 7:30, Miami Gardens, FL: Mid 80s, partly cloudy, rain

North Texas at No. 2 Alabama, 7:30, Tuscaloosa, AL: Mid 70s, partly cloudy

Troy at No. 14 Arkansas, 7:30, Fayetteville, AR: Lower 70s, cloudy, storms

No. 1 Oklahoma at No. 5 Florida State, 8:00, Tallahassee, FL: Mid 70s, partly cloudy

Late night kickoffs 

No. 8 Oklahoma State at Tulsa, 10:00, Tulsa, OK: Lower 70s, mostly cloudy, storms

No. 6 Stanford at Arizona, 10:45, Tucson, AZ: Lower 70s, clear

Posted on: September 15, 2011 7:14 pm
Edited on: September 15, 2011 9:41 pm
 

Boise safety Cedric Febis reinstated by NCAA

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

One of the three suspended Amsterdam natives on the Boise State roster has been reinstated by the NCAA--and fortunately for the Broncos, it might be the one due to make the biggest impact as the Broncos prepare to face Toledo Friday night.

The school announced Thursday that safety Cedric Febis has been officially cleared to play by the NCAA following eligiblity concerns, ones likely (though not officially) related to his move to the United States from the Netherlands to play prep football in Idaho. Boise released the following statement:
Boise State University officials learned late Wednesday (Sept. 14) evening that the NCAA has reinstated senior safety Cedric Febis to the Bronco football team.

Febis accompanied the team on its flight earlier today to Toledo, Ohio for tomorrow night’s (Friday, Sept. 16) game against the University of Toledo.

Boise State officials held Febis out of the team’s season opener against the University of Georgia on Sept. 3 because of questions it had about his eligibility. Despite missing the Georgia game, Febis has been able to practice with the team the past two weeks.

Wide Receiver Geraldo Boldewijn and defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, who were also held out of the George game for a review of their eligibility, did not accompany the team. Their status is continuing to be reviewed.
Febis was projected to be the Broncos' starting safety following the graduation of Jeron Johnson and will likely get the nod Friday against the Rockets. Febis appeared in 12 games in 2010 and recorded 27 tackles.

Boldewijn and Tjong-A-Tjoe obviously aren't in the clear yet, but seeing the NCAA offer Febis the stamp of approval must be an encouraging sign. Neither player was expected to start, but both were projected to see major snaps as the Broncos looked for receiving playmakers and defensive line depth.

On the other, less encouraging hand, Febis's situation and Boldewijn's/Tjong-A-Tjoe's aren't perfectly analagous. A fifth-year senior, Febis visited the Broncos' 2005 camp alongside fellow Dutchman and future Boise student manager Floris Mendonca. Mendonca would later return to the Netherlands as a coach and bring Boldewijn and Tjong-A-Tjoe (along with 10 other players) to BSU's 2008 camp. Mendonca was suspended by the program earlier this week, though the school declined to specify why or if the suspension was related to the eligibility concerns with the three Dutch players.

In any case, if the Broncos had to choose one player of the three to return, it's likely they'd have taken the experienced Febis--especially against explosive Rocket receiver Eric Page. The Broncos were already heavy favorites, and Febis's return should only make them that tiniest bit heavier.


Posted on: September 13, 2011 6:03 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2011 6:49 pm
 

NCAA reinstates three suspended Buckeyes

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Ohio State may not be at full strength in terms of getting players back on the field, but it's getting there. The NCAA has officially reinstated RB Jordan Hall, CB Travis Howard and S Corey Brown as of today, ending the three Buckeyes' two-week suspension for accepting money from a booster at a recent fundraiser. 

According to the NCAA, whose full statement on the reinstatement is linked here, the three players will be forced to repay the money they received from the booster, with the money going to an undisclosed charity.

The reinstatement means that the players have finally gotten their stories straight about where the money came from, which was not the case last week when two different people (a former player and a booster) were named as sources for the money in Ohio State documents. That clearly didn't sit well with the NCAA, and the suspensions continued through the Toledo game.

Nonetheless, Ohio State didn't have any public gripe about the length of the investigation and suspensions. “The university appreciates the NCAA’s expeditious response in reinstating these three student athletes,” said Gene Smith, Ohio State Director of Athletics. 

The NCAA's statement ends on this well-known, but still ominous note (emphasis ours):

Reinstatement decisions are independent of the NCAA enforcement process and typically are made once the facts of the student-athlete’s involvement are determined. This is typically well in advance of infractions decisions. The enforcement investigation into the Ohio State University is ongoing.

In other words, this situation isn't fully resolved in the NCAA's eyes, but at the very least the three players involved can get back on the field.

One must wonder when the boosters in Columbus are going to stop providing benefits to players. It may be a noble gesture and the rules may be illegitimate in the boosters' eyes, but they are still the rules, and the more those rules are broken the worse off Ohio State is going to be. It seems very counterintuitive that a "booster" would take such destructive action, then, but such is the world we live in.



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Posted on: September 10, 2011 3:42 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2011 3:43 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Ohio State 27 Toledo 22

Posted by Tom Fornelli

OHIO STATE WON. Though it was not as easy a victory as Ohio State fans have come to expect against non-conference schools in recent years. In fact, this one wasn't settled until the final minute of the game thanks to an Ohio State offense that just didn't look very sharp in the second week of the season. Joe Bauserman did not have to share any snaps with Braxton Miller this week, though maybe he should have as he completed only 16 of his 30 pass attempts for 189 yards and a touchdown. In fact, it's tough to find a star on offense at all for Ohio State in this one, though I suppose Carlos Hyde's 2 touchdown runs qualify, even if he did manage only 3.9 yards on 21 carries.

WHY OHIO STATE WON. Because try as they might, Toledo was its own worst enemy in this game, and the Buckeyes defense came through with some timely stops when it needed to. Still, considering that Ohio State only won this game by five points and was actually outgained on offense by the Rockets 335 yards to 303 yards, you have to wonder how things would have gone if not for the 14 penalties worth 100 yards called against Toledo. One of those penalties was an illegal formation on a punt -- Toledo had roughly a billion of those on Saturday -- that cause Toledo to kick again, and on the second attempt Chris Fields returned the kick 69 yards to give the Buckeyes a 21-15 lead going into the half.

WHEN OHIO STATE WON. This game wasn't over until Terrance Owen's pass on 4th and 5 at the Ohio State 17-yard line floated hopelessly incomplete thanks to some heavy pressure from the Buckeyes front four.

WHAT OHIO STATE WON. The right to say that it still hasn't lost to an FBS level opponent from the state of Ohio since 1921, going 20-0 in 90 years. And that's it, really, as I don't think there are many Big Ten opponents who will look at this game film and see the Buckeyes as a team to be feared at the moment.

WHATE TOLEDO LOST. Aside from being the first Ohio school to beat Ohio State in 90 years, it also lost the chance to claim a victory over a BCS opponent for the sixth straight season. Not to mention the chance to be a MAC school that could claim victories over both Michigan and Ohio State in the last four years. Other than that, I think Toledo gained more in this loss than Ohio State did in victory.

THAT WAS CRAZY. This isn't exactly crazy, but it's a bit telling about the fluidity of this game. Ohio State and Toledo combined to go 6-for-28 on third downs in this contest, yet went 3-for-6 on fourth downs.
Posted on: September 9, 2011 6:26 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2011 6:33 pm
 

NCAA hasn't reinstated three Ohio State players

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Last week, Ohio State suspended RB Jordan Hall, CB Travis Howard and S Corey Brown for the Akron game after learning the three players had accepted $200 for their presence at a Cleveland charity event. Ohio State expected its three suspended players to be reinstated by the NCAA for this week's game at Toledo following the conclusion of the NCAA's investigation.

Problem: the NCAA never agreed to a one-game suspension. As a result, all three players will be sitting out their second straight game.

Here's the official statement from Ohio State:

The three Ohio State University football players suspended for last week's game have not been reinstated by the NCAA and will not participate in the game Saturday against the University of Toledo. The university continues to work with the NCAA on the reinstatement process and is hopeful that the student-athletes will be reinstated soon. The university will have no further comment. 

On its face, this appears to run counter to the NCAA's speedy reinstatement of several suspended Miami players who had accepted much more than $200 from disgraced booster Nevin Shapiro. The problem for Ohio State is that this is more than an issue of just punishment; the NCAA is not satisfied with the results of its investigation, and the fact that the three players gave conflicting reports to officials and investigators about why they were at the fundraiser and who paid them cannot possibly help their case for an expedited reinstatement.

To that end, here is the official statement from the NCAA (emphasis ours):

Contrary to recent media reports, Ohio State football student-athletes Corey Brown, Jordan Hall and Travis Howard are not cleared to compete in the game on Saturday with University of Toledo. The nature and scope of their violations merit a minimum two-game suspension. In addition, the facts submitted by the university have raised further questions that need to be answered before the reinstatement process is complete. 

Two of the three suspended players named a former Buckeye as the source of the money, and the third named a "representative of athletics interests." All names were redacted by Ohio State on the documents acquired by the Columbus Dispatch.

It is strange that we live in a world where athletes in a multi-billion dollar sport/industry can be taken out of competition for something as insignificant as accepting a $200 gift, and it's been made clear recently that Ohio State has a few boosters who don't have much respect for those rules, but they are still the rules. So as long as giving money to players is still illegal, as long as the NCAA's sniffing around Columbus because of previous violations, and as long as the NCAA won't reinstate players who are being evasive with an investigation, it strongly behooves everybody involved with the Ohio State program to follow the NCAA's rules to a T. To do anything less is demonstrably harmful to the program, and it's strange that so many people around the team -- from Jim Tressel to everyone else who evidently wants to give these players an extra little something -- don't seem to realize this.

Posted on: September 3, 2011 11:37 pm
 

What I learned from the Big Ten (Sep. 3)

Posted by Adam Jacobi

1. Ohio State isn't back, because they never went anywhere to begin with. Let's get one thing out of the way: Ohio State was only playing Akron. Beating Akron proves nothing. The Buckeyes probably aren't going to be the last team to beat Akron by 42 points this season.  And yet, that sure looked like Jim Tressel's Ohio State, didn't it?

It makes sense that OSU still looks mostly the same, to an extent; Luke Fickell is a Jim Tressel disciple, and the rest of the Tressel staff is still in place. Further, the vast majority of OSU's superior talent is back. Terrelle Pryor is gone, obviously, and there are a handful of starters who are suspended for the early going. But OSU's real strength didn't lie in its starters' talent, it was having second- and third-stringers who could start for pretty much any other team, and those guys are all still around. So Fickell's got some institutional advantages in place.

But keeping those players focused in the middle of what's arguably OSU's largest scandal is much easier said than done, and Fickell deserves a ton of credit for maintaining control of the program when it looked like all hell would break loose. Nobody's talking about Terrelle Pryor in Columbus today, they're talking about the Buckeyes. That's the way it ought to be. 

2. It's like thunder! And lightning! On its face, it seems silly to discuss non-catastrophic weather in a column called "what I learned"; everyone's got that sort of thing figured out by, oh, third grade. But I did learn that even in the legendary, leaderish Big Ten, they will flat-out cancel the rest of a football game on account of lightning if it persists long enough. 

That's precisely what happened Saturday, when Michigan and Western Michigan officials decided to call off a 34-10 contest with over a full quarter remaining in the game. The weather report looked grim at that point, and it was unlikely that the game could be finished before at least 10:00. Still, even though it's admirable that there are rules with the protection of fans and players in mind like this, it also seems decidedly un-football to do so. Oh, if it weren't for that pesky liability. Alas.

3. The Leaders Division is Wisconsin's to lose right now. Sure, Wisconsin's defense struggled at times with the UNLV rushing attack, but not disastrously so, and the second unit of the Badger offense was pretty pedestrian. That's all true. What Wisconsin showed on offense on Thursday rendered that all moot. Russell Wilson made the best reads of anybody in the Big Ten in Week 1, and he's only been in Madison for a few months. He also showed the best rushing acumen of any Big Ten quarterback not named Taylor Martinez or Denard Robinson. And oh yes, the Wisconsin rushing attack is as mansome as ever. The Badgers don't have a bruiser anymore, and mountain man Gabe Carimi is off starting in the NFL, but the mashing will continue apace for another year as long as James White and Montee Ball are healthy.

If Wisconsin had a decent second quarterback (or if presumptive backup Jon Budmayr's arm were healthy), or if this game were in November, it might have hung 70 or 80 on UNLV. The offense scored touchdowns on seven of its first eight possessions, and the only reason it didn't get eight was because it got the ball in its own territory with only 47 seconds left (that ended up being a field goal). It was 51-3 early in the second half. Yes, it's only UNLV, but the Badgers are probably going to score at least 31 points in every game in the Big Ten. Do you really see any team that's going to outscore them?

4. Being a running back at Iowa is still a catastrophic idea. Iowa tailback Marcus Coker was expected to be the workhorse of the Iowa offense in 2011, so it was jarring to say the least to see him put two fumbles on the turf early in the first quarter of Iowa's opener against Tennessee Tech. In came true freshman Mika'il McCall, who wowed fans with 61 yards on nine carries in the first quarter. For a backfield that's short on experience, that kind of firepower would be crucial over the course of the Big Ten season.

So naturally, McCall suffered a broken ankle on his ninth carry, and he is gone for the year, according to Kirk Ferentz. McCall is just the latest in a series of Iowa runing backs who have been stricken with serious injuries, missed seasons, or other early exits over the last few years, a list that includes former starters Jewel Hampton (ACLs, transfer), Adam Robinson (concussions, dismissal), Brandon Wegher (personal issues, transfer), Paki O'Meara (concussions), and even in a sense Shonn Greene (academics, early NFL entry). Former starting fullback Brad Rogers is also sidelined with a heart issue, although he's still working to rejoin the Hawkeyes at some point. It's a legacy of disaster that some have semi-jokingly blamed on the "Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God." The evidence seems to be overwhelmingly in the favor of such a god existing. At any rate, here's hoping McCall recovers well from his broken ankle and the Big Ten sees him again in 2012.

Posted on: September 3, 2011 7:34 pm
 

Michigan-WMU game canceled late in 3rd quarter

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The rest of the Michigan-Western Michigan game has been canceled. With 1:27 left in the third quarter, game officials called their second lightning-related suspension of the day, and it now appears that there will not be a reasonable opportunity to resume and finish the game today. With that, both teams agreed to call the game where it was, and Michigan has prevailed, 34-10.

The cancellation comes nearly two hours after the original suspension of play, which occurred at halftime of the contest with Michigan holding a 20-7 lead. That delay lasted for the NCAA-mandated minimum of 30 minutes, but there was a respite of less than half an hour after play was resumed before lightning moved back into the area, prompting the cancellation.

Lightning also caused a major delay at Iowa Saturday afternoon, and similar delays continue at Notre Dame and Tennessee this evening.


Information from Michigan RapidReporter Jeff Arnold contributed to this story.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com