THIS WEEK IN THE BIG TEN
December 2, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
[ONE // rivalries highlight final week of football regular season]
In the final week of the regular season, Big Ten football provided fireworks - and points - as several rivalry games stole the headlines Saturday. The first of which was, The Game, as No. 3 Ohio State survived a 42-41 scare at Michigan and thus moved into second overall in the latest Bowl Championship Series (BCS) standings. Tre Roberson threw for a career-high six touchdowns passes to help Indiana reclaim the Old Oaken Bucket with a 56-36 victory over Purdue. Northwestern outlasted Illinois 37-34 for the Land of Lincoln Trophy and its first conference win of the season. Penn State stunned Wisconsin 31-24 at Camp Randall Stadium, while rivals Iowa and Nebraska battled in its annual Friday-after-Thanksgiving contest, with the Hawkeyes winning 38-17. Elsewhere, Michigan State wrapped up an unbeaten regular season in Big Ten play with a 14-3 victory over Minnesota.
[TWO // next stop, indy]
With victories on Saturday, Michigan State and Ohio State concluded conference play with matching 8-0 records, the first time since 2002 and just the second time since 1943 that two Big Ten teams finished with perfect marks. The Spartans and Buckeyes will meet in the third annual Big Ten Football Championship Game on Saturday, Dec. 7, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Michigan State will make its second title game appearance in three years while Ohio State will play in the championship game for the first time. The winner of the 2013 Big Ten Football Championship Game will earn the Amos Alonzo Stagg Championship Trophy and a chance to play in one of two historic games in Pasadena, Calif. - the 100th Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1 or the Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game on Jan. 6. The game is officially a sellout, however a limited number of suites tickets are available. More information can be found by clicking here.
[THREE // leadership, humanitarian award winners announced]
Michigan State's Gene Washington was named the recipient of the Big Ten's Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award, while Purdue's Drew Brees was honored with the Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award, the conference announced on Wednesday. The awards recognize Big Ten football players that have achieved success in the areas of humanitarianism and leadership after their college careers have ended. The Ford-Kinnick Leadership and Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian awards are part of the Big Ten's annual awards program. The Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award is named for Michigan's Gerald Ford and Iowa's Nile Kinnick. The Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award is named for Minnesota's Tony Dungy and Indiana's Anthony Thompson. For more information on these awards and this year's winners, click here.
[FOUR // penn state earns volleyball title; one of eight big ten squads picked to ncaa field]
With its 3-0 win over Ohio State on Wednesday night, Penn State earned the outright 2013 Big Ten Volleyball Championship. The crown marks the 10th in the last 11 years and 16th overall. Penn State improved to 18-1 in Big Ten play and 27-2 overall and earned the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Championship. Late Sunday night, the NCAA announced Penn State earned the No. 2 overall seed and was one of four top-seeded teams in their respective region. The Big Ten tied for second among the nation's conferences with eight teams selected to the 64-team field. Penn State is joined by Big Ten opponents Nebraska, Purdue, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan State and Michigan.
[FIVE // michigan state advances in men's soccer tournament]
Michigan State has advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship with a 1-0 win over Georgetown Sunday. The Spartans, who are the lone Big Ten representatives left, have advanced to quarterfinal play for the first time since 1968. Adam Montague scored the lone goal of the game in the 28th minute. Penn State was eliminated from the tournament on Sunday, falling 2-0 to New Mexico. For a complete breakdown of the Big Ten's path through the bracket, click here.
[SIX// big ten concludes women's soccer season]
Top-seeded Virginia defeated third-seeded Michigan, 2-1, in Friday's NCAA Women's Soccer Championship quarterfinal match, bringing an end to the Big Ten soccer season. The Cavaliers got on the board first, but Meghan Toohey responded for the Wolverines in the 27th minute, tying the game at 1-1. Virginia's Molly Menchel scored the game-winning goal in the 68th minute, ending the match at 2-1. Michigan finished its season with an 18-4-1 mark.
[SEVEN // give `em the boot]
Seven Big Ten soccer players were named this past week as finalists for the 2013 College Boot Award, which recognizes the top player in men's and women's college soccer. On the women's side, the conference's finalists include Illinois' Jannelle Flaws, Indiana's Shannon Flower and Lisa Nouanesengsy, Nebraska's Jordan Jackson and Penn State's Whitney Church and Maya Hayes. Penn State's Andrew Wolverton was named a finalist on the men's side.
[EIGHT // soccer standouts honored for academics]
Three Big Ten soccer standouts were named this past week as Capital One Academic All-Americans. Indiana's A.J. Corrado and Ohio State's Alex Ivanov earned third-team honors, while Illinois' Vanessa DiBernardo was named a second-team honoree.
[NINE // awards from the gridiron]
Several Big Ten football representatives were honored this past week by a number of national awards. Ohio State's Ryan Shazier was named a finalist for the Butkus Award, given annually to the nation's outstanding linebacker, while Purdue's Cody Webster was named a finalist for the 2013 Ray Guy Award, honoring the nation's top punter. Wisconsin wide receiver Jared Abbrederis was named one of three finalists for the Burlsworth Trophy, an award that honors college football's most outstanding player that began his career as a walk-on. Two Big Ten linebackers are among the four finalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, it was announced last Tuesday. Iowa's James Morris and Wisconsin's Chris Borland are both up for the award. The Walter Camp Football Foundation announced that Iowa linebacker Christian Kirksey was named the Football Bowl Subdivision National Defensive Player of the Week, presented by Generation UCAN, for games ending Nov. 30. Michigan State's Connor Cook was also named this past week as one of eight "Stars of the Week" by the Manning Award, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Additionally, seven assistant coaches from Big Ten schools were named nominees for the Broyles Award, given annually to the top assistant coach in America, as announced on Wednesday. Seth Littrell (Indiana), Phil Parker (Iowa), Pat Narduzzi (Michigan State), Tracy Claeys (Minnesota), Tim Beck (Nebraska), Tom Herman (Ohio State) and Dave Aranda (Wisconsin) are among 40 assistants to earn recognition for the award.
[TEN // big ten men's basketball continues impressive start]
The Wisconsin men's basketball team rolled to the Cancun Challenge title this past week, while Iowa and Penn State both lost heartbreakers in their respective tournament title games Saturday. The Big Ten still boasts four undefeated teams and 11 of 12 squads that have lost no more than two games this season. Villanova topped the Hawkeyes in overtime in the Battle 4 Atlantis championship, while Ole Miss nipped the Nittany Lions in the Barclays Center Classic final on Saturday. Wisconsin (8-0), which beat West Virginia for the Cancun Challenge title, Illinois (7-0), Michigan State (7-0) and Ohio State (6-0) have yet to suffer a setback this season.
[ELEVEN // hoosiers remain lone undefeated women's hoops team]
The Indiana women's basketball team is the lone undefeated team remaining in the conference as the Hoosiers won Sunday to move its record to 7-0. The perfect start is the team's best since reaching the same unbeaten mark in 2000-01. The Hoosiers have also scored 80 points or more in six of its first seven games to start the season for the first time in program history. Iowa is 8-1 on the campaign, followed by Minnesota (7-1), Nebraska (6-1), Northwestern (6-1), and Purdue and Penn State at 5-1 apiece. Northwestern stunned nearby No. 25 DePaul 82-79 on Sunday.
[TWELVE // big ten hockey is officially here]
Finally this week, Big Ten hockey has officially arrived as the conference season began over the week, including your standard rivalry matchups with No. 1/1 Minnesota hosting No. 12/13 Wisconsin on Friday and Saturday, while Ohio State traveled to Michigan on Friday before returning to Columbus to welcome the Wolverines on Monday. The Golden Gophers defeated the Badgers 4-1 on Friday and the Maize and Blue outlasted the Buckeyes by a 4-3 count in overtime. On Saturday, Minnesota earned a 4-3 win at Wisconsin to take a 2-0 lead in the conference race.