THIS WEEK IN THE BIG TEN
December 10, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
[ONE // sparty parties, big ten goes bowling]
Congratulations to the Michigan State Spartans, who claimed a 34-24 victory over No. 2 Ohio State in the Big Ten Football Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Saturday evening. After jumping out to a 17-0 lead only to allow 24 straight points by Ohio State, the Spartans scored the game's final 17 points to win its first conference title since 2010. The win also punched MSU’s ticket to the 100th edition of the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO – one of seven schools selected for bowl competition on Sunday night. Ohio State earned another BCS bowl berth with a trip to the Discover Orange Bowl. In addition, Iowa (Outback), Michigan (Buffalo Wild Wings), Minnesota (Texas Bowl), Nebraska (TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl) and Wisconsin (Capital One) collected bids to postseason contests.
[TWO // football hands out the hardware]
For the second consecutive season, Ohio State’s Braxton Miller was named the Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year, the Big Ten announced on Tuesday. Also among Tuesday’s individual award winners from the 2013 football season were Wisconsin’s Chris Borland as the Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year, Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg as the Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year and Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio as the Hayes-Schembechler and Dave McClain Coach of the Year. This past Monday, the 2013 All-Big Ten teams as well as 10 postseason individual award winners were announced, as Michigan's Taylor Lewan, Northwestern's Jeff Budzien, Ohio State's Braxton Miller and Penn State's Allen Robinson earned individual honors for the second straight season.
[THREE // big ten football’s great eight]
The Big Ten led all conferences with eight student-athletes named to the Capital One Academic All-America first or second teams in football as announced Thursday by CoSIDA. The Big Ten has now led all Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) conferences in Academic All-Americans for nine straight seasons, with 72 honorees over that time span. The Big Ten’s total of eight Academic All-Americans topped all conferences, as no other conference produced more than five honorees. The Big Ten also led all conferences with six first-team selections, while Nebraska led all schools with three honorees. Michigan State was one of just three schools to have two student-athletes earn placement on the first team. The Academic All-America first-team honorees from the Big Ten are Indiana’s Mark Murphy, Iowa’s James Morris, Michigan State’s Max Bullough and Mike Sadler, Nebraska’s Spencer Long and Penn State’s John Urschel.
[FOUR // spartans’ calhoun named hendricks finalist]
In addition to conference football honors, Michigan State's Shilique Calhoun was named this past week as a finalist for the 2013 Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award, which honors the nation's top defensive end. Calhoun, the 2013 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year, registered a team-high seven sacks, 13.5 tackles for loss and 17 quarterback hurries through the end of the regular season. He has forced two fumbles, recovered four and returned two of those for touchdowns. Calhoun also added a 56-yard interception return for a touchdown, giving him three scores this season. This year's winner will be announced Wednesday, Dec. 11. Two Big Ten standouts have won the Hendricks Award - Michigan's LaMarr Woodley in 2006 and Illinois' Whitney Mercilus in 2011.
[FIVE // up to the challenge]
This past week in Big Ten men’s and women’s basketball, the conference competed in the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge. In the 15th edition of the men’s event, the Big Ten posted a 4-2 record on Wednesday to secure a 6-6 tie in the Challenge for the second consecutive season. The Big Ten retained the Commissioner's Cup for the fifth straight year. On the women’s side, the Big Ten rebounded after a 1-5 start in the opening night to claim a 4-2 advantage on the final night, but fell 7-5 to the ACC in the two-day event.
[SIX // seven big ten volleyball teams advance to round of 16 in ncaa volleyball championship]
When the 2013 NCAA Volleyball Championship began this past week, the Big Ten boasted eight of the 64 teams selected to the postseason tournament. Now after two rounds of action, seven of those eight teams are among the nation’s 16 best squads. Illinois, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Penn State, Purdue, and Wisconsin have all advanced to the round of 16, which sets up two all-Big Ten matchups this Friday with Illinois facing Purdue and Michigan State battling Penn State. Among the highlights this past week, the Boilermakers upset No. 4 Missouri and the Spartans stunned No. 15 Kentucky. For a complete look at the Big Ten’s postseason volleyball dominance, click here.
[SEVEN // and the awards go to…]
The Big Ten announced its postseason volleyball awards on Tuesday, with student-athletes from four schools earning recognition following the conclusion of the 2013 regular season. Nebraska’s Kelsey Robinson was named the Big Ten Player of the Year by a vote of the conference’s coaches, while Michigan State’s Kori Moster and Wisconsin’s Lauren Carlini were tabbed Defensive Player and Freshman of the Year, respectively. Penn State’s Micha Hancock earned Setter of the Year honors, while Nittany Lion head coach Russ Rose was tabbed Coach of the Year by Big Ten coaches and media. In addition, 14 Big Ten players were tabbed All-Big Ten by the conference’s coaches, with eight making the team via unanimous vote, and 12 standouts were named honorees for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.
[EIGHT // big ten men’s soccer season concludes]
Third-seeded Notre Dame defeated 11th-seeded Michigan State, 2-1, in Saturday's NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship quarterfinal game in South Bend, Ind. The Fighting Irish scored the first two goals of the game, while Spartans' Jay Chapman scored in the 58th minute. Michigan State finished its season with a 14-6-3 mark.
[NINE // big ten trio up for hermann trophy]
Two Big Ten women’s standouts and one men’s player have been named semifinalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy, given to the nation's top college men's and women’s soccer player. Michigan's Nkem Ezurike and Penn State's Maya Hayes are the Big Ten’s representatives on the women’s side. Ezurike finished the season with 14 goals and 10 assists - she now has a school record 49 career goals and 118 total points. She started all 23 matches and was a first-team All-Big Ten selection. Hayes, who finished her senior campaign with 19 goals and six assists, started all 23 matches, was a first-team All-Big Ten selection, and helped lead the Nittany Lions to their 19th consecutive NCAA Tournament. On the men’s side, Wisconsin's AJ Cochran, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, led a back line that held opposing teams to just 1.29 goals per game. Cochran also scored three goals and started all 21 games and was a first-team All-Big Ten selection. The MAC Hermann Trophy finalists will be named on Thursday, Dec. 12.
[TEN // two-dozen soccer standouts honored regionally]
Twenty-four Big Ten women's soccer players were named to the NCAA Division I Women's All-Great Lakes Region team, including 10 on the first team. Those first-team honorees included Illinois’ Jannelle Flaws, Indiana’ s Lisa Nouanesengsy, Michigan’s Nkem Ezurike, Holly Hein, Meghan Toohey, and Shelina Zadorski, Nebraska’s Ari Romero and Emma Stevens, and Penn State’s Maya Hayes and Taylor Schram.
[ELEVEN // nine earn all-america accolades in field hockey]
Nine Big Ten field hockey standouts were named to 2013 Longstreth/NFHCA Division I All-American Teams, it was announced this past Tuesday. Big Ten Player of the Year Rachael Mack of Michigan was tabbed a first-team selection, while Iowa's Natalie Cafone, Northwestern's Nikki Parsley, and Penn State's Laura Gebhart and Brittany Grzywacz were second-team picks. Indiana's Audra Heilman, Iowa's Dani Hemeon, Michigan State's Abby Barker and Northwestern's Tara Puffenberger claimed third-team honors.
[TWELVE // the other kind of hockey]
Finally this week, Big Ten hockey has now seen each of its six conference teams compete in a league contest. Top-ranked Minnesota has made it through the first three Big Ten matches with an unbeaten 3-0-1 mark, although Michigan State tied the Golden Gophers on Friday and won the shootout, 1-0. Minnesota responded the following night with a 3-2 victory over the Spartans. No. 17/rv Wisconsin completed a Friday/Saturday sweep of Penn State, while No. 3/3 Michigan opened the week with a 5-4 decision over Ohio State on Monday.