Big Ten comes up short in big way
Notebook: Iowa suffers home rivalry defeat; Illinois QB injured
Welcome to the 2012 edition of the Big Ten Conference, also known as The Big Mac.
That’s the feeling surrounding the conference, following one of the poorest weekends in recent memory.
Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Penn State and Wisconsin each suffered non-conference losses to previously unranked teams, while Purdue fell to No. 22 Notre Dame.
Iowa was unable to muster a single touchdown and senior quarterback James Vandenberg’s late interception deep in Iowa State territory sealed a 9-6 home defeat to the rival Cyclones.
“Losses hurt; they are supposed to hurt and they do hurt,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said after the game. “It won’t feel great tomorrow and won’t be a lot of fun watching the tape.”
Penn State Kicker Sam Ficken helped his team to an 0-2 start by missing four field-goal attempts, the last one a 42-yarder as time expired, to seal the Lions’ 17-16 defeat at Virginia.
Finally, Wisconsin, picked by many as the preseason favorite to win the conference, was shut out for three and a half quarters before its late rally fell short in a 10-7 stunner at Oregon State.
“I’m not in this profession to lose football games,” Badgers head coach Bret Bielema said. “Any loss absolutely disturbs me to no end.”
The nightmarish Saturday has left the Big Ten with five undefeated teams two weeks into the season: Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern and Ohio State.
The Hoosiers, Gophers and Wildcats are not expected to go undefeated and the Buckeyes are on a one-year bowl ban. That would leave the Spartans as the league’s only chance at competing for a BCS Championship.
Michigan State flexed its muscles, blowing out Central Michigan 41-7 and provided a glimmer of hope for its downtrodden brethren.
“I’m proud of our team for winning our first road game against a very competitive team.” Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio said. “Our guys worked hard.”
Dantonio’s words could not be echoed across the Midwest on Saturday.
• Iowa lost to Iowa State at home for the first time since 2002.
• The Hawkeyes lost their first game under Ferentz when holding a team to fewer than 10 points.
• Through two games, Iowa has scored one touchdown and kicked six field goals.
Next Game: vs. Northern Iowa Sept. 15
• Quarterback Tre Roberson will miss the rest of the season with a broken leg, suffered in the Hoosier’s 45-6 victory against UMass.
• The win was Indiana’s first against an FBS school since 2011.
• Nine Hoosiers carried the ball, 11 caught a pass and Indiana put up 606 yards of offense. The school record is 650.
Next Game: vs. Ball State Sept. 15
• Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase missed Saturday’s game with an ankle injury. His status for next week is unknown.
• The Illini defense allowed 510 total yards, 318 through the air.
• Quarterbacks Reilly O’Toole and Miles Osei both took snaps in place of Scheelhaase and the two combined to throw three interceptions.
Next Game: vs. Charleston Southern Sept. 15
• Quarterback Denard Robinson finished with more 200 passing and 200 rushing yards. It’s the third time he has accomplished that in his career and is the most of any FBS player since 2000.
• Robinson now has three career-rushing touchdowns of at least 70 yards, tied for the most among all active FBS players.
• Running back Fitz Touissant returned from suspension with 8 yards on seven carries.
Next Game: vs. UMass Sept. 15
Michigan State (2-0)
• The Spartans’ defense has not allowed an offensive touchdown this season.
• Quarterback Andrew Maxwell responded from a shaky opener to go 20 of 31 for 275 yards and two touchdowns in Michigan State’s 41-7 blowout of Central Michigan.
• Running back Le’Veon Bell was held to just 70 yards on 18 carries, but did run for a pair of scores.
Next Game: vs. Notre Dame Sept. 15
• The Gophers’ 44 points against New Hampshire were the team’s most in a game in five years.
• The victory snapped a two-game losing streak to FCS schools.
• Minnesota’s 16 first quarter points were the most in an opening frame since they scored 20 against FAU in 2005.
Next Game: vs. Western Michigan Sept. 15
• Quarterback Taylor Martinez struggled all game, going 17 of 31 for 179 yards and an interception in the 36-30 upset loss to UCLA.
• The Huskers were dominated in time of possession: 37:40 to 22:20.
• Running back Rex Burkhead didn’t play due to a sprained knee ligament suffered in Week 1. His status for next week is questionable.
Next Game: vs. Arkansas State Sept. 15
• The Wildcats scored 17 fourth quarter points after not reaching the end zone for the first three periods in the 23-13 win against Vanderbilt.
• Running Back Venric Mark ran for 123 yards on 24 carries and one touchdown.
• Quarterback Kain Colter started the game after being held out of the final drive of last week’s victory against Syracuse.
Next Game: vs. Boston College Sept. 15
Ohio State (2-0)
• Quarterback Braxton Miller has scored a rushing touchdown in seven of his past eight games.
• Miller threw for 155 yards and ran for 141 in the 31-16 win against UCF.
• The Buckeyes have won 59 consecutive nonconference home games to unranked opponents.
Next Game: vs. California Sept. 15
Penn State (0-2)
• The Lions are 0-2 for the first time since 2001, and the fifth time in 45 years.
• Before Ficken missed his four field goals, the last player to miss four attempts in an FBS game was Josh Zaun from Alabama-Birmingham in 2010.
• Quarterback Matt McGloin finished 19 of 35 with 197 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.
Next Game: vs. Navy Sept. 15
• The Boilermakers went 6 of 17 on third-down conversions in the 20-17 loss to Notre Dame.
• The Purdue defense allowed 376 yards of offense, 324 of them all through the air.
• Running Back Akeem Shavers was held to just 37 yards on 12 carries by the Fighting Irish.
Next Game: vs. Eastern Michigan Sept. 15
• Wide Reciever Jared Abbrederis left the game in the second quarter with a chest injury. His status for next week is unknown.
• The Badgers were the first Big Ten team to visit Corvallis, Ore., in 41 years.
• Saturday was Wisconsin’s first regular season non-conference loss since 2003 to UNLV.
Next Game: vs. Utah State Sept. 15