January 09, 2008

BCS Championship game: In Pictures

In a season that seemed to make little sense, it seemed only fitting that a two-loss team would win the national championship. Hell, why not? Just like everything else in this four-month stretch of pigskin madness, we weren't supposed to make sense of it. But in the end, it all added up for LSU.

Here's a photo montage of the 38-24 victory over Ohio State that gave the Tigers another national title flag to run up the flag pole.

(Though showing its age a little bit, the Grand Ole Lady on the River was all gussied up to host another big game in the Big Easy.)

(You sure you want first row, 50-yard line seats? One of the big complaints I've always had of the Superdome's layout is the fact that the stands are so far away from the field. For tonight's game, there were rows of temporary seats laid down on the floor for a bunch of bands and officials to sit in. Given that the teams will be standing in front of them, it made these seats useless to watch the game in.)

(Brutus the Buckeye gets a photo op with a purple-clad LSU fan. He's got all the luck I tell ya'.)

(Archie Manning stalks the sidelines before the game. And it also appears as if he has grown a second head on his shoulders. Eerie.)

(The Buckeyes gather in the end zone after their pre-game warm-ups. Their helmets resembling a bunch of giant bouncing bee-bees.)

(What would an LSU game be without the Golden Girls doing their thing? They always enhance the atmosphere of game day for Tiger fans.)

(Beanie Wells gets some props as he walks to the sidelines after busting a long touchdown run and giving OSU a quick 7-0 lead. Craig Steltz busted a read on the play and that allowed Wells to run 60-plus yards for first points of the game.)

(The Buckeye cheerleaders pair up and do some kind of booty bumping thing after a touchdown. Later on in their lives, we're going to show their children video clips of this.)

(Early in the game the Buckeye O-line gave Todd Boeckman good protection, helping lead OSU to a 10-0 lead after just nine offensive plays.)

(One of the biggest Buckeye faux pas in the game came when Austin Spitler roughed LSU punter Patrick Fisher. This allowed LSU to maintain its opening drive of the second half, essentially putting the game away a few plays later with a TD pass from Matt Flynn to Early Doucet, giving LSU a 31-10 lead.)

(In the end, the LSU O-line deserved to celebrate, being the main difference in the game, knocking back the talented Buckeye D-line for most of the game.)

(ESPN's Shelley Smith is in the starting blocks, about to rush the field for interviews after the final gun goes off. Hi Shelley.)

(Long time LSU assistant coach/recruiting coordinator/administrator Sam Nadar gets a photo op with a few fans holding one of those pre-printed "LSU wins" newspapers.)

(After I took this picture of James Laurinaitis I realized "Oops, he doesn't look like he wants his picture taken." Luckily I got away without him putting me in some kind of wrestling submission hold.)

(Apparenlty LSU hoss lineman Carnell Stewart decided to field post-game questions by literally sitting on the field.)

(You gotta dig Ali HIghsmith's post-season beard. It's as if Barry White himself came back and put on an LSU uniform.)

(Have you guys noticed how the coach that wins the title game is instantly outfitted with a black leather jacket with the school name embossed on it? Urban Meyer wore one last year on the post-game podium as well. Is this in their contract or something? Because it sure wasn't cold enough for a heavy leather jacket after the game was over.)

(Yes, the horribly contrived confetti shower begins automatically once the trophy is given to the head coach. Won't someone please make this stop?)

(Not surprisingly, Coach Tressel wasn't in the mood to answer more questions about his team coming up short on the game's biggest stage.)

(The biggest disappointment of the the whole BCS title game experience was the fact that the OSU punk band The Bastard Sons of Woody Hayes - formerly known as the Dead Schembechlers - didn't make the trip down to New Orleans and play at Tipitina's. I dig those guys.)

January 08, 2008

BCS Championship Game: LSU 38 - OSU 24.

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- In a season that made no sense, it makes a lot of sense that 12-2 LSU climbs back to be the kings of the college football world after tonight's 38-24 win over Ohio State.

They weren't the best team all season, they didn't dominate anyone past week two, they may not have even been the best two-loss team. But just like they did all season long, they won when they had to. And tonight they won impressively with a total team effort. No stars. No dominant stats. Just a team victory through and through.

(Richard Dickson, seemingly open all night, scored the final touchdown for LSU on a 15-yard catch with 3:53 left.)

(LSU's only point of embarrassment came when its kicker - Sean Gaudet - attempted to make a tackle on the final kickoff and got injured. Nothing's worse than a kicker that gets hurt on one of his only five plays of the night.)

(LSU players - like this clean-uniformed scrub - started displaying "LSU No. 1" newspapers as the clock wound down. I always thought this was one of the more contrived things about championship games.)

(Glen Dorsey gets a post-game interview from another blonde bombshell sideline reporter.)

(Matt Flynn, the Offensive Player of the Game, displays the fruits of championship crystal.)

(D-Tackle Ricky Jean-Francois, who didn't play this season until the SEC Championship game, got voted the Defensive Player of the Game.)

(The two leading tacklers of the game, LSU's Ali Highsmith and OSU's James Laurinaitis, gave each other props in the post-game melee. Because LSU's total team effort, I actually thought that Laurinaitis should've been named the Defensive Player of the Game with his 18 tackles... which seemed more like 30 to me.)

BCS Championship Game: It's LSU!

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- The Tigers hold off Ohio State and complete the win for their second BCS championship in five years with the 38-24 win.

Congrats Tigers.

More to follow.

January 07, 2008

BCS Championship Game: Highsmith Hijacking

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- On 4th and 8, Todd Boeckman got this rude awakening from LSU's Ali Highsmith:
(Ali Highsmith says "hi" to Boeckman to provide the biggest play of the game so far)

With just over nine minutes remaining, OSU better come up with some big time magic.

LSU has just stayed within itself and relied on its defense, which has made some big plays to make the difference in this game.

I'm about to go down for what should be a purple and gold celebration... unless that magic thing works out for the Bucks.

BCS Championship Game: LSU takes lead into 4th

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- LSU should be careful. Despite my previous post, this game is NOT over.

And I'll give block of granite James Laurinaitis a whole mess of credit. Right before Malcom Jenkins' interception, when Fox was taking another 10-minute commercial block, he went up to each and every defender, patted them on the helmet and tried to light a fire under their ass:

(Laurinaitis has been all over the field tonight, including in his teammates heads)

Next play, boom! Jenkins pick leads to Brian Robiskie's 4-yard touchdown catch.

It's now 31-17, but OSU just stopped the Tigers again and have a chance to make this a game again.

BCS Championship Game: OSU decides to shoot its foot again

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- Ballgame?

Well mark this play down for sure, OSU's Austin Spitler committed the mortal sin of roughing the kicker after the Buckeyes had stoned LSU on its first drive of the second half:
(This roughing of LSU's Patrick Fisher may have been the turning point)

After that, another personal foul penalty moved LSU into scoring range and Early Doucet caught a 4-yard pass from Matt Flynn to put LSU up 31-10.

At the half you could just FEEL the wind coming out of the Buckeye fans that were walking around the concourse with frustrated looks on their faces. I had a feeling if LSU scored on its opening possession of the second half, it could be all over. Well, here we are...

(oh, sorry for no halftime updates. See the Superdome only has a few outlets to charge your computer and mine was nearly on the blink. So I plugged it into a bathroom outlet during the break. No, I'm not kidding)

BCS Championship Game: LSU lookin' good, OSU not so.

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- Another pick, another touchdown for LSU. The purple and gold are now up 24-10 with just under a minute to go before halftime.

This time it was Jacob Hester cramming himself across the goal line, as you can see from this pile of humanity and LSU's players celebrations:
(it wasn't pretty, but Hester TDs never are)

OSU seems to be the one shooting themselves in the foot now with dumb penalties and a pair of crushing interceptions. Look for Bo Pelini to pin his D-boys ears back and get after Boeckman big time now.

BCS Championship Game: Jean-Francois blocks, LaFell converts

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- The Tigers didn't need any help that time.

After Ricky Jean-Francois blocked Ryan Pretorious' 38-yard field goal attempt, LSU drove the length of the field to take a 17-10 lead. Ole "Mo" is wearing Tiger white now.

The Drive:
10 plays, 66 yards
10-yard pass from Flynn to Brandon LaFell

Since the first two drives, LSU has figured out the Buckeye D and moved seamlessly down the field to take the 7-point lead. And LaFell, who has had a case of butter-fingers this season, held on to the pass this time.

BCS Championship Game: Okay, that was easy too

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- Slicker than a mayonaisse sandwich, LSU goes 84 yards to the tying score, a 14-yard touchdown from Matt Flynn to Richard Dickson. Tigers made it look easy. OSU helped them out with a pair of 15-yard penalties.

Usually it has been LSU guilty of penalties left and right as the Tigers are the second-most penalized team in Division I.

Whole new ballgame now. The early jitters for LSU appear to be over.

BCS Championship Game: End of one, 10-3 OSU

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- It's the end of one. Surprised?

I have to admit, I'm not too shocked yet. Judging by how the Big 10 has done vs. the SEC in bowl games so far, Wisconsin nearly beating Tennessee and Michigan beating Florida, this is only a mild surprise.

Strange stat. That fumbled punt return by LSU is the 17th fumble the Tigers have committed this year, but have still only lost three all season. Three! Wow.

The matchup with Laurinaitis and Hester has been a beauty so far. And it seems like Laurinaitis has been in on every tackle for the Bucks. LSU has been a little predictabale with Hester so far. Then again, it hasn't hurt them either.

total yards:
OSU- 127
LSU- 57

BCS Championship Game: Okay, that's 10 points in 9 plays

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- Ryan Pretorious puts OSU up 10-0 with just under six minutes gone in the game. The Bucks have run a total of nine offensive plays so far.


And give an "atta-boy" to OSU kick-off man Aaron Pettrey who has kept Trindon Holliday and Keiland Williams from returning any kickoffs. That's a valuable weapon.

BCS Championship Game: Beanie Bounds, OSU up quick

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- Okay, that was fast.

(Beanie Wells getting congratulated in the end zone)

... then again, I remember seeing Ted Ginn score fast on Florida last year too. So let's not jump to conclusions here.

(then again, part II... OSU didn't stop Florida on a three-and-out last year immediately afterward either)

BCS Championship Game: The best national anthem performance since Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- I'm sure you at home saw it, but the Preservation Hall Jazz Band performed the national anthem tonight.

That's pretty cool.

And didn't the singer look like Dickie Barrett of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones?

BCS Championship Game: Two best traditions in college football.

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- The two best band traditions in the country... easily. The script "Ohio": (though they should have done one big Ohio instead of two small ones.)

... and the hotness that is the LSU Golden Girls:

By the way, they just introduced the president of the BSC and the president of Allstate Insurance. (Inject sound effect of crickets chirping here).

Then they introduced the president of Ohio State and the president of LSU to thunderous applause.

Considering Katrina's plentiful victims, you can understand the silence for Allstate. And considering the plentiful victims of college football's post-season, ditto for the pres of the BCS.

15 minutes before kickoff.

BCS Championship Game: Already loud, 60 minutes before kickoff

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- Just as Ohio State was gathering at midfield and jumping up and down like a bunch of silver bee-bees:

... LSU's remaining linemen and linebackers came storming out of the tunnel. So both fan bases were going nuts and the sound level was at near Who-concert loud. And that was with half the crowd still being patted down outside.

(Oh, in case I didn't tell you, yes, you had to be patted down by security to get into the Superdome. And no, my security guard wasn't a beautiful girl patting me down)

BCS Championship Game: 10 Reasons Fox Shouldn't Broadcast Bowl Games

NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Here's 10 reasons why Fox shouldn't be broadcasting bowl games... or college football in general:

1- Who are all these NFL guys trying to talk college football?
In the BCS Selection Show we were subjected to Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer and Fox talking head Chris Rose. These guys know nothing about college ball... at least not during the course of THIS season.
2- Fox is sensationalist journalism.
Did you notice that the announcement show started at 10 before the hour, but the actual unveiling of the title game opponents didn't happen until over 35 minutes later.
3- Watching Barry Switzer and Jimmy Johnson playing journalist and conducting interviews is just plain painful.
4- This network obviously isn't used to working college games. That's why we got phrases like Jimmy Johnson saying "you have to think these two are probably two of the best in the country" and whoever was announcing the Sugar Bowl blurted this gem: "First down Gators" when Georgia was about to snap the ball vs. Hawaii.
5- "The Bowl Bash on Fox"? That kind of name for the BCS bowls is soooooo freakin' high school sounding.
6- They are pulling that damn pro football thing where after a touchdown, there are a block of four commercials, then they come back for kickoff, then there is another block of four commercials. Make it stop!
7- Speaking of long commercial breaks, what's the average length of these damn BCS games, 4 hours, 15 minutes or so?
8- Waaaaaaay too many FOX programming promos. I can only see the trailer to Prison Break so many times.
9- The Sugar Bowl halftime feature about the 1951 Univ. of San Francisco team was the worst I've ever seen. They never gave the teams won-loss mark, the teams they beat and - most egregiously - they didn't name the bowl that wouldn't allow the team to play in their game unless they kept their two black players at home. HORRRRRRIBLE!!
10- Chris Meyers as the sideline reporter? Puh-leeeeze give me back my Erin Andrews.

BCS Championship Game: Two quick "Did You Knows"

NEW ORLEANS, La.-- Bet you didn't know that LSU won the Boxing national championship in 1949:

... and since the NCAA doesn't sponsor the Division I post-season, beer is able to be sold at bowl games:

It's an hour twenty before kickoff and LSU's special teams guys just entered the playing field to a rousing applause by their fans.

BCS Championship Game: What OSU is trying to avoid


Last year, at the BCS title game in Glendale, I was walking around the stadium about two hours after the game was over and came upon four or five of these t-shirts left behind on seat backs in the Ohio State cheering section:

I'm sure their fans are hoping not to repeat the mistake of making a shirt like this for this year's game. Or better yet, winning the game so that a shirt like this won't hurt any longer. That's part of what I think will motivate this OSU squad to have a better showing.

It's about six hours before game time and as I write this the Ohio State band is practicing their script "Ohio" on the field. The Superdome peeps are also firing off some of the pyrotechnics to practice for the pre-game and halftime show.

More later.

January 06, 2008

BCS Championship Game: The Day Before Preview


It's the vest...

Versus the hat...

This is like a science experiment. What happens when you combine a a group of 18-22 year olds, 364 days of long memories and a whole state-full of pressure?

That's what Jim Tressel and his Ohio State Buckeyes face on Monday night in what will be a de facto home game for LSU in the Superdome.

Continue reading "BCS Championship Game: The Day Before Preview" »

January 01, 2008

Rose Bowl: Trojans Dominate in Statement Win

PASADENA, Calif. -- Most people thought the Rose Bowl would be a blowout. Most people were right.

Save a stretch in the third quarter when Illinois' offense woke up, USC dominated the entire game en route to a 49-17 win to secure its second consecutive dominant Rose Bowl win. While USC tied a Rose Bowl record with 49 points and set a record with 633 yards of total offense, the Trojan defense set the tone early in the game.

"I'm so fired up about the way we played against such a terrific offense that plays that scheme of offense," USC coach Pete Carroll said. "They might have given us too much time to prepare."

Continue reading "Rose Bowl: Trojans Dominate in Statement Win" »

Rose Bowl: Booty's USC Career Concludes

PASADENA, Calif. -- With about seven minutes left in the game, John David Booty's career at USC has come to an end. With USC holding a 42-10 lead, Mark Sanchez has taken over at quarterback and Booty ends his college days with his second consecutive Rose Bowl win.

He ends the game completing 25-of-37 passing attempts for 255 yards and three touchdowns. His three scoring throws today give him seven career touchdown passes in the Rose Bowl, surpassing Mark Brunell's old record of five in two games with Washington State.

Rose Bowl: Hits Keep Coming for USC

PASADENA, Calif. -- Now it's just a question of how much USC wants to pad John David Booty's newly acquired Rose Bowl touchdown record. After setting the record with his sixth career Rose Bowl touchdown pass to Fred Davis in the third quarter, Booty added another to start the fourth quarter, this time to David Ausberry.

USC now holds a 42-10 lead and has sent Illinois fans scurrying from the stands.

Rose Bowl: McKnight, USC Back in Charge

PASADENA, Calif. -- Illinois tried to go big to respond to USC's latest touchdown. It didn't work. Juice Williams' first pass of the drive sailed about 30 yards in the air before Cary Harris intercepted it. The Trojans in turn went for the jugular with a quick-strike drive that ended with a Joe McKnight touchdown to give USC a seemingly insurmountable 35-10 lead.

Meanwhile, McKnight has likely sealed up player of the game honors and possibly the full-time starting job at tailback for USC next season. So far he has eight carries for 116 yards and a touchdown, five receptions for 49 yards and has made some big plays in the return game. On a field full of burners, nobody's been able to keep up with McKnight.

Rose Bowl: Heartbreak for Illinois

PASADENA, Calif. -- Just as the Illini were about to roar back into this game, a turnover kept them out of the end zone and completely changed the tone. On the possession after Rashard Mendenhall ran for a 79-yard touchdown, he took a swing pass 55 yards to set up Illinois in scoring position again.

Illinois quarterback Juice Williams connected with Jacob Willis who bolted toward the end zone inside the 10. USC linebacker Kaluka Maiava had other ideas, punching the ball out, where it rolled into the end zone for a USC touchback.

A few plays later Joe McKnight picked up a loose ball on a lateral from John David Booty and ran 65 yards to set up an eventual touchdown pass from John David Booty to Fred Davis. Just when it looked like Illinois would cut the lead to 21-17, the Trojans increased their lead to 28-10. The 14-point swing could very well take the air out of Illinois. How they respond here with about five minutes left in the third quarter could determine the game.

Rose Bowl: Illinois Finds End Zone

PASADENA, Calif. -- Illinois got just what it needed to kick off the second half with a big play from Rashard Mendenhall. The speedy tailback finally found a hole in the USC defense and broke through for a 79-yard touchdown run that equaled the team's total offensive output in the first half.

The Illini fans, who have been plenty loud while their team struggled, erupted and have the Rose Bowl actually feeling like the Rose Bowl as USC leads 21-10.

Michigan wins one for Carr

ORLANDO - Lloyd Carr went out a winner.

Michigan, paced by a methodical offensive attack, sent its retiring coach out victoriously by holding off Florida for a 41-35 win at the Capital One Bowl on Tuesday.

"This is extremely meaningful on a personal level," said the 62-year-old Carr, who compiled a 122-40 record in 13 years at Michigan. "To come out with an effort like this and finding a way to win creates memories we'll celebrate for years to come."

Continue reading "Michigan wins one for Carr" »

Rose Bowl: Illini Faithful Stay Strong

PASADENA -- Either Illinois' fans don't realize they're down 21-3 or they're not bothered by it. I've been nothing but impressed by the Illini faithful who were the loudest before the game, steadfast during the USC-dominated first half and have been the most spirited during halftime -- and we're just a few miles away from USC's campus.

If just for their sake, it'd be nice to see their football team play a more competitive second half.

Continue reading "Rose Bowl: Illini Faithful Stay Strong" »

Rose Bowl: Illinois Breaks Through

PASADENA -- So much for the shutout. Illinois responded to USC's latest touchdown with its best drive of the day to get on the board with 38 seconds left in the first half and cut the deficit to 21-3. The drive stalled and ended in a 28-yard field goal, but it's something positive for the Illini to work with going into halftime.

Rose Bowl: Illinois Livin' on a Prayer

PASADENA, Calif. -- The Illinois band takes an honest approach about things. With Illinois starting at its own 10 for its worst field position of the day, the Illini band rolled out with Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer. Very appropriate.

USC's lighting-fast defense again allowed nothing as the Illini were forced to punt again and set up USC near midfield, where it marched 43 yards for a Chauncey Washington touchdown to take a 21-0 lead with about two minutes left in the first half. The question now is whether or not Illinois will be able to score.

Rose Bowl: USC Leaving Door Open

PASADENA, Calif. -- After exploding for the first two touchdowns of the game, USC's offense has stalled since John David Booty's interception. USC scored twice before even facing third down on offense, but hasn't been able to get much going since.

Illinois is seeing the benefits with good field position, but has yet to capitalize. The difference right now is USC's defense, lauded by many as the best in the nation. So far, Illinois has 28 plays on offense for 45 yards.

If the Illini find a way to break a big scoring play, this could get interesting. The way things are going, it may have to come from defense or special teams.

Rose Bowl: Ilini Squander Opportunity

PASADENA, Calif. -- Illinois got exactly what it needed to make this a competitive game when Justin Harrison intercepted John David Booty and returned the ball 45 yards to the USC 20. Illinois picked up a first down near the 10 and looked ready to score, but stalled on three straight plays.

Well, at least they would get on the scoreboard with a chip shot field goal. Or not. Jason Reda missed the 29-yard attempt just when it looked like Illinois was ready to get into the game. USC still leads 14-0 at the end of the first quarter while the Illinois fans search hard for something to cheer about.

Rose Bowl: Tricky Tricky Trojans

PASADENA, Calif. -- USC is pulling out the stops already as a trick play put the Trojans on top of Illinois 14-0 halfway through the first quarter. After a Rey Maualuga interception set USC up in Illinois territory, the USC offense struck quick when John David Booty took the snap and lateraled it back to widout Garrett Green. Green, listed as a WR-QB on the lineup card, showed his quarterbacking prowess with a 34-yard strike to a wide open Desmond Reed for USC's second touchdown of the game.

The scary thing for Ilinois is that it hasn't been able to get anything going on offense. In need of a response to USC's first touchdown, the Illini started to march toward midfield, but Maualuga's interception and 19-yard return set up the easy score for USC.

As I wrote this entry, Illinois went three and out and just punted the ball back to USC. This looks very much like the blowout most people expected.

Rose Bowl: Trojans Take Charge Early

PASADENA, Calif. -- Illinois looked ready to make the first statement of the Rose Bowl when it got off to a good start with a 16-yard run from Rashard Mendehnall on the opening play. But USC forced a punt after three more plays and looked like a team angry not to be playing in the national championship.

Led by precision passing from John David Booty and a lucky bounce on a batted ball that ended up in Joe McKnight's hands, USC needed just 2:12 to march 72 yards and score the game's first touchdown for a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter.

The Trojans, an experienced and loose BCS team, proceeded to perform a choreographed dance routine on the sideline as Illinois waited for the ensuing kickoff. It's obviously early, but Illinois would be well-served to respond with a good drive here.

Rose Bowl: Screw Tradition

PASADENA, Calif. -- There are two schools of thought with today's Rose Bowl matchup between USC and Illinois. One believes in tradition and pageantry with Pac-10 and Big Ten loyalists gagging at the thought of an interloper from another conference playing in the grandaddy of them all.

Then there's the progressive point of view that believes the Rose Bowl, being the esteemed event that it is, shouldn't settle for anything but the best show possible. It's a red-state, blue-state thing and an argument that's been hashed over countless times since the BCS announced that No. 7 USC would play a 9-3 Illinois team that backed into a BCS bowl despite a ranking of 13 in the final standings.

Both sides are equally passionate about the Rose Bowl and believe their point of view is the best for the New Year's Day classic. Both sides will stand their ground with the fortitude that fuels political debates on cable network news. Both sides can't be right.

And the wrong side won out this year. I'm a born and bred ACC man with no affiliation with Pac-10 or Big Ten tradition. I want what's best for college football, which is the best possible matchup for the game's premiere bowl.

Continue reading "Rose Bowl: Screw Tradition" »

Florida turns it over on downs

ORLANDO, Fla. - Florida turned it over on four plays on its drive, giving Michigan the ball back at the Florida 24-yard line with less than 3 minutes left.

Florida still has all of its timeouts, so the Gators could hold Michigan to a field goal and get another shot, but Wolverines fans have to be smiling right now.

Michigan back on top

ORLANDO, Fla. - Florida's lead was short-lived, but they have a chance to get it back.

Michigan just scored on an 18-yard pass from Chad Henne to Adrian Arrington, who beat Florida corner Jacques Rickerson by about two steps for an easy catch.

Michigan leads 38-35 with 4:12 left, plenty of time for TIm Tebow to work his magic.

Harvin jets in

ORLANDO, Fla. - Put the Rose Bowl on hold, the Capital One Bowl ain't over yet.

Percy Harvin just scored his second touchdown of the game, this one on a 10-yard end-around jet run, to put the Gators up 35-31 with 5:49 left after Michigan quarterback Chad Henne threw an interception.

The Wolverines need a big drive here, will they get it?

Michigan inches ahead in final quarter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Field goals might not be enough to win this game, so Michigan is walking a tight rope.

The Wolverines just got a 37-yard field goal from K.C. Lopata to go up 31-28, but now Tim Tebow has the ball with 12:16 remaining.

And Tebow has Percy Harvin at his disposal. Harvin has 220 combined rushing and receiving yards on the day, and it's between him and Mike Hart as to who I'm tabbing on my ballott as game MVP.

Unusual turn of events ties it up

ORLANDO, Fla. - Here's the rundown of what led to this game being tied at 28-28.

1) Michigan is driving, looking to take a 35-21 lead, but Mike Hart fumbles for the second time today, the second time in over 1,000 carries. He fumbles it as he is stretching for a touchdown, so the ball goes into the end zone and Florida recovers.

2) Florida appears to have wasted the opportunity, going three-and-out, but executes a fake punt with former high school quarterback Chas Henry, the punter, completing a 15-yard pass to Aaron Hernandez.

3) To conclude a lengthy drive, Tim Tebow finds Andre Caldwell for a 14-yard scoring pass with less than 2 minutes left in the third quarter.

Something tells me the craziness is just beginning.

Tebow scores again

ORLANDO, Fla. - Just about the only thing TIm Tebow hasn't done at Florida is lead the Gators on a double-digit second-half comeback for a win.

Well, he's trying his best to check that off his list today.

Tebow just ran in from 1 yard out, bowling over Michigan linebacker Chris Graham, and brought the Gators to within 28-21 with 7:55 left in the third quarter at the Capital One Bowl.

On a side note, Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin looks poised to register the second game of 100 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving in Florida history.

Harvin unofficially has 103 rushing yards and 70 receiving yards so far today.

The other time a 100-100 happened? Harvin, against Vanderbilt earlier this year.

Missed Opportunities Haunt Wisconsin As Tennessee Captures Outback Bowl Win

TAMPA, Fla. - With less than a minute to play, and his No. 18 Wisconsin team trailing No. 16 Tennessee, 21-17, Tyler Donovan couldn't have been happier if he was sitting in front of a platter of steak instead of in a bowl named for a steakhouse.

"Those kind of situations, it's fun," the senior signal-caller said. "Players thrive in those kinds of situations, and I was loving it."

With 28 seconds left, however, he was devastated.

That was when Antonio Wardlow picked off Donovan's would-be touchdown pass to win the game. If he had connected with, Donovan would have been the hero of the 2007 Outback Bowl. Instead, the Volunteers held on for the 21-17 win.

Continue reading "Missed Opportunities Haunt Wisconsin As Tennessee Captures Outback Bowl Win" »

Michigan still rolling

ORLANDO, Fla. - Mike Hart just powered in his second score of the game, this of the 1-yard variety, to put Michigan up 28-14 with 12:50 left in the third quarter.

As has been his custom today, Hart looked for a Florida defender to jaw at after his run. He chose middle linebacker Brandon Spikes, who owns a 6-inch and 40-pound edge over Hart, maybe not such a good idea.

Capital One half update: Michigan has slight edge

ORLANDO, Fla. - Michigan has controlled the ball for most of the first half and is up 21-14 at the break as a result.

The Wolverines have successfully kept Tim Tebow off the field as much as possible with 48 offensive plays to Florida's 32 plays.

Chad Henne has looked very accurate, completing 15-of-24 passes for 220 yards and two scores. Mario Manningham has racked up 104 yards on 10 touches, including five runs. Michigan is looking to get him the ball any way possible.

Mike Hart has been contained for 60 yards on 15 carries, but he could break lose at any moment, you get the feeling.

On Florida's side, Tim Tebow has looked good when given a chance to showcase his passing skills with 110 yards through the air on 10-of-17 throwing. But he only got 18 yards on the ground, as Florida's running game has been stuffed save a Percy Harvin 66-yard run.

If Florida's defense can get off the field, the Gators could dominate the second half. However, Michigan's offense has looked every bit as effective as Florida's high-octane attack, maybe moreso.


ORLANDO, Fla. - The Capital One Bowl is offering fans the chance to display text messages on the Citrus Bowl scoreboard for the entire stadium to see.

Fans can text messages to 28553 at $1.99 per message. I have seen everything from the usual Go Blue! to inside jokes to a marriage proposal to Tim Tebow.

Oh yeah, there is a game going on. The teams are trading turnovers. Florida safety Major Wright just picked off Chad Henne on a trick play in which Henne handed off to a receiver, who threw it back to Henne near the Michigan sideline.

Henne slinged a pass downfield, but Florida had double coverage and Wright jumped in front of the receiver and landed with the ball at the Florida 1-yard line.

The game is tied at 14-14 with 3 minutes left in the half.

Wardlow Picks Up The Win For Tennessee

TAMPA, Fla. - Perhaps it's tacky to say in a bowl game named for a steakhouse, but stick a fork in this one, because it's done.

Antonio Wardlow picks off Tyler Donovan's pass from the 36-yard line in the end zone, and Tennessee is your 2008 Outback Bowl Champion, beating Wisconsin, 21-17. Volunteers quarterback Erik Ainge is your game MVP after going 25-for-43 for 366 yards and two touchdowns.

More to come.

Breathe easy, Harvin looks fine

ORLANDO, Fla. - Percy Harvin was knocked out of the game following a 66-yard run, but he is re-entering the game.

Trainers looked at Harvin and talked with him on the sideline for a couple of plays as it appeared he just had the wind knocked out of him on a hit by Morgan Trent.

Florida is at the Michigan 4-yard line with 8:00 left in the half.

One More Chance

TAMPA, Fla. - The Badgers get the ball back. A five-yard run for Tennessee isn't enough. The Vols punt with 1:32, and Wisconsin will have to go 88 yards in the next 1:26 with no timeouts.

This one's for you, Coach Carr

ORLANDO, Fla. - Michigan running back Mike Hart, an outspoken backer of outgoing Coach Lloyd Carr, just scored on a 3-yard run to tie the game up at 14-14.

The run capped a 12-play, 56-yard drive for the Wolverines.

On an interesting note, Chad Henne tried to throw a pass to his All-America left tackle, Jake Long, on an unusual play. Unfortunately, Henne overthrew the 6-foot-7 Long for an incompletion.

So Close, Yet So Far

TAMPA, Fla. - For a moment, it looked as if Wisconsin had its moment, as the Badgers looked to have recovered a fumble after a Josh Briscoe reception. However, it was ruled that the Badger who scooped up the ball went out of bounds before getting possession, so the Badgers still have a big stop to get before making their last drive.

Wisconsin's Gamble Doesn't Pay Off

TAMPA, Fla. - Bret Bielema chose to roll the dice, and now, the Badgers have snake eyes staring them down.

On fourth and two at the Volunteer 10, the Badgers went for it, and Donovan wound up throwing high and out of the end zone. The Vols take over with under six minutes to play.

Interesting move by the Badgers. A field goal could get them in position to win with another one, while Wisconsin will certain need a touchdown on their next possession now.

Michigan can't keep up

ORLANDO, Fla. - Florida's speed is making Michigan look slow.

On the most recent display, the Wolverines had 22 yards of field to take down Florida wide receiver Andre Caldwell.

Caldwell zipped through all 22, barely being touched, and high stepped into the end zone to put the Gators up 14-7 with 14:48 left in the first half.

Tebow, Harvin answer for Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. - The Heisman jinx has yet to hit Tim Tebow.

Florida's record-setting sophomore just hit 2008 Heisman candidate Percy Harvin for a 10-yard touchdown pass.

Somehow, Michigan let Harvin find yards of open space in the middle of the field for a quick inside slant route for an easy score, I can't find one person in the press box who couldn't have made that throw.

Florida and Michigan are tied at 7-7 with 1:49 remaining in the first quarter at the Capital One Bowl.

The Longest Field For Vols

TAMPA, Fla. - After nine minutes wihout a major happening in this game, we have a pivotal series coming up.

The Badgers' Ben Strickland downed a punt at the one-yard line, putting Tenneesee behind the eight-ball as they try to gain some yards.

Michigan steamrolls UF on opening drive

ORLANDO, Fla. - Lloyd Carr must have delivered one heck of a pregame speech.

The Michigan offense just drove 93 yards on 12 plays on the opening series to take a 7-0 lead over Florida at the Capital One Bowl.

The score came when quarterback Chad Henne connected with - who else? - Mario Manningham for a 21-yard bullett pass.

Florida had kept Manningham quiet in the passing game for the entire series before the score with freshman cornerback Joe Haden displaying shut-down coverage.

But, on the scoring play, Haden was not on coverage. Instead, Manningham beat No. 2 corner Wondy Pierre-Louis and a late-arriving free safety Major Wright.

Oopsie...Wrong Name

TAMPA, Fla. - Not much to report so far in the second half, where the biggest miscue belongs to our announcer here in the press box, who just slipped and referred to Wisconsin as the Wolverines.

Now, in all fairness, we aren't all that far from Orlando, where Michigan is playing in the Capital One Bowl, and that game is underway.

Of course, the bigger issue could be the Wolverines' opponent: Tennessee's archrival Florida. Vols fans might actually take more offense to that than Badger fans.

Then again, the fans are in the stands, and we're in the press box, so it doesn't matter all that much.

Greetings from the Capital One Bowl

ORLANDO, Fla. - Happy New Year from the Capital One Bowl. In the next three hours, we'll find out whether Michigan or Florida will have a great New Year's Day.

Kickoff is coming in about 10 minutes, as the stadium is still filling up. On the way to the stadium, Michigan fans seemed to be out in full force. But the Gators have a much stronger contingent in the Citrus Bowl, where temperatures are in the 60s with partly cloudy skies.

Continue reading "Greetings from the Capital One Bowl" »

Tennessee Offense Rolling, But Wisconsin Hanging In

TAMPA, Fla. - The Wisconsin band, under the direction of Michael Leckrone, is currently performing its halftime show, consisting of music from West Side Story.

It's appropriate, because Badgers quarterback Tyler Donovan has taken enough hard shots to the head to make him start singing "I Feel Pretty."

Impressively, though, the Badgers are staying with a Tennessee offense that is going great guns. They'll recieve the ball to start the second half with a chance to tie the game, as the Vols lead 21-14 at halftime.

Continue reading "Tennessee Offense Rolling, But Wisconsin Hanging In" »

Halftime In Tampa: Vols Lead 21-14

TAMPA, Fla. - The teams are headed to the locker rooms, and the bands are on their way onto the field. Your score at halftime: Tennessee 21, Wisconsin 14.

More details to come.

No Warning Necessary

TAMPA, Fla. - Of course, the two minute warning isn't used in college football, but maybe an exception should be made for Wisconsin games

With 1:03 remaining on the clock , Tyler Donovan finds Andy Crooks in the end zone for a four-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-14. The pass caps off a 70-yard drive that took 5:12 off the clock with nine plays.

Wisconsin has now scored 112 points in the last two minutes of the first half during Bret Bielema's tenure as head coach.

Cottam Caught 'Em, Puts Tennesse Up 21-7

TAMPA, Fla. - Don't worry about Brad Cottam, right? He's never caught a touchdown pass in his Tennessee career.

He has now.

A 31-yard pass from Erik Ainge has the Vols up 21-7, capping off a four-play, 51-yard drive that lasted 1:40.

Tyler Donovan is back in for the Badgers at quarterback.

Rough Day For Donovan

TAMPA, Fla. - Tennessee is giving Wisconsin quarterback Tyler Donovan a headache - literally.

The Badger signal-caller had his bell rung again just after getting rid of the ball on third down, banging his head on one of his lineman's legs as he went down on the tackle.

And the pass was completed, but fell just short of the first down.

Vols Have A Fumble Of Their Own

TAMPA, Fla. - Tennessee was sitting pretty, driving deep in Wisconsin territory again with a big run by Montario Hardesty and an Ainge completing to Quintin Hancock, but the Vols have returned the favor as Kirk DeCremer forced and recovered a Lennon Creer fumble to take over for the Badgers.

In Badger injury news, Donovan is back out on the field, and P.J. Hill is out there with him and gaining yardage against the Volunteers as the Badgers attempt to march up the field from depe in their own territory.

That's Another Way To Do It: Vols up 7-0

TAMPA, Fla. - Tennessee is on the board with a touchdown 5:11 into the game. The scoring play was a direct snap to Gerald Jones, which seems to be the Vols' best option for getting the ball to a receiver so far.

Erik Ainge has looked shaky early on, throwing a third-down pass right at a defender on the Vols' first drive, then throwing very high out of the end zone when Tennessee got close. To Ainge's credit, the key play of the drive that got Tennesee deep into Badger territory was a 40-yard pass to Denarius Moore.

The Jones run capped off a nine-play scoring drive of 66 yards that lasted 2:33.

Mistakes Early

A couple of mistakes early made sure that neither team's first drive lasted long. Tennessee's opening drive never recovered from a holding penalty that negated a nice run by Arian Foster, while the Badgers looked to be in good shape after Tyler Donovan completed a pass to Paul Hubbard on third-and-8, only for Eric Berry to force the fumble and DeAngelo Willingham to recover.

The Vols are driving now in Badger territory.

More Lineup Notes And The Coin Toss

TAMPA, Fla. - A couple more changes in the lineup to report as we get set to kick off.

O'Brien Schofield will start at left end for Wisconsin in place of Kurt Ware, while Ben Strickland gets the start at left cornerback for Aaron Henry.

For the Vols, Jerod Mayo moves from "Mike" to "Will" in the linebacking corps to replace McCoy, with Ellix Wilson starting in Mayo's middle position.

Wisconsin won the coin toss and will defer to the second half. Tennessee will receive and defend the North

G'Day From The Outback, Mate!

TAMPA, Fla. - Good morning and Happy New Year from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, where we're counting down to kickoff of the 2008 Outback Bowl. Today's matchup pits the No. 18 Badgers of the Univesity of Wisconsin against the No. 6 Volunteers of the University of Tennessee.

Here's a few things to keep an eye on as we get ready for the 11:00 AM kickoff here in Tampa.

Continue reading "G'Day From The Outback, Mate!" »

December 31, 2007

They're Cowboys and they're winners of the Insight Bowl

TEMPE, Ariz. -- For all Oklahoma State has experienced this year - an upset loss to Troy, a press conference tirade for the ages and another heartbreaking loss to Texas - it can take solace in how it ended.

The Cowboys (7-6) handedly defeated the Indiana Hooisers (7-6), 49-33, on the final of day 2007 in the Insight Bowl.

Continue reading "They're Cowboys and they're winners of the Insight Bowl" »

Cowboys counting down at Insight Bowl

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Oklahoma State has all but sealed a victory in the 2007 Insight Bowl with 10 minutes remaining.

The Cowboys hold a 42-17 advantage over the Indiana Hoosiers, who have had little go their way.

Continue reading "Cowboys counting down at Insight Bowl" »

Okie State Dokie

TEMPE, Ariz. -- It's been all Oklahoma State during the first two quarters of the 2007 Insight Bowl.

Heading into the locker room, the Cowboys not only hold a 35-10 lead, but know it came with relative ease.

Continue reading "Okie State Dokie" »

Cowboys cruising in one-sided shootout

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Oklahoma State has had no use for punter Matt Fodge yet, having scored each of its possessions.

The Cowboys answered Indiana's opening-drive field goal with four straight touchdowns to take a commanding 28-3 lead.

Continue reading "Cowboys cruising in one-sided shootout" »

Opening-drive scores at Insight Bowl

TEMPE, Ariz. -- No surprise: both Indiana and Oklahoma State scored on their opening drives.

Indiana had to settle for a field goal after Oklahoma State used a third-down blitz to halt the Hooisers' drive. The Cowboys drove 67 yards in six plays and about two minutes for a Dantrell Savage touchdown.

Continue reading "Opening-drive scores at Insight Bowl" »

Insight into the Insight Bowl

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Even if one of the country's biggest new year parties wasn't sitting blocks away from Sun Devil Stadium, there would be plenty fireworks onhand for this evening's Insight Bowl between Indiana and Oklahoma State.

Continue reading "Insight into the Insight Bowl" »

December 29, 2007

PSU-A&M: Penn State wins the battle of the Alamodome

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- One of the major flaws of the bowl post-season system is that when you have two teams take five weeks off, then play a relatively meaningless contest, odds are pretty decent that you'll get a stinker of a game.

The 2007 Valero Alamo Bowl was anything but a stinker.

In front of a mostly-hostile Alamodome-record crowd, Penn State dug out of a 14-0 hole, then withstood two long Texas A&M drives to pull off a 24-17 classic in Joe Paterno's 500th game.

Continue reading "PSU-A&M: Penn State wins the battle of the Alamodome" »

PSU-A&M: Another epic drive comes up empty

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- Trailing 24-17, Texas A&M took the ball at their own one yard line, drove all the way to the Penn State two, rolled the dice on 4th-and-1, but came up snake eyes.

WIth under eight minutes remaining, Penn State leads 24-17.

Continue reading "PSU-A&M: Another epic drive comes up empty" »

PSU-A&M: Penn State answers, pronto

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- That didn't take long.

Penn State quickly busted up the tie game with a 38-yard TD run by freshman Evan Royster.

At the end of three quarters, the Nittany Lions lead A&M 24-17.

Continue reading "PSU-A&M: Penn State answers, pronto" »

PSU-A&M: A&M bears down, ties it up

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- A&M just finished an epic drive (well as epic as a FG drive can be) and tied the game on a 38-yard FG by Matt Szymanski.

With about four minutes left in the third, Penn State and A&M are deadlocked at 17.

Continue reading "PSU-A&M: A&M bears down, ties it up" »

PSU-A&M: Halftime History Lesson and Stats

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- At halftime, Penn State leads Texas A&M 17-14, and there are about 25 high school bands on the field right now, so this seems like a good time to toss out some randomness.

Continue reading "PSU-A&M: Halftime History Lesson and Stats" »

PSU-A&M: Everything's normal for Penn State

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- Penn State's modus operandi for this season has been to start slow, then unleash with fury. The Coming into the game, the Lions' cumulative 1st quarter scoreboard read 72-72, but Penn State had dominated their opponents by a 114-21 mark in the second quarter.

Tonight has been no different -- Texas A&M led the game 14-0 after the first 15 minutes, but Penn State owned the second quarter and heads into half with a 17-14 lead.

Continue reading "PSU-A&M: Everything's normal for Penn State" »

PSU-A&M: Shootout in San Antone

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- A&M scored touchdowns 12 seconds apart in the first quarter. Penn State has just answered with two TD's 2:04 apart to tie the game 14-14.

An incredible 30-yard TD catch by Deon Butler cut A&M's lead to 14-7, then after a Michael Goodson fumble, Daryll Clark flew in from 11 yards out to tie it.

Continue reading "PSU-A&M: Shootout in San Antone" »

PSU-A&M: Whooping is contagious

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- Believe it or not, it's now 14-0 Aggies.

After Michael Goodson's 1-yard TD run, Penn State fumbled the ensuing kickoff. The fumble call was the latest I've ever seen, coming after both teams were leaving the field. The call was immediately reviewed and upheld, and it took A&M only one play to punch it in.

I mentioned in the preview that Goodson was suffering from a sophomore slump... well, slump over. On the first play after the turnover, Goodson busted through a big hole in the middle, then cut sharply to his right and outran everyone for a 16-yard TD, his second TD tonight, which matches his season total.

PSU-A&M: First shots fired at the Alamo Bowl

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- Texas A&M's Kyle Field has been called the loudest football stadium in the nation by some.

The Aggies have just scored to take a 7-0 lead, and with seemingly 90% of the sellout crowd wearing maroon and making strange whooping noises, the Alamodome is really rocking and rolling, too. And unlike Kyle Field, there's a roof to keep the sound in.

Continue reading "PSU-A&M: First shots fired at the Alamo Bowl" »

PSU-A&M: Alamo Bowl Preview

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- The 2007 Valero Alamo Bowl brings us an interesting cross-sectional matchup that's full of contrasts. Penn State (8-4) makes a long trip to San Antonio to take on Texas A&M (7-5), which made the 170-mile drive from College Station to play before a partisan crowd that will be an Alamo Bowl record.

Continue reading "PSU-A&M: Alamo Bowl Preview" »

December 28, 2007


ORLANDO, Fla.- It's not hard to see why these two teams don't lose games by a lot of points. The Spartans were never out of this game, and the Eagles were never fully in control- but tonight, Michigan State got a little taste of what Virginia Tech, Clemson, and other ACC powerhouses had to deal with this season. The Eagles, without the standard heroics of quarterback Matt Ryan, pulled off a 24-41 defeat of Michigan State to finish the season 11-3 while extending the nation's longest active bowl winning streak to eight.
"It was big to get 11 wins," said Eagles head coach Jeff Jagodzinski after the game. "To get double-digit wins is hard in any league, and to get 11- we haven't done that at BC since 1940."
Then, there's the whole bowl-streak thing, too.
"You never want to be the team to end the streak," said BC safety Jamie Silva. "Being here on the sidelines and playing for five consecutive wins is something real special."
There were obstacles to overcome on both sides: the Eagles' running game was relatively ineffective, and it took them some time to get into any kind of a rhythym in terms of the passing game. On the Spartans' side, they came out of the gates much more fired up than BC, but it was hard for them to sustain a consistent and effective level of play. Particularly, Brian Hoyer could not keep his composure, throwing four interceptions in key spots for Michigan State while accumulating just 131 yards.
Still, Spartans first-year head coach Mark Dantonio was far from disappointed with his team's effort.
"The one thing I asked our team to do was look in the mirror at the end of the day and do the best we could," he said after the game. "[I wanted us] to hang together and press together and we did that, and we never stopped playing.
"I hope our players understand that the difference between winning and losing is so small that if you blink, you miss it."
While former Heisman candidate Matt Ryan didn't really come alive until the second half, he produced when it counted- he has a knack for doing that. His 68-yard touchdown completion to Rich Gunnell (138 yards) sealed the game for BC, and he somehow finished with a respectable 250 yards.
However, the Player of the Game was not on offense; to nobody's surprise, it was Eagles safety Jamie Silva, one of the 17 BC fifth-year seniors who did not want his last memory as a member of this team to be tarnished by a loss. His two first-half picks saved his team at least 10 points, which certainly came in handy at the end of the fourth quarter, when the Eagles had their backs against the wall.
Like many Boston College football games this season, this one came down to one or two key plays, and it was never over until the final second ticked off the clock. This team has a flair for the dramatic, and fortunately for them and their eight-game bowl winning streak, the Eagles managed to pull it off again.


ORLANDO, Fla.- With 48 seconds remaining, Ryan rushes for the QB sneak on 4th & 1 from the 20. It's in the bag. May the nation's longest bowl winning streak live on. Most Valuable Player award goes to Mr. Silva.

Michigan State 21, BC 24


ORLANDO, Fla.- Michigan State, first play of the drive... Can you guess what happened? Interception, Paul Anderson. BC takes over at the Spartans' 29. Four picks on the night for Mr. Hoyer.

Michigan State 21, BC 24
2:23 remaining in 4th quarter


ORLANDO, Fla.- Another big third-down stop for BC. Now all the Eagles need to do is manage the clock and hold on to the ball.

Michigan State 21, BC 24
4:25 remaining in 4th quarter


ORLANDO, Fla.- After a bomb from Brian Hoyer to Devin Thomas was ruled incomplete (receiver caught the ball out of bounds), Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio challenges the ruling on the field, and... the ruling on the field stands. "The ball was being bobbled before posession was gained."

Michigan State 21, BC 24
4:41 remaining in 4th quarter


ORLANDO, Fla.- The Eagles go three-and-out on the next drive: three passing plays, three incompletes. Johnny Ayers punts and Devin Thomas fumbles the recovery, losing 11 yards for his team and setting up a drive from the seven.

Michigan State 21, BC 24
5:14 remaining in 4th quarter


ORLANDO, Fla.- Quick turn of events: on 1st & 10 from the 45 on the clock, Matt Ryan is sacked by Greg Jones, then fumbles. The ball is picked up by Oren Wilson on the 37, where the Spartans take over- and they only need 32 seconds to score. For the first time since the first drive of the game, Brian Hoyer connects with Deon Curry for a touchdown pass, and Michigan State picks up the two-point conversion on a pass to Kellen Davis. With 6:04 left, the Eagles need to make something happen to protect this lead.

Michigan State 21, BC 24
6:04 remaining in the 4th quarter


ORLANDO, Fla.- This one is pretty much over. The Spartans, facing 4th & 1 from the BC 43, went for it. Hoyer, facing pressure from Nick Larkin, backpedaled all the way back to his own 40 and was forced to throw it away. BC takes over on the Michigan State 43 with 7:17 remaining.


ORLANDO, Fla.- Rich Gunnell came up with another game-changing touchdown pass from Matt Ryan, this one being a 68-yarder to give the Eagles a 24-13 lead. Seeing as Michigan State hasn't been able to score a touchdown since the first drive of the game, the Eagles should have this one in the bag, barring a complete defensive collapse.

Michigan State 13, BC 24
9:21 remaining in 4th quarter


ORLANDO, Fla.- Big third-down stop for the Eagles to close out the third quarter: with Michigan State driving and facing 3rd & 6 from the 48, the Eagles forced a punt.

Michigan State 13, BC 17
End of 3rd quarter


ORLANDO, Fla.- It's too familiar for the Spartans now: first play of a drive, another pick by a member of the Eagles secondary. This time, Kevin Akins was the antagonist, picking off Hoyer and setting up BC at the 28. But another three passing plays came up empty, and the ball was out of Aponavicius' field goal range, so BC was forced to go for it on fourth down and got nothing. Michigan State takes over on the 26.


ORLANDO, Fla.- Boston College wide receiver Brandon Robinson has been MIA this half, raising suspicions that he's done for the night with an injury- perhaps an aggravation of the broken foot that sidelined him earlier in the season.


ORLANDO, Fla.- Do the Eagles finally have the passing attack going? It sure seems that way. In a drive that started at their own 20, the Eagles called seven consecutive passing plays- and capitalized on a pass interference call on Ross Weaver- to get themselves to the Michigan State 11-yard line, but they had to settle for a 28-yard Steve Aponavicius field goal. Still, for the first time all night, Matt Ryan looked like he had established an offensive rhythym, so this bodes well for BC.

Michigan State 13, BC 17
5:10 remaining in the 3rd quarter


ORLANDO, Fla.- BC needs to find a way to stay in this game without Jamie Silva- especially because the Spartans are quickly realizing that the Eagles cannot stop the run, so there's no need to go airborne anymore. After BC couldn't score on the first drive of the half, the Spartans ran all over the BC defense, accumulating 30 yards on the ground and three straight first downs. The tandem of Jehuu Caulcrick and Javon Ringer powered Michigan State into the red zone, but the Spartans couldn't get a touchdown out of a 1st & goal situation from the nine. Instead, they settled for a 23-yard Brett Swenson field goal to pull within a point.

Michigan State 13, BC 14
8:21 remaining in the 3rd quarter


ORLANDO, Fla.- Somehow, the Eagles came out of this half with a lead- but none of it can be attributed to their offense. BC's defense- namely, safety Jamie Silva- is keeping them in this game right now. Michigan State, despite being without two key defensive players, doesn't look like it's having any trouble making Matt Ryan uncomfortable and the pass rush is proving extremely effective.
The Eagles came out looking very confused and extremely- bored? Michigan State got a touchdown in the first two minutes on a Brian Hoyer pass to Kellen Davis, and BC was forced into a three-and-out. Matt Ryan could not find his receivers, and the offensive line wasn't holding up for him. The Eagles looked even worse in their second possession, when two consecutive penalties crushed any hopes they had of a scoring drive. But the momentum shifted when Silva recorded his first interception, which he returned the 38-yard line. But BC came up empty and had to punt- again.
The Eagles defense continued playing damage control for the offense, recovering a fumbled snap at the Michigan State 11-yard line on the next play, which finally set the Eagles up for a score: a short pass from Ryan to tight end Jon Loyte.
BC got into a groove after that, holding the Spartans scoreless on their next drive and then scoring for the second consecutive drive. This time, Ryan connected with Rich Gunnell for a 29-yard hookup with just under nine minutes remaining in the half to take a 14-7 lead.
The special teams woes for the Eagles continued later in the quarter, when a Johnny Ayers punt went just 12 yards and allowed the Spartans to take over at the Eagles' 30, but BC's defense held Michigan State to a field goal. On the Eagles' next drive, Ryan stumbled again, throwing a pick to Eric Gordon- but up popped Silva on the very next play, trading an interception for an interception. He singlehandedly saved the Eagles at least 10-maybe 14-points in the half.
Ryan finished the half with just 115 passing yards, and leading rusher Andre Callender had just 16. Rich Gunnell came up big again with 55 yards for the Eagles, while on the Spartans' side, QB Brian Hoyer had just 47 yards and two picks.
Obviously, this hasn't been an offensive battle. Neither teams' gunslingers played particularly well, and the defenses are holding down the fort for both sides. In the second half, Ryan and Callender need to get their acts together; Michigan State needs to maintain the defensive pressure they displayed in the first half. It's a close game now, and it should stay that way into the next period.


ORLANDO, Fla.- Just when BC seems to have its act together, the momentum swings back to the Spartans when Eric Gordon picks off Matt Ryan on 3rd & 2 with a minute and a half left in the half. But on the next play, Silva comes up huge and registers his second pick of the game, then struts out of bounds. You wonder why the kid is an All American; he may be singlehandedly keeping BC in this right now.

Michigan State 10, BC 14
1:24 remaining in 2nd quarter


In a mess of a play following a BC three-and-out, normally solid Eagles punter Johnny Ayers muffs one, which sails out of bounds at the BC 30. Luckily for the Eagles, Michigan State must settle for a 37-yard field goal by Brett Swenson to pull within four.

Michigan State 10, BC 14
2:17 remaining in 2nd quarter


Despite the fact that Boston College didn't sell all of their allotted tickets for the game, the Eagles' side of the stadium seems pretty packed. Maybe the BC fans are just quieter than Michigan State fans.


ORLANDO, Fla.- BC opens the second half with a great drive, spearheaded by Ryan's passing game. With Callender getting virtually no yardage, Ryan had to resort to his receivers- and his own legs. On 2nd & 11 from the Eagles 47, Ryan rolled to his right and, facing an open field, ran for a gain of 12. Five plays later, he connected with as-of-late-superstar receiver Rich Gunnell for a 29-yard bomb of a touchdown pass to lift the Eagles to a 14-7 lead. BC is in the zone now, and the Spartans look lost.

Michigan State 7, BC 14
8:54 remaining in the 2nd quarter


ORLANDO, Fla.- All-American safety Jamie Silva provides a small spark for the Eagles when he picks off Brian Hoyer in the end zone on third & 8 from the 19-yard line. He returned it up the sideline to the 38, but the tandem of Ryan and Andre Callender got nothing on the next possession. Three-and-out, Michigan State ball again. The Eagles need to get something going on offense or this could be a long night for them and their defense.


ORLANDO, Fla.- BC continues to look sloppy: after stopping the Spartans on fourth down and taking over at their own 35, the Eagles suffer back-to-back penalties (intentional grounding on Ryan, false start on Gosder Cherilus) which leaves them with a 2nd-and-long situation at their own 26. Ayers punts it away two plays later.

Michigan State 7, BC 0
6:49 remaining in the 1st quarter


ORLANDO, Fla.- So much for coming out fired up: after kicker Steve Aponavicius submits a rare great kick, the Eagles' lackadaisical defense allows a 79-yard return to Devin Thomas, which sets up an 18-yard touchdown pass from Brian Hoyer to tight end Kellen Davis within the first two minutes of the game. Matt Ryan comes up empty on the Eagles' first drive and BC is forced into a three-and-out. The Spartans appear much more pumped up than BC.

Michigan State 7, Boston College 0


ORLANDO, Fla.- As the buses made their way into the Citrus Bowl, there appeared to be about five times as many Michigan State fans present than Boston College fans. Then, during warm-ups, every time the Spartans stepped on or off the field, the crowd erupted; when the Eagles emerged later, they got booed. This could end up seeming like a Michigan State home game, which surely will not do much to dispute the notion that the Eagles don't get better bowl bids because their fans don't travel well.

Champs Sports Bowl Preview

ORLANDO, Fla.- No, the Champs Sports Bowl isn't a BCS bowl, and there may not appear to be much on the line for Boston College (11-3) or Michigan State (7-5), but there is. The Eagles boast 17 fifth-year seniors who will enter today's match-up looking to get a win out of their last college football experience; the Spartans are heading into their first postseason appearance in four years. There's no "We wish we were somewhere else" mentality at the Citrus Bowl today- both of these squads are playing to win.
The Eagles, who finished second behind Virginia Tech in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season, are favored by 4 1/2, due in large part to their bona fide superstar of a quarterback, Matt Ryan. Heralded to be the best available quarterback in the 2008 NFL Draft, Ryan has been the backbone of the Eagles offense this year, and through injuries and disappointments, he has had an unfair load of expectations resting on his shoulders- but he has handled them remarkably well, throwing for 28 touchdowns and accumulating 4,258 yards on the season. Offensively, the other major factor in the Eagles' success has been in the hands of running back Andre Callender. While Ryan is capable of lighting up the field with his passing game, the Eagles will also need to establish the running game as early and as often as possible in order to put up major points. And, for a little extra motivation, with a win today Boston College will extend the country's longest active bowl winning streak to eight.
Michigan State finished eighth in the Big 10 and won just three conference games, but the Spartans lost all five of their games by a combined 28 points. First-year coach Mark Dantonio achieved success in terms of merely getting his team to the postseason, but suspensions will doubtlessly hurt the Spartans in Orlando. One of their most significant defensive players, leading pass rusher Jonal Saint-Dic, was ruled academically ineligible for today's game, and linebacker SirDarean Adams was axed due to suspension. Not only does Michigan State have to find away to stop Matt Ryan, but now they have to do it without the guys who gave them the best shot at doing so. Still, this game figures to be a close one, and most likely an offensive battle.

December 26, 2007

Motor City Bowl wrap up

DETROIT - What a game. What more can be said?

Both teams had great showings. Purdue showed remarkable resiliance in coming back after it looked like Central Michigan had completely regained all momentum when the Chippewas tied the game, and Central Michigan did the same in making its initial comeback.

Purdue had the weight of the Big Ten on its shoulders. It was one of the few conference teams favored to win in the bowl season, and it would have really set a negative tone for the rest of the Big Ten had it dropped the conference's first bowl game to a MAC team.

Continue reading "Motor City Bowl wrap up" »

It's good.

DETROIT - Chris Summers knocked through a 40-yard field goal with no time remaining to give Purdue a win in one of the most thrilling bowl games I've ever witnessed. Purdue holds off a pesky and talented Central Michigan team, 51-48.

In between starting the drive and taking a knee at the 23-yardline to set up for a potential 40-yard game-winning yard attempt, Painter set Purdue's all-time record for passing yardage in a game. That's pretty impressive considering the two quarterbacks whose record he broke both started last Sunday in the NFL.

Fit to be tied ... again.

DETROIT - What else did you expect?

The first play out of the timeout, LeFevour found Bryan Anderson on a fade to the left part of the endzone for the game-tying score.

Six plays, 66 yards, 1:06 off the clock. Simple enough, eh?

It's Anderson's third touchdown catch of the night.

The game is all tied up with 1:09 remaining.

Stayin' alive

DETROIT - After getting sacked and gaining minimal yards on a scramble, it looked like it was all over for Dan LeFevour and the Chippewas.

But come on, this game couldn't end that easily, could it? Facing a 3rd-and-16, LeFevour found Duane Brooks for a 34-yard connection to get the Chippewas to midfield. A 13-yard pass and 16-yard scramble followed, and Purdue called a timeout with 1:14 remaining. Central Michigan has the ball on the Purdue's 20.

It all comes down to this

DETROIT - With 2:22 left, Purdue will be punting to Central Michigan after the Chippewas stopped the Boilermakers at Purdue's 30-yardline. Central Michigan exhausted all of its timeouts in the process, though.

This should be a good one.

Purdue keeps possesion

DETROIT - Facing 3rd-and-7, Curtis Painter found Jake Standeford down the left for just enough for a first down.

Dustin Keller, Greg Orton, Standeford are all over 100 yards receiving on the night.

Curtis Painter has thrown for more than 500 yards, too. He has 501 yards right now (Kyle Orton and Drew Brees are tied for the team's all-time record with 522 yards apiece.).

The final three minutes should be interesting. Does Purdue, who has just 26 yards on 21 carries this game, try running the clock on the ground, or does it stick to its strengths, pass the ball, and risk turnover/clock stoppage?

Well-timed time out

DETROIT - It looked like Purdue dug itself out of its own endzone, but a convenient time out keeps them inside its own two-yardline.

Facing a 2nd-and-10, Curtis Painter appeared to find a teammate for a 15-yard pass. But before the play was snapped, Central Michigan called a timeout, enfuriating the Purdue faithful and a handful of players on the field.

With five minutes left, Purdue leads 48-41.

Central stalls, but Purdue is pinned deep

DETROIT - The Chippewas' chance to take back the momentum came up short.

Central Michigan got a gift when it looked like its drive was over. Purdue was called for offsides on a third-and-long where LeFevour's screen pass to Ontario Sneed was off the mark.

But on the team's second shot, Central Michigan still couldn't convert. LeFevour's quarterback keeper was three yards short of the first down marker.

Tony Mikulec's soccer style punt traveled 53 yards and was downed inside the two, pinning Purdue very deep into its own territory.

Continue reading "Central stalls, but Purdue is pinned deep" »

Purdue regains control

DETROIT - Purdue just capped off a 12-play drive with a 12-yard touchdown run by backup running back Jaycen Taylor.

The Boilermakers converted on two third-and-long situations, both laser-sharp passes from Painter. The second third-down connection put Painter at 464 passing yards, a Motor City Bowl record (he now has 473).

More importantly, though, the long drive silented the crowd and gave the momentum back to Purdue after it looked like the Chippewas could do no wrong and the Boilermakers had lost all hope.

But now, with just eight minutes left, the Boilermakers are once again in control, leading the underdog Chippewas 48-41.

Fit to be tied

DETROIT - After Central Michigan tripped up on its chance to tie the game on offense, its defense stepped up again, causing its third turnover of the night.

Central Michigan's Casey Droscha emt Korey Sheets in the backfield, stuffing him for a loss and then knocking the ball loose. Teammate Nick Bellore picked up the ball and returned it all the way to Purdue's six-yard line.

Two plays and another LeFevour touchdown scamper later, and this game is improbably tied up, 41-41.

Continue reading "Fit to be tied" »

New life

DETROIT - Both the Central Michigan defense and the now-raucous Central Michigan fans have had new life breathed into them.

The Chippewa defense - which allowed more than a point per minute in the first half - has calmed down in the second half. It has stopped the Boilermakers three straight drives on defense.

And that has led to the crowd - 60,624 strong - to being louder than any Detroit Lions one has likely been this season. The fans are very pro-Central Michigan, and the defenses resurgance has really brought out the best in the crowd.

Central Michigan now has the ball with a chance to tie the game.

He's good.


The game many had hoped for is happening after all. Central Michigan is now within seven after a ridiculous touchdown run by Dan LeFevour. The mobile quarterback scrambled for a touchdown, throwing some Reggie Bush-like jukes in for good measure.

That rush was LeFevour's 21st of the night, and put him two yards away from the 100-yard mark. He also has 202 yards through the air.

Purdue leads 41-34 with 5:02 left ... in the third quarter.

Here's their chance

DETROIT - After both teams traded punts, Purdue started its next drive near midfield.

Curtis Painter threaded a nice pass up the middle to Dorien Bryant, who tipped the ball right into the hands of Central Michigan's E.J. McLaughlin. The freshman defensive back returned it into Purdue territory.

The Chippewas now have a shot to get back into the game for the first time since the early stages of tonight's contest.

I have LeFevour, and the only prescription is ...

DETROIT - more touchdowns.

(OK, sorry, I had to get the Saturday Night Live name pun joke in there somewhere).

After a shaky first half, sophomore Dan LeFevour has really picked it up in the second half. He just tossed his third touchdown of the night (his second in the four-minute long second half) and again closed the gap to two scores.

This drive ended with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Anderson.

LeFevour has now thrown for 181 yards and rushed for 78 more.

Painter can't be stopped

DETROIT - It didn't take long for Purdue to answer.

Less than a minute and a half after the Chippewas' emphatic start to the second half, the Boilermakers found themselves in a familiar location - the Ford Field endzone.

This drive ended with a 19-yard pass to Jake Standeford.

Continue reading "Painter can't be stopped" »

Inspired start

DETROIT - Central Michigan coach Butch Davis kept his team in the locker room until less than one minute was left in halftime. Whatever he told his team must have clicked.

Seconds into the second half, Dan LeFevour found teammate Antonio Brown down the left for a 76-yard touchdown pass. The Ford Field crowd erupted to the loudest cheers heard yet at tonight's game.

Motor City Bowl halftime thoughts

DETROIT - There have been 47 points at halftime, and I'm not the least bit surprised. The surprise has come on the distribution of those points. Purdue was favored to win, but I really thought Central Michigan would put up a good fight and could potentially win this one.

Instead, Purdue, the team many thought wouldn't appreciate this bowl game as much as a smaller-conference team like Central Michigan would, has been the team that has played the inspired ball.

Unless Central Michigan comes out on fire in the second half, this looks like Purdue will cruise to victory here. So what does Central Michigan have to do if it wants to get back into the game?

Continue reading "Motor City Bowl halftime thoughts" »

Second time's a charm

DETROIT - Kory Sheets appeared to have scored on second-and-goal, but was ruled an inch short of breaking the goalline. After Curtis Painter fumbled the third-and-goal snap, it looked like the ref's spotting of Sheets' run could cost the Boilermakers some points.

But with just 16 seconds left in the half, Purdue coach Joe Tiller opted to go for the touchdown up 14 on the one-yard line. His risky call paid off, and Sheets found the endzone on his second chance, extending Purdue's lead to 34-13 heading into halftime.

Inching back in it ... by an inch

DETROIT - Dan LeFevour just found wide receiver Bryan Anderson down the left sideline for a 49-yard touchdown. The pass just barely found its way into Anderson's fingertips as the sophomore stretched out his arms after getting past a Purdue defender to make himself open for the deep ball. After the extra point, Purdue's lead is cut to 14 points, 27-13.

Add three more

DETROIT - Chris Summers made another chip shot to extend Purdue's lead to 21.

Purdue fans are livid that what pass interference wasn't called on a third-and-goal fade pass from Painter. Still, the Boilermakers are completely in the driver's seat, and will continue to be unless Central Michigan makes some big adjustments.

Unhappy fans

DETROIT - Trailing by 18 and needing a spark, Central michigan fans were hoping coach Butch Davis would allow the Chippewas to go for it on fourth-and-1 near midfield. But Davis sent on the punting team, and Chippewa fans sent out a reactionary chorus of boos.

Hold up

DETROIT - After what looked like Curtis Painter's third touchdown pass of the night, the once-silent maroon-clad fans had something to cheer for. Painter connected with senior Jake Standeford on third and goal, but the touchdown was negated by a holding call.

Chris Summers knocked in a 30-yard field goal to bump the Boilermakers' lead to 24-6, but the Chippewas might have gotten something to build on if they want to get back into this game.

That was quick

DETROIT - My hands hurt.

Just seconds after Central Michigan's field goal, Purdue answered quickly - and emphatically.

Curtis Painter connected with Dustin Keller for a 62-yard touchdown pass on the drive's first and only play. Keller slipped between two Central Michigan defenders trying to make the tackle and easily made his way down the right sideline and into the endzone. With 10 seconds left in the first half, Purdue leads 21-6.

Small school, big leg

DETROIT - Central Michigan's Andrew Aguila may not be a big-market player, but the sophomore junior college transfer is doing well against a Big Ten team on a big stage.

After knocking through a 27-yard field goal to start the game's scoring, Aguila just made a 47 yarder with ease to close in on Purdue's 11-point lead. The Boilermakers now lead 14-6.

Is that West Virginia?

DETROIT - For those of you watching on television seeing the West Virginia-esque spread option attack the Chippewas are using, it shouldn't come as much of a suprise.

Central Michigan's first-year coach Butch Davis came to Mount Pleasant from Morgantown last season to take over for Cincinnati-bound Brian Kelly.

Davis has been succesful in his first year as Central Michigan's coach - maybe too succesful for Chippewa fans who are afraid they may lose their second coach in as many years.

Continue reading "Is that West Virginia?" »

Shootout? Yes. Dual? Not so much.

DETROIT - Dorien Bryant returned a kick 35 yards to give Purdue great starting field position, and it didn't take long for Purdue coach and offensive mastermind Joe Tiller to take advantage of it.

Continue reading "Shootout? Yes. Dual? Not so much." »

Boilermakers take control

DETROIT - What a play.

Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter completed his third straight pass of more than 10 yards, this time it was to his favorite target and fellow senior Dorien Bryant.

Bryant looked poised to make the end zone after catching it near the 15. He juked inside and outside a trio of Chippewa defenders before finally trying to give into the end zone from about the three.

Continue reading "Boilermakers take control" »

Trivia Time

DETROIT - Pop quiz. Who is the only quarterback in NCAA history not named Vince Young to throw for 3,000 yards and run for 1,000 in the same season?

Give up?

It's Central Michigan's sophomore signal caller Dan LeFevour

Continue reading "Trivia Time" »

The best offense is a good defense

DETROIT - Just a little more than a minute into the game, Central Michigan is almost on the board thanks to its ... defense?

That's right, on Purdue's first third down of the game, Boilermaker quarterback Curtis Painter's pass was deflected right into the hands of Central Michigan's Nick Bellore. The linebacker brought it back to the Purdue 10.

Continue reading "The best offense is a good defense" »

Motor City Bowl pregame thoughts

DETROIT - We're here live in the Motor City where Central Michigan returns to its home away from home for its second straight Motor City Bowl appearance. Instead of preying on lowly Middle Tennessee State like it did last year, the MAC Champions face formidable Big Ten foe Purdue this time around.

The Boilermakers are more than a touchdown favorite according to the oddsmakers, but this has all the makings of being a down-to-the-wire shootout. Both teams have high-flying offenses, and the game could come to to whichever defense steps up first.

Purdue will be receiving the ball to begin - I'll be shocked if this is scoreless ten minutes from now.

November 17, 2007

Michigan-OSU: wrap up

ANN ARBOR, Mich- And the game ends where I last left it, 14-3. Ohio State actually ended up kneeling inside Michigan's 5-yard line to end the game, so it could have been worse.

Ohio State clinches the Big Ten Championship and a berth to the Rose Bowl, while Michigan is likely destined for a trip to Florida for either the Capital One Bowl or Outback Bowl.

Continue reading "Michigan-OSU: wrap up" »

Heading to the field...

ANN ARBOR, Mich- I'm headed to the field for the end of the game. Check back later for a wrap-up. Right now Ohio State leads 14-3 with 7:30 remaining.

Willis Reed revisited?

ANN ARBOR, Mich- Chad Henne has reemerged from the locker room.

As Ohio State challenges a spot on a punt return that Michigan's Greg Mathews took all the way back to the Ohio State 34, Henne ran back out onto the field. All indications are that he'll lead the team on the next drive, no matter where it starts from.

The Buckeyes' review proved to be fruitful. Michigan will start the drive from the Ohio State 46, which is still great field position.

Henne out

ANN ARBOR, Mich- Chad Henne is jogging to the locker room to receive treatment on his shoulder, which has obviously hindered his ability to throw the ball today. Ryan Mallett has come into the game (still 14-3 Ohio State with 3:30 remaining) in relief of Henne.

Continue reading "Henne out" »

Doing it twice

ANN ARBOR, Mich- Zoltan Mesko boomed a 52-yard punt that Ray Small took back for a score. However, an illegal block in the back on Brian Rolle negated the touchdown and eased Michigan fans' worries ... for about 11 seconds. On Ohio State's first play of the drive on its own 38-yard line, Beanie wells broke a 62-yard run for a Buckeye touchdown - and this one counted.

Ohio State now leads 14-3 early in the second half, and the fans' mood is matching the weather: cold and goomy.

Opportunity lost

ANN ARBOR, Mich- After flipping around the field-position game it was losing, Michigan failed to take advantage of a great chance.

Punter Zoltan Mesko boomed a 68-yarder to Ohio State's 4-yard line. Ohio State had to punt, and the Wolverines got the ball at midfield for their next possession. But two Mario Manningham drops halted any hopes of Michigan putting some points on the board, and Michigan had to punt.

The snail's-pace game is still 7-3 with under a minute left in the first half.

Buckeyes pull ahead

ANN ARBOR, Mich- Chris Wells' 1-yard touchdown run just put the Buckeyes on top, 7-3.

Ohio State received great field position after stopping Michigan deep in its own zone on the Wolverines' last drive. The Buckeyes began their scoring drive on Michigan's 44 and took advantage of the great field position. The eight-play scoring drive mostly featured brusing runs by Wells.

Boeckman shaky

ANN ARBOR, Mich- Ohio State quarterback Todd Boeckman just fumbled for the second time of the game on the first quarter's last play. The Buckeyes will punt to start the second quarter.

That's just the latest in a pretty shaky performance so far for Boeckman, who is playing in his first installment of The Game. He has slipped and fell a couple times to go with his fumbles, which Ohio State recovered both times. Ohio State has just 23 total yards so far, 14 of which are through the air.

Blue on the board

ANN ARBOR, Mich - Michigan leads 3-0 after a 33-yard field goal by K.C. Lopata.

The Wolverines drove down the field thanks to some courageous runs by a hobbled Mike Hart. The drive ultimately stalled when Chad Henne was sacked on a 2nd-and-11 inside the red zone.

Old school ball

ANN ARBOR, Mich- The two teams are playing Bo and Woody ball. Ten minutes into the game, it's turned into a battle of field position. Three drives, three punts. Michigan is beginning its second drive at its own 35 after forcing Ohio State to three straight losses on running plays. The Wolverines' first drive was a three-and-out, though.

Chad Henne and Mike Hart both started. Henne is 0-2 throwing and is wearing a glove on his throwing hand. He usually doesn't do that, but he usually doesn't play in these cold conditions, either.

Tensions already high

ANN ARBOR, Mich- It's still 40 minutes before kickoff, but there's already some drama.

The Michigan football team just ran out of the tunnel for warmups, and after taking its half-field warmup lap, it ran to the 'M' at midfield. Ohio State was on the other side, and the two teams starting jumping up and down firing each other up.

The jumps turned to jawing, and the teams had to be separated. Mike Hart broke through the huddle and got right in the faces of a few Ohio State players. The excitement level is through the roof - well, if stadiums had roofs. I've never heard a crowd so hyped this much before a game in my four years here at Michigan.

The Game: A preview

ANN ARBOR, Mich- Does this game really need me hyping it up? Sure, it's not a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup like last season, but it's still college football's biggest rivalry - or, as Michigan coach Lloyd Carr calls it, the best rivalry in all of sports.

Continue reading "The Game: A preview" »

November 10, 2007

Illinois has all the "Juice", upsets #1 Ohio State 28-21

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Fairy Tale ride is over. After dominating opponents all season, the Buckeyes finally met their match in an Illinois squad led by quaterback Juice Williams. Behind his 140 passing yards and four touchdown passes, the Illini added Ohio State to the long list of top ranked teams who were upset this season.

Continue reading "Illinois has all the "Juice", upsets #1 Ohio State 28-21" »

Boeckman throws third interception

COLUMBUS, Ohio - After a huge defensive stop by the Buckeyes handed them the ball back with a chance to tie the game, Boeckman once again negated the defense's work in tossing another interception with less than eight minutes left in the game.

Continue reading "Boeckman throws third interception" »

No mistakes this time, Wells pounds way into endzone

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Beanie Wells wasn't about to let Boeckman mess this one up. Down 28-14 and the crowd gasping for the slightest bit of hope, Wells delivered by breaking off a 17-yard touchdown run as he has done so many time before. The fifth largest crowd in Ohio Stadium history, meanwhile, is on its feet and louder than ever.

Continue reading "No mistakes this time, Wells pounds way into endzone" »

Illini turn another Boeckman interception into 7 points

COLUMBUS, Ohio - They marched closer and closer and closer, but 12 plays and 34 yards later, the Buckeyes turned a potential touchdown into yet another turnover, as Boeckman was intercepted for the second time. This one, however, was pulled in by an Illini cornerback in the endzone.

Continue reading "Illini turn another Boeckman interception into 7 points" »

Williams connects on third touchdown pass, takes 21-14 lead at halftime

COLUMBUS, Ohio - For the second week in a row, Ohio State heads into the lockerroom at halftime with its undefeated season much in the air. Last week, the Buckeyes went into the half with a slim 10-3 lead over Wisconsin and later saw that lead dwindle away to a seven point deficit. Today, they find themeslves down 21-14 after Williams' third touchdown pass in the game with just 14 seconds left.

Continue reading "Williams connects on third touchdown pass, takes 21-14 lead at halftime" »

Offenses hit speed bump

COLUMBUS, Ohio - After a 28-point first quarter, it appears the defenses have finally stepped up while the offenses regress. The two Big Ten rivals combined for nearly 350 yards of offense in the opening stanza, but neither team has been able to mount anything offensivley since Illinois' last score at the four minute mark in the first.

Continue reading "Offenses hit speed bump" »

National Guard honored at end of quarter

COLUMBUS, Ohio - I just wanted to point out something few would have been able to see as the first quarter came to a close. In the intermission, members of the National Guard were brought out to the south endzone and were recognized for their service. The crowd of 105,000-plus all rose to their feet and gave them a standing ovation, much to the surprise of the Guard service men and women. It was quite a scene to witness.

Illinois turns interception into 7 points

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Illini were the first team to punt today, but regained control of the ball on the next possession when Boeckman threw a rare interception on the Buckeyes ensuing drive. It was Boeckman's ninth of the season, which isn't bad for a guy who ranks sixth in the nation in pass efficiency. Williams took advantage of the turnover a few plays later, connecting with Jacob Willis for a 33-yard touchdown pass.

Continue reading "Illinois turns interception into 7 points" »

Three drives, three touchdowns

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Just as predicted, the Buckeyes once again worked their way into the endzone, stringing together a methodical 9 play, 76 yard touchdown drive. Ohio State backup tailback Maurice Wells handed his team its second touchdown on a 19-yard scamper into the endzone.

Continue reading "Three drives, three touchdowns" »

Illinois responds to Ohio State's quick touchdown with one of their own

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Well folks, looks like we have a shootout here. Just two plays after Ohio State took a 7-0 lead, the Illini responded with an 80-yard run from Daniel Dufrene that setup a touchdown pass from Williams. Both teams have now combined for 14 points in just over a minute of play.

Continue reading "Illinois responds to Ohio State's quick touchdown with one of their own" »

Badgers too much for Michigan on both sides of ball

MADISON, Wisc. - The 37-21 final score might suggest that Wisconsin dominated throughout, but for a brief period of time the Wolverines had possession of the football with only a field goal needed to claim the lead. The Badger defense would have none of that on Senior Day. The win was not only a boost for program pride; it probably will help place Wisconsin in a respectable bowl at season's end.

Coach Bret Bielema explained his team's journey best: "We may not be the prettiest girl in high school, but people still stand in line to take us to prom."

Continue reading "Badgers too much for Michigan on both sides of ball" »

After interception, Brown adds the finishing touch

MADISON, Wisc. - Facing a possible letdown, the Badger defense came through and forced an interception that the Wisconsin offense later turned into a touchdown. With a nine-point lead, and three minutes remaining, Wisconsin's upset win is close to safe.

On the clinching drive, running back Zach Brown did most of the work. The freshman gained his 101st yard on the six-yard touchdown which ended Michigan's hopes for a come-from-behind victory.

Donovan leaves the game ...

MADISON, Wisc. - With Michigan closing the gap in this game (23-21), thanks to an Adrian Arrington touchdown grab, the Badgers were dealt a serious blow, losing quarterback Tyler Donovan to what appears to be a serious injury. Allan Evridge has entered the contest ...

Just like that ...

MADISON, Wisc. - Facing a third down on its own three-yard line, Ryan Mallett tossed a 97-yard touchdown to Mario Manningham to close the gap, 23-14. Will Lloyd Carr regret not going for two? Hard to say at this point.

Bucks waste no time, score on game's first two plays

COLUMBUS, Ohio - It took just 23 seconds for Ohio State to prove why it is the No.1 team in the country, as quarterback Todd Boeckman hooked up with Brian Hartline for a 65-yard bomb on the first play of the game and Chris Wells took the next handoff 11 yards into the endzone to go up 7-0.

Continue reading "Bucks waste no time, score on game's first two plays" »

Third Qtr Recap: Badgers continue to pound Michigan

MADISON, Wisc. - The Wolverines could do nothing right in the third quarter. Their passing game stalled drives, and the running game disappeared. Wisconsin continued its momentum and as the quarter came to a close appeared ready to add to its 23-7 lead. To help the cause, freshman running back Zach Brown is starting to gain large chunks of ground, and Paul Hubbard and Travis Beckum are an unstoppable duo in the passing game. Oh, and the Badgers controlled the clock for 11:17 of the quarter.

A sideline catch in the closing minutes of the quarter by Hubbard gave him more than 100 receiving yards for the day.

Needing one yard, Hill gets stuffed

MADISON, Wisc. - The Badgers could have put the game away, but from one-yard out P.J. Hill could not break through the Michigan defense. Instead, Wisconsin opted to kick a field goal for a 23-7 lead. The Badgers are very much in control of this game with less than 20 minutes remaining.

On the 16-play drive, tight end Travis Beckum recorded his fourth 100-yard receiving effort of the season.

Smith out, Hill in

MADISON, Wisc. - On the Badgers' opening drive of the second half, the crowd went wild when the game announcer's voice thundered "PJ HILL" after a rushing attempt. Hill skipped the first half due to his injured ankle, but came into the game in time to replace sophomore Lance Smith, who is not expected to return due to a shoulder injury.

In need of big play, Wolverines bungle opportunity

MADISON, Wisc. - After its opening second half drive stalled, the Wolverines scooped up a fumble off a punt return. The ball hit Wisconsin's Niles Brinkley in the back and teammate David Gilreath tried to cover the ball, but was unsuccessful.

The Wolverines got the ball at the 38-yard line, but two failed plays and a delay of game forced a third-and-12 at the 40-yard line. A knocked-down pass forced a Wolverine punt which rolled into the end zone.

Missed opportunity -- for sure.

Badgers honor Dayne

MADISON, Wisc. - During the halftime ceremony, Wisconsin retired the number of college football's all-time leadng rusher, Ron Dayne. Athletic Director and former coach Barry Alvarez did the honors, while former Badger greats offered words for their former teammate. Dayne also took part in the pre-game coin flip.

At his best, Dayne was one of the Big Ten's toughest backs to tackle -- big and quick-footed, he helped take the program to a new level in the late 1990s.

At the Half: Badgers in control, Wolverines not yet dead

MADISON, Wisc. - Entering the contest, few would have believed the Badgers would control the first half as well as they have (20-7). But big plays on third downs have helped Wisconsin to sustain drives and put points on the board.

There is plenty of football left, but to keep its perfect conference mark intact, Michigan must make several key adjustments during halftime.

Continue reading "At the Half: Badgers in control, Wolverines not yet dead" »

Odd ruling gives Wolverines chance to close gap

MADISON, Wisc. - On a third down play, the referees ruled that Ben Strickland and Greg Matthews simultaneously caught the football, thus giving Michigan a first down. It had appeared that Strickland was in control of the interception, but the referees didn't see it that way.

Camp Randall went nuts.

On the next play, Ryan Mallett hit Mario Manningham for a 12-yard score. It was Manningham's first catch of the day, and it put the Wolverines back into the contest.

Another score for Badgers ...

MADISON, Wisc. - It's the Tyler Donovan Show in Madison.

On a third down, Donovan escaped a collapsing pocket and made a nice chain-moving run. A nine-yard Lance Smith run and a 24-yard skinny post pass from Donovan to Beckum gave the Badgers goal to go. From there, took a boot to the right and dove on the corner marker for a 17-0 lead.

The Wolverines have had no answer for the Badgers' passing attack, and the pass rush has yet to have an effect.

Michigan offense missing in Madison -- Henne out

MADISON, Wisc. - Ryan Mallett, who replaced Chad Henne on the Wolverines' last drive, completed a nice out route to Adrian Arrington at the beginning of the second quarter. Then he overthrew a wide open Arrington on second down to create a key third-and-13 situation. Taking a deep drop, Mallett was sacked by Nick Hayden and Matthew Shaughnessy to end the Wolverine drive.

The four-play drive is symbolic of how the Wolverines have performed in the early going of this contest.

Ohio State looks to avoid upset against Illinois

COLUMBUS, Ohio - One week from today the Buckeyes will take on their toughest opponent of the season in Michigan. But first, they must get past a Fighting Illini squad that ranks third in the Big Ten. Illinois enters the contest ranked last in the conference in passing, which means its more than like going to have rely on tailback Rashard Mendenhall and its ground game. This could spell trouble for the Illini, however, since the Buckeyes enter with the nation's No.1 rush defense.

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First Qtr Recap: Badger front seven steps up

MADISON, Wisc. - The Wolverine rushing attack has found no room in the first quarter, as Wisconsin's front seven has closed off the corners and clogged up the middle. So far, the best offense for Michigan has been the wide receiver screen pass, which they've used several times for minimal yardage.

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No Hill, no Hart (so far)

MADISON, Wisc. - Same as last week, Wisconsin running back P.J. Hill has been left off the active roster. Michigan's Mike Hart, who did dress and join his team at mdfield for the coin toss, has not seen much field time; instead, Michigan has turned to Carlos Brown and Brandon Minor on its first few possessions.

Thanks to Michigan mistake (and a bit of luck) Badgers strike first

MADISON, Wisc. - The Wolverines made the first mistake on Saturday and immediately the Badgers repaid the favor -- well, at least they tried to.

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Badgers look to avenge lone loss of '06

MADISON, Wisc. -- Three months ago, many expected this contest would decide the Big Ten race, and possibly the national title. Michigan's sluggish start and Wisconsin's midseason woes have caused the game to lose some of its luster. Now it is Michigan's final test before a showdown against Ohio State next week, and it is Wisconsin last chance to prove its worth to potential bowl suitors.

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November 03, 2007

Ohio State overcomes late scare to defeat Badgers 38-17

COLUMBUS, Ohio - No Block O shuffle for Wisconsin today. Nope, today it was the Buckeyes dancing their way to its biggest win of the season as they came from behind to defeat the Badgers 38-17 Saturday afternoon.

Ohio State overcame its toughest challenge of the season behind the play of tailback Chris Wells and quarterback Todd Boeckman. Down 17-10 late in the third quarter, Wells broke off touchdown runs of 31 and 30 yards on consecutive drives to pull his Buckeyes ahead 24-17. Boeckman than added a touchdown pass two drives later to move ahead comfortably 31-17. And just for good measure, Wells punched in his third touchdown of the contest on a 23-yard sprint to the endzone to seal the 38-17 victory.

"We knew it would be a battle and it was just that," said Ohio State coach Jim Tressel. “Anything that came our way in terms of adversity our guys handled. We are awfully proud of the way we got after it. I don’t know if it was our greatest performance, but we ended up winning and we have a chance to fight another round.”

Wisconsin quarterback Tyler Donovan had a strong first half performance to keep the Badgers close, as he constantly picked apart the Buckeye secondary. He finished the game 17-of-29 for 239 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Boeckman, meanwhile, completed 17-of-28 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns as well.

Both defenses were solid most of the game until the Buckeyes broke it open late in the third quarter. The No. 1 ranked Ohio State defense finished with 10 sacks, four of which were by Vernon Gholston, and hauled in a pair of loose fumbles.

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Ooops, he did it again - Wells breaks off another 30-yard touchdown run

COLUMBUS, Ohio - After a three-and-out forced the Badgers to punt out of their own redzone, the Buckeyes proceeded to ride the shoulders of Beanie Wells all the way down the field and into the endzone following another 30-yard touchdown run from Wells. Ohio State now leads 24-17.

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Wells gives crowd of 105,000-plus new life, ties game at 17-17

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Just when it seemed like things were starting to fall apart for the Buckeyes, Chris "Beanie" Wells brought a desperate crowd to its feet when he broke off a 31-yard touchdown run to tie the game up at 17-17. Now, it's up to the Buckeye defense to elevate its game. A juggled return on the kickoff and an illegal block in the back has the Badgers backed up inside its own 10. The crowd, meanwhile, is doing everything it can to disrupt Donovan's communication abilities. The roar inside the press box windows is deafening.

Donovan continues to pick apart Buckeye secondary, Badgers jump to 17-10 lead

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Memories of recent years are beginning to swirl around Ohio Stadium. The cold and bitter winds have brought an erie feeling back to the Horseshoe for the first time all season. The generator of those winds: Tyler Donovan.

Continue reading "Donovan continues to pick apart Buckeye secondary, Badgers jump to 17-10 lead" »

Donovan connects on 50-yard pass, then 28-yard TD to tie game

COLUMBUS, Ohio - It didn't take long for Wisconsin to knot this game up at 10-10, as they strung together three plays of over 20 yards. The first game on the opening handoff when Brown raced for a 22-yarder before being tripped up at his 24. Donovan then hooked up with Paul Hubbard on a 3rd-and-3 play for 50 yards to take the ball to the Buckeyes' 13-yard line. A chop block sent the Badgers back 15 yards and onto the Buckeyes' 28 yard, but it proved to make little difference since Donovan connected yet again on the very next play with Beckum for a 28-yard touchdown pass.

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Halftime: Ohio State 10, Wisconsin 3

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio State kicker Ryan Prettorious' 27-yard field goal with 14 seconds left in the quarter capped off a defensive dominated half. Look for the second to remain much the same.

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Defenses settle down, both teams start punting

COLUMBUS, Ohio - After both teams put points on the board in each of their opening drives, its been nothing but defense and speical teams through the midway point of the second quarter.

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Boeckman completes pass to himself, Bucks forced to punt

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Boeckman appears to be making a strong case for possible Heisman attention, as he just proved he can do anything for the Buckeyes. On their last play, he not only threw for another completion, but also hauled in the pass for a catch. Unfortuantely, his pass attempt was deflected by the front line and returned right back to him where he brought in the errant pass for a loss of 13-yards.

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Badger fake punt on fourth-and-14 leads to field goal

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Badger quarterback Tyler Donovan appears to be struggling with his passing game, but it makes no difference. Punter Ken DeBauche threw a 31-yard rope to a streaking Paul Standring down the sideline on a fourth-and-14 play. Wisconsin marched the ball all the way down inside the Buckeyes 5-yard line, but was forced to settle for a field goal after Brown was shut down by Buckeye safety Anderson Russell trying to get around the corner.

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Boeckman comes out of opening drive throwing, connects with Robiskie on 30-yard touchdown

COLUMBUS, Ohio - I said in the pregame notes that the key to the game for the Buckeyes was scoring on the first drive. Well, Boeckman and Co. delivered to jump out to an early 7-0 lead. It took less than three minutes.

Continue reading "Boeckman comes out of opening drive throwing, connects with Robiskie on 30-yard touchdown" »

Hill out for game

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Sophomore sensation P.J. Hill will not be suiting up for the Badgers today as he continues to nurse as sore Achilles tendon. Hill is standing on the sidelines with a boot on his leg, which is bad news for Wisconsin. Freshman Zach Brown will fill in at tailback. Ohio State will receive the opening kick off as the game gets underway.

Buckeyes look to avenge Badger's "Block O" shuffle

COLUMBUS, Ohio - If there was any team that could say it has Ohio State's number these past five years, none could make more of a case than Wisconson. The Badgers have won three of its last four games against the Buckeyes, all of which have come in Ohio Stadium. None proved to be more taunting than their last meeting however, as the Badgers followed up their 24-13 upset win in 2004 by dancing all over the Buckeye's Block O at midfield. Now, Ohio State is eager more than over to add its Big Ten rival to its long list of victims.

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October 27, 2007

Statement game

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Ohio State solidifies No. 1 ranking by dominating Penn State at Beaver Stadium on Saturday night.

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Malcom Jenkins picked off Anthony Morelli and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown to push the Ohio State lead to 34-10 with 9:36 left in the game.

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Not much going on

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - The teams exchanged field goals as Ohio State takes a 27-10 lead with 9:52 left in the game.

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Making a White Out Blue

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Todd Boeckman and the Ohio State offense are doing whatever they want to the Penn State defense. The Buckeyes drove 87 yards on their first drive of the second half to open up a 24-7 lead on the Nittany Lions.

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Ohio State takes a 17-7 lead into halftime.

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Can't be denied

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - The Ohio State offensive line is exerting control as the Buckeyes put together a 91-yard touchdown drive to take a 17-7 lead in the second quarter.

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I need a rest

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - An expected defensive battle is turning into a shootout at Beaver Stadium.

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Quick Response

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Penn State answered Ohio State's field goal with a two-yard touchdown run by Rodney Kinlaw with 8:25 left in the first quarter.

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First blood

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - No. 1 Ohio State takes an early 3-0 lead on Penn State.

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Already rocking

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Beaver Stadium is already rocking more than 45 minutes before kickoff.

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - With two of the best defenses in the country clashing tonight at Beaver Stadium, offense will be at a premium when No. 1 Ohio State faces No. 25 Penn State in a key Big Ten clash.

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October 20, 2007

Wells carries Bucks to 24-17 win

COLUMBUS, Ohio - It was truly a tale of two halves in today's Big Ten clash between Ohio State and Michigan St. The first saw complete dominance by the Buckeyes as they racked up nearly 250 yards of offense and jumped to a 17-0 lead. But the second was full of mistake after mistake for the No. 1 team in the nation.

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Ohio State falling apart, up just 24-14

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Fans at Ohio Stadium were lulled to sleep in the first half after the Buckeyes stormed to a 24-0 lead, but costly turnovers have awaken all 105, 287 screaming voices. With its National Championship trip now in jeapordy, this stunned crowd is on its feat and rattling the press box windows.

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Boeckman INT returnd for TD, so is his fumble

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Boeckman made his first mistake of the day, as an errant pass hit Spartan defender Otis Wiley right in the chest. Wiley returned the interception 54-yards for his team's first score of the game. Too bad the score hurts the Buckeyes' average of less than 7-points surrendered a game, especially since the defense wasn't even on the field. On the flip side, the Spartan deffense has outscored its offense 7-0, check that, 14-0...

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Spartan defense settles down, Hoyer starts to roll...Hold on, scratch that...

COLUMBUS, Ohio - It's hard to tell if Ohio State is just struggling offensivley, or if the Spartans are actually playing better on the defensive side. In either case, Michigan St. appears to be moving the ball a bit more efficently through its first two drives of the second half.

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Halftime Report: OSU 17, MSU 0

COLUMBUS, Ohio - It looks like for atleast one week this season, there won't be an upset at No. 1. The Buckeyes have dominated the Spartans in virtually every facit of the game and have showed no letup defensivley heading into halftime. Offensivley, however, is a different story.

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Spartan defense finally slows Buckeyes, head into halftime down 17-0

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Michigan St. refuses to abandon its run game, as they come right out of their timeout running the ball over and over again. They catch a huge break on a second down rush, as Ringer fumbled the ball over but was ruled down. Hoyer than hooked up with Devin Thomas for a 10-yard pass to get a first down. Three plays later, they are forced to punt once again.

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Boeckman and Wells continue to impress

COLUMBUS, Ohio - 10 passing attempts, 10 completions. If you're a Buckeye fan, you have to love the way Boeckman has stepped in for Heisman winner Troy Smith. Add in Well's 104 rushing yards in 10 attempts and there is little doubt why Ohio State is ranked No.1 in the nation.

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Buckeyes contine to run over Spartan's, up 17-0 in second

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Spartans continue to pound the ball on the game, but have had very little succss. You have to wonder if Hoyer is going to start throwing the ball a bit more to try and open the ground game. Michigan St. has 35 rushing yards on nine carries, while Hoyer is 1-of-5 passing.

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Bucks settle for field goal, up 10-0

COLUMBUS, OH - Despite two big plays, Ohio State was forced to settle for a field goal after the offense sputtered near the Spartan 20. A penalty set them back 5-yards and a pair of short passes by Boeckman resulted in Ryan Pretorius' 42-yard field goal.

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Spartans march down field, forced to punt

COLUMBUS, OH - This game appears to have all the makings of a shootout, as the Spartans rushing attack has them marching their way down the field yard-by-yard. A key third down stopped on 3rd-and-short forced a Spartan punt by freshman Aaron Bates, who sent a booming kick to pin the Buckeyes on their own 1-yard line. The Buckeyes have had poor field postion all game, starting on both their seven yard line and one.

Just as a type that, Boeckman hooks up with Robiskie for a 42-yard bomb and Beanie follows with a 25-yard rush. Ohio State on the Spartan 26.

Buckeyes take opening drive 93 yards for touchdown

COLUMBUS, OH - A personal foul on the opening kickoff forced the Buckeyes to start on its own three yard line, but a 47-yard run by Beanie Wells helped jump start a 93-yard scoring drive to go up 7-0 on the Spartans. Well's ankle doesn't seem to be slowing him down at all thus far.

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Buckeyes to Defend No.1 Ranking For First Time

COLUMBUS, OH - Today's big Ten clash between No. 1 Ohio State and Michigan St. will pit the conference's best defense against the Spartan's high powered offense. Michigan St. enters the contest as the Big Ten's top rated offense, racking up 467 total yards per game and 36.9 points. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, have held opponents to less than a touchdown in its seven wins this season.

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October 07, 2007

Purdue-Ohio St wrap

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - There's an old baseball adage that says good pitching beats good hitting. The opposite is true in football.

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October 06, 2007

Adding injury to insult

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - One of the guys Purdue can ill afford to is DE Cliff Avril, but he just had to be helped off the field with 5:30 to play.

I'm headed for the field. More after the game and press conferences.

Boo birds out

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue had fourth and eight at their own 45 and elected to punt, which brought a chorus of boos from the Purdue portion of the crowd.

Certainly, there's no harm in going for it. What's the worst that can happen?

Oh, we just saw that two plays ago, when Buckeye safety Anderson Russell dropped yet another potential interception for the Buckeyes. By my count, that's the fifth time today a Buckeye defender had both hands on the ball and managed not to catch it. I guess if you need a completed pass to make 4th-and-8 and your quarterback is having a rough day (to be generous), maybe you just punt.

Boeckman picked again

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - You know, going into the half, you would think that if Purdue's defense could get a few turnovers, they might have a chance.


Torri Williams picked off Todd Boeckman, which is Boeckman's third interception of the half. Unfortunately for Purdue, like the last one, it came at the Purdue two-yard line, so the Boilers have to go 98 yards to get a TD. Since they only have 140 for the entire game, it's not likely to happen.

Stealing from Wisconsin

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue, apparently unhappy with its own traditions, has decided to steal one from Wisconsin. After the third quarter, they play "Shout!" over the PA and attempt to get everyone to, I don't know, dance, I guess. it's a lame and blatant rip-off of Wisconsin's jump around, and, needless to say, not as successful.

I suppose next we'll see the band do a script "Boilers," complete with the big bass drum dotting the i.

Another reversal of fortune

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Just when it looked like Purdue would get its best field position of the day after a Boeckman fumble at the Ohio St 20, the replay official reversed the play and ruled it an incomplete pass.

Like the earlier reversal, the call looked correct to me.

Press takes a T.O.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Everyone in the press box at Purdue has stopped watching the game in front of us to follow the USC-Stanford game on our computers. As far as we know, Ohio St is still winning. We will rejoin our game, already in progress, shortly.

That's why they play defense

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Ohio State's Marcus Freeman just dropped another sure interception, the fourth time that the Buckeyes have done that today. That's just to let you know that this game isn't as close as the score would indicate.

Purdue creating turnovers, but can't capitalize

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue's David Pender intercepted Todd Boeckman at the Purdue 2-yard line, which was the second straight Buckeye series to end with a pick. Once again, though, Purdue could not get a first down and was forced to punt from its own end zone. That left Ohio St a short field, which they converted into a field goal to make the score 20-0.

Curtis Painter isn't even close on most of his throws downfield. In fact, he's struggling on short balls too. He's feeling the pressure of the defense, sometimes when there isn't any, and rushing his throws.

With half of the third quarter left, Purdue still has time to come back, but they've barely been across midfield today, so there really isn't any reason for that kind of optimism.

Keller giveth, Keller taketh away

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue TE Dustin Keller has been the one bright spot on the offense today. He had another big gain after the turnover that put the ball in Ohio St territory. On third and ten though, he missed his block and Painter was sacked, killing another drive.

Meanwhile, Dorien Bryant finally got on the stat sheet. He had his first reception, but it came on a screen pass that wasn't blocked, so he lost four yards. Ohio St has totally taken him away.

The Purdue defense is asked to step up again.

After further review...

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue looked like it had its first turnover of the game on defense after Brandon King intercepted Todd Boeckman downfield, but the ref ruled he was out of bounds.

After further review, the replay official reversed the call on the field and Purdue takes over on their own 27.

The Boilers need to make something of this.

Buckeyes channel Purdue at end of half

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Ohio State played a near perfect half until the very end, when Todd Boeckman was penalized for intentional grounding and fumbled the snap on consecutive plays.

Otherwise, the Buckeyes are having their way with the Boilers as they lead 17-0 at the half.

Some telling halftime stats:

Purdue 9 carries, 7 yards rushing.
Painter 11-23, 83 yards, no TDs or INTs, but Ohio St dropped three potential interceptions. Painter was also sacked once, which was only the fifth allowed by Purdue this year.

Ohio St, on the other hand, has 87 yards rushing and 132 through the air. Roy Small has played big with 6 catches for 74 yards and a score.

Purdue's defense settled down after giving up TDs on the first two possessions and has done all it can to keep the Boilers in the game, but if the offense doesn't find a rhythm pretty soon, the defense will wear down, and this will get ugly.

Purdue is doing something right, though. The band show is entertaining.

Fourth and nothing

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue, desperately seeking to keep a decent drive moving, went for it on fourth and one from the Ohio St 40, and in doing so, exposed one of the flaws of this offense.

Instead of lining up under center and sneaking the ball with Painter, who is about as big and strong as you get in a quarterback, they lined up in their typical shotgun and tried a screen pass that never had a chance.

Purdue's defense has stepped up the last couple of times it has been on the field, and it has to again to keep the Boilers in it.

Big Stage Fright

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Joe Tiller talked before the game about his team being ready for the Big Stage.

Um, no.

After the defense finally made a couple of plays, forcing Ohio St to settle for a 44-yard field goal, Dorien Bryant fumbled the ensuing kick straight up in the air, where it landed in the arms of the Buckeyes' Aaron Gant, who was laying on the ground after being pancaked.

OSU is threatening to shut this one down early.

Third and long

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - With one quarter in the books, everything is going Ohio State's way as the Buckeyes lead 14-0.

Even though they were finally forced to punt on the last possession, Trapasso boomed a fifty yarder that put Purdue back on its own 20. The Buckeyes are barely even having to face third downs. They are 1-2, with the conversion coming on the first touchdown.

Meanwhile, Purdue is facing an average of almost 10 yards to go on third downs. Ohio St is held the Boilers to 8 yards rushing on 6 carries, which is exactly what they needed to do. They are also getting good pressure on Painter. He's been hit as he has thrown twice.

Purdue was held scoreless in a quarter for the first time all year.

No huddle - sort of

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Ohio St has a strange way of huddling up to call the play. The receivers are in no-huddle mode, but the linemen and backs huddle about five yards behind the line. It's working just fine. The Buckeyes marched right down the field again and lead 14-0.

Nothing special about the special teams

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue's special teams was supposed to be the one area where they had an edge over the Buckeyes. The Boilers are among the nation's leaders in kick returns, but so far, AJ Trapasso has boomed both kickoffs through the end zone to negate that.

Meanwhile, Purdue P Jared Armstrong has shanked both of his punts. He got lucky with a good bounce on his first one, but the second one bounced backwards and set the Buckeyes up at the Purdue 43.

I know it's early, but this is a key defensive series for Purdue coming up.

Wells limps off

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Chris Wells limped off the field after a big gain. He was replaced by Maurice Wells, who promptly had a big gain of his own.

Chris Wells is standing on the sideline next to to the coaches, so I think we can expect him to return. However, that will have to wait until Ohio St gets the ball back because Todd Boeckman just hit Roy Small for a 26-yard TD pass to put the Buckeyes up 7-0.

That was the third time they sent a receiver streaking down the left side. The first time resulted in pass interference, and the second was overthrown. Obviously, Ohio St sees that as a play they can exploit. Purdue sure didn't show any sign that they could stop it.

Simple mistake kills drive

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue had a little bit of a drive going with two first downs, but a false start put the Boilers behind the sticks and they never recovered. A bad punt with a good bounce sets up Ohio St inside their own 20.

Stupid penalties like that false start are the kinds of things Purdue needs to avoid if it hopes to win today.

Purdue wants the ball

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue won the toss and elected to take the ball. Apparently coach Joe Tiller doesn't think much of conventional wisdom, which says to defer the choice to the second half.

With this offense, I'd want the ball too.

Purdue-Ohio St preview and notes

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Today's loss by Wisconsin upped the stakes for the Boilers and Buckeyes in tonight's game at Ross-Ade Stadium. The winner will be the lone remaining undefeated team in the Big Ten.

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Illini snap Wisconsin's Streak; Win Second Straight Over Ranked Opponents

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Thanks to another stellar running effort, Illinois (5-1 overall, 3-0 in Big Ten) snapped No. 5 Wisconsin's (5-1, 2-1) fourteen-game win streak. The Illini rushed for 289 yards on 44 carries (6.6 yards per carry), and made the big plays when they needed them.

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Badgers Still Fighting

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Wisconsin is still alive. Tyler Donovan hit WR Garrett Graham with a 9-yard touchdown pass to cap off an 82-yard drive. Illinois still leads 31-26, with 1:31 remaining. Wisconsin retains all three time outs.

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Illini on Verge of Upset

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Running Backs Rashard Mendenhall and Daniel Dufrene ran the Badgers ragged on a 71 yard Touchdown Drive. Reserve QB Eddie McGee--who replaced an injured Juice Williams on the drive--ran the ball in for a five-yard TD.

The Illini lead 31-19 with 5:28 remaining

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Illini holding off Badgers--for now

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. It looked like Wisconsin had seized the momentum, but then Illini DB Kevin Mitchell picked off Tyler Donovan on what looked like a miscommunication between Donovan and his receiver.

On Wisconsin's next possession, Vontae Davis picked another deep ball thrown by Donovan.

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After third quarter, Illini lead Badgers 24-19

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Wisconsin will start with the ball at their own 10 when the fourth quarter begins.

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PJ Hill is just fine; Badgers make it 24-19

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - PJ Hill came out of the game last possession, but he came back in a big way, starting the Wisconsin drive with a 30 yard run and ending it with a one-yard TD plunge.

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - That's not booing, that's the sound of Illini fans hailing their sophomore QB Juice Williams. He ran for 53 yards on Illinois's touchdown drive, which was capped off by Rashard Mendenhall's third TD of the game.

Continue reading "JUUUUUIICCCEEE" »

Wisconsin Comes Out Strong; Cuts Lead to 17-13

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. The Badgers looked very effective on their first drive of the second half, which culminated in a 43-yard touchdown reception by Kyle Jefferson on a fake end-around play-action pass.

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Wisconsin WR Swan out for game

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Wisconsin's #1 WR Luke Swan was injured late in the second quarter. Swan left the field on his own power, but he will not return. He had 67 receiving yards in the first half, and leads the Badgers in receiving yards this season.

Mendenhall Leads Illini to 17-6 Halftime lead

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Illinois Jr. running back Rashard Mendenhall has been the story in the first half.

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Wisconsin settles for field goal

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Wisconsin's Taylor Mehlhaff hit a 38-yard field goal to make the score 17-3, Illinois.

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Juice is Loose

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. QB Juice Williams led the Illini on a 75 yard drive, capped off by a 5-yard TD pass to Rashard Mendenhall. The Illini lead 17-0.

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Lovely Reda, Field Goal Made

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Illinois Kicker Jason Reda nailed a 50-yard field goal to put the Illini up 10-0. Maybe Vegas did know what they were doing.

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Wisconsin can't convert on third down

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. For the third time, the Badgers moved the ball into Illinois territory, and for the third time, they failed to convert on third down to keep the drive alive.

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Bad news for the kickers

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Wisconsin's Taylor Mehlhaff missed a 38-yard Field Goal, and Illinois's Anthony Santella shanked a punt for just 14 yards.

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One Possession each, no score

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. Six minutes into the first quarter, it's still scoreless in Champaign.

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Game Time

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. The game is about to begin, and Illinois students are positively drunk with anticipation.

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Wisconsin at Illinois: Game Preview

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. The unranked Illinois Fighting Illini (4-1 overall, 2-0 in Big Ten) enter their home contest against the No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers (5-0, 2-0) as--get this--2.5 point favorites.

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September 29, 2007

Badgers squeak out win over Michigan State

MADISON, Wisc. -- The Badgers gave their opponent opportunities to win, but Michigan State was not able to come away with points in two late drives that stalled in Wisconsin territory. Wisconsin walked away with the 37-34 win.

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Spartans shooting themselves in the foot

MADISON, Wisc. -- Two key penalties, a holding and a roughing, have helped the Badgers get back out in front, 37-34, in an important Big Ten matchup. Without the calls the Spartans might be charging for the go-ahead score.

Third Qtr Recap: Badgers starting to pull away in Madison

MADISON, Wisc. -- As well as Michigan State has run the ball (Javon Ringer has 142 yards and is averaging 17.8 per carry) the Badgers have started to dominate this game by way of their imposing defensive line. On one series, Nick Hayden and Kirk DeCremer registered sacks, forcing the Spartans to punt from near their goal line. The pressure applied by Wisconsin has limited Michigan State's ability to bail itself out of long-yardage situations. And now traling 34-24, the Spartans are running out of time to use that potent rushing offense that's proven so effective so far.

It's been all Tyler Donovan and P.J. Hill for Wisconsin. With a banged up receiving corps, Donovan has scrambled and found Travis Beckum on passing downs. Hill, meanwhile, has chipped away at the Spartans all afternoon. He'll be sore after this one (29 carries through three quarters).

Now, back to the game as it's time to 'Jump Around' with the Badger student section ...

Spartans score, Badgers claim moral victory

MADISON, Wisc. -- The Spartans got the ball to start the second half and after an incompletion running back Javon Ringer took a pitch right and made a nice cut-back for a 70-yard run. Jonathan Casillas saved a touchdown on the play and the Badger defense stopped the Spartans on a third-and-goal from the two. The Brett Swenson field goal made the score 27-24.

On the ensuing kick, freshman David Gilreath made a 56-yard return to put Wisconsin in good shape for its opening drive of the half.

More see-saw action to follow (we're sure of it) ...

**Bad news for the Badgers: receiver Kyle Jefferson is out of the game with a head injury, leaving Tyler Donovan few options to throw to.

First Half Recap: An unexpected shootout

MADISON, Wisc. -- The Badgers and Spartans are setting off fireworks in their contest, with a combined 48 first-half points. Both offenses are playing determined football, but the defenses have also failed to capitalize on mistakes and slow down the opposing running game.

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Donovan takes command

MADISON, Wisc. -- Starting from his own nine-yard line, Badger quarterback Tyler Donovan led his team on a 12-play drive that concluded with his two-yard touchdown pass to Travis Beckum to tie the score, 14-14. Donovan completed five-of-six passes on the drive for 74 yards. He added a nine-yard scramble. Credit the Wisconsin offensive line for finding a cure to prevent the Spartans from living in their backfield on this drive. The key play to the drive was a 38-yard pass to Beckum coming out of the quarter break, and after two straight Badger penalties (false start, delay of game).

First Qtr Recap: Spartans playing power game

MADISON, Wisc. -- As mentioned in our pre-game report, the Spartans run the ball and pressure the quarterback about as well as any Big Ten team. They've been successful at both at Wisconsin so far, and that's been the difference.

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Spartans storm back

MADISON, Wisc. -- Michigan State's running game is already giving the Badger defense fits. On its second possession, Michigan State began on its 37-yard line after fielding a poor punt from Ken DeBauche. From there the Spartans drew the Badgers off-side, then handed to Javon Ringer who busted through the middle of the line and broke to the left hash for a 53-yard gain. Teammate Jehuu Caulcrick took it in from the two-yard line on the next play. The key to the possession was a swarming Spartan pass rush which got to Tyler Donovan (ruled no gain) on the third down before the punt. That allowed for the good field position.

Hill leads Badgers on opening scoring drive

MADISON, Wisc. -- After a poor return pinned Wisconsin at its own 15-yard line running back P.J. Hill took over. He touched the ball eight times on the 11-play drive, gaining 37 rushing yards and eight receiving, and finishing the drive from five yards out to give the Badgers an early 7-0 lead. THe Spartans pass rush got to Tyler Donovan on nthe first pass of the drive but Donovan stood his ground and found tight end Travis Beckum on a key third down. Donovan also hit Luke Swan on a post-corner for 25 yards on the drive. So far, the Badgers offense looks sharp.

Big Ten battle of undefeated Badgers & Spartans

MADISON, Wisc. -- The Big Ten conference picture will clear up some today after Wisconsin and Michigan State go to war at Camp Randall. As usual, WIsconsin's mad mob of red-wearing, beer-soaked fans have lined all of the side streets in anticipation of yet another test for their top 10-ranked club. It's a crazy scene, bu this game could also have a crazy outcome.

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September 22, 2007

In another close one, Badgers win fourth

MADISON, Wisc. -- Leave it to Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz to sum up tonight's road loss to the Badgers. Said Ferentz, "We're not an offensive juggernaut. When we get field position, we need to get points." Such was the problem for Ferentz's Hawkeyes all evening, as they let opportunities slip through their fingers. When the fourth quarter arrived, and with their defense exhausted from the long night's work, the opportunities had dried up. Wisconsin took the Big Ten opener for both teams, 17-13.

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Rumblin' P.J. Hill .. Badgers back on top

MADISON, Wisc. -- Putting his teammates on his back for a long drive, running back P.J. Hill piled into the end zone from two yards out to give Wisconsin a 14-10 lead. Hill carried 10 times for 43 yards on Wisconsin's 11-play, 68-yard drive.

Hill is approaching 100 yards against a stout Iowa run defense.

3rd Qtr Recap: Same score, neither team stepping up

MADISON, Wisc. -- Do either of these teams want this game? The Badgers and Hawkeyes are both blowing chances to put the other away. Case in point: backed up at its one-yard line, Iowa mounted a long drive, then crumbled inside of Badger territory. The Badgers have done nothing since scoring a touchdown late in the second quarter.

Not much new to report .. stay tuned.

Christensen saves Iowa -- again

MADISON, Wisc. -- After a Ken DeBauche punt pinned the Hakeyes on their one-yard line, QB Jake Christensen scrambled for 17 yards on the first play, then completed a pss on the next for 11 more yards. A Damian Sims 22-yard run on the third play of the drive put the Hawkeyes into Badger territory.

More up and down at Madison

MADISON, Wisc. -- Iowa DB Jayme Murphy popped the opening kick out of David Gilreath's hands. The Hawkeyes took control, but after three plays were forced to kick the field goal. The Badgers' Nick Hayden blocked the kick, however, and the Hawkeyes were left with nothing to show for the fumble.

First Half Recap: Badgers & Hawkeyes

MADISON, Wisc. -- The scoring came all at once -- minutes before the half wrapped --but the fireworks were enough to satisfy a packed house (82,630) at Camp Randall. Now the red-wearing Badger fans hope their team can re-claim the lead.

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Wow, that was fast

MADISON, Wisc. -- Just after giving back the lead to Wisconsin the Iowa offense stormed back. Quarterback Jake Christensen worked his magic, guiding the Hawkeyes on a five-play, 62-yard drive that lasted just :32. Yeah, that's right, 32 SECONDS. Where was this offense earlier in the half (or the team's first three games, for that matter)? With four ticks left in the half, Christensen hit Derrell Johnson-Koulianos for a strike. Heading into the locker room Iowa has a 10-7 advantage, and the momentum.

Iowa draws first blood, Badgers bounce back

MADISON, Wisc. -- An error on the part of Tyler Donovan helped Iowa earn the game's first points. Looking for Luke Swan, Donovan was intercepted late in the half, giving Iowa excellent field position. From there, the Hawkeyes worked a seven-play, 22-yard drive before settling for a 41-yard Daniel Murray field goal to make the score 3-0.

But with less than two minutes to go in the half, the Badgers mounted their own drive. P.J. Hill had a pretty run to the goal line. Before he reached it, he coughed up the ball. Center Marcus Coleman landed on it for a Badger touchdown with :55 remaining. But instant replay took away the score due to an early whistle. No biggie, Donovan found Travis Beckum two plays later for a touchdown. Score: 7-3 Wisconsin.

The play was the first touchdown Iowa has allowed all season ... a seven-play, 72-yards drive in 1:39.
Amazing --after absolutely no offense, whatsoever, now it's become a scoring spree.

First Qtr Recap: Badgers & Hawkeyes

MADISON, Wisc. -- Here are the numbers for the first quarter: Iowa, 17 plays, 10 yards. Wisconsin 16 plays, 33 yards. Ugh. Here are a few notes from the first quarter ..

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Offense, anyone?

MADISON, Wisc. -- So far, the game between the Badgers and Hawkeyes has been a defensive stalemate. Both offenses have had an opportunity to cap a scoring drive, but mental errors and misfires have prevented any scoring thus far. Still, this might be the most exciting 0-0 game in the country.

Hawkeye defense bails out bad start from offense

MADISON, Wisc. -- With the Badgers charging, and in scoring range, the Hawkeye defense swarmed Badger quarterback Tyler Donovan, then Mike Klinkenborg forced a fumble to reverse the momentum the Badgers had built.

To start, the Hawkeye offense was held to a three-and-out on their first series after an incompletion, failed run and a QB sack. The Badger defense came out of the tunnel on fire, and their quick work gave the offense great field position to work with. From there, Badger quarterback completed his first two passes -- one to freshman Kyle Jefferson, the other to Luke Swan. But the Donovan turnover has put the Hawkeyes in position to score the game's first points.

Postgame Thoughts

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- After Michigan held Penn State to a field goal with 6 minutes left, it was up to the offense to try and run off a little clock to preserve the lead. And it did, gaining two key first downs before punting with 1:34 to go in the game. The first first down was key, as Mallett avoided a rush on 3rd-and-11 and bought enough time for wide receiver Greg Mathews to come open across the middle.

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Michigan extends the Lead

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- After the Penn State field goal, the Wolverines methodically march down the field, ending the drive with a Hart run up the middle for the touchdown.

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Nittany Lions Cut the Lead

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- After an impressive drive deep into Michigan territory, running back Austin Scott fumbled on a play that was upheld after review. But the Wolverines gave it right back after a short drive of their own when Mallett fumbled a snap from center Justin Boren.

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Halftime Update

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Nothing too surprising in the first half, unless you count a Michigan lead as a shock. Neither team has done much on offense, although Michigan had two good drives near the end of the first half result in 0 points.

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And Penn State puts up some points

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- After an extended drive by Penn State beginning at its own 20, placekicker Kevin Kelly knocked through a 28-yard field goal from the right hash. The Nittany Lions ran almost exclusively out of the shotgun on the drive, a change from Paterno's usual. Several long third-down completions by Morelli kept the drive alive, but on 3rd-and-5 from inside Michigan's 11, Morelli missed a wide open Deon Butler on a slant. He overthrew the pass, and Penn State had to settle for a field goal. Michigan 7, Penn State 3.

End of the First

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- At the end of the first quarter, the score remains 7-0. Penn State had one good drive during the quarter, but that ended with a Brandon Graham sack and a bad Morelli incompletion. Michigan has moved the chains a little bit, and is driving down the field after gaining a tough first down on 3rd-and-10 with a completion to Adrian Arrington. Michigan coach Lloyd Carr tried a bit of trickery at the end of the quarter, as Mallett was split wide and freshman wide receiver Junior Hemingway took the snap. But Penn State sniffed it out, and Hemingway was tackled in the backfield for a loss

Michigan Strikes First

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- After defensive end Brandon Graham forced an Anthony Morelli fumble on Penn State's second drive of the game, linebacker Chris Graham returned the fumble to the Nittany Lion 10 yard line. After an unsuccessful swing pass to Mario Manningham, Michigan uncharacteristically tried to pass once more. Not finding any open receivers, quarterback Ryan Mallett pulled the ball down and made it to the corner of the end zone, holding the ball out in front of him as he crossed the plane. Michigan leads, 7-0.

Henne In Street Clothes

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- As reported earlier, Chad Henne won't be playing today. According to ESPN's Bonnie Bernstein, Henne asked the coaches to play, but they would not let him. He walked out of the tunnel after the team, wearing street clothes and a brace on his right leg.

Michigan-Penn State: Pregame Thoughts

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan and Penn State will each open their Big Ten seasons here today at the Big House, and while the fortunes have turned for one pre-season favorite, the other still has thoughts of a BCS bid. Michigan, picked by most prognosticators to win the Big Ten and contend for the National Championship before the season, opened with two early losses, including one to FCS Appalachian State. Penn State has dominated its competition, winning each of its three games by at least 21 points (although against some iffy competition. So who's going to take the early lead in the Big Ten?

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Hawkeyes and Badgers ready for battle

MADISON, Wisc. -- A primetime game -- and pivotal Big Ten matchup at that -- is more than enough to set State Street in Mad-Town on fire. Brats, burgers and plenty of Wisconsin's finest beer are scenting the scene for tonight's Badger-Hawkeye game, the first-ever evening meeting in the history of this series.

This game will be won in the trenches, where the Badgers own arguably the best offensive line in the conference. That unit must contain an Iowa front four that has lived in its opponents' backfield in the first three weeks of the season.

The winner of this one will march on to compete in a Big Ten race that becomes more focused with each passing week.

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September 15, 2007

Final recap

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Well, the game's over, and boy was Michigan happy tp have this rivalry matchup turn out this way.

The Wolverines won 38-0 and held the Fighting Irish below 100 total yards with a more than solid performance from the defense. Defensive tackle Terrance Taylor said after the game that the whole defense as a unit was out to prove a point that they could compete up to the level they set for themselves.

Michigan pressured Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen all day, whether it was off the blitz or just from the front four. Add in three turnovers forced and the Wolverine offense didn't have to do that much.

But Mike Hart did. The senior guaranteed a win and came out with a vengence. He racked up just under 200 yards on the ground, taking the pressure of freshman quarterback Ryan Mallett, who managed a pretty solid game. Michigan coach Lloyd Carr wasn't about to make Mallett be the hero, and Hart gladly set the pace.

This was just the kind of win Michigan needed with the Big Ten schedule starting and Penn State coming to Ann Arbor next Saturday.

Tressel gets 200 wins, OSU beats up on UW

SEATTLE - Jim Tressel prefers Diet Pepsi.

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Ohio State is going to win this game

SEATTLE - This is pretty much over.

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OSU increases lead

SEATTLE - The Buckeyes just kicked a FG after UW broke up their last pass attempt ... they now lead 20-7 with 13:57 to play in the fourth. There have been some really exciting plays on both sides, but most of it was happening when Ohio State went on it's little 14-0 run. Since then, it's been a little blah. And the people dressed in purple are kinda quiet right now. At least they're not booing their QB for throwing 2 INTs like at SOME Pac-10 schools.

Clausen sitting

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Jimmy Clausen has taken a seat on the Notre Dame sideline, and he's probably OK with the decision.

Evan Sharpley came into replace the freshman, and his first throw was almost intercepted while his second was thrown under heavy pressure from the Michigan front four.

The Wolverine defense isn't done putting its imprint in this game. John Thompson made a fanatastic tackle to stop Armando Allen on a third-down run for the Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame's day can be summed up in two stats. Negative 52 rushing yards and 22 total yards.

Not a freshman?

SEATTLE - I want to see Locker's birth certificate to prove he's just a redshirt freshman. This kid can PLAY.

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Hart rushing up the chart

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Hart used his last carry of the third quarter to pass Tyrone Wheatley on the all-time rushing yard chart.

On a five-yard scamper, Hart moved into 3rd on the all-time leading rusher list and will most likely enjoy the fourth quarter from the sideline.

Running back Brandon Minor replaced Hart immediately after the rush.

End of the 3rd quarter, Michigan 38, Notre Dame 0.

The first wave of the season

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - With six minutes left in the third quarter, the Michigan student section has decided the game is over. They've started the wave.

It's the first time this season the Big House has seen the heralded wave, usually started in the third quarter of blowout games.

Ryan Mallett just complemented the wave with a touchdown strike to Mario Manningham, open in the back of the end zone. It was a 13-yard pass that finished off a 79-yard drive.

Michgan 38, Notre Dame 0.


It's amazing how quickly momentum can shift.

Continue reading "Yikes" »

Buckeyes score

And just like that, Ohio State takes the lead with a beautiful 68-yard pass from Boeckman (who doesn't seem so rattled in his first road start) to give the Buckeyes the edge. They made the extra point, too, and now lead 10-7 with 9:36 to go in the game.

Still searching

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Notre Dame's first drive of the third quarter looked promising. Until Jimmy Clausen met Brandent Englemon.

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Stat time

A little stat info while we wait for the measure guy to come out and decide if UIW really did get that first down.

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Halftime recap

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Michigan has looked completely dominant in the first half of this game.

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Huskies lead

Wahoo, we're back! Our internet troubles are over ... for the time being.

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Michigan running up the score

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Ryan Mallett threw a perfect strike to Adrian Arrington in the corner of the end zone to give Michigan a 31-0 lead heading into halftime.

The five-yard strike punctuated a Wolverine drive dominated by Mike Hart running over, through and around the Notre Dame defense.

Mallett's looked impressive in his first start of the season. Most of his throws have been sharp and on target, and he sure has enough confidence in his ability as seen by his celebration skipping after the touchdown throw.

Halftime. Michigan 31, Notre Dame 0.

Never would have guessed that kind of dominance.

Finally, some positives

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - It had been a while, but Notre Dame finally got some positive yards.

With two minutes left in the second quarter, the Fighting Irish have mustered nine total yards and have negative 39 rush yards.

Opposite the Golden Domers, Michigan running back Mike Hart has more than 100 yards on the ground, marking the 22nd time he's gone over the century mark in his Michigan career. He's now tied with Anthony Thomas in that category.

Michigan's driving right now with under a minute left. The Wolverines are on the Notre Dame 11 yard line. Another post might sooner than later.

Lloyd bringing some fun

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - With 11:42 left in the second quarter, Michigan coach Lloyd Carr tried a trick play, much to the delight of the crowd.

Ryan Mallett threw a swing pass to Adrian Arrington who tried to hit Mallett rolling out on the opposite sideline. Mallett slipped and couldn't corrale the throw.

Continue reading "Lloyd bringing some fun" »


ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The Wolverine defense forces another turnover. Middle linebacker John Thompson picked off Jimmy Clausen. Clausen forced a throw down the middle under heavy pressure from the Michigan front four.

The defensive line is dominating the Fighting Irish. The front four all got to Clausen the play before the Thompson pick.

What, cheers in the Big House?

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The student section can finally smile. It's finally getting to watch Michigan dominate an opponent.

The Wolverine offense is running smoothly, even with a freshman behind center. Ryan Mallett looked sharp on the latest Michigan touchdown drive. He hit Mario Manningham over the middle on a strong throw off a bootleg, and he took a moment to smile after the completion.

Mike Hart finished off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to extend Michigan's lead to 17-0.

Still tenacious

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The Michigan defense wants to prove a point today.

The unit just caused another turnover. Wolverine linebacker Chris Graham hit Armando Allen with helmet on ball and forced a fumble that Michigan cornerback Brandon Harrison recovered. The Graham hit left Allen kneeling on the ground for a few minutes after the play.

It's Michigan ball at the Notre Dame 37 at the end of the first quarter.

Michigan adds to lead

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The Wolverines are piling it on early. Maybe they're a little upset about all the criticism they've received this year.

Running back Mike Hart scored on a 2-yard touchdown run as Michigan turned a Notre Dame turnover into more points.

The Wolverines are up 10-0, and the Michigan defense looks like its found a little bit of the attitude from last season's unit. Plus, they're playing the Fighting Irish, who haven't scored an offensive touchdown this season.

Turn of tides

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Michigan cornerback Donovan Warren came off the corner on a blitz on second down of Notre Dame's second drive and forced and recovered a Jimmy Clausen fumble at the Notre Dame 20.

An impressive start for a maligned unit.

A fast start

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis was looking to exploit the Michigan defense with a spread offense look on the first play of the game.

He put Armando Allen back at quarterback, and he fumbled the snap back to the 1 yard line. From there, Michigan's defense held strong with Shawn Crable deflecting a Jimmy Clausen pass to force a punt.

The Wolverines drove it to the Notre Dame 22 yard line, and Jason Gingell hit a 39-yard field goal to give Michigan a 3-0 lead.

About to begin

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - There's just under 10 minutes until gametime, and the student section in the Big House has yet to fill out.

Other news. An F-16 flyover will take place during the national anthem.

Linebacker Shawn Crable warmed up with the defensive line and not the linebackers. I guess he'll spend a majority of game snaps in a three-point stance.

Cornerback Johnny Sears is on the dress list but not the field. Instead, Doug Dutch, a former wide receiver, took his place as second-string corner.

Purple and Gold everywhere

SEATTLE -- Traffic sucked.

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A Cloudy Start

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - It's about an hour before kickoff, and the Michigan-Notre Dame game isn't living up to its hype. The classic rivalry isn't mustering any national attention, and on campus, it feels like just another game.

Maybe the two teams have their winless records to thank, or maybe most of Ann Arbor has already given up on the season. Regardless, the stadium's pretty empty, the clouds are out and the temps are in the mid-50s. It's perfect weather for football, but it's yet to be determined if these two teams can put all together.

It will be interesting to see how much Michigan coach Lloyd Carr opens the playbook for freshman signal caller Ryan Mallett and how well his counterpart Jimmy Clausen will perform in the Big House.

September 08, 2007

Nittany Lions Dominate In Happy Valley

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Beaver Stadium was being referred to as the "White House" and if we continue with that theme then on Saturday night Penn State linebacker Dan Connor was the Commander in Chief.
Connor anchored a stingy Penn State defense that led the Nittany Lions to an impressive 31-10 victory over Notre Dame in front of 110,078 fans, the vast majority of which were wearing white.

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Insult To Injury

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Today was not Jimmy Clausen's best day. He orchestrated a successful drive late in the fourth quarter but threw an interception in the endzone to stall the drive. Penn State's Justin King secured the interception. There is under six minutes to go in the game.

Fans Pack the "White House"

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Today's attendance was announced as 110,078, the second largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history. The vast majority of the energetic crowd wore white to the game.

Icing On The Cake

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Penn State adds to its lead with an Austin Scott touchdown run that culminated a 10-play drive. The Nittany Lions now have a commanding 31-10 lead with 7:40 remaining. There is little hope for Jimmy Clausen and Notre Dame.

Price Is Right

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Geoff Price, Notre Dame's punter, is becoming a familiar face for the Beaver Stadium crowd. Notre Dame goes three and out again and Price came on to punt for the ninth time tonight. The Irish have shown no ability to move the ball on the Nittany Lions whatsoever.

End Of The Third

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Time is running out for the Irish. They start the fourth quarter down 24-10 and Penn State has the ball in Notre Dame territory.

Starting To Pull Away

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - A 1-yard touchdown leap by Austin Scott gives Penn State its biggest lead of the game. The Nittany Lions now lead 24-10 with 4:47 remaining in the third quarter. The touchdown was set up by a beautiful 51-yard pass completion from Anthony Morelli to receiver Chris Bell. It is still early but the way Notre Dame has been struggling on offense, this 14-point lead may be insurmountable.

Irish Settle For Three

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Notre Dame's offensive woes continue. Given amazing field position the Fighting Irish could only muster a field goal. Penn State now leads 17-10 with 8:16 left in the third quarter.

Back In The Game

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Just like that Notre Dame has a glimmer of hope. Punt returner Tom Zbikowski, who has already forced two fumbles today, returned a Penn State punt to the Penn State 7-yard line. Can Clausen and Notre Dame capitalize?

Nothing Doin'

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Notre Dame is stuck in reverse. The Fighting Irish could not answer Penn State and for the seventh time tonight were forced to punt. Once again, Notre Dame went three and out.

Jump Start

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - The Nittany Lions quickly added to their lead with a 37-yard field goal by Kevin Kelly with 13:13 left in the third qaurter to give Penn State a 17-7 lead. The field goal was set up by speedy kick returner A.J. Wallace who returned the kickoff 68 yards, much to the liking of the Penn State crowd. Notre Dame will have to get busy if it wants to come back against Penn State.

14-7 At Half

For the first time tonight the rowdy Penn State student section can sit down - because it's halftime. They can relax happy knowing that their Nittany Lions have a 14-7 lead at halftime despite three turnovers.

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Dropping the Ball

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - For the third time tonight, Penn State has turned the ball over. This time Anthony Morelli fumbled and gave Notre Dame the ball at Penn State's 44-yard line. The Penn State defense has forced Notre Dame to go three and out twice in a row and Clausen has been constantly pressured in the pocket.

Lions Take The Lead

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Penn State takes the lead with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Anthony Morelli to Jordan Norwood. Kevin Kelly kicked the extra point to make it a 14-7 Nittany Lion lead with 6:37 left in the half. Morelli and the Penn State offense seem to have relaxed and settled into a groove. Can Jimmy Clausen and Fighting Irish answer?

Pick Six

STATE COLLEGE, Penn - The Irish strike first. Notre Dame cornerback Darrin Walls returned an Anthony Morelli interception for a touchdown with 8:23 left in the first quarter. The Fighting Irish steal momentum and take a 7-0 lead. Prior to the touchdown, Notre Dame got the ball first and drove down the field with ease but kicker Nate Whitaker missed a 50-yard field goal. Quarterback Jimmy Clausen looked steady in his first drive and completed five passes but they were all of the screen variety and he never looked down the field. The Beaver Stadium crowd contributed to a false start call on the first play of the drive.

Penn State-Notre Dame Preview

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - We are about 15 minutes from kickoff in Happy Valley and there is a truly electric atmosphere inside and outside of Beaver Stadium. A raucous crowd of well over 100,000 fans is expected and legions of Penn State fans wearing white for the "white out" of Beaver Stadium have already begun to take their seats and cheer. The hostile atmosphere does not bode well for Notre Dame's true freshman quarterback Jimmy Clausen, who is making his first career start. The venue couldn't be much tougher for Clausen and he will also have to deal with Dan Connor, Justin King and a tough Penn State defense.

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September 01, 2007

After slow start, Badgers finish strong against WSU

MADISON, Wis. -- Entering this season, some were concerned about Wisconsin's ability to pass the football. Not anymore.

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Third Qtr: Cougars climbing back

A poor punt from Badger Ken DeBauche proved costly as Washington State got the ball at the Wisconsin 42-yard line and used a nine-play drive to get back to within seven points. Running back Dwight Tardy had a nice run through the gut on a third-and-eight, and quarterback Alex Brink later converted a QB sneak on third and inches. Brink hit Brandon Gibson on a seven-yard strike to make it 28-21.

Cougars back in it

MADISON, Wis. -- A poor punt from Badger Ken DeBauche proved costly as Washington State got the ball at the Wisconsin 42-yard line and used a nine-play drive to get back to within seven points. Running back Dwight Tardy had a nice run through the gut on a third-and-eight, and quarterback Alex Brink later converted a QB sneak on third and inches. Brink hit Brandon Gibson on a seven-yard strike to make it 28-21.

No better student-fan attraction

MADISON, Wis. -- When the third quarter came to a close the Badgers were nipping at the goal line again, trying to slam the door on a Washington State team that seemed more prepared than most every college football expert had given them credit for. Then the Wisconsin students had their party -- an end zone rendition of 'Jump Around' that was so powerful it shook the press box located several levels above. The regular home game event is always a spark to the offense and, sure enough, soon after followed a touchdown that gave the Badgers a commanding 35-21 lead.

Swan a one-man attack for Badgers

MADISON, Wis. -- With two catches, one a fade for 43 yards, the other a 30-yard catch amidst three defensive backs -- Badger receiver Luke Swan served as the catalyst on a seven-play, 82-yard second quarter touchdown drive that gave Wisconsin its first lead of the game over underdog Washington State. The senior receiver now has four catches for 92 yards with 36 minutes of football remaining on the clock. Reserve tight end Garrett Graham scored on a short pass to cap the drive.

1st quarter update: No room to run for Badgers

MADISON, Wis. -- The end of the first quarter saw a 14-14 tie, but the most noticeable stat in the Badgers game against Washington State was P.J. Hill's average per carry -- a measly 3.1. Hill was expected to dominate on this day but so far all the sophomore has been able to do was walk through a sizeable hole for a one-yard score. With seven carries, Hill's longest run so far has been six yards.

The star so far: Washington State quarterback Alex Brink, who completed seven-of-10 passes for 94 yards and picked up a key 18-yard run.

Cougars get quick start

MADISON, Wis. -- Some poor pass coverage by Wisconsin All-American candidate Jack Ikegwuonu and a fortuitous bounce have helped Washington State get out to a quick 7-0 lead on the Badgers.

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Badgers begin Big Ten title chase

MADISON, Wis. -- State Street is buzzing with red-wearing Badger backers, all with the same thought on their minds: can today be the first step in a 2007 BCS march? Of course, Washington State stands in the way, and Wisconsin has not faced many quality non-conference opponents in recent years.

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August 01, 2007

Big Ten: Facing The Facts

CHICAGO - Players' behavior off the field, and how to monitor it and prevent embarassing moments, has never been a bigger issue in college athletics, especially in light of the Internet. For some schools, like Ohio State, there has been a much greater emphasis on regularly checking players' MySpace and Facebook pages.

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Big Ten: Vintage Paterno

CHICAGO - Joe Paterno has been the head coach at Penn State for 41 seasons and now at the ripe old age of 80, people wonder how he's able to stay motivated. Well, just like every other question ever posed to Paterno, the man with 363 wins had a smart answer.

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Big Ten: Bigger Hart

CHICAGO - Mike Hart isn't the biggest of guys. Listed at 5-foot-9 and 196 pounds, the Michigan running back - who finished fifth in the Heisman voting last season - has packed on a few more pounds during the offseason.

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Big Ten: Leman's Term

CHICAGO - Illinois' J. Leman is one of the best linebackers in the Big Ten, a conference filled with top notch talent. And he may just be one of the more unheralded hitters in the country - the senior-to-be actually led the league in tackles last season. All this from a guy who had one scholarship offer out of high school.

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Big Ten: Coming and Going

CHICAGO - The second and final day of Big Ten Media Days started and wrapped up in less than two hours as the coaches and players from each of the 11 schools haved headed off to an autograph session with fans here at the Hyatt Regency.

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July 31, 2007

Big Ten: Blue The Favorites

CHICAGO - Michigan was named the favorite to win the conference Tuesday with Wisconsin chosen to finish second in the media poll.

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Big Ten: Random Preseason Facts

CHICAGO - With plenty of time on their hands the folks at the Big Ten have put together a nice little preseason release filled with plenty of pertinent information and interesting stats. So here are a few that caught my eye.

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Big Ten: Same Old Carr

CHICAGO - Llyod Carr was his usual curmudgeony self as the Michigan head man was the final coach to meet the media. Despite his opening statement in which he claimed to be happy to be here, you could the joy and happiness emanating from Carr across the ballroom, especially after basically refused to answer a reporter's question about his team's inability to win a bowl game or beat Ohio State the past three seasons. He also was quick to dismiss any speculation about his future at Michigan.

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Big Ten: The Joe Paterno Show

CHICAGO - Some people think Penn State is the second best team in the Big Ten. Others have them penned as fourth or fifth best. But if you ask Joe Paterno, he thinks his team will be somewhere in the middle of the conference.

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Big Ten: Badgering Problem

CHICAGO - The quarterback quandry the will engulf Madison this summer won't develop into any sort of QB-by-committee. Bret Bielema pratically guaranteed it today.

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Big Ten: Similiar Unfortunate Situations

CHICAGO - Pat Fitzgerald can easily relate to Indiana's current situation. After all, it was last summer that Northwestern had to deal with the sudden and untimely death of head coach Randy Walker. Fitzgerald was quickly thrust into the Walker's vacated spot just like Billy Lynch, who has taken over head coaching responsibilities at Indiana after Terry Hoeppner lost his battle with cancer this spring.

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Big Ten: Speed Kills

CHICAGO - Speed is a question on the minds of many here, especially after Ohio State was embarassed in last year's national championship game with Florida.

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Big Ten: Chi-town Kick Off

CHICAGO - Big Ten Media Days kicked off earlier this afternoon with commissioner Jim Delany speaking on the conference's present and future and half of the league's coaches spending 15 minutes each talking about their respective teams.

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