Michigan Wolverines: Penn State
Mario + Easter = Awesome.
- Michigan State's Mark Dantonio wants to see next week's spring game attendance reach at least 50,000, more than double last season's crowd.
- Longtime Penn State linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden feels fortunate to land at Air Force and called his departure from PSU "just a difference of opinion, two different people."
- Urban Meyer recently acknowledged that he knew, once safety Christian Bryant went down with an injury last year, that "there was a chance that we wouldn't be able to go play for a national title."
- Athlon Sports ranks all of the Big Ten's projected starting quarterbacks, from Ohio State's Braxton Miller to Rutgers' Gary Nova.
- Film study wasn't always the favorite activity of Nebraska DB Charles Jackson, but now he considers it a "way of life."
- Hiring defensive line coach Reese Morgan was one of Kirk Ferentz's best decisions, writes Iowa City Press-Citizen's Pat Harty.
- Two of Rutgers' early enrollees, OT Marcus Applefield and CB Kam Lott, are off to a fast start.
- Michigan's AD addressed the silence on the Brendan Gibbons case and more during a sports business panel.
- Maryland and the ACC are in the midst of an "ugly divorce," when it comes to parting ways in favor of the Big Ten.
- The Dowell twins were born minutes apart and, recently, the 2015 recruits both committed to Northwestern just minutes apart.
Winter is coming ... but not soon enough.
- Jerry Kill's assistants are getting new deals, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and the contracts are expected to be finalized next week. Both coordinators reportedly agreed to three-year deals.
- Two players raised in SEC country will compete for one of Nebraska's starting cornerback spots.
- Recruiting coordinator Curtis Blackwell played an integral role in finally getting Malik McDowell in a Spartans' uniform.
- In an effort to improve last year's struggling secondary, Ohio State is now having the safeties and cornerbacks meet together -- and has adopted a more aggressive philosophy.
- DE Brad Bars missed last season with a ruptured Achilles tendon, but Penn State's fifth-year senior is expecting to bounce back in a big way.
- Randy Edsall says this is his best Maryland team yet in a Q&A with the Big Ten Network's Tom Dienhart.
- Michigan's running backs have taken big strides this spring, and Brady Hoke has been pleased with their progress.
- Wisconsin's quarterback is a projected No. 1 NFL draft pick ... in the upcoming Kevin Costner movie "Draft Day." The film will use game footage of former signal-caller Tyler Donovan.
- Rutgers TE Nick Arcidiacono is aiming to become a more well-rounded player, and he's hoping for a significant role opposite Tyler Kroft.
- Iowa QB Jake Rudock says he's hoping to improve his decision-making in this Q&A with the Des Moines Register.
Nice hook, Marty.
- Jim Delany said the Big Ten is not looking to add Friday games, but one of its priorities is scheduling more Saturday night games in November.
- NFL Network analyst Charles Davis shared his thoughts on the Big Ten prospects in this Q&A with the Big Ten Network and said Michigan's Taylor Lewan caught his eye.
- Athlon Sports ranks all of the conference's rosters, based on the last five years of recruiting classes, and points out seven things to learn from them.
- The head of Ohio State's strength and conditioning program showed players videos of Michigan State players clenching roses in their teeth to recharge the team.
- The pay raises of Michigan State's staff are put into perspective, as the Detroit Free Press' Joe Rexrode shows that Mark Dantonio is technically fourth in the conference when it comes to annual salary.
- Michigan offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier didn't delve deep into the new offense he's forming but said he wants to have a multiple running back attack.
- ESPN Junior 300 tailback Andre Robinson surprised himself by committing to Penn State, making him the Nittany Lions' seventh pledge -- and fifth in-state player -- of the 2015 class.
- Wisconsin players received mixed reviews at the NFL combine, with the stock of linebacker Chris Borland falling after a slow 40 time.
- Three Nebraska players will miss spring ball with injuries, including senior offensive guard Mike Moudy.
- 2015 athlete Drew Cook is following in his All-American father's footsteps by committing to the Hawkeyes.
National Signing Day is just five days away, so this is now in my head. Don't judge me.
- Illinois OL Corey Lewis knew something wasn't right with his left knee and, as it turns out, he might have played the entire season without an ACL.
- Taylor Martinez is serious about pursuing his NFL dreams and, if quarterback doesn't work out, the former Nebraska QB isn't opposed to trying wide receiver.
- Michigan's student newspaper labeled the university's response to the Brendan Gibbons' incident as "shameful."
- Former Ohio State OL Nick Mangold recently took part in a video where Kate Upton took snaps from him.
- Michigan State has two or three spots left in its 2014 recruiting class, and it's still heavily pursuing about a half-dozen prospects.
- PennLive's Bob Flounders tackles the differences between Bill O'Brien and James Franklin as a recruiter.
- Rutgers' recruiting class was the third-best in the Big Ten back in August but, after a dozen decommitments, it's now 11th -- and signing day can't come soon enough.
- Jerry Kill is optimistic about his recruiting class and says he doesn't put much stock in how many stars appear next to a recruit's name.
I need my football fix. Someone should consider resurrecting the XFL ...
- Urban Meyer and James Franklin are building the "SEC North" in the Big Ten, writes Fox Sports' Clay Travis.
- Nebraska tailback Ameer Abdullah decided to stay in school for another season, and that comes as a huge boon to the Huskers.
- Philip Nelson's surprise transfer from Minnesota leaves the door wide open for quarterback Mitch Leidner.
- The son of Ohio State's new defensive line coach, Larry Johnson Sr., discusses the family's move from Penn State and why it was made.
- As part of an ongoing series on Rutgers' transition to the Big Ten, NJ.com's Dan Duggan talked to former coaches about welcoming the Scarlet Knights -- and the New York media market.
- James Franklin isn't right to poach his former Vanderbilt commits ... but he isn't wrong either.
- A way-too-early look at Michigan's depth chart on defense.
- Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard is a physical corner with a chip on his shoulder, and he "should be a good corner in the NFL for a long time."
- Athlon Sports offers early predictions for the 2014 Big Ten season.
- Maryland announced three new additions to its coaching staff, including two-time Pro Bowl wideout Keenan McCardell.
Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars?
- If and when James Franklin does become the new head coach at Penn State, that could spell big trouble for B1G newcomer Maryland. It also wouldn't be good news for Rutgers.
- CBS' Gregg Doyel writes how Franklin is the perfect coach for Penn State. USA Today's Christine Brennan writes how he's the wrong choice for Penn State.
- Braxton Miller is returning for his senior season, and he needs to take his passing to the next level for the Buckeyes to find success.
- OSU linebackers coach Mike Vrabel is headed to the Houston Texans, and that's bound to impact the Buckeyes' recruiting efforts.
- Michigan's new offensive coordinator, Doug Nussmeier, has worked in the Big Ten before and left a strong impression at Michigan State when he coached from 2003-2005.
- The Gophers have improved in each of Jerry Kill's first three seasons, and Kill once again believes Minnesota will be even better in 2014.
- Michigan State's strength coach is already trying to get the team to move past the Rose Bowl win, telling players, "I was done with that win as soon as we got on that plane."
- A look at potential names to know in Wisconsin's recruiting class and how things might play out before signing day.
- Nebraska landed New Orleans WR recruit Jariah Tolbert, who his coach said has the biggest upside of any of his players.
- Iowa is increasing the price of football tickets by a dollar, and the three hot home tickets for next season appear to be against Iowa State, Wisconsin and Nebraska.
December, 27, 2013
Let the (B1G) games begin ...
- Bill O'Brien and the Houston Texans have agreed to an interview, according to a report by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Still, O'Brien's potential jump to the NFL is "far from a sure thing."
- Linebacker Max Bullough's surprise absence from the Rose Bowl is sure to impact Michigan State, but no one likely feels worse about the situation than Bullough.
- Ohio State players and coaches agree: There's a little of Woody Hayes in Urban Meyer.
- Jake Rudock has a tough final exam in the form of a bowl game against LSU, but the Iowa quarterback and microbiology/pre-med major possesses smart study habits.
- Shane Morris will start Saturday in place of injured Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner, so the Detroit Free Press' Jeff Seidel takes a closer look at Morris' journey from middle school to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
- Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen is hoping to tap a recruiting pipeline in Florida and, in two to three years, would like to see 20 or more players from the Sunshine State.
- Minnesota would like to win a bowl game for a change, and defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman believes having nine wins would be a program changer.
- Bo Pelini was all business as Nebraska arrived at its bowl site and said that "obviously, not everybody made the trip" -- although he wouldn't specify who.
- With Danny Etling, Purdue's future at quarterback is promising (subscription required).
- BTN's Sean Merriman takes a look at the main storyline for every Big Ten bowl game.
December, 20, 2013
One light goes out, they all go out!
- CBS' Jeremy Fowler offered a behind-the-scenes look of the Big Ten's bowl selection, and as one official said, "It's all politics."
- Ohio State co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers could be close to becoming the next head coach at James Madison, The Columbus Dispatch reports.
- Michigan wideout Jeremy Gallon grew up in a town "surrounded by drug dealers, gangs and all negativity," but he overcame that and ended up becoming the Wolverines' team MVP this season.
- Michigan State's receiving corps received plenty of justified criticism before the season, but they've caught their way to redemption.
- Penn State has placed an increased emphasis on its nutrition program, which has aided greatly in DT DaQuan Jones dropping 25 pounds to increase his stamina and TE Garry Gilliam gaining 40 pounds to move to OT.
- Wisconsin redshirt freshman RB Vonte Jackson is trying to overcome three ACL injuries in a span of 22 months, but he's keeping the faith -- and hopes he'll be ready to contribute in time for spring ball.
- Two weeks off has done wonders for Nebraska after a long and tough season, Bo Pelini said.
- Few expected Minnesota's Drew Wolitarsky and Donovahn Jones to contribute this much this early, but the freshman duo has tapped into its potential pretty early.
- It's difficult to tell just how far off a winning season might be for Illinois, but at least it's well on its way to a winning offseason.
- Which Big Ten bowl features the best chance for an upset or the best quarterback battle? BTN's Tom Dienhart weighs in.
December, 13, 2013
The only thing scarier than Friday the 13th? Knowing there's nearly no football on Saturday the 14th ...
- How did Michigan State manage to find the kind of success not seen since the 1950s or 1960s? Look no further than the coaches.
- More than 31,000 requests were put in for the Spartans' 24,000 allotted Rose Bowl tickets, meaning there will be no public sale, so the secondary market is proving to be an expensive option.
- Maryland will not receive distributed bowl revenue from the ACC because the situation regarding its exit fee hasn't yet been resolved.
- Melvin Gordon could leave early for the NFL ... or he could follow the lead of former Wisconsin RB Ron Dayne.
- The Badgers must open up the competition at quarterback next season, writes the Wisconsin State Journal's Tom Oates.
- Ameer Abdullah injured his ankle in Nebraska's seventh game, but that lingering injury -- and the accompanying pain -- couldn't keep him off the field.
- Michigan TE Jake Butt looked as if he was headed toward a redshirt season but gained 37 pounds since last winter and now believes the "sky's the limit."
- Jerry Kill's battle with epilepsy hasn't kept him from taking Minnesota to new heights.
- Someday, CBS columnist Gregg Doyel writes, Penn State guard John Urschel will do something that makes the world stand up and applaud. But first he's going to play in the NFL.
- Braxton Miller is mulling whether to declare for the NFL draft, and here are five reasons why he should.
December, 1, 2013
Recognizing the best and the brightest around the Big Ten during rivalry weekend:
- Iowa LBs James Morris, Christian Kirksey and Anthony Hitchens: The Hawkeyes' starting linebackers have played huge roles in the team's turnaround this season, and they showed why on Black Friday against Nebraska. They combined for seven tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, two interceptions and two sacks. Morris recorded his fourth interception of the season, Kirksey led the team with 11 tackles (3 for loss), and Hitchens had his first career pick. The three seniors have combined for 10 takeaways this season.
- Michigan State LB Denicos Allen: He led the Spartans' defensive effort with 13 tackles, including two tackles for loss and three quarterback hurries. He tracked down David Cobb from behind near the goal line to keep Minnesota out of the end zone early. Hat tips also go to Trae Waynes, who had his first two career interceptions, and Tyler Hoover, who forced a key fumble deep in the Spartans' red zone in the fourth quarter.
- Penn State QB Christian Hackenberg: This was the best game of the season for the true freshman, as Wisconsin dared the Nittany Lions to pass. Hackenberg responded in a big way and finished 21-of-30 for 339 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He played a nearly flawless first half and helped engineer a huge upset over No. 15 Wisconsin. There's no need to wait until Monday; it's pretty clear he's the Big Ten freshman of the week.
- Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde: In a tight game where Braxton Miller attempted just 15 passes, Urban Meyer leaned heavily on Hyde -- and Hyde didn't disappoint. He carried 27 times for 226 yards (8.4 ypc) and a touchdown. Although his fumble led to a Michigan score, the Buckeyes never would've found themselves in the red zone so often without him. Twenty of his carries went for at least 5 yards, and 10 went for at least 10 yards. He ran consistently hard.
- Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian and WR Christian Jones: It's difficult to pick one over the other since they formed such a dangerous combination on Saturday. Siemian threw for 414 yards -- surpassing his previous season high by 138 yards -- and added four touchdowns. Jones was the main beneficiary as he caught a career-high 13 catches for 182 yards. That nearly doubled his previous career high of 94 yards. It was definitely a game to remember for those two, as the Wildcats finally came away with a Big Ten win.
- Indiana QB Tre Roberson: It was a good day for Big Ten quarterbacks, and Roberson continued the trend. He didn't exactly play a tough opponent (Purdue), but his performance on the stat sheet was the most impressive. He tossed six touchdowns to two interceptions. And he added 273 passing yards to a game-high 154 rushing yards. The Hoosiers' uptempo offense went through Roberson, and he made the most of it.
November, 29, 2013
Take your leftover turkey home, throw it in a pot, add some broth, a potato. Baby, you've got a stew going.
- Michigan upset a heavily favored Ohio State team twice in the past, Detroit Free Press' Mark Snyder writes, and another landmark victory here could define the future.
- The Buckeyes are setting offensive records left and right, but the young defense is also within range of the single-season sacks record -- and it hopes to get a few more against a struggling Michigan offensive line.
- Saturday's Ohio State-Michigan matchup will be played 50 years to the day when the rivalry suddenly felt small, back when The Game was played following John F. Kennedy's assassination. The Toledo Blade's David Briggs takes a closer look at the emotions surrounding that game.
- This isn't the season that Michigan State senior Andrew Maxwell envisioned, but he's quietly endured and gained the respect of his teammates.
- Mark Dantonio patiently built his program over seven years on defense, and Minnesota coach Jerry Kill is hoping to emulate that.
- Neither Northwestern, Michigan nor Penn State can match Iowa's rushing attack, the Des Moines Register's Andrew Logue writes, and that's why the Hawkeyes will upset the Huskers.
- Nebraska has won at least nine games in each of the last five seasons -- something only Alabama, Boise State and Oregon have done -- and Bo Pelini is staking claim to win No. 9 on Saturday.
- Wisconsin's pre-snap movement has given fits to opposing offensive lines, even if the Badgers were a bit reluctant at first to embrace the new style.
- Temperatures should hover around the mid-30s for Penn State, which -- for some reason -- makes for perfect short-sleeve weather for many of the Nittany Lions.
- Illinois defensive coordinator Tim Banks has dealt with plenty of question marks this season, but the man who watched as his triplets didn't survive premature births knows what real losses are.
November, 22, 2013
Winter's cold is too much to handle.
- For Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, breaking down offensive film isn't easy because so few opponents use the 3-4. But, as far as Aranda's concerned, the fewer teams playing the 3-4, the bigger the advantage to the Badgers.
- First-year coach Gary Andersen has quickly earned the trust of his Wisconsin players.
- Minnesota's turnaround this season is raising plenty of eyebrows, and it's drawn quite a bit of praise -- and still some skepticism -- so far this season.
- With Ohio State on the verge of breaking the program record for the longest-winning streak, past Buckeyes reflect on Woody Hayes' 22-game streak and tip their cap to the current players.
- Michigan State has found its identity and, The Detroit News' Bob Wojnowski writes it's a pretty darn good one.
- Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald is nearly as conservative as a guy who plays penny slots, Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein writes, and that type of style isn't helping the Wildcats.
- Michigan coach Brady Hoke went with the glass half-full approach and said, "Honestly, we're a pretty good team."
- Conor Boffeli's last game at Kinnick Stadium will be special in no small part thanks to his younger brother, who survived a malignant brain tumor.
- Job security for Nebraska coach Bo Pelini is no guarantee after this season, but it's "business as usual" for him as he prepares for Penn State.
- Grantland's Lindsay Schnell takes a closer look at Penn State's Christian Hackenberg and just how he's bringing happiness back to Happy Valley.
I can't get that "Light 'Em Up" song out of my head ... and I hate myself for it.
- Wisconsin's red-zone defense has been clutch this season, allowing just eight TDs on 21 chances, and opposing offenses are still trying to figure out how to crack Dave Aranda's scheme.
- Even Badgers freshman Nate Hammon didn't expect to play so much so soon, but the safety -- who many fans questioned as a recruit -- is making the most out of the opportunity.
- Brady Hoke's consistency has allowed his team to bounce back from tough losses before, as Michigan has not lost consecutive regular-season games under Hoke.
- Nebraska coach Bo Pelini and the staff are still fighting for their jobs and, Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star's Steven M. Sipple writes, that pressure is bound to trickle down to the players.
- Penn State's Anthony Zettel has a poem tattooed on the inside of his arm and he's quite the dancer, but he's made quite the reputation on the defensive line, where 30 percent of his stops have come behind the line of scrimmage.
- The Gophers' family tradition is a big part of life for redshirt freshman Maxx Williams, and he's making his father (a former Gopher himself) proud of his performance.
- Are some Iowa fans too spoiled? The Des Moines Register's Andrew Logue tackles that and asks whether some of the Hawkeyes' down seasons are just a result of parity.
- The Hoosiers are tired of hearing how they're the Big Ten's worst defense -- and they're anxious to prove otherwise.
- Illinois hasn't won a Big Ten game since Oct. 8, 2011, when it defeated Indiana, and the Illini are hoping to finally end that streak Saturday.
- Michigan State is stronger and tougher than ever before -- thanks to recruiting, the strength coach and much, much more -- and the Spartans are only getting started, writes the Detroit Free Press' Jeff Seidel.
A man should never have to give up his pet alligator.
- Northwestern CB Matthew Harris once survived on food stamps and church donations. Now, the freshman is making his family proud on the football field.
- Ohio State's offensive line has performed consistently well this season, and Urban Meyer said, "They're my favorite players on the team."
- Whether it's slinging pizzas at his part-time job or practicing on the football field, three-star PSU commit Antoine White is a perfectionist.
- Minnesota is dedicating Saturday's game to epilepsy awareness. Jerry Kill is expected to attend but remains on medical leave.
- Taylor Martinez will likely play this weekend, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said, but the starter remains uncertain.
- Northwestern might be reeling right now, but Iowa RB Mark Weisman and the Hawkeyes' running game aren't taking the team for granted.
- The staff of the "Writing Illini" take a look at the most important players heading into the game against Michigan State. (Hint: You can bet Nathan Scheelhaase is mentioned.)
- Mike Griffith breaks down Michigan State's matchup against Illinois and, although the Spartans have the edge on defense, it's a bit trickier on the other side of the ball.
- Nebraska WR Jamal Turner admitted this year hasn't gone as he hoped -- but he swore he'd have a good second half to the season. And that starts against Minnesota.
- Who are the key players for Ohio State this weekend? Three experts picked three different players: CB Bradley Roby, DL Joey Bosa and TE Jeff Heuerman.
Bow ties are cool.
- Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Aranda noticed some big differences when he took a look at the Badgers' defensive stats in wins vs. stats in their losses. Wisconsin TE Sam Arneson is still learning his job, but he's also showing a lot of promise.
- There's plenty of praise to go around when trying to figure out just how Northwestern manages to have two quarterbacks who rank first and third in conference pass efficiency.
- Michigan State is preparing to host its 500th game at Spartan Stadium on Saturday. Past players took a look back at the stadium and how it ha's evolved.
- Michigan's pass defense has fared pretty well so far this season but, Bob Flounders writes, it hasn't gone against a wide receiver quite like Penn State's Allen Robinson. Here are five keys for the Wolverines as they get ready to enter a sold-out Beaver Stadium on the road.
- Penn State safeties coach Anthony Midget lives by a personal philosophy that he tries to pass on to his players -- "Forget it, drive on."
- If there's one likelihood at Purdue's Ross-Ade Stadium this weekend, it's that Nebraska fans will be there in full force.
- Nebraska DE Randy Gregory grew up near Purdue's campus and, at one point, was committed to the Boilermakers. Now, he's looking to give headaches to the team from his home state.
- The Buckeyes are using the bye week to tweak the offense, such as designing more plays to get the ball to receivers on the run and increasing Dontre Wilson's workload.
Michigan Outlook: 2014
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
TBD California Northwestern TBD Indiana State Indiana TBD Jacksonville State Michigan State TBD Appalachian State Michigan TBD Florida Atlantic Nebraska TBD Youngstown State Illinois TBD Northern Iowa Iowa TBD Ohio State Navy TBD Western Michigan Purdue 8:30 AM ET Penn State UCF 9:00 PM ET LSU Wisconsin