Big Ten morning links

November, 24, 2014
Nov 24
8:00
AM ET
One more weekend to go in the regular season. Some thoughts to begin your Thanksgiving week:

1. Next week, the Big Ten will hand out its individual trophies, as well as reveal the all-conference teams. And the media and coaches are going to have a hard time deciding on the coach of the year award.

On one hand, you have Urban Meyer, who has led a very young Ohio State team to a 10-1 record while developing freshman J.T. Barrett into a Heisman Trophy contender on the fly. Eventually, a Buckeyes coach has to win this thing again, right? It hasn't happened since Earle Bruce took home the hardware in 1979, and that's silly.

On the other hand, how do you overlook what Jerry Kill has done at Minnesota? He has the Gophers sitting at 8-3, with a chance to win the West Division by beating Wisconsin this week. It would be nearly impossible to ignore Kill for the award if Minnesota does win that game and forces a rematch with Ohio State in Indianapolis. The Gophers are 16-7 in their last 23 regular-season games and 9-4 in their last 13 Big Ten contests. Remarkable stuff, especially considering a lot of people thought Kill would not return to the sidelines after last year's health issues.

The 28-24 win at Nebraska may have been Kill's best one yet, and it shows the progress this program has made, Chip Scoggins writes.

2. Just think about how much better Minnesota's season would look if its only losses were at TCU and a close one at home vs. Ohio State. But, of course, the Gophers somehow stumbled at Illinois. That was undoubtedly the biggest win in the Tim Beckman era. But Beckman just might have a chance to top that.

Beating Penn State these days is no great achievement, considering the dilapidated state of the Nittany Lions' offense. Still, winning that game in Champaign on Saturday meant that Beckman has doubled his previous Big Ten win total this season and, more importantly, has the Illini in contention for a bowl. If they beat Northwestern this Saturday, the postseason awaits.

Can athletic director Mike Thomas really fire Beckman if he goes 6-6? Attendance remains a major issue, especially considering the embarrassing crowd that showed up to Memorial Stadium on Saturday -- less than 10,000 by most media estimates. But Beckman would have gone from two wins to four wins to six wins in three seasons. It's hard not to call that progress, even if it hasn't been pretty at times.

The ticking clock on Beckman's job has stopped for now, Mark Tupper writes.

3. You couldn't talk about Iowa this season without mentioning that dream schedule: No games against Michigan State, Ohio State Michigan or Penn State (though in hindsight, it would have been better to play those last two than Maryland). West Division rivals Wisconsin and Nebraska coming to Iowa City. A very manageable nonconference slate.

That schedule is a major reason why people were predicting as many as 10 or 11 wins for the Hawkeyes, who were a trendy pick to win the West. But Kirk Ferentz's team has been eliminated from the division race already, and if it doesn't beat a reeling Nebraska team on Black Friday, it will finish 7-5. Even an 8-4 record would feel underwhelming, given all the advantages that Iowa squandered.

The Hawkeyes gave a great effort against Wisconsin on Saturday, especially in the second half. You wonder if things would have been different had they played like that all season. Instead, there's no way to talk about this Iowa season without using the word disappointing.

Let's hit the links ...

West Division
East Division

And, finally ... "Dilly Bar Dan" received more attention and some nice hospitality in Lincoln.

Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 13

November, 23, 2014
Nov 23
2:00
PM ET

Video: Illinois 16, Penn State 14

November, 22, 2014
Nov 22
4:12
PM ET
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Quarterback Reilly O'Toole came off the bench to help spark Illinois in its 16-14 come-from-behind win over Penn State on Saturday.
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Illinois quarterback Reilly O'Toole sparked the Illini in the second half to get the upset win over Penn State on senior day.
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Illinois coach Tim Beckman stuck with his kicker to connect on a last-minute field goal and get the upset win over Penn State.

Illini field goal sinks Penn State, 16-14

November, 22, 2014
Nov 22
3:29
PM ET
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Backup quarterback Reilly O'Toole led Illinois on a late drive that set up a game-winning David Reisner field goal, delivering a 16-14 win over Penn State on Saturday.

Reisner hit from 36 yards with eight seconds left on the clock. Minutes earlier he missed a 50-yarder that would have put Illinois on top.

O'Toole relieved an ineffective Wes Lunt late in the first half. O'Toole finished 18 of 25 for 157 yards and a touchdown for Illinois (5-6, 2-5 Big Ten).

Christian Hackenberg threw for an 18-yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin to put Penn State (6-5, 2-5) up early. But struggled the rest of the day. He finished 7-15 for 72 yards and the touchdown.

Mike Dudek had 11 catches for 115 yards for Illinois.

Penn State running back Akeel Lynch carried the ball 28 times for 137 yards and a 47-yard touchdown.


(Read full post)


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David Reisner 36 yd FG GOOD
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Reilly O'Toole pass complete to Mike Dudek for 25 yds to the PnSt 47 for a 1ST down
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David Reisner 50 yd FG MISSED
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Donovonn Young run for 19 yds to the Illin 49 for a 1ST down
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David Reisner 25 yd FG GOOD
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Akeel Lynch run for 47 yds for a TD (Sam Ficken KICK)
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Christian Hackenberg sacked by Jihad Ward for a loss of 11 yards to the PnSt 29
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DaeSean Hamilton run for a loss of 5 yards to the Illin 49

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Illinois Beats Penn State
Matt Millan and Bob Wischusen break down Illinois' win over Penn State.
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BIG TEN SCOREBOARD

Friday, 11/28
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