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Tag Archives: Purdue Boilermakers
PORTLAND, Ore. — This is how one NCAA men’s basketball tournament team spends a day, two days before it tries to win its first NCAA game in 19 years:
It has an 8 a.m. practice in Cedar Falls. It cleans up, and it heads to the Waterloo airport where other passengers have already been waiting for 90 minutes to get screened and luggage to get processed for a 4-hour Allegiant Air charter flight to Portland.
With the confirmation Wednesday that Illinois will close its season with a game at Cincinnati, all the Big Ten football schedules are set for 2009.
First off, while Illini fans sound irritated that their team will play Fresno State at home and Cincinnati on the road — both capable squads – after the Big Ten season is over, at least they’re real opponents.
Good for the Illini. It may mean another 5-7 season or, worse, a trip to the Motor City Bowl at 6-6. But it at least shows some willingness to play competition.
Either that, or Illinois Athletic Director Ron Guenther failed miserably at finding a patsy to squeeze into his schedule. I hope it’s that deal about wanting to play someone.
If only every Big Ten AD and coach had the same attitude. Hey, the Big Ten isn’t winning BCS titles anyhow and flops miserably every time it sends Ohio State to slaughter in the championship game. So why not make the regular-season more meaningful with actual ballgames?
Only 14 of the 44 nonconference games in ’09 are against BCS conference teams or Notre Dame. That’s ridiculous.
Are you the Big Ten or just the Ten? Actually, you’re the Eleven, but that horse has been beaten to death.
Only three league teams — Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota — are playing two BCS conference teams among their four non-league games. Wisconsin isn’t playing any.
Before noting the cupcakes, let’s give some kudos to the proud and the few who are at least playing interesting games.
Ohio State gets the return date on its home-and-home series with USC.
Purdue heads to Oregon after hosting the Ducks last fall.
Indiana filled out its schedule by taking a game at Virginia, thus becoming the only Big Ten team to play two of its nonconference games on the road.
Cal is playing at Minnesota and Arizona is at Iowa, so those are 2008 bowl teams from the Pac-10 coming into Big Ten lairs.
But by and large, Big Ten non-league slates are another big pile of bleccccch.
Nine games are against FCS (I-AA) opposition. Purdue and Ohio State are the only Big Ten teams not devouring FCS prey. A few are among the cream of the FCS crop, like Northern Iowa and Wofford. But …
Delaware State (5-6 last year) at Michigan?
Towson (3-9) at Northwestern?
Eastern Illinois (5-7) at Penn State?
Penn State is playing all four of its nonconference games at home, against Akron, Syracuse, Temple and mighty Eastern Illinois. That’s absurd. Are you a football power or not? If you are, act like one and schedule somebody.
Playing two Mid-American Conference teams, an FCS squad and Syracuse, the Least of the Big East, is great for wins. It won’t work too well in those BCS computers, though.
Ranking the non-league schedules by toughness is difficult, because most are lousy. But here goes:
1. Illinois: Vs. Missouri in St. Louis, Illinois State, Fresno State, at Cincinnati (The series with Mizzou is a good one, and Cincinnati is fresh off an Orange Bowl appearance.)
2. Minnesota: at Syracuse, Air Force, California, South Dakota State (Air Force and Cal went to bowls, Syracuse is on the road, and S.D. State is one of the better FCS teams a Big Ten team is playing.)
3. Purdue: Toledo, at Oregon, Northern Illinois, Notre Dame. (Toledo was lousy in ’08, but the other three went to bowls and Oregon won 10 games.)
4. Wisconsin: Northern Illinois, Fresno State, Wofford, at Hawaii (The three FBS teams went to bowls, and Wofford won nine games and played South Carolina to a 10-point game.)
5. Ohio State: Navy, USC, vs. Toledo in Cleveland, New Mexico State (The USC game goes a long way here, obviously.)
6. Michigan State: Montana State, Central Michigan, at Notre Dame, Western Michigan. (Doesn’t look like much, but the three FBS teams went to bowls, the two MAC teams are in-state clubs that will be motivated, going to South Bend is no picnic, and Montana State was 7-5)
7. Iowa: Northern Iowa, at Iowa State, Arizona, Arkansas State. (UNI’s a terrific FCS team, and Arizona’s legit. If Iowa State were just a little stronger …)
Now it gets bad.
8. Indiana: Eastern Kentucky, Western Michigan, at Akron, at Virginia. (Western Michigan is a good program. Playing on the road twice should count for something, though all it really means is Indiana is a Big Ten football program without much clout.)
9. Michigan: Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan, Delaware State. (Four home games. Not a Top 25 team in the bunch. This isn’t the Michigan scheduling we’ve known for the last half-century. Bo Schembechler would never have scheduled Delaware State.)
10. Northwestern: Miami (Ohio), Towson, at Syracuse, Eastern Michigan. (Not a good opponent in the foursome. Only playing Syracuse on the road keeps the ‘Cats from being ranked below … )
11. Penn State: Akron, Syracuse, Temple, Eastern Illinois. (What, Slippery Rock, Swarthmore, Susquehanna, and Scranton/Dundler-Miffin weren’t available?)
I miss the old UNLV Runnin’ Rebels of Jerry Tarkanian. You knew those guys would score 90 points every time out. The question was if they’d hit 100 or 110.
I miss college basketball, period. I’ve covered two games in the last five days. There weren’t 100 points total in either one.
Last Saturday it was Purdue 49, Iowa 45. Nothing can be that wretched for a long time, I said to myself.
Sure, if four days is a long time.
Wednesday night, I was among the eyewitnesses who saw Drake edge Northern Iowa, 47-46.
At one point in the game, there were 26 points and 24 turnovers.
What happened to a once-entertaining game? Where’s Tark? Whatever happened to Showtime? Or at the very least, a team that could score 50 points in a game.
Something worse happened Wednesday than the brick-laying turnover fest at UNI. At Champaign, Penn State beat Illinois, 38-33. No Fighting Illini player scored more than seven points.
Penn State shot 28.3 percent from the field and won!
The teams’ combined 71 points was the lowest total in Division I men’s basketball since Monmouth beat Princeton 41-21 in 2005.
“Naismith probably rolled over several times,” Penn State Coach Ed DeChellis said after the game.
Illinois’ point total was its lowest since a 33-31 loss to Minnesota in 1947.
Get this: Illinois is ranked 18th in the country!
Other scores from Wednesday: Western Michigan 46, Eastern Michigan 38. Nebraska 46, Colorado 41.
Some Wednesday scores from outside the Midwest:
Oklahoma State 92, Texas Tech 82
Florida 83, Alabama 74
Louisville 94, Providence 76
Hofstra 99, James Madison 94
Those are basketball scores. Those are basketball games. How I miss them.
(AP photo of Iowa’s Jake Kelly by Charlie Neibergall)
IOWA CITY — With his head bandaged like that of a fife player marching across a battlefield, Jake Kelly knifed for a lay-in with four seconds left in his team’s basketball game Saturday.
With the tape circling his head, the Iowa sophomore guard looked like the proper symbol of the Hawkeyes, a ragtag unit with their best big man (Cyrus Tate) and their point guard (Jeff Peterson) both injured and unavailable for duty.
Kelly’s score was also symbolic of Iowa’s day before a lively crowd of 14,665 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The basket pared No. 20 Purdue’s lead to two points, but wasn’t quite enough.
The Boilermakers left with a 49-45 win in a game as aesthetically ugly as its score, but one that certainly wasn’t lacking for ferocity.
It was a defensive tour de force for both squads, one that kept the fans energized despite Iowa’s baskets being few, and so hard to come by.
Kelly typified his team’s effort, not its result. He had to leave the court late in the game when he and Purdue’s Chris Kramer inadvertently butted heads. Iowa’s cut man, John Streif, worked on Kelly to clot the bleeding above his left eye that would later require three stitches.
The player returned and scored the last of his 12 points in the second-half and game-high 19 overall. But again, it wasn’t quite enough. Which is the story of Iowa’s 3-10 Big Ten season.
“If,” Kelly said, “no one would have gotten hurt all year — that’s pretty outrageous to say, but I think it would have been a totally different season.”
You play with what you’ve got. Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter stitched together a 7-player rotation Saturday, got a very productive season-high 32 minutes of 6-foot-7 forward Jarryd Cole in the middle, and had non-point guard Kelly share time at that spot with Jermain Davis in Peterson’s absence.
Throw in a fife and a couple of drums, and you had the portrait of Iowa’s squad.
But Kelly and Cole combined for 32 of Iowa’s 45 points in an offense that wasn’t really an offense. That isn’t intended as an insult, just a reflection about things not being entirely structured when Kelly was at the point.
“I didn’t know any of the plays,” Kelly said, “so we just ran high ball-screen all game.
“We weren’t running like quote-unquote sets, but we knew what we were doing. It wasn’t like we were just going out there and hooping. I don’t think it was like schoolyard ball. Just maybe a little organized than we’re used to playing.”
No, the ball definitely wasn’t the schoolyard variety. You don’t see defense like that from two teams in any driveway or playground, let alone the vast majority of most Division I gyms.
Purdue had to match Iowa’s defense with excellent lockdown of its own to get out of town with its 19th win.
But Kelly kept the Hawkeyes’ fire stoked, even putting them ahead with 6:54 left on one of his several cuts to the basket before he got cut himself.
Forty-five minutes after the game, Kelly had gauze on his sliced eyebrow that looked as gruesome as the game itself. But he didn’t sound like a wounded warrior.
“We had a packed house today,” he said. “We had so many fans supporting us. We’re not going to just give up and not put on a show for the fans. We’re going to work hard every days and we’re going to earn our scholarships.”
Purdue Coach Matt Painter, after collecting his 100th career win, called Kelly “the best player on the court.”
However, the sophomore player and Iowa’s head coach still ended up with their 23rd Big Ten loss in 31 games.
Last year, Lickliter needed more players. A lot of them. This year, he needs more players. A few, anyway. Especially those with size and those who can, as the expression goes, can create their own shots.
The “playing hard” thing and the “buying into the system” deal, those don’t seem to be issues. The Hawkeyes had all sorts of reasons to phone in this game, and instead played harder. Which should have come as no surprise to regular observers of the squad.
The losing wears on everyone, from the head coach to the fan in Row 35. But if nothing else, the right attitude seems to be in place for future success if the talent becomes adequate enough to accompany it.
Kelly certainly seems like a primary piece of the plan for the next two years, if he can stay in one piece. He spent his Saturday night icing the cut eye and a sore hip.
“It’s a hip pointer,” he said. “I fall on it. I’m pretty skinny, so I don’t have much meat there.”
That’s his team, too. Too thin.
Round up some beef on the recruiting trail, Coach Lick. The fans are getting hungry, and hungry people eventually get impatient.
Game time is 3 p.m. The nationally ranked Purdue Boilermakers and the not-so-nationally ranked Iowa Hawkeyes.
Log in, and let it fly.
The link’s at the Hlog: http://gazetteonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090214/NEWS/902149995/1008/SPORTS
(Note to readers: I changed the title of this post because one of you good e-mailers politely let me know Iowa had a 3-game stretch that produced just 147 points in the 1983-84 season. It’s been corrected in the words that follow, too, and I appreciate the head’s up.)
Going into Wednesday night’s home game against Wisconsin, the Iowa men’s basketball team has three straight defeats.
There have been longer stretches of losing.
But as far as putting the ball in the basket, it has rare over the last 60 years when the Hawkeyes have endured a 3-game stretch like the one they’re enduring.
Iowa’s totals of 49, 49 and 53 in games against Minnesota, Michigan and Purdue add up to 151, an average of 50.3.
Topping 50 Sunday at Purdue prevented the Hawkeyes from their first three-game streak of being held under that mark. The last time that happened was the 1948-49 season, when they had four consecutive games in the 40s.
No shot clock or 3-point line existed then, of course.
Iowa had back-to-back games in the 40s once last season, too, and seven overall.
This season, things looked better. The Hawkeyes actually topped 70 on four occasions. They didn’ t plummet under 50 until a 60-43 loss at Drake on Dec. 20. It was a harbinger of bad Big Ten things to come.
A 52-49 home loss to Minnesota. A 64-49 defeat at Michigan. And the most recent indignity, a 75-53 whipping at Purdue.
Now comes Wisconsin, which isn’t exactly a go-go outfit. Iowa scored 51 and 54 in losses to the Badgers last season.
There was a time when when the Hawkeyes were interesting on offense.
Maybe again some year. Maybe next year.
But not now.
I’m not trashing Todd Lickliter, not when he inherited a shell of a roster when he got to Iowa, and not when injuries have stopped this season’s team from maximizing its potential.
But when he doesn’t have the personnel to play his style of basketball, it’s hard to watch. And the way the Hawkeyes are playing right now is hard to watch.
The men’s basketball budgets of Northern Iowa and Drake are roughly half that of those at Iowa and Iowa State. So who has the two best teams in the state right now?
Northern Iowa, for sure, and probably Drake despite getting blasted by the Panthers the way it did last weekend.
This vanished rather quickly from Gazetteonline.com’s home page and sports home page. The news marches on, and there was quite a bit of it this weekend in preps and college sports.
But the Hlog’s owner has an ego to feed, and wants his work to be available to the greatest people on the planet — visitors to the Hlog.
So without further ado …
IOWA CITY — If Shonn Greene isn’t in New York City the night of Dec. 13, college football lacks justice.
That isn’t a provincial opinion, nor is it a bias because I like the way Greene has stayed humble when even modest types might get fat heads with his accomplishments. It’s because the best players in the country should be Heisman finalists, period.
If Greene isn’t deemed one of the five premier performers in college ball this year, the Heisman electorate needs to turn 2009 ballots over to someone more qualified. Like the residents of a monkey house in any of this nation’s fine zoos.
We know Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell is sensational and a deserving candidate. So is Texas QB Colt McCoy, and ’07 Heisman-winning QB Tim Tebow of Florida, and Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford. We know gifted Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree had the season’s Heisman moment in the Red Raiders’ stirring win over Texas.
So that’s five well-known and wonderful players just in that one paragraph. But how about a little love for the best running back in college football, a player who can spin with the best of them on “Dancing With the Stars” on one touchdown, and deliver merciless power and punishment on another?
Greene’s two TD runs Saturday in Kinnick Stadium were yin and yang, seemingly opposite forces that came together to carry Iowa to a not-so-pretty 22-17 win over Purdue. It was a brilliant way to end the home portion of Greene’s meteor of a college career. He has lighted the sky in his too-brief time as a Hawkeye starter, and he’ll surely be gone after Iowa’s bowl game.
“One more year,” Iowa students chanted. But that’s only asked of the players who are surely gone.
A 23-year-old junior who runs for 100 yards 11 times in 11 tries, gains 6.2 yards a carry, and averages 154 yards a game in Big Ten play has nothing left to prove in college football. In a few months, it’s time for Greene to make some money in the NFL. A lot of money. The team that drafts him immediately gets better.
After Saturday’s game, Greene was just as evasive on the possibility of turning pro this winter as he was on his 75-yard, sleight-of-foot touchdown dash in the second quarter. It’s the prudent thing to do. You don’t want to be a distraction to your team by telling the world you’re going pro after the bowl game.
Maybe that’s not the way Greene is consciously approaching it. It’s probably just his instinct, which would be consistent. Based on his running all season long, his instincts are very good.
“I just want to cap two more wins off,” Greene said, “then I’ll worry about that stuff.”
Well-played, Shonn. Just like his answer to whether he wants to be invited to the Heisman ceremony next month.
“I really don’t care too much for it,” Greene said. “We’re trying to get the best bowl game as of right now. Heisman, I’ll let all those other people deal with that stuff.”
If those other people were his teammates and coaches, Greene would be in Manhattan in four weeks.
“An amazing back, isn’t he?” said defensive tackle Mitch King. “It’s fun watching him run. I’m excited having him on our team rather than any other team. He can make plays when plays aren’t there.”
Of Heisman talk, Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said, “Those are comparisons I can’t make. I know there are a lot of quarterbacks playing at an extremely high level. I don’t put the whammy on anybody. But after 11 weeks, I can’t imagine anybody playing their position better than Shonn’s playing it.”
No man is an island, and Greene lauded his offensive line over and over for the 11th-straight postgame.
But let’s not forget Iowa’s defense. More specifically, we cannot in good conscience let Iowa’s home finale pass without praising King.
It didn’t close Iowa’s win, but it was fitting that King sacked Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter on the Boilers’ final drive. King was held on the play by a Purdue blocker and still dropped Painter for a 9-yard loss.
The last two years, you would swear Big Ten officials allowed offensive linemen to clutch and grab King just to make it a semblance of a fair fight. King ranks alongside Bob Sanders and Matt Roth in the amount of pandemonium he caused on defense for the Hawkeyes this decade. The good kind of pandemonium.
“Mitch has been awfully disruptive,” Ferentz said, “and that didn’t start this year. He’s had a phenomenal career here.”
If Iowa wins Saturday night at Minnesota, it finishes 8-4 and probably goes to the Outback Bowl. King and Greene deserve a New Year’s showcase game. They and their team have much to play for in the Metrodome in six days.
“I don’t expect anybody to let up this week,” King said. “They better not, anyway, I’ll tell you that. I’ll get after them if they do.”
That should be all the motivation the Hawkeyes need.
By Mike Hlas
Illinois head football coach Ron Zook, left, talks with linemen Jeff Alle (rear) and Jon Asamoah during Saturday’s 23-17 loss to Western Michigan at Ford Field in Detroit. (AP photo)
“We are at about 19,000 feet. The mountain is at 26,000 feet, and the air is changing a little bit. The air is a little rarer.” — Alabama Coach Nick Saban after his team improved to 10-0 with a 27-21 overtime win at LSU
1. The Wait is On: There is no Game of the Week this week. Which is all right, because next week’s is good enough for two weeks.
It’s 10-0 Texas Tech at 9-1 Oklahoma. Both are idle this week. Both got even more revved up Saturday. Tech routed No. 8 Oklahoma State, 56-20, and Oklahoma obliterated Texas A&M, 66-28.
“We can stop ourselves, and that’s what we try not to do,” said stellar Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree. “But I think probably that’s about the only people who can stop us.”
“We seem to surprise a lot of people other than our team,” added his coach, Mike Leach.
The Red Raiders have scored 479 points. Oklahoma tops even that, with 514. The Sooners held a 66-21 lead over A&M after three quarters in College Station, then released their feet from Aggie throats.
“There are still sportsmanship issues that you do your best to handle,” Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops said. “I just think that’s important. We played hard for three quarters.
“You just have to choose sportsmanship over BCS points. To me, in the end, it’s the right way to play it.”
OU running back Chris Brown didn’t have the same sentiment after his three-touchdown effort.
“You know how the BCS is going right now,” Brown said. “You just can’t win by a nail-biter, unless it’s a very great team you’re playing against. You can get up on a team 35-0 in the first half and fell like, well, the game’s over. Not with us. We want to keep pouring it on.”
2. Dancing in East Lansing: Did you see this coming? Did anyone? The first-place team in the Big Ten on Nov. 11 is Michigan State.
The Spartans are 6-1, a nose in front of 5-1 Ohio State and 5-1 Penn State. They have this week off, then play for at least a share of the Big Ten title Nov. 22 at Penn State. MSU is virtually assured its first January bowl in nine years
Michigan State beat Purdue, 21-7, to set up its showdown in State College.
“We’ve been through a lot together, but I think our greatest moments are ahead of us,” said Spartans senior quarterback Brian Hoyer. “We have an opportunity to do something here that hasn’t been done in a long time.”
MSU head coach Mark Dantonio: “I said last year that we have an opportunity to win every single football game that we come out to. Everything we do — the 80 hours a week you work as a coach — that’s to win, that’s not to stay close.”
3. Bucking Broncos: Can anyone in the Big Ten defeat Western Michigan?
The Broncos of the Mid-American Conference handled Illinois in Detroit, 23-17. WMU quarterback Tim Hiller completed 28 of 40 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns.
You may remember Hiller torching Iowa for 367 yards and three TDs in Western’s 28-19 win in Iowa City last November.
“He’s a great player, an NFL player, with unbelievable accuracy,” said Illinois Coach Ron Zook.
“My grandfather (Dan Sabino) played for Illinois in 1952 when they won the Rose Bowl,” Hiller said. “He had his jersey and ring in his office. I learned all about Illinois football. That’s why this was so special.”
4. Campbell Mmmm Mmmm Good: The Hlist normally holds pickpockets in the same regard it does Pick ‘Ems.
That’s The Gazette’s Saturday Pick ‘ems, a weekly collection of bizarre predictions and even less stable commentary. The Hlist is one of the participants. The Hlist may be a self-Hloather.
But KCRG-TV’s John Campbell predicted this score: Iowa 24, Penn State 23. And that’s no fish tale.
1. Penned In: Penn State’s loss to the Hawkeyes wasn’t welcomed only in Iowa.
“Let’s face it, the majority of the country did not want to see Penn State in the BCS title game,” wrote Stewart Mandel of sportsillustrated.com.
It’s hard to get too down on Penn State. That’s still the best team in the Big Ten, and will be the league’s Rose Bowl representative. Plus, Joe Paterno was more than generous after Saturday’s game.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Iowa,” Paterno said. “The Iowa kids stayed tough, played hard. Their quarterback played a heck of a game for them. . . . And when they turned the ball over for us, we didn’t get the job done. Don’t take anything away from Iowa, OK?”
What becomes a legend most? Grace in a difficult moment, that’s what.
2. Orange Slush: Let’s say you’re the Motor City Bowl, and Illinois finds a way to win one of its last two games to finish 6-6. Do you want the Fighting Illini in your game?
Who is the Motor City Bowl to be picky? Who is the Motor City Bowl to turn up its nose at a team that was in the Rose Bowl last season?
Well, Illinois played in Detroit Saturday, losing to Western Michigan in front of a reported gathering of 12,785. The actual crowd was about half that at 65,000-seat Ford Field, the site of the Motor City Bowl. It is believed to be the smallest crowd to see an Illini game since they hosted Pittsburgh before 9,962 fans in 1945.
“We could have played them naked in a gymnasium (and still lost), said Illinois defensive coordinator Dan Disch.
“We want our seniors to go out with a bang,” said Illinois receiver Arrelious Benn, “but they’re not going out with the bang they expected.”
3. Gophers Burrow Downward: Minnesota was nationally ranked and 7-1. Then it lost successive home games to Northwestern and Michigan, which aren’t exactly Texas Tech and Oklahoma.
“You could tell they didn’t take us seriously,” said Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham after the Wolverines’ 29-7 win at Minnesota. “They weren’t expecting us to smack them in the mouth. They questioned our toughness. They must have thought that we just stopped caring about playing.”
The Gophers stop playing their home games in the Metrodome for good after their season-finale against Iowa. Michigan (3-7) closed its Metrodome history with 12 wins in 12 visits. That’s a dozen times it left the Dome with the Little Brown Jug traveling trophy.
“Michigan needs to get the Little Brown Jug, fill it with cognac, and forget this whole season ever happened.” said Chris Fowler on ESPN’s College Gameday.
“Okay, this time I really mean it: Since Notre Dame clearly can’t hold up its end of the football rivalry, BC really is going to have to drop them from our schedule the way we did Holy Cross.” — Mike Lupica, New York Daily News and Boston College grad.
BC beat Notre Dame, 17-0, for its sixth-straight win over the Irish.
(AP photo of Michigan State’s Javon Ringer)
“We’re all going to be dreaming it for the rest of our lives, but even if it ends right here you’ve got the happiest group of students and alumni and townsfolk in the whole wide world. If we don’t win another game again we can die happy.” — Texas Tech 1972 graduate Bill Windsor on the Red Raiders’ 39-33 win over Texas
1. High Tech: Who knew it could actually be fun to be in Lubbock, Texas?
If you didn’t find Texas Tech’s win thrilling Saturday night, you must be too numb from watching Big Ten football.
“Play 60 minutes. You may have a second to spare,” Texas Tech Coach Mike Leach said after the game.
Leach was right about that, and everything else so far this season. His unbeaten Red Raiders won the Game of the Year on the Play of the Year, Graham Harrell’s 28-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree.
Crabtree went all-or-nothing on the play with time slipping away. Instead of slipping out of bounds after the catch to set up a chip-shot field goal, he tightrope-walked the sideline after shedding a tackle, then veered into the end zone with: 01 left.
“On the sideline, I dreamed that I would catch a pass and go in the end zone for a game-winning touchdown,” Crabtree said afterward. “But I do that every game.”
For those thinking the win was a fluke, Tech outgained the Longhorns 579 yards to 374, and only trailed for a minute and 28 seconds all night. Harrell vaulted into Heisman Trophy contention after completing 36 of 53 passes for 474 yards. Suddenly, Texas counterpart Colt McCoy isn’t a lock to win the Heisman.
“Colt’s a good quarterback. But I think the best quarterback lives in Lubbock,” said Tech defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill.
Leach took the win, called the biggest in Tech’s history, more in stride more than anyone in Lubbock. His team hosts No. 8 Oklahoma State Saturday.
“Now the biggest game in history is Oklahoma State,” Leach said, “or the history of this year, anyway.”
2. Dawgs Pounded: Florida’s players were ordered to do 42 repetitions at each weight station during summer workouts, one for each point they allowed in their 42-30 loss to Georgia last year.
The Gators also did 188 sit-ups, push-ups and crunches each during those workouts, one for each yard Georgia back Knowshon Moreno rushed for in that game.
After Moreno scored Georgia’s first touchdown against Florida last year, 70 Bulldog players rushed to the end zone to stomp around. In his biography called “Urban’s Way,” Florida Coach Urban Meyer said “That wasn’t right. It was a bad deal. And it will forever be in the mind of Urban Meyer and in the mind of our football team. . . . So we’ll handle it. And it’s going to be a big deal.”
Meyer called timeouts with 44 and 30 seconds left in the game and his team ahead by 39 points.
The Hlist thinks Urban’s Way could use some Urban Refinement.
3. Kafka No Nightmare: Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka set a Big Ten record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 217 in the Wildcats’ 24-17 win at Minnesota.
Kafka, playing because starter C.J. Bacher was out with an injury, also passed for 143 yards.
“That kid was good,” Minnesota defensive end Willie Van DeSteeg said. “It was like having two running backs out there.”
“And only the Northwestern eggheads could have a quarterback named Kafka, by the way,” wrote Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “His wideouts were Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy.”
The Wildcats, 7-2, were playing to hang on for an overtime. But Brendan Smith returned an interception 48 yards for the winning score with 12 seconds left. The ball bounced off cornerback David Oredugba’s hands and into Smith’s.
“They always make fun of me for my bad hands,” Oredugba said, “so thank you, Lord, for giving me bad hands.”
1. Bo-loney: Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini was a little miffed after his team got crushed at Oklahoma, 62-28. The Sooners had a 28-0 lead six minutes into the game.
Pelini refused to make his players available to the media afterward. Which was kind of a rotten deal for the dozens of traveling reporters from Nebraska, where Cornhusker football is still bigger than life even though the Huskers are a humble 2-3 in the Big 12.
A city named Lincoln shouldn’t have a dictator as a prominent resident.
When asked to explain his decision to muffle his team, Pelini’s voice started rising.
“You know what,” he said, “I will make them not available the whole week, if that’s what you want me to do. Is that what you want me to do? I thought I made it clear where we stand on that.
“The players are not available for comment, OK? If you don’t like it, tough. Ask me the questions you’d ask the players.”
To which a good first question would have been, “How come your head coach didn’t put you in a position to compete tonight?”
2. Michigone: How bad is it for Michigan? Toledo shoved coach Tom Amstutz out of his job Monday even though the Rockets won at Michigan last month. In years past, Toledo would have given a coach a lifetime contract for beating the Wolverines.
Michigan secured its first losing season since 1967 with its 48-42 loss at Purdue. The 2-7 Wolverines won’t go to a bowl for the first time in 34 years.
“We’ve had great tradition and we still have great tradition,” said Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez.
Well, at least he’s half-right.
3. Bottomed Out: Wisconsin was ranked ninth in the nation in September. Now it’s November, and the Badgers are 1-5 and alone in last place of the Big Ten.
The Badgers only trailed for seven seconds of their game at Michigan State. They were the wrong seven seconds, the last seven seconds. After their 25-24 loss, UW safety Chris Maragos said “Everything is kind of in disarray right now.”
“We are just trying to get to a bowl game,” Badger wide receiver David Gilreath said. “You don’t want the season to go down the drain.
“You want something good to come out of it. I guess a bowl would do that.”
Uh, David, what if the bowl is the Motor City?
“I stayed up watching the game again until 2:30 (a.m.). I didn’t erase it and I’m going to watch it a couple of other times.” — Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance
“You’re aware of Rich Rodriguez, the high-priced football coach at Michigan who has been having a rough time adapting to the rigors of the Big Ten?
“Well, don’t feel too sorry for him. Just remember that ‘Fraud-Riguez,’ as the T-shirts proclaimed him last winter, bolted West Virginia, where he had six years remaining on his contract, a mere 17 days before his team faced Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.
“Rodriguez, who watched the bowl game on TV while an assistant coached the Mountaineers to victory, isn’t even a fellow to face up to his deviousness. He sent a graduate assistant to deliver his resignation letter to West Virginia’s athletic director.” — Rick Telander, Chicago Sun-Times
1. Penthouse State: Alone atop the Big Ten stands Penn State after its 13-6 win at Ohio State. Finally, the Nittany Lions played someone of repute.
“I thought it was a good football game,” Penn State Coach Joe Paterno said after his 381st win. “I’ve been around a lot of football games.”
Still, there are always critics. Not everyone is convinced Paterno’s squad is worthy of a national title game.
“I don’t know if they’re a better team than Texas, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, USC or Alabama,” former Auburn coach Pat Dye told Sportingnews.com.
He neglected to include Texas Tech.
2. One in a Row: Wisconsin, which used to win games with frequency, snapped a four-game losing streak by beating Illinois, 27-17.
“It feels like we just won the national championship,” said Wisconsin’s David Gilreath, who had a 49-yard touchdown reception.
“It’s a game on the schedule that we needed to win,” Badgers Coach Bret Bielema said. “I don’t know if there is any more importance to win at any time.”
“That’s a lie,” UW strong safety Jay Valai said, grinning. “Let’s keep it real. This game was more important than any of the ones we played because we finally (won), thank God.”
3. Spartans Have Hart: Michigan State fans congregated in a corner of Michigan Stadium Saturday, chanting “Lit-tle Sis-ter! Lit-tle Sis-ter!”
Last year, Michigan running back Mike Hart referred to Michigan State as “little brother.” The Wolverines beat MSU last year for their sixth straight triumph over their state rival.
A banner was hung outside Michigan’s stadium after the game. It read: “Little Brother Just Kicked Big Brother’s (Backside)”
What would MSU people do if their team ever won two in a row over the Wolverines?
4. Gophers Golden: Minnesota was 1-11 last year with the defense that was ranked last in the nation.
This year’s Gophers are 7-1 after a 17-6 win at Purdue.
“We just fly around,” said Minnesota safety Kyle Theret, who had nine solo tackles and an interception.
The Gophers fly with an attitude. They had four personal foul penalties at Purdue.
“We were running our mouths and did a little extra activity that we shouldn’t have,” senior defensive end Willie VanDeSteeg said. “But we won.”
1. Joe the Bummer: It’s been a fine 12-year run for Joe Tiller as Purdue’s coach. The first 11 seasons were good, anyway, with 10 bowl trips.
The 2-6 Boilermakers are alone in the Big Ten basement at 0-4 in this, Tiller’s final season. Some way to go out.
“This isn’t how I envisioned it,” Tiller said.
His team managed a paltry 226 yards in its 17-6 loss to Minnesota. The 109 passing yards were the fewest in Tiller’s Purdue tenure.
When asked about a slight shoulder separation that kept Boilermakers quarterback Curtis Painter on the sideline the entire second half, Tiller told a radio reporter “Most guys would play with that. I don’t know why he didn’t. But he didn’t . . .”
Tiller’s frustration carried over from midweek when he reacted to comments made by running back Kory Sheets that questioned Sheets’ confidence in Painter.
“Well, as I said to our own coaches,” Tiller said, “(Sheets) has grown physiologically but not intellectually the last four years. So, if you know him, it’s not a surprise. It’s a disappointment.
“So, if any person thinks that they’re going to carry the team, then perhaps we should just hand him the ball and stand on the sidelines and cheer. I don’t know what type of game plan that would be, but perhaps we could try it.
“One thing about it, I don’t really ever sugarcoat stuff.”
2. Northern Exposure: The Big 12 North is 2-10 against the South. The North’s best team would be the South’s fifth-best. A team from the North will play a team from the South in December for the league title.
The Hlist’s question: Why?
From the Kansas City Star’s Blair Kerkhoff:
“An incredible football game was waged on Kansas soil Saturday.
“Texas Tech took the early lead on Oklahoma, but the Sooners roared back to edge ahead.
“From there, the teams exchanged leads, and late in the proceedings the Red Raiders grabbed a 56-55 lead.
“Finally, Tech prevailed 63-58.
“Sadly for Kansas and Kansas State, the Sooners and Red Raiders played around the same time but not against each other. Instead, they toyed with the Sunflower State institutions of higher learning and lower football prowess.
“Texas Tech blew the doors off Kansas 63-21, and Oklahoma ran away from Kansas State 58-35.”
3. Boo Hoo, LSU: It’s not easy being mortal.
LSU defensive end Rahim Alem pointed the finger at his team’s offense after Georgia ripped the defending national champion Tigers, 52-38.
“There were two touchdowns we couldn’t do anything about,” Alem said, referring to LSU quarterback Jarrett Lee’s two interceptions that Georgia linebacker Darryl Gamble returned for touchdowns.
“Everybody has turnovers, but when you throw two interceptions for touchdowns, those are game-changers,” Alem said.
At least he shouldered half of the blame.
“On defense, we messed up big. On offense, we messed up big.”
Coach Les Miles got a big raise and a contract extension from LSU last December when Michigan wooed him. So someone with the program didn’t mess up big.
4. Ground Yuck: Navy beat SMU 34-7 without attempting a single pass. Using a triple option, the Midshipmen rushed 77 times for 404 yards.
It’s khaki-ugly football, though, and it’s a military thing. Army and Air Force also have won games this year without completing a pass.
“If you can do this to LSU in frothing Tiger Stadium, you need have no fear of Florida or anything reptilian.” Mark Bradley, Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Georgia plays the Florida Gators Saturday.