Big Ten: Iowa State Cylcones

Big Ten lunch links

September, 10, 2009
9/10/09
12:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg


In honor of the dude working the register at my local UPS store, who bears an eerily close resemblance to The Dude, I give you this:

Maude Lebowski: What do you do for recreation?

The Dude: Oh, the usual. I bowl. Drive around. The occasional acid flashback.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

The official Big Ten Player of the Week selections are out, but if you've been reading the blog, you saw them already. Looks like the league office and I are finally on the same page.

From the release:

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Javon Ringer, Sr., RB, Michigan State

With a driving rain limiting the passing offense, Ringer carried the load in a win over Florida Atlantic by racking up career highs with 43 rushing attempts and 282 yards on the ground to earn his second straight Big Ten Player of the Week award. The senior running back averaged 6.6 yards per carry and scored a pair of touchdowns from 21 and 11 yards out to provide nearly all of the offense in the 17-0 victory. His 282-yard performance represents the fourth-best single-game effort in Michigan State history and the most ground yardage since Lorenzo White broke loose for 292 yards against Indiana in 1987. The last Big Ten rusher to crack the 280-mark in a game was Wisconsin's Anthony Davis, who collected 301 yards against Minnesota on Nov. 23, 2002. Ringer becomes the first Spartan to nab consecutive Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week laurels since quarterback Drew Stanton was honored on Sept. 19 and 26 of 2005. Ringer now boasts three weekly awards, as he was also honored on Oct. 15, 2007.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

DeAndre Levy, Sr., LB, Wisconsin

Levy was all over the field with a team-best nine tackles, four tackles for loss, a sack, a pass breakup and an interception to help hold nationally-ranked Fresno State to only 10 points in a road triumph for Wisconsin. In the first quarter, the senior linebacker picked off a tipped pass on the Bulldogs' 34-yard line to set up the Badgers only touchdown of the game. Trailing 13-10, the hosts moved into Wisconsin territory on their final drive of the game before Levy came up with his biggest play of the night, sacking the quarterback on third-and-11 with less than three minutes remaining to force a punt. The visitors would run out the clock to secure the three-point victory. Levy and the Badgers held Fresno State to only 10 points and 304 total yards after the Bulldogs had posted 24 points and 422 total yards in a season-opening win at Rutgers. This marks the second weekly accolade for Levy, who was also honored on Oct. 29, 2007.

SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Andy Brodell, Jr., WR/PR, Iowa

With Iowa clinging to a 10-3 lead over in-state rival Iowa State, Brodell put the game away with an 81-yard punt return touchdown with just over six minutes left in the game. The senior wide receiver recorded his first punt return score and established a new career best, surpassing his 78-yard punt return against Syracuse last season. Brodell is the first Hawkeye to return a punt for a touchdown since Jovon Johnson went 90 yards against Ball State in 2005. Brodell added two receptions against the Cyclones as Iowa reclaimed the Cy-Hawk Trophy. This marks the first weekly honor of Brodell's career.

Competition boosts Hawkeyes offense

September, 10, 2008
9/10/08
12:37
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

 
 AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
 Iowa's Shonn Greene is averaging 6.8 yards a carry this season.

The competition-makes-us-better line is one rung below one-game-at-a-time on the sports cliche-o-meter, but Iowa is backing it up this season.

The Hawkeyes had few jobs solidified on offense heading into camp, including both quarterback and running back. Gone were top rushers Albert Young and Damian Sims. Former walk-on Paki O'Meara emerged from spring ball as the starter, and the presumed favorite to become the featured back, Shonn Greene, had spent the previous year away from the team at a junior college. Quarterback Jake Christensen didn't inspire great confidence after starting last season, and he needed to beat out Ricky Stanzi to remain on the top line.

Greene's name didn't even appear on the Week 1 depth chart, which contained plenty of slashes rather than commas between players, signifying positions that were still unsettled.

"I don't know if I was safe in my spot," senior guard Seth Olsen said. "I felt the competition, too. On the defensive side, Matt [Kroul] and Mitch [King] are going to start, but offensively, we went into camp thinking, 'Alright, every spot is up for grabs.' That helped us perform at a higher level."

As Iowa heads into Saturday's rivalry game against Iowa State, it has found answers at several offensive trouble spots, and competition gets the credit. Left guard is the only spot still undetermined on this week's depth chart.

"In most cases, it's a matter of two guys that we feel are pretty capable," Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz said. "It's usually more of that than anything else. Sometimes it means you don't have anybody, and we may find that to be true down the road. But I don't think that's the case.

"I think our depth is probably a little better this year than it's been maybe in some years at some positions."

Greene has shown no rust whatsoever thus far, ranking second in the Big Ten and 15th nationally in rushing average (119.5 ypg). The junior is averaging 6.8 yards a carry and has yet to lose a yard.

The competition has been extremely weak -- Maine and Florida International -- but Greene could be in store for another big day against Iowa State, which ranks 104th nationally in rushing defense (211.5 ypg). Despite the time off last season, Greene has quickly improved his conditioning for games.

"He's not there yet, but at least these [games] have been good," Ferentz said. "It's a good start for him at least to go out there and compete in game competition, to get whacked."

Stanzi hasn't been whacked much, which is a good thing for an offensive line that allowed 46 sacks in 2007. The sophomore came on strong toward the end of the preseason and has replaced Christensen as the team's starter.

"Both guys have really done a good job in all the situations that they've been in," Ferentz said, "and the thing that motivated us to start Rick last week, we didn't have a chance to see him as a starter. This is the first time we got an exposure to that. I think he handled it well."

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Some quick Big Ten happenings before delving back into the Buckeyes.

Minnesota's worst fears came true as starting running back Duane Bennett suffered a torn ACL against Bowling Green and will miss the rest of the season. Bennett was terrific against the Falcons, rushing for 100 yards and finishing with 148 all-purpose yards in the big road win. He looked like the running back the Gophers have been looking for, so coach Tim Brewster now will turn to freshmen DeLeon Eskridge and Shady Salamon.

The news is much better for starting center Jeff Tow-Arnett, listed as week-to-week after injuring his knee on the same play as Bennett. Left guard Ned Tavale is also day-to-day with an injury, so several redshirt freshmen could start Saturday against Montana State.

Elsewhere:

  • Penn State coach Joe Paterno didn't say when suspended starting defensive linemen Maurice Evans and Abe Koroma could return to the field. Quarterback Daryll Clark and wideout Derrick Williams should be fine for Saturday's game against Syracuse.
  • Michigan State's newfound depth in the secondary will be put to the test. The Spartans already are without safety Roderick Jenrette (leave of absence), and starter Kendell Davis-Clark could miss the Florida Atlantic game after sustaining an undisclosed injury. Davis-Clark moved from cornerback to safety to take Jenrette's place, and coach Mark Dantonio might make the same move with Ross Weaver, Eric Lacy writes in The Detroit News.
  • Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis expects to see Michigan running back Carlos Brown at quarterback for the Wolverines on Saturday, the Detroit Free Press' Mark Snyder writes in his blog.
  • Iowa's already surging offense gets a big boost Saturday with the return of starting tight end Tony Moeaki and reserve wideout Trey Stross, coach Kirk Ferentz announced today.
Ferentz also said there won't be a quarterback rotation Saturday against Iowa State. It's Ricky Stanzi's job -- for now.
"I'm sure Rick will do well but there are a lot of unknowns," Ferentz said. "It's not like we're ready to crown him king or anything like that."

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

The Badgers blitz is winding down, and here are some other happenings around the league:

"Give the kid a break. He's not the savior yet."

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