Big Ten: Kyle Wojta

The North team recorded a 23-13 win against the South in Saturday's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and several Big Ten players contributed to the victory.

Big Ten players factored in all the scoring for the North squad. Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson and Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins both fired touchdown passes, and Purdue kicker Carson Wiggs connected on three field goal attempts, including a 28-yarder that helped seal the win with 4:11 left. The North starting offensive line featured four of five players from the Big Ten.

Other than Illinois receiver A.J. Jenkins and Illinois left tackle Jeff Allen, all of the Big Ten players in the game competed for the North squad.

Wilson started for the North and led three offensive series, two of which resulted in points. He finished the game 4 of 7 passing for 45 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Cousins was the third quarterback from the North squad to see the field and fired a 41-yard touchdown pass to Arizona State's Gerell Robinson early in the third quarter. Cousins finished the game 5 of 11 passing for 115 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Wiggs connected on field goal attempts of 27, 28 and 32 yards and missed a 37-yard try in the closing minutes.

Other Big Ten notables:
  • Michigan State safety Trenton Robinson had two tackles and a fumble recovery
  • Ohio State wide receiver DeVier Posey had a 33-yard reception
  • Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David had four tackles
  • Penn State defensive end Jack Crawford had three tackles
  • Michigan defensive tackle Mike Martin had three tackles
  • Illinois wideout A.J. Jenkins had a 26-yard reception
  • Michigan State tight end Brian Linthicum had a 9-yard reception
  • Penn State cornerback D'Anton Lynn had two tackles
  • Wisconsin punter Brad Nortman averaged 43.7 yards on three attempts and also had one kickoff, while Wiggs had five kickoffs.
  • Ohio State running back Dan Herron had six carries for 14 yards and two receptions for 4 yards
  • Wisconsin long-snapper Kyle Wojta had one tackle
  • Wisconsin fullback Bradie Ewing had one carry for 1 yard

North team starters included: Wilson, Ewing, Linthicum, Ohio State left tackle Mike Adams, Ohio State center Mike Brewster, Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler, Penn State guard Johnnie Troutman, Crawford, Martin and Robinson. Jenkins and Allen both came off the bench for the South squad.
Pre-draft season is right around the corner, and the nation's premier all-star game, the Senior Bowl, takes place Jan. 28 in Mobile, Ala.

The Senior Bowl on Wednesday announced the 24 Big Ten players who will be participating in this year's game. Eight Big Ten squads are sending players to Mobile.

Here's the full list (part of which had been revealed earlier):

IOWA
MICHIGAN
MICHIGAN STATE
NEBRASKA
OHIO STATE

PENN STATE
PURDUE
WISCONSIN


*injured and will not participate in game

It's a strong contingent that features the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year (Still) and 21 all-conference selections.
INDIANAPOLIS -- The first call came from Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio.

He decided to come after the punt. Again. Wisconsin had changed its protection after Dantonio's Spartans blocked a punt in a Oct. 22 contest in East Lansing. But the alignment left a man free, and Michigan State's Tony Lippett nearly had blocked a punt earlier in Saturday night's Big Ten championship game.

"With 1:57 to go, it's my call," Dantonio said. "I told them, 'Let's go for the block.'"

As Wisconsin cornerback Antonio Fenelus lined up as a gunner, he saw his teammates in disarray. The Badgers tried to gauge whether Michigan State would go for the block or the return, and the coaches wanted long snapper Kyle Wojta to hold off on snapping the ball.

"I was right next to where the coaches were," Fenelus said. "They were telling him not to snap the ball and he did."

Fullback Bradie Ewing sensed a potential problem from his spot at left guard.

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"There was a little bit of miscommunication," Ewing said. "I didn't know if we were just going to hold the snap and not snap it. But as far as I knew, we were running the protection, [Wojta] hiked it, I released out and I heard the crowd scream and yell like they do when it's a blocked punt."

The reaction came not from a block this time, but from the penalty flags strewn on the field.

Officials flagged Michigan State's Isaiah Lewis for running into punter Brad Nortman. The 5-yard penalty resulted in a first down and allowed Wisconsin to run out the clock to seal a 42-39 victory.

"He hit him," Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said. "He got the 5-yard penalty, gave us the first down. It is what it is."

Not surprisingly, Dantonio had a different take.

"I don't know if he hit him," Dantonio said. "You guys probably have a better view of that and have seen all the replays. But [the officials] threw the flag. Thought [Nortman] flopped a little bit. If [Lewis] hit him, he just nicked 'em."

Nortman's assessment isn't too far off from Dantonio's.

"There was certainly some contact," Nortman said, smiling. "It doesn't hurt to put a little bit extra on it, however. I wasn't thinking before the play, 'I'm going to take a flop here,' but when you're in the air and a little vulnerable, a little bit extra didn't hurt."

It brought out the flag, which is all that matters. Fenelus, meanwhile, began chasing Michigan State returner Keshawn Martin, who returned a punt for a touchdown in last year's win against Wisconsin and had tortured the Badgers yet again Saturday night (115 receiving yards, 26 rush yards).

Martin broke free and sprinted down the sideline until Nortman knocked him out of bounds just shy of the goal line.

"It was a great relief," Fenelus said. "Knowing that they could end up winning the game off of that if there wasn't a penalty on the play."

Nortman wasn't surprised Michigan State came after the punt, calling the Spartans "an aggressive team." Lining up deep in Wisconsin territory, he knew he couldn't afford another disaster after having punts blocked in both of Wisconsin's losses.

"Special teams might have been part of the issue in the losses," Nortman said. "It was great to be part of a win today."

Dantonio and his players repeatedly referred to a "game of inches" after the loss. While the punt play will be discussed for some time, Spartans quarterback Kirk Cousins tried to deflect the spotlight.

"There was no one play that lost this football game," Cousins said. "We don't think Isaiah needs to be singled out. He did nothing wrong. [Dantonio] calls for the block, you got to do that in that situation. He gave us 110 percent effort and the call doesn't go our way."

Meanwhile, on the other side of the field ...

"Best call of the game," Nortman said.

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BIG TEN SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
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Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
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Monday, 1/12