Big Ten: Richie Incognito
September, 9, 2011
By Adam Rittenberg | ESPN.com
Some notes and nuggets to hopefully make you smarter as you head out to the games this weekend.
- Penn State's 23-game nonconference home winning streak is tied for second-longest in the nation with Florida. LSU leads at 31. The Nittany Lions' last nonconference loss in Beaver Stadium was to Boston College on Sept. 6, 2003.
- Wisconsin accumulated 499 yards of total offense on just 53 plays against UNLV, averaging 9.42 yards per play. That was the second best mark in the country, behind only Georgia Tech’s 10.34 yards per play against Western Carolina. The Badgers have scored at least 37 points in the first half in each of their past three home games. In its past six home games, Wisconsin has combined to score 346 points. That is an average of 57.7 points per game.
- Michigan had a plus-3 turnover margin against Western Michigan in Saturday's season-opening win, the first time the Wolverines won the turnover battle since Sept. 11, 2010, when they were plus-3 at Notre Dame.
- With the 42-0 win against Akron last Saturday, Luke Fickell became the first Ohio State head coach to record a shutout in his head-coaching debut since Woody Hayes in 1951.
- Tackle Tyler Moore last week became first true freshman offensive lineman to start a season opener in Nebraska history, and just the fourth freshman offensive lineman to earn a start in Nebraska's season opener, joining redshirt freshmen Jeremiah Sirles (2010 vs. Western Kentucky), Marcel Jones (2008 vs. Western Michigan) and Richie Incognito (2002 vs. Arizona State). Moore is only the fourth true freshman offensive lineman to start a game at any point in a season, and only the 10th true freshman offensive lineman to play at Nebraska.
- Illinois was penalty-free in the opener, marking the first time in 18 years it did not commit a penalty in a game. The last time it happened was Nov. 20, 1993, against Wisconsin. Illinois is one of just three FBS teams that did not get flagged in the opening week (Eastern Michigan and Navy).
- Iowa has held its opponents to two touchdown passes or fewer in 35 straight games. The Hawkeyes' defense has collected at least one takeaway in 57 of its last 63 games, dating back to 2006.
- Minnesota came from behind in all six of its victories in 2009 and all three in 2010. The last time the Gophers won a game without trailing was a 17-6 win at Purdue on Oct. 25, 2008.
- After spending much of 2010 searching for a consistent running attack, Northwestern has now surpassed 200 yards rushing in back-to-back contests for the first time since the final two games of 2003. NU totaled 229 ground yards in the TicketCity Bowl to close last season and went for 227 Saturday against Boston College.
- With 222 passing yards against Youngstown State, Michigan State senior quarterback Kirk Cousins became just the fourth Spartans quarterback to eclipse the 6,000-yard mark, joining Jeff Smoker (8,932 yards), Drew Stanton (6,524 yards) and Brian Hoyer (6,159 yards). Cousins also moved into a tie for fifth place at Michigan State for most touchdown passes (42) as he threw an 18-yard strike to B.J. Cunningham in the third quarter. Cousins now has 6,037 career passing yards and his completion percentage of .648 is currently the best in team history and third in Big Ten history.
- After rushing for 201 yards in the opener against Middle Tennessee, Purdue improved to 7-1 under coach Danny Hope when eclipsing the 200-yard rushing mark. Purdue racked up 200 rush yards or more in all four victories last season.
- Ten true freshmen saw action for Indiana in the opener against Ball State, the most for an IU squad since 11 took the field during the 2003 campaign. Indiana only played eight true freshmen from 2007-10.