Chicago Colleges: Marc Tyler

Big Ten viewer’s guide: Week 7

October, 10, 2014
Oct 10
10:00
AM CT
Week 7 is here, and let’s not sugarcoat it: Big Ten football has looked more interesting on other weekends. This first Saturday of the season without nonconference action lacks marquee matchups. Still, the division races will continue to take shape.

Here’s a look at the five games (all times Eastern):

Noon

Illinois (3-3) and Wisconsin (3-2), ESPN2: Will Melvin Gordon run for 300 yards? If the Badgers wanted it to happen, Illinois’ 119th-ranked rushing defense would likely comply. More of the intrigue in Madison involves the quarterbacks. For Wisconsin, Joel Stave, who returned last week against Northwestern, will see time, in addition to Tanner McEvoy, who might also take a shot at receiver. And with Illinois’ Wes Lunt out with a fractured leg, senior Reilly O’Toole and sophomore Aaron Bailey, who was set to redshirt, have competed in practice this week.

Indiana (3-2) and Iowa (4-1), ESPNU: Indiana has shown it can win on the road in tough spots, handing Missouri its lone loss on Sept. 20. The Hoosiers are more explosive on offense than any foe Iowa has faced. But Indiana still can’t defend well, in particular against proficient quarterbacks. The Hawkeyes are going back to Jake Rudock at the start, but C.J. Beathard will play. How well can Greg Davis manage this? If it’s a disaster, Indiana might just find itself in the right place at the right time for an upset bid.

[+] EnlargeDavid Cobb
Leon Halip/Getty ImagesDavid Cobb and Minnesota can take a big step in their quest for a Western Division crown by beating Northwestern on Saturday.
Northwestern (3-2) at Minnesota (4-1), BTN: Who would have guessed a month ago, as the Golden Gophers fell flat at TCU and the Wildcats sat winless, that this game would have legitimate implications for the West Division title race? It does, with NU in quest of a third straight unexpected win to open league play. Its defense led the charge against Penn State and Wisconsin. Minnesota is simply solid, led by David Cobb, statistically the league’s most valuable offensive player. Minnesota has defended the pass especially well in recent games and will test Northwestern’s Trevor Siemian, 13th in the Big Ten in QBR.

3:30 p.m.

No. 8 Michigan State (4-1) at Purdue (3-3), ESPN2: At least it’s not the best team in the Big Ten against the worst. Purdue escaped the low spot last week with a win over Illinois. And sophomore quarterback Austin Appleby looked good in the victory. Very good, in fact. Back at home, he figures to find a much more difficult situation against the Spartans, who might come in a bit angry after nearly blowing a 24-point, fourth-quarter lead against Nebraska.

7 p.m.

Penn State (4-1) at Michigan (2-4), ESPN2: The visitors from Happy Valley, after an off week, get an opportunity to show that their anemic performance against Northwestern was just a fluke. With an upcoming stretch of three challenging games, no better time exists for PSU to get healthy than at Michigan, trying to avoid its first 0-3 start in the Big Ten since 1965. Against a good Penn State front, the Wolverines must protect Devin Gardner and throw the football, neither of which they’ve done well in recent weeks.

Required reading

USC comments fall on deaf ears

October, 23, 2011
10/23/11
8:17
PM CT
Don't expect any verbal retaliation from Notre Dame players in wake of a 31-17 loss to USC that led to several Trojans players taking postgame shots at the Irish.

"If they do, they don't know me very well," Brian Kelly said during his Sunday teleconference.

USC took possession at the Irish 49 with 6:43 left in the game following a Nickell Robey interception. It ended the contest with 10 straight Curtis McNeal runs.

Down two scores, Notre Dame did not use any of its timeouts, prompting harsh words from its visitors.

"At the end there, when they didn't call those timeouts, they just quit," USC linebacker Chris Galippo said, according to ESPNLA.com's Pedro Moura. "And that's what Notre Dame football's about. They're not anything like USC."

"We're coming halfway across the country to play these guys," Galippo added. "They hyped it up. This was their Super Bowl. They had 26 or 27 official visits this weekend.

"This was it for them."

Trojans running back Marc Tyler had more toned-down comments about Notre Dame.

"That's what happens when you beat them down," Tyler said. "We wore them out. They didn't want to play no more.

"We out-physicaled them and beat them down."

Kelly did not agree that his team wore down defensively but would not engage in a battle of words.

"I don't know if that's the case," Kelly said. "To the victors go the spoils. I think we probably would have said the same thing last year. Again, how we evaluate our players, we didn't play the kind of football we wanted to play."

What we learned about Notre Dame: Week 8

October, 23, 2011
10/23/11
4:55
PM CT
1. The run game has some work to do: Notre Dame's ground attack, which averaged nearly 200 yards per game entering Saturday, made believers out of everyone six games into the season. But the Irish managed just 41 yards on the ground Saturday against the Trojans, with a large majority of those coming on Jonas Gray's 25-yard touchdown run. Facing a big deficit early, Notre Dame ran the ball just 14 times and will need to re-find its touch as it moves forward through the season.

2. The run D isn't as good as we thought: What was believed to be a mediocre USC ground attack marched for 219 yards Saturday. Give plenty of credit to Marc Tyler for a gutsy performance after dislocating his left shoulder last week against Cal, as the senior rushed for 67 yards on 13 carries in a game many thought he wouldn't play in. The potential return to normalcy in facing a more traditional offense did nothing for the Irish defense, which had a tough time up the middle all night.

3. George Atkinson has made a huge difference: Atkinson's 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown got Notre Dame on the board and gave it some much-needed momentum. He did the same thing in Week 3 against Michigan State, and the freshman is now one of only four FBS players to return a pair of kickoffs for scores this season. He's the second Irish freshman to ever return two in the same season as well, joining Rocket Ismail in 1988.

4. USC's providing all of the juice in this rivalry at the moment: Lane Kiffin repeated his Super Bowl line in his postgame news conference, along with several other digs he sneaked in. And just take a look at some of the Trojans' players quotes following their 31-17 win Saturday night. Towels, night games and music can only go so far. Competitive games and bad blood are typically the marks of great rivalries. USC players are certainly providing part of that formula at the moment.

End of first: USC 14, Irish 0

October, 22, 2011
10/22/11
7:48
PM CT
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — That was quick, no?

USC has jumped out to an early 14-0 lead at the end of one, and it looks like it could be a long night for the Irish if they don't figure things out fast.

The Trojans marched 66 yards on 13 plays on their first drive, using 11 rushes to chew up 7:39 of clock time. They then went 62 yards on six plays — four passes — to take a two-score lead.

Matt Barkley is 6-for-6 with 52 yards and two touchdown passes, and a banged-up Marc Tyler has rushed for 54 yards on eight carries so far.

Notre Dame, meanwhile, went three-and-out on its first two drives and will try to avoid a third three-and-out when the second quarter gets underway, as the Irish face third-and-5 when play resumes.

This is obviously not the kind of start the Irish were hoping for after a bye week and plenty of buildup, and they will need to act fast on both sides of the ball to keep this one from getting out of hand early.

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