Chicago Colleges: Silas Redd

Did you know? Notre Dame at USC

November, 23, 2012
As always, hats off to the folks from ESPN Stats & Information, along with both schools' sports information departments, for these tidbits.
  • Notre Dame has allowed a touchdown on 6.7 percent of its opponents’ possessions, the lowest percentage in the nation. Red zone defense has been key for the Irish, allowing a touchdown on 24.1 percent of their opponents’ red zone drives, the lowest percentage for any FBS team in the past eight seasons. Overall, Notre Dame's opponents have seven touchdowns and five turnovers in 29 red zone possessions.
  • USC has scored a touchdown on 64.6 percent of its red-zone possessions, 39th in the nation. The Trojans have scored a touchdown on 29.2 percent of their goal-to-go rushes, tied for 86th nationally. Notre Dame has allowed one touchdown and minus-31 rushing yards on 18 goal-to-go rushes. Every other team in the nation has allowed at least three such touchdowns.
  • Notre Dame is the only team that has not allowed a touchdown drive longer than 75 yards. Every other FBS team has allowed at least two.
  • The Irish have allowed 14 plays of 25 yards or more, tied for second-fewest nationally. They have allowed one 25-yard touchdown, tied with Florida and Alabama for the fewest in the country.
  • Everett Golson has completed 70.8 percent of his passes thrown 10 yards or longer in his past two games after completing 44 percent of those throws in his first eight games. Four different receivers have at least two catches on a throw of that distance over the past two weeks. T.J. Jones has six catches on seven targets.
  • Marqise Lee has more receiving yards (821) in his last four games than 52 FBS teams during that time span. Lee has gained more yards after the catch (837) this season than any player from a BCS school and leads the nation with eight 100-yard receiving games. Notre Dame’s opponents are averaging 68.4 yards after the catch per game and have allowed just one player to gain 100 yards in a game this season (Jalen Saunders, Oklahoma). Lee has five more catches and 264 more receiving yards than the Irish's entire receiving corps. Lee has gained at least 100 yards receiving in eight of his 11 games, including five straight dating back to a victory over Colorado. Notre Dame has not a 100-yard receiving game from a receiver this season.
  • Robert Woods entered the season on the Biletnikoff Watch List after leading USC with 111 catches and 1,292 receiving yards last season. But Lee has emerged as USC’s clear No. 1 receiver, gaining more yards after the catch (837) than Woods has total yards (721). Woods is not getting downfield with the same consistency as last season, as he has 12 catches and four touchdowns on 31 pass attempts thrown 15 yards or longer downfield. Last season, he had 20 such catches and seven touchdowns on 42 pass attempts of that distance.
  • USC is averaging 160.5 rushing yards per game and has gained 10 or more yards on 16.6 percent of its rush attempts. Curtis McNeal has filled in nicely for an injured Silas Redd, gaining 324 yards in USC’s past two games. He will face a Notre Dame defense that has allowed just three running backs to rush for 80 or more yards this season.
The NCAA hoped its stern ruling on Penn State's football program Monday would help change the culture in college football.

Opposing coaches staking out Penn State players in the parking lot of the football program? Probably not what NCAA president Mark Emmert had in mind.

Several opposing coaches have been spotted in State College, including a sizable group from Illinois.

From's latest news story:
[Penn State head coach Bill] O'Brien and his colleagues walked past a group of six coaches carrying University of Illinois bags and suitcases. A Penn State official told that no words were exchanged between O'Brien and the Illinois contingent. O'Brien declined to identify the players who have been offered up to 50 scholarships, but Illinois assistant athletic director Kent Brown acknowledged a group of Fighting Illini coaches are on Penn State's campus to recruit "a player or two -- maybe more."

Needless to say, Illinois coach Tim Beckman will be asked about this "strategy" on Thursday at Big Ten football media days. While some will say recruiting is recruiting and Penn State players are all fair game, it doesn't seem right to have opposing coaches staking out Nittany Lions players like this.

An Illinois spokesman told that athletic director Mike Thomas has contacted Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner about the Illini's intentions.

Penn State sophomore cornerback Adrian Amos tweeted this morning, "We have chosen to stay at Penn State and opposing coaches are outside our apartment, was that the intention of the NCAA? #comeonman."

A group of Penn State players, including quarterback Matthew McGloin and linebacker Michael Mauti, reaffirmed their commitment to the program earlier Wednesday. Absent from the group, star running back Silas Redd, who is being targeted by USC as a potential transfer. Redd and two teammates -- defensive tackle Jordan Hill and offensive lineman John Urschel -- were scheduled to travel Wednesday to Chicago for Big Ten football media days, but Penn State said they aren't coming. Only head coach Bill O'Brien will be in attendance Thursday and Friday. Colleague Joe Schad reports Redd is still mulling his decision to stay at Penn State or leave for USC.

The NCAA is making it very easy for Penn State players to transfer, but are opposing teams going too far in their immediate pursuit of the Nittany Lions' talent? Coaches staking out players on campus just feels a lot different than trying to flip recruits at the last minute before national signing day.

How would you feel about your team's coaches staking out the Lasch Building?

Speaking of Penn State recruits, while some already have jumped ship, the team's top verbal commit, quarterback Christian Hackenberg, is taking his time to decide his future. Colleague Mitch Sherman reports that according to Hackenberg's high school coach, Micky Sullivan, Hackenberg will visit State College to get all the facts before making his decision.
Ideally, the coach said, Hackenberg would visit Penn State and reach a decision before Aug. 7, when Fork Union opens fall practice. Fork Union begins the season on Aug. 25 against Richmond (Va.) Hermitage on ESPNU.

The Hackenbergs felt a bit of shock, Sullivan said, after the announcement Monday, which included a four-year postseason ban and the loss of 40 scholarships over four years.

Hackenberg and O'Brien bonded during the recruiting process, but O'Brien needs to make a good pitch to keep arguably the nation's top quarterback recruit on board. It'll be interesting to see how the Hackenberg situation plays out.

Final: Penn State 10, Illlinois 7

October, 29, 2011

At some point, a team needs its quarterback to show up and step up.

Matthew McGloin waited nearly 57 minutes to do so Saturday at Beaver Stadium. But with Penn State on life support, needing to go 80 yards to preserve its undefeated Big Ten record, McGloin rose to the occasion.

Thanks to McGloin's heroics and Illinois kicker Derek Dimke's first missed field-goal attempt of the season, Penn State survived 10-7. The Lions are the only team without a loss in Big Ten play, and coach Joe Paterno notched his 409th win to surpass Eddie Robinson for the Division I record.

McGloin led a Penn State offense that looked worse than it has all season -- and that's saying something -- on a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive. McGloin went 4-for-6 passing for 48 yards on the game-winning march and had another pass dropped by senior Derek Moye, who surprisingly returned to the field after missing two games with a broken bone in his foot.

Before the decisive drive, McGloin had gone 5-of-18 for 50 yards and an interception. Fellow QB Rob Bolden had looked even worse. Penn State's season long quarterback mess was, well, messy.

But if there's one thing you can say about McGloin it's that he never gives up or stops believing in himself, even when few others do. Credit the junior for finding a way against an Illinois defense playing at an extremely high level. He also got help from sophomore running back Silas Redd, who had another huge performance (30 carries, 137 yards, TD), including the game-winnning touchdown run.

Illinois drops its third straight game, and no loss was more heart-wrenching than today's. The Illini defense played great, but the offense once again took a while to get going. Illinois botched a field goal and missed another, and the team drew six penalties, including a debatable pass inference call on cornerback Justin Green that set up Penn State's winning score. The laces appeared to be in on Dimke's miss at the end. As Ray Finkle will tell you, LACES OUT!

How is Penn State 8-1? Many will ponder that question during the next two weeks. Defense and Redd have something to do with it, and McGloin stepped up when the Lions needed him most.

Penn State now enters a bye week before its decisive stretch of the season against Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin. The easy part is over for JoePa's crew, but Penn State controls its own fate in the Leaders Division.
Five lessons from the week that was in Big Ten football.

[+] EnlargeRussell Wilson
Andrew Weber/US PresswireWisconsin's bid for a national championship, along with Russell Wilson's Heisman hopes, were all dashed in the Badgers' loss to Michigan State.
1. The Big Ten isn't coming to the BCS title party -- again: No Big Ten team has won a national title since Ohio State upset Miami in 2002. The league hasn't participated in the BCS title game since 2007. That drought will continue. Wisconsin was the league's best championship hope as its last undefeated team heading into Week 8, but the Badgers lost to Michigan State 37-31 in a thriller. It was the type of loss -- complete with a Hail Mary ending -- some teams can overcome and still get back to the top, and Wisconsin could still avenge the defeat in a Big Ten title game rematch. But the reality is that the Badgers were only No. 6 in the first BCS standings anyway, and they've got too much competition nationally to make it to New Orleans for the title game. Michigan State fans can think about what might have been if the Spartans hadn't lost to Notre Dame earlier this season. But for 2011 -- again -- the Rose Bowl will be the ceiling for the Big Ten. (Oh, and the league isn't bringing home a Heisman Trophy, either, as Russell Wilson's candidacy sleeps with the fishes).

2. Michigan State-Nebraska is extra important: Michigan State has some serious mojo going after beating Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin in three consecutive games. The Spartans' tests aren't over, as they'll have to find a way to win a fourth-straight, high-stakes showdown in Week 9 at Nebraska. This one is arguably even more important than the Wisconsin game because it's a division matchup. If the Spartans can prevail in Lincoln, they will be the overwhelming favorites to win the Legends Division, since their remaining games (Minnesota, at Iowa, Indiana, at Northwestern) look very manageable. On the flip side, the Cornhuskers will gain the inside edge on the division crown if they can derail Michigan State's momentum.

3. Wisconsin isn't guaranteed to get to Indy: Sounds weird to say, because the Badgers were so dominant in the first half of the season that everyone penciled them into the Dec. 3 league championship game. But right now, Wisconsin doesn't even lead the Leaders. Your new first place team in that division is Penn State, which remains undefeated in conference play and is 7-1 overall after Saturday's win at Northwestern. Many people still doubt the Nittany Lions, but they keep on winning. The long-dormant offense is showing signs of life, with the offensive line getting more physical and Silas Redd putting together four consecutive games of at least 125 rushing yards. The Nittany Lions' schedule is tough the next four weeks, and they'll have to find a way to beat Wisconsin in the season finale at Madison. But now it's the Badgers who are playing catch up. Heck, even Ohio State isn't out of the picture yet. If the Buckeyes win out and get another loss from Penn State, they can make it to Indy.

4. Boilers, Illini headed in opposite directions: A Purdue team seemingly headed toward another bowl-less season showed life last week against Penn State and then took a big step Saturday by beating No. 23 Illinois. The Boilers have discovered their quarterback in Caleb TerBush, who leads an innovative offense, and their defense pressured Illinois all day. While the schedule gets much tougher in the coming weeks, Purdue shouldn't be overlooked. Two more wins and the Boilers should go bowling for the first time since 2007. Illinois, meanwhile, is backsliding after its best start since 1951. The Nathan Scheelhaase-led offense has produced just 21 points in the past two weeks, and things don't get much easier next week at Penn State. Could Illinois be headed for a second-half collapse? Stay tuned.

5. Some quarterback clarity emerges: About half the league has been juggling quarterbacks this season, but the position appeared to come into focus in Week 8. Matt McGloin finally got a start for Penn State after outplaying Rob Bolden for several weeks, and McGloin went the distance in the Lions' 34-24 win at Northwestern. It's hard to see how Joe Paterno goes back to Bolden as his starter now. Purdue also stuck with one guy, playing TerBush all the way against Illinois instead of splitting his reps with Robert Marve. TerBush led the Boilermakers to the 21-14 win and was very efficient. Indiana used its third different starting quarterback of the season while turning to true freshman Tre Roberson. While the Hoosiers lost again, Roberson showed promise and an ability to move the team on long drives with his arm and legs. Minnesota also played MarQueis Gray exclusively against Nebraska instead of trying Max Shortell, though the Gophers have far more problems than who's under center. Perhaps the quarterback questions at all three places will stop -- at least until the next bad performance.

Final: Penn State 34, Northwestern 24

October, 22, 2011

Penn State was involved in a very un-Penn State like shootout in the first half. But in the second half, the Nittany Lions turned it into more of their kind of game, and it was good enough for them win 34-24 and to improve to 7-1.

After a wild first half ended with Penn State leading 27-24, there was only one score in the final 30 minutes, and it came early. Gerald Hodges, who had a monster game at linebacker, returned a tipped pass for an interception 60 yards on Northwestern's first drive after intermission, setting up a Silas Redd touchdown run on the next play. (And speaking of monster games, Redd continued his sensational stretch of performances with 164 yards on just 18 carries).

Penn State's defense responded after an uncharacteristic first half. The Lions finished with seven sacks and kept a high-powered Northwestern offense off bay. The Wildcats helped out with a couple of bad dropped passes. Quarterback Dan Persa went out midway through the fourth quarter with what was called a turf toe issue on his left foot, and a promising drive then stalled when Kain Colter was sacked on back-to-back plays.

For Northwestern, this was just a copy-and-paste repeat of the season. Once again, the Wildcats couldn't get nearly enough stops on defense. And once again, they imploded in the second half. If you would have told Pat Fitzgerald at halftime that Penn State would only score seven more points, he might have started celebrating. But then the offense misfired. The Wildcats are now 0-4 in the Big Ten and have lost five-straight games. At 2-5, they will need a huge finish to get back to a bowl game.

Penn State, meanwhile, just continues to win despite the doubters. Matt McGloin played the entire game at quarterback, and while he wasn't nearly as good in the second half as he was in the first, the mere decision of potentially settling on him could help this offense. The Lions have matched their win total from last season, and they have to be considered a threat in the Leaders Division.

Halftime: Penn State 27, Northwestern 24

October, 22, 2011
We have a wild game going on in Evanston, and it's not the type of game Penn State is used to playing in.

In fact, the Nittany Lions already have more points against Northwestern in the first half than they've scored in any game versus teams not named Indiana State or Eastern Michigan. The Wildcats, though, make a lot of teams look spectacular on offense.

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald tried to shake things up on his struggling defense by inserting five new starters. Only one of the moves was injury related. It hasn't worked. Penn State is on pace for nearly 600 yards, and this is not a powerful offense by any means.

One thing that has helped the Lions offense is that the coaching staff finally, mercifully, cast its lot with Matt McGloin at quarterback. He made his first start of the season after continually coming off the bench, and outplaying, Rob Bolden. McGloin has played the entire half and is 14-for-19 for 160 yards and two touchdowns. (Of course, Bolden has to be cursing his luck that he isn't getting a chance to shred this Northwestern pass defense, too). Silas Redd already has 119 yards on 11 carries and looks like the best player on the field. His long run in the final minute set up a touchdown with 6 seconds left that gave Penn State the 27-24 lead.

One thing Northwestern can do is score, and they're lighting up a Penn State defense that has been one of the best in the country. Dan Persa and Kain Colter have been a very effective combo at quarterback, and Colter even caught a touchdown pass from Persa. I've said that anyone who can score 21 points on Penn State has a chance to win, but Northwestern's defense is so bad that the Wildcats will have to score a lot more than that. And they haven't exactly been a great second-half team this year.

You have to wonder if McGloin and the Lions offense can keep up this level of play, or if Northwestern can make any kind of adjustments. If the second half is anything like the first, we should have an entertaining finish.

Big Ten picks rewind: Week 5

October, 4, 2011
Perfection, at last.

After four weeks of falling short, Bennett and I both achieved perfection on the first Saturday of Big Ten play. Unfortunately for me, I didn't pick up any ground on Mr. Bennett as we had identical selections.

Before getting to the picks, let's take a look at the standings.


Adam Rittenberg: 6-0

Brian Bennett: 6-0


Rittenberg: 39-13 (.750)

Bennett: 42-10 (.808)

Time to rewind ...

Penn State at Indiana
  • Bennett's pick: Penn State 31, Indiana 13
  • Rittenberg's pick: Penn State 34, Indiana 10
  • Actual score: Penn State 16, Indiana 10
  • 20-20 hindsight: While I nailed Indiana's score, we both once again overestimated the Penn State offense to finally get things together. The Lions didn't reach the end zone until the third quarter and committed two turnovers the red zone. Silas Redd, my pick to click, had 129 yards but fumbled inside the 5-yard line.
Minnesota at Michigan
  • Bennett's pick: Michigan 35, Minnesota 14
  • Rittenberg's pick: Michigan 33, Minnesota 17
  • Actual score: Michigan 58, Minnesota 0
  • 20-20 hindsight: We both felt Michigan would win comfortably, but we also thought Minnesota would at least show up and compete. My forecast of a big passing day for Denard Robinson came true as "Shoelace" completed 15 of 19 passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns.
Northwestern at Illinois
  • Bennett's pick: Illinois 24, Northwestern 21
  • Rittenberg's pick: Illinois 28, Northwestern 24
  • Actual score: Illinois 38, Northwestern 35
  • 20-20 hindsight: We both correctly forecast a close one in Champaign, but we didn't see all the twists and turns that Saturday's game brought us. Dan Persa looked rusty at first but recovered to fire four touchdown passes before tweaking his Achilles' and leaving the game. Illinois' passing combination of Nathan Scheelhaase and A.J. Jenkins made the difference against a bad Wildcats defense.
Michigan State at Ohio State
  • Bennett's pick: Michigan State 16, Ohio State 14
  • Rittenberg's pick: Michigan State 23, Ohio State 21
  • Actual score: Michigan State 10, Ohio State 7
  • 20-20 hindsight: Bennett correctly pegged this as a defensive struggle, but even he didn't expect to see such anemic performances from both offenses in Columbus. As we predicted, Michigan State's defense caused all sorts of problems for Ohio State QB Braxton Miller, and Bennett was right about the Buckeyes stifling Michigan State's rush attack (71 yards on 31 attempts).
Notre Dame at Purdue
  • Bennett's pick: Notre Dame 27, Purdue 17
  • Rittenberg's pick: Notre Dame 30, Purdue 24
  • Actual score: Notre Dame 38, Purdue 10
  • 20-20 hindsight: We both expected Notre Dame to win, but we also expected a lot more from Purdue following a bye week. Bennett correctly predicted a big night for Irish receiver Michael Floyd (12 receptions, 137 yards, TD). I was dead wrong about Purdue's run game, which racked up just 84 yards on 27 carries against Notre Dame's stout defense.
Nebraska at Wisconsin
  • Bennett's pick: Wisconsin 38, Nebraska 28
  • Rittenberg's pick: Wisconsin 31, Nebraska 26
  • Actual score: Wisconsin 48, Nebraska 17
  • 20-20 hindsight: We both expected a more competitive game, but Russell Wilson and the Badgers pulled away late in the first half and never looked back. Bennett was right about Nebraska's defense struggling at the point of attack, and the Huskers' speed seemed to give Wisconsin problems until they mysteriously abandoned the run game with Taylor Martinez.