Chicago Colleges: Stephen Houston

Thirty Big Ten players heard their names called during the 2014 NFL draft, but many others received phone calls immediately after the event. The undrafted free-agent carousel is spinning, and players from around the Big Ten are hopping aboard.

Unlike the draft, the UDFA list is somewhat fluid, and other players could get picked up later today or in the coming days. To reiterate: This is not the final list.

Here's what we know right now from various announcements and media reports:

ILLINOIS
  • LB Jonathan Brown, Arizona Cardinals
  • WR Ryan Lankford, Miami Dolphins
  • TE Evan Wilson, Dallas Cowboys
Notes: Illini OT Corey Lewis, who battled knee injuries throughout his career, told Steve Greenberg that several teams are interested in him if he's cleared by doctors.

INDIANA
  • WR Kofi Hughes, Washington Redskins
  • RB Stephen Houston, New England Patriots
Notes: S Greg Heban has a tryout with Chicago.

IOWA
  • LB James Morris, New England Patriots
  • OT Brett Van Sloten, Baltimore Ravens
  • G Conor Boffeli, Minnesota Vikings
  • WR Don Shumpert, Chicago Bears
  • LS Casey Kreiter, Dallas Cowboys
MARYLAND
  • LB Marcus Whitfield, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • CB Isaac Goins, Miami Dolphins
MICHIGAN
  • LB Cam Gordon, New England Patriots
  • S Thomas Gordon, New York Giants
Notes: RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (Baltimore), DT Jibreel Black (Pittsburgh), LS Jareth Glanda (New Orleans) and DT Quinton Washington (Oakland) will have tryouts.



MICHIGAN STATE
  • LB Denicos Allen, Carolina Panthers
  • S Isaiah Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals
  • T/G Dan France, Cincinnati Bengals
  • WR Bennie Fowler, Denver Broncos
  • LB Max Bullough, Houston Texans
  • DT Tyler Hoover, Indianapolis Colts
  • DT Micajah Reynolds, New Orleans Saints
  • OL Fou Fonoti, San Francisco 49ers
Notes: LB Kyler Elsworth has a tryout scheduled with Washington.

MINNESOTA
  • LB Aaron Hill, St. Louis Rams
NEBRASKA
  • QB Taylor Martinez, Philadelphia Eagles
  • OT Brent Qvale, New York Jets
  • CB Mohammed Seisay, Detroit Lions
  • DE Jason Ankrah, Houston Texans
  • C Cole Pensick, Kansas City Chiefs
  • OT Jeremiah Sirles, San Diego Chargers
Notes: CB Ciante Evans has yet to sign but will do so soon. DB Andrew Green has a tryout with the Miami Dolphins.

NORTHWESTERN
  • WR Kain Colter, Minnesota Vikings
  • K Jeff Budzien, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • WR Rashad Lawrence, Washington Redskins
  • DE Tyler Scott, Minnesota Vikings
OHIO STATE
  • S C.J. Barnett, New York Giants
  • K Drew Basil, Atlanta Falcons
  • WR Corey Brown, Carolina Panthers
  • G Andrew Norwell, Carolina Panthers
  • G Marcus Hall, Indianapolis Colts
  • WR Chris Fields, Washington Redskins
PENN STATE
  • OT Garry Gilliam, Seattle Seahawks
  • LB Glenn Carson, Arizona Cardinals
  • S Malcolm Willis, San Diego Chargers
Notes: OT Adam Gress will have a tryout with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

PURDUE
  • DE Greg Latta, Denver Broncos
  • S Rob Henry, Oakland Raiders
  • G Devin Smith, San Diego Chargers
  • DT Bruce Gaston Jr., Arizona Cardinals
Notes: P Cody Webster will have a tryout with Pittsburgh.

RUTGERS
  • WR Brandon Coleman, New Orleans Saints
  • WR Quron Pratt, Philadelphia Eagles
  • LB Jamal Merrell, Tennessee Titans
  • DE Marcus Thompson, Miami Dolphins
  • S Jeremy Deering, New England Patriots
Notes: According to Dan Duggan, DE Jamil Merrell (Bears) and G Antwan Lowery (Baltimore) will have tryouts.

WISCONSIN
  • G/T Ryan Groy, Chicago Bears
  • TE Jacob Pedersen Atlanta Falcons
  • TE Brian Wozniak, Atlanta Falcons
  • DE Ethan Hemer, Pittsburgh Steelers
Quick thoughts: Martinez's future as an NFL quarterback has been heavily scrutinized, but Chip Kelly's Eagles are a fascinating destination for him. Whether he plays quarterback or another position like safety, Kelly will explore ways to use Martinez's speed. ... The large Michigan State contingent is still a bit startling. The Spartans dominated the Big Ten, beat Stanford in the Rose Bowl, use pro-style systems on both sides of the ball and had just one player drafted. Bullough, Allen and Lewis all were multiple All-Big Ten selections but will have to continue their careers through the UDFA route. ... Colter certainly looked like a draft pick during Senior Bowl practices in January, but that was before his ankle surgery and his role in leading the unionization push at Northwestern. I tend to think the injury impacted his status more, but NFL teams have been known to shy away from so-called locker-room lawyers. ... Other Big Ten standouts like Jonathan Brown, Morris and Pedersen were surprisingly not drafted. Morris should be a great fit in New England. ... Coleman's decision to leave Rutgers early looks questionable now that he didn't get drafted.

Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 14

December, 2, 2013
12/02/13
9:00
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Rivalry week in the Big Ten left no doubt: The conference's top two teams will meet in the league championship.

Wisconsin's shocking home loss to Penn State ends the debate over whether the Badgers or Michigan State should be at No. 2 behind front-runner Ohio State. Although the Buckeyes and, to a lesser extent, the Spartans had some struggles Saturday, they found ways to win. The Badgers had their worst performance of the season, and it cost them a potential BCS at-large berth.

That doesn't take away from Penn State, which received big boosts from quarterback Christian Hackenberg and others.

Our big dilemma this week was what to do with the 6-8 spots. Penn State had by far its best showing of the season, and Michigan had its best showing in months, even in defeat, against archrival Ohio State. Nebraska didn't show up at home on Black Friday, however, the Huskers have road wins against both the Lions (six days before the Iowa clunker) and Michigan.

After some spirited debate, we ultimately went with body of work to determine the rundown, especially since these are the final regular-season rankings. We understand it devalues the Week 14 performances a bit.

Here's one last look at the Week 13 rankings.

Now for the new rundown, final regular-season version.

1. Ohio State (12-0, 8-0 Big Ten: last week: 1): The Buckeyes lost their composure early and nearly lost their perfect season late. They were faced with adversity for the first time in six weeks, but they made enough plays on both sides of the ball to win. Running back Carlos Hyde (226 yards, one TD) and quarterback Braxton Miller (five total TDs) led a virtually unstoppable offense, which helped overcome some shoddy pass defense. The Buckeyes now await Michigan State in the Big Ten title game.

2. Michigan State (11-1, 8-0; last week: 3): There weren't many style points against Minnesota, but the Spartans came away with another double-digit Big Ten win. The defense kept Minnesota out of the end zone, as linebacker Denicos Allen led the way. Running back Jeremy Langford (134 rush yards, TD) had another big day as Michigan State moved closer to a BCS bowl berth, regardless of the result in Indianapolis.

3. Wisconsin (9-3, 6-2; last week: 2): It's only a one-spot drop for Wisconsin, but what a downer in Mad City. A team that had been so dominant since falling at Ohio State never showed up on Senior Day against a plucky Penn State team that took control from the onset. Quarterback Joel Stave threw three interceptions in the loss, and one of the Big Ten's better defenses allowed a slew of big plays as Penn State racked up 465 yards. It led to Wisconsin's most surprising home loss in recent memory.

4. Iowa (8-4, 5-3; last week: 4): Kirk Ferentz's crew entered the regular season as a popular pick to finish last in the Legends Division. The Hawkeyes emerged as one of the better teams not only in the division but the entire Big Ten. They've flipped their 2012 regular-season record behind a salty rush defense, led by an outstanding group of linebackers, and a functional offense. After two lackluster showings in the Heroes Game, Iowa outclassed Nebraska in Lincoln and should move up the bowl pecking order.

5. Minnesota (8-4, 4-4; last week: 5): It doesn't take a doctor at the Mayo Clinic to diagnose what's wrong with Minnesota. The Gophers' defense keeps them in every game, and Saturday's matchup at Michigan State proved to be no exception. But the offense simply can't score or consistently pass the football. Minnesota failed to reach double digits for the third time this season despite multiple opportunities in Spartans territory. It's still a great season for Jerry Kill's team, but there's a lot of work to do on offense before a bowl appearance.

6. Nebraska (8-4, 5-3; last week: 6): No one would dispute Bo Pelini that this has been a difficult season in Husker Country. No one would argue with Nebraska's ability to keep fighting. But when the same problems (namely turnovers) surface year after year, the bigger picture of the program becomes more depressing. The Huskers and their head coach self-destructed for much of the Iowa game and fell for the third time on their home field. Fortunately for Pelini, it didn't cost him his job, and he should get another chance to compete for an elusive league title in 2014.

7. Penn State (7-5, 4-4; last week: 8): The Lions had a better team in Bill O'Brien's first season, but they didn't have a better win than Saturday's stunning upset of Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium. After losing their first three road games by a combined score of 131-48, Penn State dominated Wisconsin for much of the afternoon at a place where the Badgers rarely lose. Hackenberg ended his freshman season with a signature performance (339 pass yards, 4 TDs) as the offense repeatedly gashed Wisconsin. A much-maligned defense held the Badgers' run game in check as Penn State ended an up-and-down season on a very good note.

8. Michigan (7-5, 3-5; last week: 7): After plummeting to historic lows earlier in the month, Michigan's offense looked like a completely different unit against Ohio State. Quarterback Devin Gardner played brilliantly, coordinator Al Borges called a good game and several others -- Jeremy Gallon, Jake Butt and De'Veon Smith -- stepped up in a 603-yard effort. It wasn't enough, as Michigan fell by a point and the defense had no answers for Ohio State, but the Wolverines played their best game in months and can feel a bit better entering the postseason.

9. Indiana (5-7, 3-5; last week: 9): Oh, what might have been for Indiana. A team with such an explosive offense and eight home games should have made a bowl game, period, but the Hoosiers couldn't get it done. At least they reclaimed the Old Oaken Bucket as quarterback Tre Roberson (six TD passes, 273 pass yards, 154 rush yards) torched Purdue and received help from Stephen Houston, D'Angelo Roberts, Cody Latimer and others. It's clear the Hoosiers have to make upgrades on defense. They can't keep wasting such explosiveness on offense.

10. Northwestern (5-7, 1-7; last week: 11): A season to forget for Northwestern ended on a positive note, as Pat Fitzgerald's team avoided a winless Big Ten season and recorded another victory against its in-state rival. Quarterback Trevor Siemian enters the offseason with some confidence after passing for a career-high 414 yards and four touchdowns against Illinois. Wide receiver Christian Jones (13 catches, 182 yards, two TDs) also stepped up as Northwestern twice rallied from deficits against Illinois. Fitzgerald said afterward that Northwestern "will be back" in 2014. The work begins now.

11. Illinois (4-8, 1-7; last week 10): The wins total doubled from two to four, which is nothing to celebrate. But Illinois clearly improved in Year 2 under coach Tim Beckman, who should receive another season in Champaign. Illinois has fixed the offense, and while quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase will be tough to replace, several playmakers like Josh Ferguson return. A bigger issue is the defense, which had no answer for Northwestern's passing attack on Saturday and surrendered more than 40 points and more than 500 yards per game in Big Ten play.

12. Purdue (1-11, 0-8; last week: 12): The optimist sees a dynamic young quarterback in Danny Etling, who finished his freshman season with 485 pass yards and four touchdowns against Indiana, and a team that can only get better. The pessimist sees a Purdue squad that was the worst in recent Big Ten history and has much work to do on both sides of the ball to become competitive in coach Darrell Hazell's second season. A big offseason awaits Hazell and his staff as they can't go through another season like this one.

Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 11

November, 11, 2013
11/11/13
9:00
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The Week 11 power rankings begin with a mea culpa.

Upon further review, we botched last week's rankings, when we had Minnesota behind both Michigan and Nebraska, largely because of the Gophers' loss to Michigan on Oct. 5. We should have had Minnesota in the No. 4 spot and Nebraska at No. 5. That's where we have the Gophers and Huskers after the Week 11 results. Both teams recorded big wins, but Minnesota's head-to-head win against Nebraska on Oct. 26 gives the Gophers the edge.

So, Nebraska fans, don't freak out when you see Big Red one spot below last week's rankings. That's on us. Both teams basically retain their positions.

Michigan, meanwhile, drops down the list, while both Iowa and Indiana move up. Penn State and Indiana trade places after the Hoosiers' come-from-behind win against Illinois.

Here's one final look at the Week 10 rankings.

Now for the new rundown ...

1. Ohio State (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten; last week: 1): The Buckeyes had the week off and watched their national championship stock improve a bit with Oregon's loss to Stanford. Style points should come into play from here on out, so the Buckeyes need to continue their dominant play this week at Illinois. Quarterback Braxton Miller attempted only four passes in his last game in Champaign. Just a hunch he'll have a few more this time.

2. Wisconsin (7-2, 4-1; last week: 2): Spurred by running back James White and a salty defense, the Badgers continue to impress as they angle for a potential BCS at-large berth. Wisconsin had a surprisingly easy time with BYU to complete non-league play at 3-1*, as White finished with 194 all-purpose yards (147 rush, 47 receiving) and three touchdowns. The defense held Taysom Hill and the Cougars in check for most of the game. Wisconsin remains at home this week as Indiana visits Camp Randall Stadium.

3. Michigan State (8-1, 5-0; last week: 3): Mark Dantonio's squad had an extra week to glow after a dominant performance against rival Michigan. The Spartans remain in the driver's seat in the Legends Division but face a Nebraska team that has beaten them each of the past two seasons. Running back Jeremy Langford, a big part of the Spartans' Big Ten surge, takes aim at a Huskers defense that has tightened up lately. A win in Lincoln moves Michigan State much closer to Indianapolis.

4. Minnesota (8-2, 4-2; last week: 6): What looked like a lost season for Minnesota in early October has turned into a special one. The Gophers have won four consecutive Big Ten games for the first time in 40 years. David Cobb continues to spark the power run game, and the defense limited Penn State to 10 points on Saturday. This isn't just a team using its coach's health situation for motivation. Minnesota is legit and could be a serious factor in the Legends race.

5. Nebraska (7-2, 4-1; last week: 4): Again, we had this wrong in last week's rankings, so we're not trying to punish a Huskers team that has revived its season the past two weeks. Nebraska's young defense is blossoming right now after recording season highs in both sacks (seven) and tackles for loss (15) in Saturday's dramatic win at Michigan. Running back Ameer Abdullah continues to sizzle, and defensive end Randy Gregory is a force. The Legends Division title could come down to this week's game in Lincoln, as Michigan State comes to town.

6. Iowa (6-4, 3-3; last week: 7): After a one-year hiatus, the Hawkeyes will go bowling again this season after a businesslike performance against Purdue in which they racked up 318 rushing yards, including 165 by Jordan Canzeri. Defense linemen Mike Hardy, Drew Ott and Louis Trinca-Pasat triggered a stout defensive effort as Iowa reached the six-win threshold. The Hawkeyes now have an opportunity to turn a decent season into a good one. They're off this week before hosting struggling Michigan on Nov. 23.

7. Michigan (6-3, 2-3; last week: 5): Two weeks ago, Michigan looked like the shakiest 6-1 team in the country. Now the Wolverines simply look shaken. They've endured the worst two-week stretch of rushing offense for any FBS team in the past decade, and quarterback Devin Gardner, who looked so confident after the Notre Dame win, has backslid. Whether it's growing pains with a young offensive line or a group not playing anywhere near its talent level, Michigan has some major issues right now. Fortunately for the Wolverines, their upcoming opponent Northwestern might be more of a mess.

8. Indiana (4-5, 2-3; last week: 9): The formula for success hasn't changed at Indiana, which can strike quickly and often on offense and win shootouts with just about anyone. Wide receiver Cody Latimer (11 receptions, 189 yards, three touchdowns) and running backs Tevin Coleman (215 rushing yards, two TDs) and Stephen Houston (150 rushing yards, two TDs) sparked Indiana to its highest points total (52) against a Big Ten opponent at Memorial Stadium and tying the school record for total yards (650). Who needs defense with an offense like IU's? But the Hoosiers still need a major upset on the road to become bowl-eligible and visit Wisconsin this week.

9. Penn State (5-4, 2-3; last week: 8): The grittiness Bill O'Brien's team has shown on its home field simply isn't there when Penn State leaves the comforts of Happy Valley. Things started poorly in Minneapolis with a Bill Belton fumble and didn't get much better, as Penn State couldn't contain Minnesota's offense or generate much from its own. Christian Hackenberg looked like a freshman at TCF Bank Stadium, completing just 14 of 25 passes with a fumble at the Minnesota 1-yard line. The Lions are fortunate to have any Big Ten wins at this point. They should get another this week as slumping Purdue comes to Beaver Stadium.

10. Northwestern (4-5, 0-5; last week: 10): The off week came at a good time for Northwestern, and not just because of its five-game slide. Coach Pat Fitzgerald listed 13 key players that would have been out if the team played on Saturday. Northwestern should be a little healthier when Michigan comes to town this week. The Wildcats are still trying to get their offense on track, as they must win two of their final three to become bowl-eligible.

11. Illinois (3-6, 0-5; last week: 11): For the second consecutive week, Illinois appeared on the brink of its first Big Ten win since 2011. And once again the Illini fell short, this time in a fourth-quarter collapse as Indiana scored the final 17 points to pull away. Illinois wasted huge performances from wide receiver Steve Hull (224 receiving yards, two touchdowns) and Nathan Scheelhaase (450 pass yards) as the defense couldn't stop Indiana when it counted. The losing streak likely will last another week as Illinois hosts Ohio State on Saturday.

12. Purdue (1-8, 0-5; last week: 12): First, the positives: Purdue scored a touchdown for the first time since Oct. 12 and ended a 200-play drought of no plays in the opposing red zone against Iowa. But the Boilers' offense didn't do much else, as the line continues its season-long struggles and the run game did nothing against a stout Iowa defense. Purdue couldn't stop Iowa's ground game, which piled up 318 yards. Darrell Hazell's crew visits Penn State this week.

Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 3

September, 16, 2013
9/16/13
9:00
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The debate is over, at least for now. Ohio State affirmed itself as the Big Ten's top team by putting on an offensive show against Cal, despite missing its top quarterback and top running back.

There's more doubt about whether Michigan or Northwestern is No. 2 after the Wolverines' surprising struggles Saturday against Akron. For now, we have Michigan ahead by a nose hair, thanks to its win against Notre Dame.

Wisconsin might have moved up to the No. 2 line if the officials had given the Badgers a chance to win the game against Arizona State. We like most of what we saw from Gary Andersen's crew on Saturday night. The same can't be said for Nebraska, which takes a tumble after folding the tent against UCLA, and Penn State, which caved defensively against UCF.

Week 3 was mostly rough for the Big Ten, but it had some bright spots. Michigan State found a quarterback, Indiana regained its footing on defense, and Iowa impressed on the ground against Iowa State.

There's not much separation in the league's bottom half, but as we noted Sunday, the Big Ten might not have a truly bad team.

Here's one last look at last week's rankings.

Now, let's get to the rundown ...

1. Ohio State (3-0, last week: 1): It'll take more than injuries and suspensions to slow down the Buckeyes' potent offense. Quarterback Braxton Miller didn't suit up against Cal, but backup Kenny Guiton once again stepped up with 276 pass yards and four touchdowns, to go along with 92 rush yards. Running back Jordan Hall (168 rush yards, 3 TDs) continued his brilliance filling in for the injured Carlos Hyde, who returns this week against Florida A&M.

2. Michigan (3-0, last week: 2): A week after looking like arguably the Big Ten's best team, Michigan backslid with a mistake-ridden performance against Akron. Brady Hoke's crew emerged with a win but also plenty of questions on both sides of the ball. As good as Devin Gardner has looked at times, the first-year starting quarterback must take better care of the football. Michigan also must patch up a vulnerable defense before Big Ten play.

3. Northwestern (3-0, last week: 3): Take away a lackluster first quarter against Western Michigan, and the Wildcats looked impressive on their home field. The offense clearly has improved despite the continued absence of star running back Venric Mark, as stand-in Treyvon Green (158 rush yards, 2 TDs) looks more than capable. Northwestern's defense remains too leaky but covers up yards with takeaways. The Wildcats have positioned themselves well for an Oct. 5 showdown with Ohio State.

4. Wisconsin (2-1, last week: 4): What is there left to say about the Arizona State ending? Wisconsin was far from perfect Saturday night, struggling to protect Joel Stave or stop back-shoulder throws from Arizona State's Taylor Kelly. But the Badgers fought hard in all three phases and received another huge boost from sophomore running back Melvin Gordon. They deserved better. It'll be interesting to see how they bounce back in the Big Ten opener against Purdue.

5. Michigan State (3-0, last week: 8): Look, an offense! And a quarterback! The Spartans finally start moving in the right direction in the rankings after a scoring explosion against Youngstown State. Connor Cook solidified himself as the team's starting quarterback with four touchdown passes and no interceptions, as Michigan State scored 35 first-half points. Sure, it's Youngstown State, but Michigan State needed a starting point on offense. It has one before a tough test at Notre Dame.

6. Nebraska (2-1, last week: 4): The collapses are no longer surprising because they seem to happen so often for Bo Pelini's teams. Sure, Nebraska normally keeps it together at home, and Saturday's third quarter was one of the worst in team history. But this is who these Huskers are under Pelini, a fragile team prone to blowout losses in big games. Nebraska falls off the national radar for a while but still could contend in the mediocre Big Ten.

7. Minnesota (3-0, last week: 7): It was a rough Saturday for the Gophers, who lost starting quarterback Philip Nelson to a hamstring injury and head coach Jerry Kill to another seizure. Minnesota also had a slow start against FCS Western Illinois until the offense caught fire in the fourth quarter behind running back David Cobb and backup quarterback Mitch Leidner, who was efficient in relief of Nelson. The Gophers face a test this week as San Jose State comes to town.

8. Penn State (2-1, last week: 6): It'll be a long week for defensive coordinator John Butler and a unit that surrendered 507 yards in the loss to UCF and had no answers for Knights quarterback Blake Bortles. After a final non-league tuneup against Kent State, Penn State opens Big Ten play against four potent offenses: Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State and Illinois. Wide receiver Allen Robinson is a beast, but Penn State needs more balance.

9. Indiana (2-1, last week: 10): The Hoosiers forced a punt against Bowling Green, and they did much, much more in one of their better defensive performances in recent memory. Bowling Green didn't score an offensive touchdown as defensive end Nick Mangieri and the Hoosiers bent but didn't break. Indiana had more than enough offense from quarterback Nate Sudfeld (335 pass yards, 2 TDs) and running backs Tevin Coleman (129 rush yards, 2 TDs) and Stephen Houston (155 rush yards), pulling away for an impressive win.

10. Illinois (2-1, last week: 9): Missed scoring opportunities in the first half doomed Illinois in the final 30 minutes against Washington, which repeatedly gashed a young Illini defense. But Illinois showed plenty of fight, even in the fourth quarter when the outcome seemed decided. Illinois has playmakers on both sides of the ball -- QB Nathan Scheelhaase, RB/WR Josh Ferguson, WR Ryan Lankford, LB Jonathan Brown -- and could surprise some Big Ten teams.

11. Iowa (2-1, last week: 11): There's an argument that Iowa should handle Iowa State rather easily, which is what happened Saturday in Ames. But Iowa hasn't handled the Cyclones nearly as often as they should, which is what made Saturday's performance so important. The Hawkeyes needed to win this one to generate some positive vibes, and thanks to a Mark Weisman-led run game and a solid defense, they got it done.

12. Purdue (1-2, last week: 12): The Boilers remain at the bottom, but we feel a lot better about them after the Notre Dame game. Quarterback Rob Henry and the offense looked more comfortable, and the defense contained the Irish run attack. There were still too many mistakes down the stretch, but coach Darrell Hazell can build on this. The problem is the schedule simply doesn't let up, as Purdue visits Wisconsin this week.

Big Ten helmet stickers: Week 3

September, 15, 2013
9/15/13
1:02
PM CT
Recognizing the best and brightest from the Big Ten in Week 3:
  • Indiana RBs Tevin Coleman and Stephen Houston: The Hoosiers have a dynamic duo in their offensive backfield. Coleman carried 19 times for 129 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a 43-yarder, while Houston added 155 yards on only 13 carries, including a 60-yard burst. Indiana overpowered Bowling Green for 266 yards and four scores in a 42-10 victory. Quarterback Nate Sudfeld and a resilient defense also merit mentions here.
  • Ohio State QB Kenny Guiton and RB Jordan Hall: We'd say the Buckeyes are dealing with the absences of Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde just fine, thank you. Guiton continues to be the super sub and had a career day in the 52-34 win at Cal, throwing for 276 yards and four touchdowns and running for another 92. Dare we say ... Kenny Football? Hall, meanwhile, might make Hyde work to get carries when his suspension ends after next weekend. The senior ran for 168 yards on 30 carries and scored a career-high three touchdowns.
  • Michigan State QB Connor Cook: We normally lean against awarding stickers to players who faced FCS opponents. But we're just so happy to see somebody, anybody make some plays at quarterback for Michigan State and perhaps finally end the carousel there. Cook went 15-for-22 for 205 yards and four touchdowns -- twice as many as the Spartans' entire offense had in the first two games -- in a 55-17 win over Youngstown State. At least we know who Michigan State's starter is for next week vs. Notre Dame.
  • Iowa RB Mark Weisman: The Hawkeyes' bruising back didn't break the plane of the end zone, but he might have broken the back of Iowa State with his pounding style. Weisman did some heavy duty work on Yom Kippur, carrying the ball 35 times for 145 times and helping Iowa control the line of scrimmage most of the day in a much-needed 27-21 win. Both sides of the trenches came through for Kirk Ferentz's team, which also held the Cyclones to just 59 rushing yards.
  • Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon: Even though the Badgers lost -- a defeat their fans will likely dispute for years to come -- Gordon was amazing at Arizona State. He ran for 193 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries, including an 80-yard score to open the second half. He is averaging 12.9 yards per carry on the season. Yeah, he might need more touches.

Big Ten's 1,000-yard rushers in 2013

May, 30, 2013
5/30/13
8:00
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We admit that some numbers we use as yardsticks of success in college football can be somewhat arbitrary.

For example, Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde had a terrific 2012 season, rushing for 16 touchdowns. But because he missed two games with injuries and the Buckeyes were ineligible for the postseason, Hyde didn't reach the "magical" 1,000-yard rushing mark. Instead, he finished with an oh-so-close 970.

Does that make Hyde's season any less outstanding. Not really. Still, there's a certain amount of prestige and pride that goes along with breaking four digits as a running back, and in a league known for running the ball like the Big Ten, it can take on added importance.

That's why we're taking a look at the players most likely to break that 1,000-yard barrier in 2013. Let's start by looking at the five returning players who pulled off the feat in 2012 and examine their prospects of doing the same for the fall:

[+] EnlargeVenric Mark
AP Photo/Matt QuinnanVenric Mark seems like a safe bet to rush for more than 1,000 yards again this season.
Venric Mark, RB, Northwestern (1,371 rushing yards in 2012): Mark had eight games of at least 100 rushing yards last season, becoming the first Wildcat since 2006 to eclipse the 1k plateau. While teams will game plan heavily for him, Mark also benefits by having quarterback Kain Colter in the same backfield as another running threat. There is every reason to believe he'll be among the Big Ten's top rushers again this season.

Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State (1,271): Miller did most of his damage on the ground in the first half of last season, and Ohio State would like to see him throw the ball more. But he also didn't gain much yardage on true scrambles last season, which could improve in '13. And since the Buckeyes are likely to play at least one more game this season, Miller is another safe bet for 1,000.

Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska (1,137): Abdullah won't have to worry about splitting carries with Rex Burkhead, though Imani Cross looks to become a bigger part of the offense. With Nebraska's commitment to running the ball, the only concern about Abdullah is a knee injury that kept him out this spring. He is expected to fully recover, however.

Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska (1,019): Martinez broke 1,000 for the first time in his career last season, aided no doubt by Nebraska playing 14 games, including the Big Ten title game. He's a threat to rip off huge plays every time he takes off and runs, but he has needed to do that less as he's improved as a passer.

Zach Zwinak, RB, Penn State (1,000): The most unlikely member of the 1,000-yard club in 2012, Zwinak surprised everybody by emerging as Penn State's best running option. People still doubt whether he can duplicate that performance, but the Lions might rely on the running game more with a new starting quarterback under center. The lack of a 13th game does hurt his chances, however.

And now let's take a look at some players who could challenge that 1,000-yard mark in 2013, in order of likelihood:

1. Hyde (970): The senior could have to split carries with Miller, Rod Smith and others. But he really got going in the second half of last season and should get a lot more than 185 rushing attempts if he stays healthy all season.

T-2. James White (840) and Melvin Gordon (643), Wisconsin: Montee Ball is gone, but the Badgers' running back tradition should continue. White already has a 1,000-yard season under his belt, and got close last season as the No. 2 tailback. He should see his carries go up, while Gordon is wildly talented and can post huge stats without many touches. Don't be surprised if both top 1,000 yards this season.

4. Mark Weisman, Iowa (815): Weisman put up some monster numbers once the Hawkeyes set him loose out of near desperation last season, and he ran for more than 800 yards despite playing in only 10 games and being banged up for many of those. Iowa is much deeper in the backfield heading into this season, but he could still lead the team in carries.

5. Donnell Kirkwood, Minnesota (926): Kirkwood somewhat quietly had one of the highest rushing totals in the league last season. With Minnesota's dedication to the power running game and what looks like a deeper, healthier offensive line, Kirkwood should see his total go up this year if he can maintain his grip on the No. 1 job.

6. Colter, QB, Northwestern (894): It's possible Nebraska, Northwestern and Ohio State could all have QB/RB combos who go for 1,000 yards each this season. Colter was fairly close last season, and that was despite Mark's brilliance and splitting time with Trevor Siemian. Colter averaged better than five yards per carry, so it's simply a matter of how many times the Wildcats want him to run in 2013.

7. Fitz Toussaint (555) or Derrick Green, Michigan: Despite his disappointing season in 2012, Toussaint was a 1,000-yard back two years ago and could rediscover that form. If not, true freshman Green would be happy to give it a shot. The Wolverines are likely to use a more traditional running game now that Denard Robinson is gone.

8. Akeem Hunt, Purdue (335): Hunt averaged a jaw-dropping eight yards per carry last season, and looks to be the featured back for new head coach Darrell Hazell, who turned Kent State into a ground-and-pound machine. Of course, Hunt will have to prove he can take the beating of a full season as the top tailback after carrying the ball just 42 times a year ago.

9. Stephen Houston, Indiana (749): In Houston's favor: he ran for more than 800 yards two years ago, and the Hoosiers have pledged to run the ball more in 2013. Against him: He might have to share more carries this season, especially if the mobile Tre Roberson plays quarterback. And the IU coaches have never been effusive in their praise of Houston.

10. Unknown Michigan State tailback: We know that Mark Dantonio likes to feed the ball to his running backs, as evidenced by Le'Veon Bell's 382 carries last season. Riley Bullough or one of three true freshman could emerge as the bell cow this season. We'd just feel better about it we actually knew who that starting tailback would be.

11. Donovonn Young, RB, Illinois (571): He led the team in rushing a year ago, and his straight-ahead running style could prove a nice asset in the new Illinois spread offense. Yes, the Illini have a long way to go to produce a 1,000-yard rusher, and they're highly unlikely to play more than 12 games. But if Donovonn Young won't change your mind ... baby, baby, baby. (Sorry -- gratuitous Vampire Weekend reference).

Which players do you see running for 1,000 yards in 2013?

Early Big Ten power rankings for 2013

January, 8, 2013
1/08/13
10:15
AM CT
The 2012 college football season is barely on ice and we're already heating up for the 2013 campaign with a way-too-early version of the Big Ten power rankings. This is a snapshot of how the league looks at this point in time, not knowing all the personnel/coaching changes that will be in place for next season. As a reminder, these can and will change during the next eight months.

Ohio State is on top, and quite frankly, the Buckeyes are head and shoulders above the rest of the league. Other teams such as Northwestern, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Michigan certainly belong in the league's lead pack, while Michigan State and Penn State both have talent as well as question marks. We don't see a whole lot separating Nos. 2-6.

Here we go ...

1. Ohio State: The Buckeyes made the most of their sanctioned season, running the table to post just the sixth unbeaten, untied season in team history. Urban Meyer's crew now takes aim at a Big Ten title and perhaps even a national title, its first since 2002. Junior quarterback Braxton Miller leads a potentially explosive offense, but Ohio State needs its young defenders to grow up in a hurry as there are depth and experience questions on that side of the ball.

2. Northwestern: The Wildcats won 10 games in 2012 with a young team most projected to win no more than seven. Northwestern returns a very strong nucleus, led by running back Venric Mark and quarterback Kain Colter, and loses only a few key seniors. Most of the Wildcats' talent can be found in their younger classes. The schedule gets tougher in 2013 -- Northwestern opens Big Ten play with Ohio State and Wisconsin -- but the Wildcats should be a major factor in the Legends Division if they can shore up their offensive line and continue to make strides on defense.

3. Nebraska: There's no doubt Nebraska will have one of the nation’s top offenses in 2013. Fourth-year starter Taylor Martinez returns at quarterback and has the Big Ten's largest arsenal of weapons at his disposal. The big concerns are on defense after Nebraska hemorrhaged points and yards in its four losses this past season and loses a group of seniors. Bo Pelini needs to get his defense back on track and hope the offense can limit turnovers, a huge problem throughout this season.

4. Wisconsin: Gary Andersen hardly inherits a bare cupboard in Madison. His predecessor, Bret Bielema, actually pointed to the 2013 team as potentially his best with the Badgers. The coaching transition could create some speed bumps, but Wisconsin returns two dynamic running backs in James White and Melvin Gordon, multiple quarterbacks with experience and a good defensive front seven led by Chris Borland. There are concerns in the secondary (three starters gone) and at wide receiver (not enough playmakers), but Wisconsin should push Ohio State in the Leaders Division.

5. Michigan: The Denard Robinson era is over and Michigan needs offensive playmakers to replace its record-setting quarterback and surround new signal-caller Devin Gardner. A bigger concern, though, is an offensive line that struggled at times in 2012 and must replace most of its starting lineup. Coach Brady Hoke should see some of his strong early recruiting efforts pay off in Year 3, although Michigan might not have the depth to challenge for a league title until 2014. Linebacker Jake Ryan leads a defense that has improved the past two seasons but must measure up to elite competition.

6. Michigan State: Pat Narduzzi's defense should once again be one of the nation's best, especially with All-Big Ten standout Max Bullough once again leading the unit at middle linebacker. But the NFL departures of Le'Veon Bell and Dion Sims could hamper an offense that had no other consistent weapons in 2012. The schedule definitely favors MSU, but how will the Spartans score points? MSU's quarterback competition between Connor Cook and Andrew Maxwell will be one of the top storylines of spring practice.

7. Penn State: Bill O'Brien had a lot to do with Penn State's success in 2012, but so did a senior class featuring several NFL players on defense who certainly will be missed. O'Brien's next challenge is developing a capable quarterback, whether it's Steven Bench, junior college arrival Tyler Ferguson or, just maybe, heralded incoming freshman Christian Hackenberg. Penn State could feel the sting of the sanctions more from a depth standpoint in 2013, but O'Brien's Lions have defied the odds so far.

8. Minnesota: The Gophers doubled their win total in Jerry Kill’s second season, and Kill's track record at previous stops suggests another boost could be on the way in Year 3. Quarterback Philip Nelson looked good in the bowl game after some late-season struggles, but Minnesota still needs more weapons to develop around him as well as continued progress from the offensive line. Senior defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman leads a unit looking to fill gaps at linebacker and cornerback.

9. Indiana: The arrow is pointed up in Bloomington despite a poor finish to the regular season, and with eight home games on the slate in 2013, Indiana should expect to go bowling. Third-year coach Kevin Wilson has three quarterbacks with experience -- Tre Roberson, Cameron Coffman and Nate Sudfeld -- at his disposal, as well as other weapons such as running back Stephen Houston and receiver Cody Latimer. IU's defense once again is a major question mark, but recruiting efforts have picked up on that side of the ball.

10. Purdue: If the Heart of Dallas Bowl was any indication, new Boilers coach Darrell Hazell has a lot of work ahead in Year 1. Purdue loses its top two quarterbacks (Robert Marve and Caleb TerBush), its top defender in Kawann Short and other key contributors on both sides of the ball. Hazell's predecessor, Danny Hope, signed a bunch of quarterbacks in his recent recruiting classes, and it will be interesting to see who rises to the top. Hazell should be able to clean up some of Purdue's sloppy play, but the Boilers have quite a few question marks after a disappointing 2012 campaign.

11. Iowa: After taking a significant step back in 2012, Iowa might have a tough time turning things around in a loaded Legends Division in 2013. The Hawkeyes welcome in a new quarterback (Jake Rudock) and need playmakers to emerge around him to generate much better results in Year 2 under coordinator Greg Davis. The defensive front seven could be solid as Iowa boasts a strong linebacking corps, but the Hawkeyes must plug a few holes in the secondary and get back to their traditionally stout play on D.

12. Illinois: Coach Tim Beckman needs to show significant signs of progress in Year 2 after a disastrous first season, and he might not have the personnel to do so. The Illini once again lose several defenders to the NFL draft and need to fill holes along the defensive line and in the secondary. Their bigger concerns are on the offensive side, as they had fewer playmakers than any Big Ten team in 2012. Veteran quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase returns, but Illinois needs a much better plan on offense and the personnel to get things done. An influx of junior college players must step up in a make-or-break year for Beckman.

What we learned in the Big Ten: Week 9

October, 28, 2012
10/28/12
12:45
PM CT
Lessons learned from Week 9 in the Big Ten:

1. The Big Ten is the league of second chances: Nebraska's season seemed headed down the tubes after it allowed 63 points to Ohio State on Oct. 6 in Columbus. The Huskers also were on life support down 12 points to Northwestern midway through the fourth quarter on Oct. 20. Look at them now: tied for the lead in the Legends division but holding tiebreakers against both of their top two challengers, Michigan and Northwestern. The Big Ten is a bad league in 2012, but it's also a league of second chances. Nebraska has capitalized on its new life but must keep it going this coming Saturday at Michigan State, which finally showed an offensive pulse in rallying past Wisconsin. Michigan and Wisconsin got knocked down after losing their starting quarterbacks, and it'll be challenging for both teams in the coming weeks. But to write anyone off -- aside from Illinois and Purdue -- seems silly in this silly league. Nebraska is control for now. Wisconsin's grasp on the Leaders division could be loosening a bit. Northwestern is still hanging around. So are others. Aside from Ohio State, every Big Ten team has been knocked to the mat a few times this season. But entering the season's most important month, most are still standing.

2. Ohio State is the best team in the Big Ten: There was a shred of doubt about this, at least outside Columbus, as Ohio State came to State College, Pa., after two shaky wins against the Indiana schools and took on a red-hot Penn State team that had captured five wins in a row. But on a big stage in a hostile environment, Braxton Miller and the 9-0 Buckeyes made it clear that they're the best team in a flawed Big Ten. Ohio State overcame a slow start and a special-teams miscue and took control thanks to Miller and a stout defense that received big plays from linebacker Ryan Shazier and others. Urban Meyer's team made its loudest statement of the season against a surging team playing before a raucous crowd. It's too bad the Buckeyes won't be playing in Indianapolis or Pasadena this season -- the OSU administration has itself to blame for that -- but the chase for a perfect regular season shifts into high gear. Ohio State should handle Illinois easily next week before closing the season with Wisconsin (road) and Michigan (home). The push for perfection and Miller's Heisman campaign should be fun to watch the rest of the way.

[+] EnlargeMontee Ball
Mary Langenfeld/US PresswireMontee Ball and heretofore-resurgent Wisconsin lost some luster Saturday but still look good for Indy.
3. Forget a marquee matchup in Indy: Hope had started to flicker lately that the Big Ten championship game could actually feature a pretty appealing matchup, thanks to Wisconsin's recent resurgence. Well, Michigan State put the brakes on that talk by going into Madison and winning in overtime while holding the Badgers to just one touchdown. Now 6-3 overall and 3-2 in the conference, Wisconsin doesn't deserve to be ranked, yet it still almost certainly will reach Indianapolis by default in the probation-riddled Leaders division. With reports that quarterback Joel Stave (collarbone) could be lost for the season, this team could struggle in its final three games at improving Indiana, versus Ohio State and at Penn State. In fact, it's not outrageous to suggest that Wisconsin could wind up 6-6 and make it to Indy. The Badgers may still finish strong, and they basically have a one-game season to go to the Rose Bowl. There just isn't much hope of the Big Ten title game staging a marquee matchup.

4. Northwestern needs to stay grounded: We have grown accustomed to Northwestern slinging the ball around the gridiron with quarterbacks like Dan Persa and Mike Kafka. But that's not the best formula for success with this year's team. The Wildcats are most dangerous when they have Kain Colter and Venric Mark in the backfield together running wild. Coach Pat Fitzgerald mostly ditched the quarterback rotation with Trevor Siemian and gave Colter the ball on Saturday against Iowa. Colter and Mark combined to run for 328 yards on 42 carries (7.8 yards per carry), while Mark became the school's first 1,000-yard back since 2006 in the process. Northwestern threw only 10 passes all day yet won 28-17 in a game that shouldn't have been that close. You wonder whether the Wildcats would have been able to close out Penn State and Nebraska in the fourth quarter if they had stayed committed to the ground attack with their best two athletes. No sense looking backward now, but Northwestern should continue what worked Saturday as it moves forward.

5. The arrow is pointed up for Indiana, Minnesota: No one can get too excited about a win over Illinois or Purdue these days. Still, Indiana's road win against the Illini and Minnesota's home domination of the Boilers could be turning points for the respective programs. Both teams identified freshman quarterbacks -- Indiana's Nate Sudfeld, Minnesota's Philip Nelson -- who spark the offense and spread the ball to talented receivers like Minnesota's A.J. Barker (135 receiving yards, 2 TDs against Purdue) and Indiana's triple threat of Kofi Hughes, Cody Latimer and Shane Wynn. Indiana has competed well all season, losing four of its games by four points or fewer, and might have just needed the experience of finishing out a win. The offense is legit: IU has scored at least 27 points in all six games versus FBS competition and has eclipsed 30 points five times. Minnesota's improvement on defense has been noticeable this season, and cornerback Michael Carter came up big against Purdue (pick-six, 6 PBUs). But Nelson provided the biggest boost, firing three first-half touchdown passes and completing 15 of 22 passes for 246 yards. Minnesota's offense finally started to score after putting up 13 points in each of its first three Big Ten games. Jerry Kill's squad is a win from bowl eligibility, while Kevin Wilson's team has a lot of work left. But the future of both programs looks promising.

Big Ten helmet stickers: Week 9

October, 28, 2012
10/28/12
12:45
PM CT
Recognizing the best and brightest from Saturday's action in the Big Ten:
  • Northwestern QB Kain Colter: A few days after saying his team lacked an identity on offense, Colter provided one himself. Taking almost all of the reps at quarterback, Colter ran 26 times for 166 yards and three touchdowns and threw for another 80 yards and a touchdown to account for all the scoring in Northwestern's 28-17 win over Iowa. Give credit to Colter's backfield running mate, Venric Mark, who went over 1,000 yards for the season with 162 yards on 16 carries. He is the Wildcats' first 1,000-yard back since 2006.
  • Ohio State QB Braxton Miller: After a one-week hiatus, Miller returns to the helmet stickers after lifting Ohio State past Penn State at raucous Beaver Stadium. Miller made some mistakes, especially early in the game, but once again he was the best player on the field and the biggest reason why Ohio State won 35-23 in Happy Valley. A week after leaving Ohio Stadium in an ambulance following a scary neck injury, Miller had 25 rushes for 134 yards and two touchdowns. He struggled with his passing early but found Jake Stoneburner for a 72-yard touchdown to seal the win midway through the fourth quarter. Miller became the first quarterback in Ohio State history to eclipse 1,000 rush yards in a season -- and he still has three games left.
  • Nebraska's defense: After a solid performance against Northwestern, the Huskers completely shut down Michigan in Saturday night's 23-9 victory. They contained Denard Robinson before his injury and allowed just 44 yards in the final two-plus quarters after Robinson left the field. Nebraska recorded three interceptions, nine tackles for loss, two sacks and three quarterback hurries, surrendering just 188 yards in the win. Individual standouts included Ciante Evans, Sean Fisher, David Santos and P.J. Smith.
  • Michigan State DE William Gholston and LB Max Bullough: We could have given the sticker to the entire Spartans' defense, which once again kept the game close until an anemic offense came alive. But Gholston and Bullough stood out in a big way, combining for seven tackles for loss, three sacks and a pass breakup. Gholston knocked Wisconsin starting quarterback Joel Stave from the game early in the second half, in what proved to be the pivotal play in deciding the outcome. The pair helped Michigan State limit Wisconsin to 19 net rush yards on 37 carries in a potential season-turning win in overtime.
  • Indiana QB Nate Sudfeld: The true freshman came off the bench to relieve Cameron Coffman after Coffman threw a first-half interception, and Sudfeld led the Hoosiers to their first Big Ten win since 2010 with a 31-17 victory at Illinois. Sudfeld completed 10-of-15 passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns, with no turnovers. Props also go to running back Stephen Houston, who ran for two scores and caught another, and the IU defense, which held Illinois without a touchdown for the final 42 minutes of the game.
  • Minnesota QB Philip Nelson: The Gophers' true freshman looks like a future star -- or maybe a current one. He played beyond his years in his first home start -- and just his second-ever college game -- in Minnesota's much-needed 44-28 win over Purdue. Nelson completed 15 of 22 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns, two to A.J. Barker, who merits a mention here after recording five catches for 135 yards. He led Minnesota on four consecutive touchdown drives during one stretch and added 37 rush yards. Cornerback Michael Carter also deserves some love with an interception return for a touchdown and six pass breakups.

Final: Indiana 31, Illinois 17

October, 27, 2012
10/27/12
3:36
PM CT
With the two worst scoring defenses in the Big Ten meeting in Champaign, Ill., some might have expected an even higher scoring output than Indiana’s 31-17 win against Illinois.

The Hoosiers converted on just one of 12 third-down attempts, while the Illini were better in that category (7 of 17). But Illinois couldn’t convert when it counted, including several quality chances near the end of the game, and two fumbles as well as 81 penalty yards eventually were too much to overcome.

For Indiana it was junior Stephen Houston who headlined the day, continuing his scoring tour. Against the Illini, he accounted for three touchdowns -- two rushing, one receiving. It marked the ninth consecutive game (dating to last season) that the running back has gotten into the end zone.

And Indiana’s front four was more effective than it has been all season, sacking Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase seven times. But alternatively, the pressure up front allowed enough holes in the defense to give the Illini 196 yards on the ground.

With the win, Indiana moved to 1-3 in the Big Ten (1-1 in Leaders Division), while Illinois drops to 0-3, including a Leaders Division worst 0-4 record.

Final: Northwestern 59, Indiana 38

October, 29, 2011
10/29/11
2:48
PM CT

This time, Northwestern held onto a halftime lead. The Wildcats simply couldn't be stopped on offense.

Northwestern didn't exactly slow down Indiana, but it didn't need its defense today in a 59-38 victory, its first in Big Ten play and its first since Sept. 10 against Eastern Illinois. The Wildcats piled up 616 yards (317 rush, 299 pass) and reached the end zone on eight of their first 10 possessions (they scored a field goal on another drive). A veteran offensive line imposed its will on a young Hoosiers defense and gave QB Dan Persa and his playmakers plenty of time to work their magic.

Persa had a terrific performance (16-for-20 passing, 261 yards, 3 TDs), but he was overshadowed by teammates Kain Colter and Drake Dunsmore. Colter continued to show why he's one of the Big Ten's top all-purpose players, recording 38 rush yards, 115 receiving yards and two touchdown passes on three attempts. Dunsmore, a tight end, recorded a career-high four touchdown catches and finished with 112 receiving yards on seven receptions.

Northwestern didn't punt the ball until 11:35 remained in the game.

The Wildcats needed all the offense as their defense continued to struggle mightily, missing tackles and playing out of position. Coach Pat Fitzgerald is trying everything personnel-wise, but Northwestern can't prevent big plays or get off of the field. There's a lot to work on before next week's game at Nebraska. Northwestern allowed 488 yards.

Indiana can't expect to win games if its defense plays so poorly, although the Hoosiers had some chances in the second half. Penalties continued to plague Kevin Wilson's squad, which was flagged nine times for 148 yards and helped one Northwestern touchdown drive stay alive with a pass interference penalty on third down. Indiana is playing a ton of freshmen, but it must start displaying better discipline.

At least the Hoosiers have found their offensive backfield in QB Tre Roberson and RB Stephen Houston. The two combined for 272 rush yards and three touchdowns, and Roberson hit on several nice pass plays. But they got absolutely no help from the defense.

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