Saturday, November 19, 2011
Spartans legendary, Dawgs feast in east
Two more teams clinched division titles and trips to conference championship games, while another staved off elimination and set up a winner-take-all game next week, on a busy early afternoon slate of games across the country.
The Michigan State Spartans can book their plane tickets to Indianapolis, and they have their most-hated rival to thank for being crowned the first-ever champion of the Big Ten Legends Division.
The Spartans 55-3 blowout win over the Indiana Hoosiers, coupled with the Nebraska Cornhusker's loss to the Michigan Wolverines, means that the Spartans will play in the inaugural Big Ten Championship game December 3.
Playing in their final home game, seniors Kirk Cousins and B.J. Cunningham led Michigan State to its 14th straight home win and its second undefeated season at Spartan Stadium in as many years. This is the first time since 1955-56 the team has had back-to-back perfect home seasons.
Cunningham was on the receiving end for 132 of Cousins’ 272 yards and two of his three passing scores. Cousins has 60 career touchdowns throws, one shy of the Spartans record set by Jeff Smoker. Cunningham has 20 touchdown catches, tied with Plaxico Burress and Andre Rison for third-most in Michigan State history.
While the Spartans were taking care of business in East Lansing, the Wolverines exploded for four touchdowns in the second half against Nebraska en route to a 45-17 win in Ann Arbor.
Denard Robinson, who was averaging fewer than 60 yards per game on the ground in his first six Big Ten games, rushed for over 80 yards and two touchdowns while also throwing for two more scores. His four games with two rushing touchdowns and two passing touchdowns since the start of last season are matched only by former Auburn Tigers quarterback Cam Newton.
Needing a win to avoid elimination in the Big Ten Leaders division race, the Wisconsin Badgers rallied from a 14-0 first-quarter deficit to beat the Illinois Fighting Illini 28-17. The Badgers face the Penn State Nittany Lions next weekend in a game that will decide the champion of the Leaders division.
Montee Ball was the offensive star, running for over 200 yards while scoring three times (two receiving, one rushing). Ball has at least two touchdowns in every game this season, and he is the fifth player in FBS history with at least 30 total touchdowns in a season.
The Georgia Bulldogs started the season 0-2, but have rebounded to win their last nine games, including a 19-10 win over the Kentucky Wildcats that clinched the SEC East title and their first berth in the SEC Championship game since 2005.
The Bulldogs nine-game win streak is their longest in a single season since 1982, when they went 11-0 in the regular season under coach Vince Dooley before losing to Penn State in the Sugar Bowl.
Despite losing freshman starting running back Isaiah Crowell on the first possession of the game due to an ankle injury, Georgia still won the rushing battle 155-23 as Brandon Harton ran for a career-high 101 yards.