[ONE // former B1G standouts come up big in super bowl]
Seven former Big Ten standouts have been crowned Super Bowl Champions as members of the Philadelphia Eagles, who defeated the New England Patriots 41-33 Sunday night in Super Bowl LII. Congratulations to quarterback Nate Sudfeld (Indiana), defensive end Brandon Graham (Michigan), linebacker Nathan Gerry (Nebraska), safety Malcolm Jenkins (Ohio State), offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski (Penn State), defensive tackle Beau Allen (Wisconsin) and running back Corey Clement (Wisconsin). In the win, Clement finished with 100 yards receiving on four catches, including a 22-yard touchdown in the third quarter to put the Eagles up 28-19. Jenkins had four tackles on the night, but one of the plays of the game came from Graham, who sacked and forced a fumble out of fellow former Wolverine and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady late in the fourth quarter to help seal the victory. In the loss, Brady, this year’s NFL MVP, threw for 505 yards on 28-of-48 passing for three touchdowns and no interceptions. Former Wisconsin running back James White also found the end zone for the Patriots, rushing for a 26-yard score in the second quarter. He ended with 45 rushing yards on seven carries.
[TWO // boilers still unbeaten in big ten]
With a 75-67 win over Maryland on Wednesday and a 78-76 thriller over Rutgers on Saturday, Purdue extended its unbeaten Big Ten season to 12-0 and maintained a one-game advantage over 11-1 Ohio State. The Buckeyes defeated Indiana 71-56 on Tuesday and Illinois 75-67 on Sunday. Michigan State ended the week 10-2 in Big Ten action, having survived both Penn State (76-68) and Indiana (63-60) this past week.
[THREE // maryland maintains women’s hoops lead]
Big Ten women’s basketball leader Maryland went 2-0 on the week to move to 9-1 in Big Ten play, ahead of 8-3 Ohio State and Nebraska. The No. 11/10 Terrapins scored a 64-57 victory at Nebraska on Sunday, which came three days after they topped Rutgers, 88-60. No. 18/17 Ohio State topped Penn State 94-64 on Wednesday and bested Wisconsin 68-55 on Saturday. Among the other notables this week, Purdue stunned No. 13/14 Michigan 81-79 in overtime on Thursday, while Rutgers got past the Wolverines on Sunday, 63-56.
[FOUR // penn state earns wrestling title]
With its 19-18 win over Ohio State on Saturday, No. 1 Penn State clinched a share of the Big Ten Wrestling Dual Meet Championship. The regular-season conference title marks the sixth in the last eight years for Penn State. The Nittany Lions are currently 8-0 and can clinch the outright Big Ten Championship with a win on Feb. 10 versus Iowa. The Nittany Lions claimed six bouts against the Buckeyes, with wins from Zain Retherford (149), Vincenzo Joseph (165), Mark Hall (174), Bo Nickal (184), Mark Hall (174) and Anthony Cassar (197). The 2018 Big Ten Wrestling Championships will be held from March 3-4 at Michigan State University.
[FIVE // maryland men made the favorite to win big ten lacrosse title]
Maryland was selected Monday as the preseason favorite to claim the men’s lacrosse Big Ten Championship in the preseason coaches’ poll. All six conference head coaches also selected three students from their own teams as preseason honorees. The Terrapins were followed in the preseason poll by Ohio State, Rutgers in third, Johns Hopkins in fourth, Penn State in fifth and Michigan in sixth. Reigning NCAA Champions, Maryland, made its 40th NCAA Tournament appearance last season after earning the No. 1 overall seed. The Terrapins defeated Ohio State, 9-6, in the NCAA Championship game for its first title since 1975. Maryland, which has claimed at least a share of the last three Big Ten Championships, is ranked No. 1 in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA)/NIKE preseason poll. The Preseason to Watch List features 18 standouts from all six schools, including the 2017 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Ohio State’s Tre LeClaire. Four 2017 first-team All-Big honorees, Maryland’s Connor Kelly, Rutgers’ Michael Rexrode, Johns Hopkins’ Joel Tinney and Penn State’s Grant Ament, were selected to the Preseason list, as well as five 2017 second-team All-Big Ten selections. The 2018 Big Ten men’s lacrosse campaign got underway on Saturday, when Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers began their competitive seasons. The Buckeyes defeated Cleveland State, the Nittany Lions fell in overtime to Villanova 17-16, and Rutgers earned an 11-7 home win over Robert Morris.
[SIX // terps take top spot in women’s lacrosse poll]
Maryland was the unanimous choice by the conference coaches as the preseason favorite to claim their fourth consecutive Big Ten championship in 2018, it was announced Monday. The Terrapins were followed in the preseason poll by Penn State in second and Northwestern in third. Johns Hopkins followed at fourth and Rutgers was tabbed at No. 5. Michigan and Ohio State rounded out the poll, tying for No. 6. All seven head coaches voted in the preseason poll and selected three players from their own teams to a preseason honors list. Maryland claimed the 2017 National Championship and its third Big Ten title a season ago, and is ranked No. 1 in the NIKE/US Lacrosse women’s preseason poll. The Terrapins defeated Boston College, 16-13, in the NCAA National Championship game for its 14th national title in 2017. The Preseason to Watch List features 21 standouts from all seven schools, including the 2017 Big Ten Goaltender of the Year, Maryland’s Megan Taylor. Seven 2017 All-Big honorees were selected to the Preseason list.
[SEVEN // softball preseason watch lists and polls published]
The Big Ten is prominently featured on the 2018 USA Softball Top 50 Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List, with six students from four Big Ten schools chosen on the preseason rundown that was released Wednesday. Michigan’s Faith Canfield, Michigan State’s Lea Foerster, Minnesota’s Maddie Houlihan, Kendyl Lindaman and Danielle Parlich, and Ohio State’s Lilli Piper are on the watch list for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, which has been presented annually since 2002 to the country’s top player. Two years ago, Michigan’s Sierra Romero became the first Big Ten student to earn the prestigious honor. In addition, seven Big Ten schools are ranked or receiving votes in the preseason polls released by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) and USA Softball on Tuesday. Reigning Big Ten Champion Minnesota leads the Big Ten contingent in the preseason rankings, standing No. 16 in the USA Today/NFCA poll and No. 18 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. Michigan is also appearing in the top 25 of both rankings, tying for No. 16 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and appearing No. 18 in the USA Today/NFCA poll. Illinois, Ohio State and Wisconsin are receiving votes in both preseason polls, while Nebraska and Northwestern earned votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball balloting.
[EIGHT // women’s gymnastics continues big ten action]
The Illinois women’s gymnastics team defeated Iowa, 195.325-195.150 on Friday night at Huff Hall to improve to 5-1 this season. Ohio State led from start to finish on its way to scoring its second-highest total of the season with a 195.850 to win a quad meet on Saturday. The Buckeyes secured victories over Rutgers (194.800), West Chester (191.600) and UW-Whitewater (191.275) to improve to 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the Big Ten. Also on Saturday, No. 9 Nebraska women’s gymnastics escaped No. 22 Minnesota 196.850-196.375 to stay undefeated in front of 2,555 fans at the Devaney Center. Nebraska improved to 4-0 overall and 4-0 in the Big Ten while Minnesota slipped to 5-2 overall, 3-2 in the Big Ten. The Huskers remain at the top of the Big Ten standings through five weeks of competition. No. 7 Michigan continued its home success with a 196.875-195.050 victory over No. 36 Maryland on Sunday. Elsewhere, No. 30 Penn State tallied a season-best score of 195.600 to top Michigan State (195.550) inside the Jenison Field House.
[NINE // men’s gymnastics squads vault to ncaa’s best marks]
In men’s gymnastics action, Minnesota notched what was the top vault score in nation this season with a 73.000 in a 413.250-400.450 victory over Air Force. The 413.250 is the second highest mark in the entire country so far this season. The vault score, however, did not stand for long as No. 2 Nebraska broke the school and set the top NCAA mark this season on vault with a 73.20 in their third-place finish at Oklahoma. The Huskers scored an overall 403.800 behind No. 4 Stanford (410.500) and No. 1 Oklahoma (418.000). Elsewhere, No. 7 Michigan defeated No. 6 Ohio State 411.850-410.650 on Saturday inside Cliff Keen Arena. The team score for the Maize and Blue proved to be the third-highest in the NCAA this season and the second best amongst Big Ten teams. Third-ranked Illinois earned a narrow, 404.700-401.850, victory over No. 10 Iowa on Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
[TEN // notre dame tops penn state on the ice]
Finally this week, Notre Dame hockey captured wins on Penn State’s home ice by counts of 5-3 on Friday and a 1-0 shutout following a 2-2 overtime draw on Saturday. Michigan State and Ohio State split on the week, with the Spartans taking a 6-3 victory at Ohio State on Saturday after falling 4-2 to the host Buckeyes on Friday. Elsewhere, Michigan defended its home ice on Friday with a 5-3 win over Wisconsin, but the Badgers rallied to upend the Wolverines on Saturday, 4-2. Notre Dame has now accumulated a conference-high 47 points in league action, followed by Ohio State (34), Wisconsin (28) and Michigan (27) across the top four positions in the league standings.