[ONE // buckeyes top badgers in football championship game]
Congratulations the Ohio State Buckeyes, who picked up the 2017 Big Ten Football Championship with a 27-21 victory over the Wisconsin Badgers Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Ohio State (11-2) claimed its first conference crown since its 2014 national championship season and 36th league title overall, while ending the nation’s longest active winning streak at 13 for Wisconsin (12-1). The Buckeyes were able to gain 449 yards on the nation’s top defense that came into the game allowing just 236 yard per contest. OSU senior quarterback JT Barrett was 12-of-26 for 211 yards and two touchdowns and also gained 60 yards on the ground. With the win, he passed Art Schlichter for most wins as a quarterback in OSU history. Barrett handed the ball to freshman running back JK Dobbins 17 times, amassing 174 yards en route to being named the Big Ten Championship Game Most Valuable Player. Dobbins now has 1,364 this year which surpassed Maurice Clarett’s previous OSU freshman running back record of 1,237 yards in 2002.
[TWO // three teams earn cfp bowl bids; five others slated to go bowling]
Big Ten Champion Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin have each been selected as participants in one of six College Football Playoff bowls this season. The Buckeyes were ranked No. 5 by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee and have been selected to participate in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic against No. 8 USC at 8:30 p.m. ET on Dec. 29 in Arlington, Texas. The No. 6 Badgers will take part in the Capital One Orange Bowl against No. 10 Miami at 8 p.m. ET on Dec. 30 in Miami Gardens, Fla. The No. 9 Nittany Lions will play in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl against No. 11 Washington at 4 p.m. ET on Dec. 30 in Glendale, Ariz. Five additional Big Ten programs will be bowling as well. Michigan and South Carolina will battle in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 in Tampa, Fla., while No. 20 Northwestern and Kentucky meet in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl in Nashville on Dec. 29. No. 16 Michigan State and No. 18 Washington State square off Dec. 28 in San Diego in the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl. On Dec. 27, two Big Ten teams will open the conference’s bowl season as Iowa and Boston College will do battle in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium, and Purdue and Arizona will meet in the Foster Farms Bowl in Santa Clara, Calif.
[THREE // handing out the hardware]
The Big Ten announced the 2017 football individual award winners for offense, defense and special teams on Thursday. The Big Ten postseason awards are voted on by conference coaches and a select media panel and honors teams, coaches and students with individual awards that each bear the names of one or two former standouts. Among the major postseason award honors, congratulations to Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year Saquon Barkley of Penn State, Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year Josey Jewell of Iowa, Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year Jonathan Taylor of Wisconsin and Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year (coaches vote) and Dave McClain Coach of the Year (media vote) Paul Chryst of Wisconsin.
[FOUR // hoosiers advance to college cup]
In an all-Big Ten national quarterfinal in the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament on Friday, Indiana and Michigan State battled to a 1-1 draw, but the Hoosiers advanced on penalty kicks, 3-2, to earn their NCAA-best 19th College Cup berth. Indiana freshman goalkeeper Trey Muse registered three huge saves in penalty kicks to punch the Hoosiers’ ticket to Philadelphia where unbeaten No. 1 IU (17-0-6) will meet No. 3 North Carolina (16-3-1) on Dec. 8. It’s the Hoosiers’ first College Cup berth since 2012, when they won their eighth national championship.
[FIVE // six big ten squads among 16 fighting for ncaa volleyball title]
Two rounds of the NCAA Volleyball Tournament have been contested and six of the eight Big Ten squads that punched their ticket to the postseason have advanced to the Round of 16. Illinois topped Hawaii 3-2 and then earned a second-round win over No. 8 Washington on the Huskies’ home court by the same score. No. 12 Michigan State blanked No. 25 Missouri State 3-0 in the tournament opener and then ousted host and No. 9 Creighton, 3-1. No. 8 Minnesota shut out North Dakota in Minneapolis and dropped Northern Iowa from the tourney, 3-1. In Lincoln, No. 5 Nebraska made quick work of both Stony Brook and Washington State on its home court, while No. 1 Penn State got past Howard and Pittsburgh in State College by identical 3-1 scores. In Ames, Iowa, No. 11 Wisconsin blanked Marquette 3-0 and did the same to No. 14 and host Iowa State. Elsewhere, No. 16 Purdue got past High Point 3-1 in Salt Lake City, Utah, but fell 3-1 to host Utah 3-1 on Friday. In first-round action, Michigan suffered a 3-1 setback to No. 23 Colorado State. Looking ahead to the Round of 16 on Dec. 8, Penn State and Missouri will battle at 2 p.m., Nebraska will face Colorado at 2 p.m., Illinois and Michigan State will compete in an all-Big Ten battle at 4 p.m., Minnesota squares off with No. 10 USC at 6 p.m., while No. 3 Stanford and Wisconsin meet at 11 p.m.
[SIX // volleyball announces postseason honors]
The Big Ten announced the 2017 postseason volleyball awards on Tuesday, with standouts from Nebraska, Penn State and Wisconsin earning recognition. The Nittany Lions’ Simone Lee was named the Big Ten Player of the Year by a vote of the conference’s coaches. Penn State’s Haleigh Washington was tabbed the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year while Nebraska’s Kelly Hunter was named Setter of the Year. Wisconsin’s Dana Rettke earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors, while Nebraska head coach John Cook and Penn State head coach Russ Rose were named Big Ten Coach of the Year by the conference’s coaches and media contingent, respectively. In addition, 19 Big Ten players were named All-Big Ten by the conference’s coaches, with 10 unanimous selections, while the Big Ten also recognized 14 Sportsmanship Award honorees.
[SEVEN // nfhca all-region teams announced]
The National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) announced its 2017 Longstreth/NFHCA Division I All-Region Teams this past week with 32 Big Ten standouts earning recognition. Among those 32 honorees, 17 garnered first-team recognition. In the Mid-Atlantic Region, Maryland’s Linnea Gonzales, Carrie Hanks, and Lein Holsboer, as well as Rutgers’ Linde van Schaik were recognized on the first team. In the Mideast Region, Penn State boasted five honorees in Katie Dembrowski, Skyler Fretz, Moira Putsch, Aurelia Meijer, and Jenny Rizzo. In the West Region, first-team accolades went to Iowa’s Katie Birch, Michigan’s Esther de Leijer, Meg Dowthwaite, Sam Swenson, and Katie Trombetta, Northwestern’s Sophia Miller and Puck Pentenga, and Ohio State’s Maddy Humphrey.
[EIGHT // cross country honors top athletes]
The Big Ten announced the Athlete of the Year awards for the 2017 men’s and women’s cross country season this past Wednesday with Michigan’s Ben Flanagan and Indiana’s Katherine Receveur earning the honors. Flanagan led the Wolverines to their 11th Big Ten Championship and their first title since 2015 this season. The 2017 Great Lakes Regional Athlete of the Year honoree also finished 20th at the NCAA Championships with a time of 29:44.0. The two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree is the seventh Wolverine to earn the Big Ten Athlete of the Year award and the first since Alan Webb in 2001. Receveur won the 2017 Big Ten individual title with a course record time of 20:10.3. She became the first Hoosier in 30 years to win the NCAA Great Lakes Regional individual title with a time of 20:34.9, earning an automatic berth to the NCAA Championships. The two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree was named the 2017 Great Lakes Region Athlete of the Year and finished 20th overall at the NCAA Championships with a time of 19:56.5. She is the second Hoosier to earn the Big Ten Athlete of the Year award and the first since Michelle Dekkers in 1990.
[NINE // big ten play commences in men’s basketball]
Purdue is off to an early lead in the Big Ten men’s basketball standings as the conference slate kicked off earlier than usual this season. The Boilermakers are out to a 2-0 start, joining 1-1 Northwestern as the only two programs with a pair of league contests under their belt. The Boilermakers captured an 80-75 victory at Maryland on Friday and a 74-69 home battle against Northwestern on Sunday. The Wildcats’ conference win came Friday in a 72-68 result over Illinois. Michigan (def. Indiana, 69-65), Michigan State (Nebraska, 86-57), Minnesota (Rutgers, 89-67), Ohio State (Wisconsin, 83-58) and Penn State (Iowa, 77-73) were all victorious in their league openers. Earlier in the week, Big Ten teams competed in the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
[TEN // terps, badgers continue their winning ways]
Finally this week, Big Ten women’s basketball was also in action with Maryland and Wisconsin extending their league-best winning streaks to five and three games, respectively. The Terrapins scored a 60-59 victory at Virginia in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, and then picked up a road win at Akron, 75-54. The Badgers also garnered a road win in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge with a 58-57 victory at Pittsburgh. UW followed it up with a 71-60 home win against La Salle. All 14 league teams remain at .500 or above on the season with Iowa and Minnesota leading the way with 8-1 records, followed by Maryland, Penn State and Rutgers at 7-2.