As if 1-4 Indiana didn’t have enough on its plate with perfect Illinois coming to town Saturday, there’s this: Nick Turner and two other players quit the team Wednesday. Turner, a redshirt sophomore, had been moved from running back to safety two weeks ago, although he did receive his first carry of the season last week against Penn State. Sophomore running back Antonio Banks and redshirt freshman defensive lineman Marlandez Harris also quit the team this week, making it six Hoosiers who have left the program in the past two weeks. Read more about the losses on IndyStar.com.
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For no particular reason, I got to thinking today about the best/coolest sporting event/moment I have witnessed in person. The first thing that came to mind was being at Wrigley Field for Game 7 of the 2003 NLCS. The prospect of watching the Cubs celebrate a long-awaited World Series berth right in front of me made this night extra special, and it only got better when my favorite player, Kerry Wood, drilled a three-run home run. We all know how that game turned out, though. No need to open old wounds. That said, see my Twitter followers’ answers in this post.
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In Thursday morning’s “Big Ten Blast,” Kara Lentz reports on Ohio State losing wide receiver Verlon Reed for the rest of the season after he tore his ACL in last week’s loss to Michigan State. Read about the injury here. Lentz also highlights the conference’s latest Big Ten Field Hockey Players of the Week. Read more about the honorees here. Tonight on BTN, catch “BTN Live” at 8 ET, one hour later than usual. Have you voted in the show’s Week 6 polls? Do so now. After that, at 9 ET, Mike Hall sits down with Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema on “Step Into My Office.” Watch bonus clips from the show.
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Wow. So, it seems like Wisconsin is pretty good. I don’t normally focus the Numbers on teams that aren’t playing this week because, well, then what would I talk about the next week? But, it seems reasonable to make at least a minor exception here.
It’s Week 6. Believe it or not, we’ll be midway through the 2011 Big Ten football season at the conclusion of Saturday’s slate of five Big Ten games. This week, BTN has Indiana hosting undefeated Illinois at a special time, 2:30 p.m. ET, and Northwestern entertaining perfect Michigan at 7. Don’t forget, Dave, Gerry and Howard will be on-site at Ryan Field at 6 p.m. ET for an hour-long Countdown To Kickoff show. Use our GameFinder to find your BTN game and track all of the action on our Big Ten scoreboard. Watch our latest Big Ten Blast here and check out Brent Yarina’s Week 6 Preview in this post.
After giving an incredibly spirited effort Northwestern accomplished something it had not done since Sept. 5, 1987, but the end result was not what the Wildcats strived for as they fell to No. 8 Penn State at Rec Hall in University Park, Pa., 3-2 (19-25, 25-22, 18-25, 25-13, 15-11). After fighting back from one-set deficits in the second and fourth frames, the Wildcats did not have enough left in the tank to knock off the four-time defending national champions in their own building in the decisive fifth.
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Wednesday night on “Big Ten Football & Beyond,” BTN analyst Gerry DiNardo broke down Michigan’s improved defense, which has gone from the worst unit in program history to a strong group in just one season. A year ago, the Wolverines defense compiled all-time worst numbers in points per game (35.2), total yards (450.8), passing yards per game (261.8) and yards per play (6.1). In Year 1 under defensive coordinator Greg Mattison – at least through the first five games – those numbers look like this: 10.2 ppg, 316.2 total yards, 176.8 passing yard and 5.2 yards per play. That’s a very quick turnaround. How’d they do it, Coach? Watch now as DiNardo breaks it all down.