It was a big Sunday for former Big Ten stars in NFC and AFC title games. Four players scored at least one touchdown, with Owen Daniels (Wisconsin) hauling in a pair of scoring strikes in Denver’s win vs. New England. On defense, Kurt Coleman (Ohio State) picked off a pair of passes in Carolina’s rout of Arizona, and Bradley Roby (Ohio State) sealed Denver’s aforementioned AFC title game victory with an interception on New England’s potential game-tying two-point conversion in the final seconds. Before we consider how every former Big Ten star performed Sunday, let’s look ahead to Super Bowl
Aaron Craft built his game around defense and hustle at Ohio State. That’s not to say the two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year didn’t flash offensive skills or make clutch baskets during his four seasons in Columbus, Ohio. He did. For example, who could forget his buzzer-beater vs. Iowa State in the 2013 NCAA tournament to advance the Buckeyes to the Sweet 16? Craft was on the offensive again Saturday night, hitting a buzzer-beater in double overtime to send the Santa Cruz Warriors, the Golden State Warriors D-League affiliate, to a 128-126 victory.
The Big Ten knows all about Michael Caputo and what he adds to a defense. The former Wisconsin safety put his skills on display in the 91st East-West Shrine Game on Saturday at Tropicana Field. Caputo picked off a pair of passes, including one vs. ex-Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave, and tallied three tackles en route to claiming defensive MVP honors in the West team’s 29-9 victory. Caputo’s second interception came vs. a familiar foe, as well, as he picked off former former Iowa and Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock in the fourth quarter. The two interceptions were just one fewer than the
A handful of former Big Ten stars were named to the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie team, released Tuesday. See the five players below: Stefon Diggs (Maryland), WR, Minnesota Vikings – 52 rec., 720 yards, 4 TD Brandon Scherff (Iowa), G, Washington Redskins – No stats Rob Havenstein (Wisconsin), T, St. Louis Rams – No stats Donovan Smith (Penn State), T, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – No stats Adrian Amos (Penn State), S, Chicago Bears – 67 tackles One-time Michigan RB Thomas Rawls, who transferred to Central Michigan, also made the team.
The AFC and NFC championship games are set, and it will be New England at Denver and Arizona at Carolina, respectively. Check out how former Big Ten names performed in NFL divisional playoff action Saturday and Sunday below. Editor’s note: Stats are from foxsports.com box scores. ILLINOIS Jeff Allen, OL, Kansas City Chiefs – No stats Tavon Wilson, DB, New England Patriots – No stats INDIANA Cody Latimer, WR, Denver Broncos – 2 rec., 18 yards IOWA Bryan Bulaga, T, Green Bay Packers – No stats Scott Chandler, TE, New England Patriots – No stats Mike Daniels, DT, Green Bay
With the NFL Wild Card weekend complete, it’s time to take a look at how Big Ten names fared in Saturday and Sunday’s playoff games. Former Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier highlighted the participants, registering 13 tackles and two forced fumbles, including the one that led to Pittsburgh’s dramatic game-winning drive in the final seconds. Other notable performances: Whitney Mercilus (Illinois) recorded eight tackles and three sacks in Houston’s loss to Kansas City, Fitz Toussaint (Michigan) totaled 118 yards in Pittsburgh’s aforementioned victory, Cliff Avril (Purdue) notched five tackles and three sacks in Seattle’s comeback win at Minnesota, and Trae
It was alumni day Saturday at the Wisconsin men’s basketball game. [ MORE: Remember this? Sam Dekker’s mom tweets picture of son mowing yard ] Former Wisconsin star and current Houston Rockets forward Sam Dekker learned this via text message from his mother, who said that Dekker should be at the Kohl Center. He would have been had he not entered the 2015 NBA Draft following his junior season, one that saw the Badgers make their second consecutive Final Four run, ending with a loss to Duke in the national final. The message also included a funny jab, with Dekker’s
It was another highly successful season for former Big Ten stars in the NFL. [ MORE: Big Ten names on NFL playoff teams ] None were more impressive than San Francisco LB NaVorro Bowman (Penn State), Cleveland T Joe Thomas (Wisconsin), Houston DE J.J Watt (Wisconsin) and Baltimore G Marshal Yanda (Iowa), all of who made the 2015 All-Pro Team, released Friday. Bowman racked up a career-high and NFL-best 154 tackles, Thomas played every snap for the ninth time in as many seasons, Watt, the reigning AP Defensive Player of the Year, registered an NFL-leading 17.5 sacks, and Yanda allowed just
The NFL playoffs are set, and former Big Ten standouts litter the 12 teams’ active rosters. A total of 80 players find themselves on active rosters, paced by Ohio State (14), and every Big Ten team has at least one representative. To be clear, the number does not include players currently on injured reserve or Maryland, Nebraska and Rutgers players who played before the schools entered the Big Ten. See the team-by-team breakdown below. ILLINOIS (4) Jeff Allen, OL, Kansas City Chiefs Whitney Mercilus, DE, Houston Texans Pierre Thomas, RB, Washington Redskins Tavon Wilson, DB, New England Patriots INDIANA (1)
Tom Brady knows how to win football games, and he also knows how to make a child’s dream come true. [ MORE: Like this post? Visit our full Gone Viral section! ] The former Michigan quarterback and eventual NFL Hall of Famer gave an 8-year-old cancer patient a Christmas gift she won’t soon forget. Brady, in a video from inside the New England locker room, invited Hailey, who recently was diagnosed with leukemia for the second time, to visit him in Foxborough. Hailey’s parents accepted the invitation, and the photos from the encounter are something special. Watch Brady’s invitation in