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Northwestern approves plan for new athletic facility

Northwestern Facility

Big Ten Blast: Sept. 17 Morning Edition

What does $220 million buy you these days? If you’re Northwestern, it gets you a new state-of-the-art lakefront athletic facility. Northwestern announced Saturday that the Board of Trustees approved a plan to build the major athletics-recreation complex that also includes a 1,200 car parking garage.

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Week 1 Top 10 Plays: One-handed TD grab takes No. 1 spot

Nathan Scheelhaase

Scheelhaase 64 Yard TD Pass

Big Ten players were responsible for several terrific plays during Week 1 action. Who can forget Devin Smith’s remarkable one-handed touchdown grab or Le’Veon Bell’s ridiculous run where he hurdled a would-be Boise State tackler? Those are just two of the many highlights the Big Ten put on during its 10-2 opening week. See my top 10 plays, plus a memorable official call, in this post. Also, if you like highlights, make your own reel with our video mashup, presented by La Quinta.

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Did You See This? Taylor Martinez's five TD passes

Taylor Martinez

Martinez Passes for Five TD's

Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez never threw more than two touchdowns in any game last season. In Saturday afternoon’s season opener against Southern Miss, the oft-criticized junior doubled that number with four scoring strikes. It was a career day for Martinez, who tied a career-high with five touchdown passes – also did it as a freshman against Oklahoma State – and set personal records for completions (26), completion percentage (76.5 percent) and yards (349). Watch all of Martinez’s scoring strikes now.

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Did You See This? Braxton Miller takes it to the house

Braxton Miller

Braxton Miller Stutter Steps, Takes It In

Braxton Miller is still a work in progress as a passer. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with his running. Miller showcased his ground skills throughout Saturday’s season opener against Miami (OH), and at no point were they more apparent than on his 65-yard scoring scamper to open the third quarter. Miller ran past defenders, and then used a strong stutter-step to get his way past the last couple of defenders and into the end zone to give Ohio State a 28-3 lead.

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Did You See This? Devin Smith's one-handed TD grab

Devin Smith

Devin Smith's Amazing TD Catch

Pardon the hyperbole, but there may not be a better catch all season long than the one Ohio State’s Devin Smith made in Saturday’s season opener against Miami (OH) at Ohio Stadium. Early in the second quarter, with Ohio State trailing Miami (OH), Smith gave the Buckeyes the lead with an incredible one-handed touchdown grab. Watch Smith use nothing but his right hand to bring down Braxton Miller’s 23-yard touchdown pass right now.

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New tradition: 1st quick cals at Ohio State

cals

Ohio State Pregame: Quick Cals

As promised, Ohio State rolled out a new tradition called “Quick Cals.” What are those? At  works: 23 minutes before every home kickoff, in the south end zone, the Buckeye players will do fast, upbeat pregame exercises while facing the students. And the students can participate. Watch the video to see their first one this Saturday morning.

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Boise cheerleaders taken down; Le'Veon Bell hurdles Bronco

Boise Cheerleaders

Down Goes the Cheerleader

Friday night’s game between Michigan State and Boise State featured its share of Did You See This? moments. None, perhaps, were bigger than the couple of unforgettable plays from the first quarter. The first one occurred when Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard and a Boise State receiver accidentally knocked down a trio of Bronco cheerleaders on the sideline following an incomplete pass that took the players outside the white lines. It was a lot like a game of Dominoes, and we’re happy to report no one was hurt in the process.

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Did You See This? Big Ten NFL Preseason Highlights

The 2012 NFL season kicks off Wednesday night, which means it’s time to look back at some of the best plays Big Ten products made during the exhibition season. Watch all the highlights, via links to NFL.com, in this post. And with opening day just around the corner, teams are currently making final cuts. Unfortunately, the list includes several Big Ten names.

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Did You See This? Ohio State adds new tradition

Wisconsin has “Jump Around,” and now Ohio State has “Quick Cals.” Urban Meyer and Ohio State created the new Ohio Stadium pregame activity, which will debut prior to the season opener Sept. 1 against Miami (Ohio). Here’s how it works: 23 minutes before every home kickoff, in the south end zone, the players will do Quick Cals – think pregame exercises – and ask for student participation.

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Did You See This? Ryan Kerrigan ad

Purdue product Ryan Kerrigan spent four seasons terrorizing Big Ten quarterbacks, and now he’s trying to sack another thorn in his side: high utility bills. At least that’s the case in a new Thompson Creek Window Company ad that features Kerrigan, a rising second-year star on the Washington Redskins, as the spokesperson. The company is based in Lanham, Md., and it played to Kerrigan’s strengths in the commercial, having the former Boiler tackle a man dressed as a utility bill. No joke.

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Did You See This? Jay Williams & Calbert Cheaney

There was some greatness on the sidelines of Indiana basketball practice Wednesday. Former star Calbert Cheaney, now Indiana’s Director of Operations, was there, per usual, but so too was ex-Duke standout Jay Williams. Williams, now an analyst for ESPN, was in Bloomington to observe the Hoosiers, who many experts think will be a top 5 team in 2012-13. And Indiana coach Tom Crean (@TomCrean) tweeted a picture of the two at practice.

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Dave Brandon invites Oklahoma boy to Ann Arbor

Perhaps you heard the story of the 5-year-old Oklahoma boy whose school forced him to turn his Michigan shirt inside out last week? If not, evidently, the shirt was against the school district’s dress code, which states only Oklahoma college apparel is allowed. Clothes from all other schools are against the current policy. The reasoning? Gangs.

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Did You See This? Ohio State ketchup, Michigan Pop-Tarts

When sports fans see something new and odd on the shelves of their local grocery store, it’s almost become tradition to take a picture of it and tweet it to ESPN Sports Business Reporter & Business Correspondent Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell). Rovell tweeted a couple of the latest Big Ten-related items he’s had sent his way Monday. One was a bottle of Ohio State ketchup, which happened to be on sale, and the other was Michigan branded Pop-Tarts.

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Did You See This? Brock Mealer to walk down aisle

Brock Mealer, the brother of Michigan fifth-year senior Elliot Mealer, almost lost his life in the fatal car crash that took the lives of his father and his brother’s girlfriend on Christmas Eve 2007. Nearly five years to the day, on Dec. 22, 2012, Mealer, who was left paralyzed from the waist down in the accident, will get married. Here’s the best part: Mealer will walk down the aisle ahead his bride, Haley Frank, and he’ll do it walking unassisted, according to @stephenjnesbitt. Not bad for a guy who was given a one percent chance to walk again.

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Navy Seals crash Camp Kenosha, put 'Cats to the test

What happened when three Navy Seals crashed Camp Kenosha? It provided one of the most memorable experiences in the Northwestern football program’s history, according to head coach Pat Fitzgerald’s Twitter account (@coachfitz51). Memorable indeed, it also resulted in the Wildcats being put through one of the more difficult workouts of their careers. See the complete YouTube.com/NUAthletics video in this post.

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Michigan QB Denard Robinson to be SI cover boy

If you subscribe to Sports Illustrated and reside in the Big Ten footprint, chances are, you’ll see Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson in you mailbox this week. The popular magazine is releasing five regional covers to preview the season, and Robinson is one of five quarterbacks featured. He joins Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, USC’s Matt Barkley and West Virginia’s Geno Smith as cover boys. @SInow tweeted a picture of the covers, and you can see it in this post.

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Did You See This? Young Spartan fan eyes hero

Big Ten football players probably think the autograph requests can get a little out of hand at times. Should they feel this way, they need to take a look at a photo taken Tuesday at the 10th annual “Meet the Spartans.” The Michigan State Athletics Facebook page posted a photo gallery from Tuesday’s event, and one of the pictures features a young Michigan State fan looking on in awe as his football is signed. See the picture in this post and view the entire gallery.

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Did You See This? Gophers go paintballing

Coaches go to great measures trying to build team camaraderie. Second-year Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill recently approved a fun and enjoyable team building activity that could only make the team grow closer. The Gophers went paintballing Sunday. And goldengophergridiron’s YouTube page has a video from the event. See the full feature in this post.

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Did You See This? Anthony Adams hits the hardwood

Suffering from a case of the Mondays? You’re in luck, because former Penn State defensive linemen and current NFL free agent Anthony Adams is here to entertain. In a recently uploaded YouTube video, Adams takes his mammoth figure to the basketball court, where he delights with his self-deprecating humor. The video is part of a series called “Stuff NFL Free Agents Say,” and it’s pretty memorable. Watch the entire video in this post.

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Did You See This? Illinois' Tim Beckman takes ice bath

It was a hard days work for Illinois football coach Tim Beckman on Friday. Or perhaps, he really felt like bonding with standout linebacker Jonathan Brown. Either way, the first-year head coach capped Friday’s practice with a plunge in the ice bath. No joke. And from the picture @IllinoisFootball tweeted, it sure seemed as though Beckman enjoyed the cold temperatures. See the photo in this post.

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Young fans lead Gophers in Minnesota Rouser

We can only hope the Minnesota freshmen were paying attention when a couple of young Gopher fans recently led the team in the school’s fight song, Minnesota Rouser. Watch GoldenGopherGridiron‘s video of it in this post. The little guys nailed it. Nothing scared them – not the camera, not the circle of Gophers around them, not head coach Jerry Kill, on a knee, right next to them. Good stuff.

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Michigan LB Kenny Demens explains practice shorts

A few days ago, the shorts (short-pants?) Auburn wore at practice, forced me to look at some of the new fashion trends across Big Ten football practices. At the time, I didn’t see anything as old-school as Auburn’s look. Then, on Thursday, MGoVideo posted a YouTube video that featured Michigan linebacker in a pair of shorts that would make John Stockton very proud. See a picture of the shorts and watch the entertaining feature, as well, in this post.

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