Rutgers is ready to turn the page on a 2013 season that began with the promise of a 4-1 start but melted into a 6-7 finish. The program seemingly has been energized by its maiden Big Ten voyage. Great possibilities loom—as do challenges. Is this roster up to the challenge? Kyle Flood has some talent to work with.
Rutgers completed its spring drills with the Scarlet & White Spring Game on Saturday afternoon. Now, the next time you see Rutgers take the field, it will be as a member of the Big Ten. The Scarlet Knight, along with Maryland, become an official member July 1. Hear Flood’s post-spring impressions in this post.
Iowa held its annual spring game Saturday afternoon. The Hawkeyes, fresh off an 8-5 season, will enter the 2014 season as one of the favorites to challenge for the inaugural West Division crown. Hear from Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz and get Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith’s analysis of the Hawkeyes spring and 2014 outlook in this post.
The defending Big Ten and Rose Bowl champion Michigan State took the field on Saturday afternoon in the annual Green-White spring football game at Spartan Stadium. There were plenty of stars on both sides of the ball, including quarterback Connor Cook, who hooked up with tight end Josiah Price for a game-winning touchdown pass with 27 seconds left to lead the White team to a 20-13 win over the Green Team.
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Those were real, live hits on quarterbacks in today’s Michigan State spring game. What else would you expect from a Spartans program renowned for its toughness?
The reigning Big Ten and Rose Bowl champ, Michigan State closed out its spring season with its annual Green-White Spring Game on Saturday afternoon. Did you miss the game? If so, watch the replay on BTN2Go.
Michigan State is the reigning Big Ten champ, and football fans will get a friendly reminder of that any time they tune in to a Spartans game this fall. The Spartans added “2013 Champions” under the “B1G” logos on the field and put a “Big Ten Champions” patch on the jersey. See pictures in this post.
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Illinois’ Wes Lunt and Reilly O’Toole are involved in a heated quarterback battle, but one would have never guessed it based on their demeanor prior to the team’s spring game. While warming up, the two signal-callers sang Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way,” which was playing over the PA system. They took it seriously, too, with O’Toole, at one point, saying, “Dude, I’m killing this song. Hey, I’m killing this song.”
The Big Ten will conduct its final three spring games this weekend, with Iowa, Michigan State and Rutgers putting a bow on things. Here’s a look at what to watch for on Saturday as the Big Ten heads into the offseason with its eyes on 2014.
Is there a more hip and social media savvy coach than Penn State’s James Franklin? Nope. Oh, but there are pros and cons. He discusses it here. Franklin’s embrace of social media is a stark contrast to Bill O’Brien, who abhorred it. In fact, as legend goes, O’Brien called Facebook “Spacebook.” So, there you go. It’s gonna be a blast to see where Franklin can take this Penn State program.
Only three Big Ten spring games remain, as Iowa, reigning Big Ten and Rose Bowl champ Michigan State and Rutgers are still conducting spring practices. That means 11 teams have wrapped up spring drills and have their eyes set on the 2014 season. What did Tom Dienhart learn from the spring sessions? Find out in this post.
Maryland is prepping, it’s getting ready for its maiden Big Ten voyage. The ride begins this fall. Randy Edsall is looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that come with the new venture. And Edsall will bring what looks like his best Maryland team yet, as he enters his fourth season in College Park, Md.
Hope springs eternal at Purdue, as it searched for myriad answers coming off a 1-11 season that arguably was the worst in school history. Offense? Defense? You name it, it needs to be addressed in West Lafayette.
Slowly but surely, Kevin Wilson is building at Indiana. It has been a slow, steady process. He has gone from one win, to four to five last year, inching the Hoosiers closer to their first bowl since 2007. That breakthrough finally may come to fruition in 2014 – if a new 3-4 defensive scheme offers a modicum of improvement to what has been a woebegone unit.
Few programs in the Big Ten can match the feel-good vibe that’s circulating in the Twin Cities. This is a Minnesota program that’s ascending and looks to have a legit shot to perhaps win the new Big Ten West. Jerry Kill continues to put his stamp on this team, a squad that plays smart and is stocked with personnel that fits what Kill wants to do on both sides of the ball.
If you watched closely, you could see the improvement in Illinois this spring. Good thing, because Tim Beckman needs to pad his win total as he embarks on this third season in Champaign. He is 6-18 overall and 1-15 in the Big Ten. And that one league win came vs. arguably the worst Purdue team in that school’s history. But, I digress. All eyes in Champaign this spring were on the quarterback derby and defense.
With all of the tackling, running, hitting and passing that went on across the Big Ten during spring football games last Saturday, the top story was about Bo Pelini carrying a cat onto the field. And so it went during a Nebraska spring game that often times was more carnival than game.
Big Ten football fans will love what Kyle Flood and Rutgers did for two young fans, both confined to wheelchairs due to Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), at the conclusion of practice Saturday. In a moment that will remind many of Jack Hoffman’s touchdown run, the Scarlet Knights had Danny Garofalo, 11, and Matt DeRiggi, 16, in the team huddle and drew up a trick play for them.
Sometimes, it’s the moments that have nothing to do with the game itself that highlight spring football. We saw proof of that Saturday, a day that featured plenty of memorable moments in eight games. Watch your team’s replay on BTN2Go. I decided to rank the top 5 moments from the busy day of spring football, and you can see the list in this post.
Wisconsin’s Gary Andersen inherited some good talent from Bret Bielema, riding that skill to a nine-win season in 2013 that would have culminated with a BCS bowl if not for that Senior Day loss to Penn State. But now, Andersen faces some big voids—especially on defense. That side of the ball was a major emphasis for the Badgers this spring. And, the unit showed some spark during last Saturday’s spring game.
Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller didn’t compete in the Scarlet and Gray Spring Game on Saturday, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t involved in the action. Miller sent out a tweet Sunday morning of a graphic that compared Ohio State and Michigan’s spring game attendance.
The Penn State spring game ushered in the James Franklin era amid much excitement and energy in front of over 72,000 fans, the most for any spring game this year. It couldn’t be any other way with a coach like the enthusiastic Franklin. The Blue squad took a resounding 37-0 win over the White squad.
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As far as dress rehearsals go, this one was a success … I guess. The final score said Gray 17, Scarlet 7. Not sure what it really means. But, it doesn’t really matter now, does it?
Nearly one month after Mike Peltz proposed to his girlfriend on senior night, former Nebraska offensive lineman Jeremiah Sirles did the same at Saturday’s spring game. Sirles got on a knee during the team’s Punt, Pass and Kick part of the scrimmage. As he was about to punt the ball, he dropped it, reached into his left pocket, walked toward his girlfriend, and took a knee. Watch the proposal in this post.
It was just a year ago that Jack Hoffman, then 7, introduced himself to the world with his memorable and emotional touchdown run in Nebraska’s spring game. It’s been a whirlwind year since the brain cancer patient took the handoff from Taylor Martinez and sprinted to paydirt last April. Hoffman has met the President, had an Upper Deck card made and won an ESPY. We caught up with Jack and father Andy Hoffman at Saturday’s spring game.