Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, September 26, 2014
Michigan State wideout Tony Lippett is having a quietly awesome season. He leads the Big Ten with five TD grabs and his 345 yards receiving are second in the conference. Not bad for a guy who at one time was a cornerback and before that a scout team quarterback. Now, he?s one of the Big Ten?s top wideouts.
Has Michigan QB Devin Gardner regressed? Brady Hoke doesn?t think so. I guess I beg to differ. At the best, Gardner has remained the same. He certainly hasn?t advanced. He has hit 64 percent of his passes for 694 yards with five touchdowns and six picks with nine sacks this season. Last year, Gardner completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,960 yards with 21 TDs and 11 interceptions with 34 sacks. Devin Gardner 2013 vs. Devin Gardner 2014? It?s a wash.
Nice column on Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah, He?s not just a good football player; he?s also a good person whose legacy is about more than sparkling numbers that make him one of the Cornhuskers? all-time greatest players. College football needs more guys like Abdullah.
To say this has been a difficult start to the 2014 season for Northwestern would be an understatement. The team is 1-2, struggling mightily on offense. This slide began last year, which ended with NU going 1-7. Then, there was the union movement in the spring that couldn?t have helped unity.
David Jones of Pennlive.com thinks Pat Fitzgerald made a mistake by taking a strong stand in the union process. Instead of voicing his opinion, Fitz should have remained mum, Jones thinks. Why take a side? It only can prove to be divisive. Lots of interesting food for thought, as NU tries to get on track with the start of Big Ten play this Saturday at Penn State.
Speaking of Northwestern, will Penn State blow out the Wildcats? Perhaps. But here are five reasons from Lake The Posts why NU has a shot in State College, Pa.
Among them: Penn State struggles to score, just like NU does. Aside from tallying 48 points in a blowout vs. a bad UMass team last week, the Nittany Lions have tallied 26, 21 and 13 points in their other three triumphs.
When Heisman talk percolates around the Big Ten, Nebraska?s Ameer Abdullah and Wisconsin?s Melvin Gordon get mentioned. But what about Indiana?s Tevin Coleman?
The guy has been a stud thus far, leading the Big Ten in rushing with an average of 189 yards a game. Coleman showed great guts last week in the win at No. 18 Missouri, getting knocked out only to return and be the star of IU?s first road victory vs. a ranked team since 1987.
While I think C.J. Beathard should start for Iowa on Saturday at Purdue, Pat Harty of HawkeyeCentral.com (Chuck Long, too) thinks Jake Rudock deserves one more chance.
I think this is a golden chance to turn the team over to Beathard in a game Iowa should win. Build his confidence. Let the team bond with Beathard in a full-game situation. I think he gives the Hawkeyes the best shot to win big going forward. We?ve seen what Rudock can do. Let?s take an extended peek at Beathard.
It sounds like Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner has a good chance to play on Saturday at Michigan. That?s good. Because, without him, I don?t think the Golden Gophers would have much of a shot at winning the Little Brown Jug.
Leidner, who has a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, was replaced by backup Chris Streveler in last week's 24-7 win over San Jose State. But Leidner has a new knee brace and is much more mobile than a week ago, according to Marcus Fuller of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
"Mitch has practiced the last two days about half of them," Jerry Kill said. "I thought he'd be pretty sore today, but he moved around pretty good. I'm cautiously optimistic. He's moved a lot better around than last week."
In case you didn?t know it, Purdue has already doubled its win total from last year, going from one to two victories. This team is very much improved from Darrell Hazell?s first squad.
If the defense can continue to generate turnovers and the offense can limit penalties and miscues, the Boilermakers may win one or two Big Ten games. It?s all about progress for this rebuilding program.
This is good news for Rutgers: Documents show the athletic department projects a 16.6 percent increase in revenue next year. This is great news, of course, for a RU program that has many financial challenges. How dire is it? Rutgers received the highest subsidy ever for a Division I program last year - $47 million, to make up a shortfall in a $79 million athletics department budget.
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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