Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, November 20, 2014

Melvin Gordon?s 408-yard rushing effort last week against Nebraska has him squarely in the Heisman hunt. In fact, he may be No. 2 in the race behind Oregon?s Marcus Mariota. Heck, you may be able to make a case for Gordon leading. If he bangs out three 200-yard games in a row and Wisconsin wins out as Big Ten champ, Gordon just may win the Heisman.

One amazing fact from USAToday: Gordon's averaging 9.08 yards per carry against Football Bowl Subdivision competition. Another: Gordon has run for 624 yards in his last two games against Nebraska. How about one more: If Wisconsin reaches the Big Ten title game, Gordon would need to average 180 rushing yards in his final four games to break Barry Sanders' single-season record.


There?s a lot of respect between Iowa and Wisconsin, who happen to meet this Saturday in Iowa City in a big West Division clash. Interesting note: When Kirk Ferentz came to interview for an assistant?s job at Iowa in 1981 under Hayden Fry, Hawkeye assistant Barry Alvarez picked him up at the airport. How about that?


On the surface, there may not be a lot of appeal about the Indiana at Ohio State game. But it will be fun to watch Indiana RB Tevin Coleman try to do his thing against a very good Buckeye front seven.

The Buckeyes have allowed three 100-yard rushers this year, two more are likely. That used to be a rarity, note Ohio State has allowed only 21 100-yard rushers since 2005, tied for the second fewest during that span with Boston College. Only Alabama has allowed fewer with 14. The Buckeyes didn't allow a 100-yard rusher during a two-year span from September 2008 to October 2010.

Speaking of Tevin Coleman, can Indiana coach Kevin Wilson convince the junior not to turn pro after this season?

"I think if you're not a first-round pick, you should come back," Wilson said.

I disagree. But, hey, that?s just me. Besides, not many backs are taken in the first round anymore. Coleman has only so many hits in his body.


Michigan State?s Jeremy Langford is another special back. His career has followed a different path than Coleman, as Langford hop positions early in his career by spending time at cornerback and receiver before landing at running back. Hard to believe Langford didn?t settle in sooner at RB, considering how good he is.

"When I got moved to receiver from corner, I realized Coach D was trying to get me on the field," Langford said.?We had great running backs at the time, which I didn't really pay attention to because I was young and frustrated, but he was trying to get me on the field at receiver.

"I look back and I think he was still trying to give me an opportunity to be a play maker, and the rest was up to me."

An amazing story.


Rutgers? QB Gary Nova used something to combat the cold last week for the first time: A glove on his throwing hand. It seemed to work.

"It helps my grip a lot," Nova said. "With the gloves I have now, they're real tight and they're real light so it kind of just feels like it's part of my hand. It doesn't slip. As long as it's dry, it's pretty good."

This guy has been a lot better than I anticipated.


Nice story on Penn State?s Australian punter Daniel Pasquariello.

Starting and taking every punt in the Lions last three contests, the left-footer from Melbourne has increased his average each game, giving Penn State's stern defense some more leeway in the field position game.

"I think Daniel has got a very strong leg, and it has shown to be able to get off some impressive punts in practice, and he's shown that at times now in the game," head coach James Franklin said at his weekly press conference Tuesday. "That position is no different than any other position. It's about consistency."


Nebraska had a tough game all around at Wisconsin. But Huskers OC Tim Beck says the team can?t let one game define it. Heck, there?s still a lot to play for-like the Big Ten West title.

Still, it was an especially tough day for QB Tommy Armstrong. He was 6 of 18 passing in the loss, including just 2 of 8 with a pair of sacks on third downs. NU was facing third-and-7 or longer on seven of those plays, pushed back by penalties or its own lack of success on first and second down. notes that Nebraska managed just 118 rushing yards - a figure hurt by 31 yards deducted in sacks - and also picked up 81 of those on its first four offensive possessions.

?Any time our offense doesn?t operate the way we?re supposed to execute, it?s going to be really tough for our quarterback,? NU receiver Kenny Bell said. ?Everybody knows our strength: We run the football. And when we can?t run it to throw it, we?ve got issues. And that reared its head Saturday.?


Did you see where Arizona State-yes, Arizona State-is adding a hockey program? And conferences are courting the Sun Devils.

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association, National Collegiate Hockey Conference and the Big Ten are the three college hockey conferences with members west of the Mississippi River - and all have teams in Minnesota. Arizona State could also be welcomed in the Big Ten. Conference Associate Commissioner Jennifer Heppel said the Big Ten would consider expansion outside of its current 14-member institutions for certain sports. John Hopkins, for example, is part of the newly formed six-team Big Ten men?s lacrosse conference.


Better play in the secondary has been key for Ohio State. And a big key in the backend has been cornerback Eli Apple.

He has two of the Buckeyes' Big Ten-leading 16 interceptions. And he made a stop on a fourth-down running play at Michigan State. The guy may be a star in the making.


About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, 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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