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| Big Ten News and Notes
Upsets were the norm during the last week of actionin the Big Ten Conference. Two hefty favorites went onto the roadand came away with mind-boggling losses. What is even more puzzlingwas some of the coaching decisions made in those games. We alsowitnessed the game of the year in the Conference between the Michiganschools. The following will recap the previous weeks action andlook ahead to a very important upcoming week.
One of our biggest plays went into the win columnas Northwestern came in as a nine-point underdog and won the gamestraight up. The Cats struck early in this game on a 14-yard touchdownrun by Terrell Jordan. After this score, Purdue seemingly tookcontrol of the game and had numerous chances to get up by twoscores. But they never could climb over this hurdle and afterKyle Orton threw his fifth interception of the season, he waspulled from the game and replaced with back-up Brandon Kirsch.What was Coach Joe Tiller thinking? This is a fireable offenseand he has definitely lost control of this team.
Purdue was still leading until late in the fourthquarter when Wildcat running back Noah Herron found the cornerof the end zone for a three-yard touchdown run. Northwestern missedthe extra point but still clung to a 13-10 lead. The Boilers droveto midfield as the did in their previous two losses but a keydrop by Taylor Stubblefield forced them to throw a desperationHail Mary as time expired. The pass fell incomplete and Purduesuffered their third straight loss. Benching Kyle Orton with alead was a true slap in the face to a great quarterback. I haveto wonder how he will respond next week in Iowa City. The Hawkscome in as a slight and have been extremely tough to beat. Northwesternwill travel to Happy Valley and the early line has them as a slightunderdog. The difference in this game will come down to the effectivenessof the Penn State offense.
The feature game took place Saturday afternoonin Ann Arbor. The Wolverines came in as an 11-point favorite andwe felt confident in playing the dog here. Deandra Cobb had anoutstanding game running the football for the Spartans and hadtouchdowns of 64 and 72 yards. After his second touchdown midwaythrough the fourth quarter the Spartans had a 27-10 lead and appearedable to just cruise the rest of the way.
But the Michigan offense finally got going asChad Henne drove them down for a chip shot field goal to cut thelead to two touchdowns with about five minutes to play. CoachLloyd Carr then took a huge gamble going for an onsides kick,which the Wolverines recovered. After that my choice for playerof the year Braylon Edwards took the game over with two amazingtouchdown catches to tie up the game. A terrible pass interferencecall as time expired gave the Spartans one last chance to winthe game in regulation but Kicker Dave Rayner’s 51-yard fieldgoal fell short. What that official was thinking throwing thatflag on a dump-off pass is beyond my intelligence.
But the kick thankfully fell short and it wasoff to OT. State had numerous chances to win the game during thefirst two extra periods, but Michigan stepped-up and made playson both sides of the ball. The score was even through the firsttwo frames and went into triple overtime. Michigan faced a thirdand long when the playmaker once again stepped up and made anoutstanding play. Braylon caught the ball on a crossing patternand took it the distance for a 24-yard touchdown pass. The two-pointconversion was good and Michigan took a 45-37 lead. Then a badcall went against the Spartans and it really took them out ofthis drive. A desperation pass was knocked away and Michigan secureda hard fought victory to remain undefeated in conference play.
Michigan has a bye coming up then will get Northwesternat home. The schedule is looking very promising for them and hopefullythey can run the table. State will need to quickly regroup asthey face the Buckeyes at home next week. The Spartans come inas a one-point favorite and a similar performance like this willblow the Buckeyes out of the building.
Minnesota has yet to regroup after losing back-to-backroad games and dropped another one this past weekend in Bloomington.This puts a serious dagger into our totals prediction. Both ofthe Gophers running backs were held under 100 yards and BenJarvusGreen-Ellis ran for 110 yards in the victory. The Hoosiers rackedup 400 yards of offense while the Gophers thought they could justshow up and win this game. They were likely looking ahead to nextweek’s showdown in Madison. Indiana deserved to win the game andquarterback Matt LoVecchio played a flawless game throwing fortwo touchdowns and zero interceptions.
The Gophers will have the featured game next Saturdayin Madison. The early line has them as a seven-point underdog,but I would expect a much better effort in this game. They havethe weapons available to threaten the Wisconsin defense. Indianawill travel to Champaign with Illinois still looking for its firstconference win. The Illini will be a conference favorite for thefirst time this season, making this a must win for them.
The final conference game went as expected withIowa cruising past Illinois. Thankfully a garbage touchdown bythe Illini cut the deficit to ten points and thus a cover. Thiswas a rare occurrence where it paid off if you bet the game late.The line opened at ten points, but by kickoff it had risen to12. The bookies made out on this game as all the money was puton the Hawkeyes. Iowa is playing really well of late and expectthem to put up a fight against Purdue. With Kyle Orton’s statusuncertain, the line makers have kept this game off the board.I think the home team would be the only play in this game.
It was another outstanding week for us as we went5-2 on Saturday. Hopefully you were all able to take advantageof our special offer last week and cashed in on the winners alongwith us. Next week’s schedule looks promising and we will be onone game big. Be sure to jump on board for another profitableweekend.
Free Pick- Take Eastern Michigan (-1) over Central Michigan
Max is a writer for www.docsports.com.