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Big Ten Buzz: The latest from around the league

[ 0 ] August 28, 2013 |

AROUND THE BIG TEN CONFERENCE

  • Ohio State enters the season with the nation’s longest active winning streak at 12 games. It’s the longest winning streak for a Big Ten team since Iowa won 13 straight over the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
  • The Buckeyes’ junior quarterback, Braxton Miller, has a chance to become the second player to earn Big Ten offensive player of the year honors in back-to-back seasons. The other was Indiana tailback Anthony Thompson (1988, 1989). The previous three winners — John Clay of Wisconsin (2009), Denard Robinson of Michigan (2010) and Montee Ball of Wisconsin (2011) — couldn’t pull it off.
  • Michigan State might have the most advantageous Big Ten schedule. The Spartans don’t play Ohio State, Penn State or Wisconsin.
  • The Big Ten’s top three tacklers, all linebackers, return from a year ago: Anthony Hitchens (11.3 per game) and James Morris (9.4) of Iowa and Ryan Shazier (9.6) of Ohio State.

KEEP YOUR EYES ON …

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald. (USA TODAY Sports photo)

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald. (USA TODAY Sports photo)


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No. 22 Northwestern comes into Saturday’s opener at California (9:30 p.m., ESPN2) on a mission. The last time we saw the Wildcats, they beat Mississippi State 34-20 in the Gator Bowl. That was the school’s second bowl victory ever, and the first since the 1949 Rose Bowl.

Coach Pat Fitzgerald has grander goals. “The expectation is to win championships,” Fitzgerald boldly proclaimed in July.

With skill players like running back Venric Mark (1,371 rushing yards) and the two-quarterback threat of Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian back, the Wildcats can make some noise.

California is coming off a 3-9 season, with a new coach in Sonny Dykes. This game will be a true test of Fitzgerald’s motivational skills, and his team’s belief in his “win championships” mantra.

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Category: Big Ten, Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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