After Illinois looked to capture some momentum at the end of the first half, Wisconsin took care of business in the second half with 28 of the net 35 point sin the game en route to a 56-32 victory. The win moves Wisconsin to 3-1 in Big Ten play, keeping the Badgers one game back of Ohio State in the loss column in the Big Ten Leaders Division.
Wisconsin relied on their strengths against Illinois. The Badgers rushed for a team total of 289 yards while holding the Illini to 72 rushing yards on 29 attempts. Melvin Gordon led all players with 142 rushing yards and three touchdowns for Wisconsin and James White and Corey Clement combined for three more rushing touchdowns. White also finished with 98 rushing yards. Wisconsin also got a productive day from their quarterback, Joel Stave. Stave passed for 189 yards and two touchdowns.
Illinois did get a good performance from quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase. Scheelhaase completed 20 of 27 passes for 249 yards and rushed for 18 yards and a touchdown. The Badgers also lost linebacker Chris Borland, who did not return. Borland suffered a right leg injury but head coach Gary Andersen seemed optimistic about his status after the game.
Wisconsin will need some help to get past Ohio State in the Big Ten standings, having lost head-to-head already. Wisconsin also needs to work through their remaining schedule, which includes a road trip to an improved Iowa team in two weeks after a bye and ends at home against Penn State with a road trip to Minnesota before that. Wisconsin should be favored in each of their remaining match-ups, and if they play the way they did Saturday night at Illinois, they should win those games as well.
Illinois has now dropped two straight since opening their Big Ten schedule and it may not get a whole lot easier. Illinois hosts Michigan State and their tough defense next week and travels to Penn State two weeks later.
The opening of the Big Ten’s Media Days Monday brought some welcome news for Rutgers fans.
One of the most explosive and productive players in the conference, Janarion Grant went down with a serious-looking ankle injury — at the end of a 76-yard touchdown — late in the first half of a Week 4 game against Iowa that ultimately ended the wide receiver’s 2016 season. Grant was in non-contact mode this past spring, leading some to wonder whether he’d be available for summer camp or even the start of the upcoming season.
Yesterday, Chris Ash put any such fears to rest by declaring Grant completely recovered less than two weeks ahead of the start of camp.
“He’s 100 percent… He’s had a great summer,” the head coach said according to nj.com. “He was limited through the spring semester, but this summer he’s been pretty much full go for the majority of the summer. He looks great, he’s in great shape, he’s put weight back on. We’re obviously excited to have him back.”
At the time of the injury, Grant led the Scarlet Knights with 15 receptions and was second on the team with 143 yards rushing. His 562 all-purpose yards were tops in the Big Ten entering Week 4 play last year.
He had six touchdowns in those three-plus games and did it in a quartet of ways — rushing (three), punt return (one), kick return (one) and passing (one).
Suffice to say, Grant was named as part of the Hornung Award watch list earlier this month. He’s on the watch list for the prestigious Maxwell Award as well.
In a day packed full of Big Ten moves becoming official, Ohio State has added a roster move of its own.
Urban Meyer revealed at the conference’s media gathering in Chicago on Monday that defensive lineman Darius Slade will not return to the team.
A 3-star recruit out of Montclair, N.J., Slade (42) redshirted in 2014 and missed the ’16 campaign with a lower leg injury. He racked up seven appearances in 2015.
Slade was expected to back up Sam Hubbard at defensive end.
Meyer said that he “thinks” Slade is off to Arizona State. If that’s true, Slade would have two years of eligibility to play as a Sun Devil unless the NCAA approved a waive for him.
Indiana running back Camion Patrick and linebacker T.J. Simmons will not return to the team this fall after being granted medical hardships, the program announced Monday. Both players would be fifth-year seniors in 2017.
Simmons appeared in 37 games with 35 starts before suffering a season-ending injury that knocked him out of the 2016 campaign entirely. He collected 213 tackles, six sacks, 16.5 TFLs, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery as a Hoosier. Simmons will remain with the program as a student assistant.
“T.J. was a three-year starter and a tough kid that I was looking forward to coaching,” head coach Tom Allen said in a statement. “He did everything that he could to get himself back from his knee injury, but he was unable to reach a place where he could consistently play. T.J. is excited about his new role as a student assistant coach in the weight room and on the field. He will be helping his teammates get better. T.J. has such a passion for the game and this program, and I am thrilled to have him help us breakthrough.”
Patrick arrived from East Mississippi Community College — of Last Chance U. fame — and proceeded to sustain injuries to his ACL and a shoulder. He caught six passes for 154 yards with one receiving touchdown and one rushing score for Indiana.
“Unfortunately, Camion dealt with multiple injuries during his time at IU and was never able to fully recover,” Allen said. “He has worked hard in the classroom. Camion has battled to get back following each injury, but his body has let him down. He recognizes that. We recognize that, and we want to help him finish strong in the classroom and help him create a bright future for himself.”
Joey Julius was everyone’s favorite kickoff specialist last season. Sadly, he won’t be your favorite kickoff specialist in 2017.
At Big Ten media days on Monday, the Nittany Lions unveiled their 2017 roster and Julius was not on it.
Listed at 5-foot-10, 258 pounds, Julius announced in May he would seek treatment for an eating disorder.
“I have been struggling over the last couple months with my eating disorder,” he announced at the time. “It got to the point where I had to return to St. Louis to seek further treatment at the McCallum place. Recovery is a wonderful and beautiful thing that I am working on returning too.”
Julius handled 93 kickoffs for the 2016 Big Ten champions, averaging 62.1 yards per kick with 45 touchbacks. His kickoff average ranked 47th nationally, and his 48.4 touchback percentage was 40th in FBS. Julius made 10-of-12 field goals and 20-of-24 extra points in 2015 before ceding the job to Tyler Davis last season.