No. 4 Michigan wins defensive battle with No. 8 Wisconsin, 14-7

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No. 4 Michigan was able to put September on cruise control, but on the first Saturday of October the Wolverines had to show they could win a defensive tussle. Mission accomplished.

Michigan (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten) continued to impress with a hard-fought 14-7 victory over No. 8 Wisconsin (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) in Michigan Stadium. The game was as close to the polar opposite of each of Michigan’s September wins as can be, although continued to suggest this Michigan defense is legit. Michigan held Wisconsin to fewer than 200 yards of offense, making it near impossible for the Badgers to get out of Ann Arbor with a win. Michigan forced three turnovers, all three coming by way of an interception by Channing Stribling off Alex Hornibrook and one more from Jourdan Lewis that was essentially the clinching moment.

Michigan broke a 7-7 tie midway through the fourth quarter when Wilton Speight completed a 46-yard pass to Alex Darboh for a score. Big plays came at a premium in this one. The 46-yard touchdown play finished off a quick four-play, 64-yard drive.

Michigan once again proved they are worthy of being discussed as a legitimate Big Ten contender. There is no other way to sum it up after taking down Wisconsin in the fashion they did. And don’t overlook Wisconsin. The Badgers are still going to be a beast to deal with in the Big Ten West Division, and Wisconsin may still work their way into the Big Ten championship picture, even with some challenges coming up in regular season play.

Michigan will head to New Jersey next week to take on Rutgers. Rutgers just got thumped by Ohio State today, 58-0. Wisconsin gets a week off to prepare for a big home game against No. 2 Ohio State. The Buckeyes will be coming off a home game against Indiana.

Illinois boots three players charged with home invasion and robbery

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Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.

Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.

Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.

Report: Conference USA to air at least 15 football games on Twitter in 2017

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Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.

A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.

Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.

Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.

Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt named son after former Tide linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson

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It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.

Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.

Wisconsin’s season tickets for 100th anniversary of Camp Randall are a thing of beauty

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The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.

Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.

These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.