Big Ten notebook: Badgers react to loss, prepare for another spread


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The Wisconsin Badgers have 29 true freshmen on their roster. And one true senior.

Head coach Bret Bielema said that’s a good thing because his team’s youth helps the Badgers rebound after a tough loss — a tough loss such as 30-27 loss to Nebraska in the Big Ten opener last week.

The Badgers gave up 259 rushing yards while only gaining 56 themselves, and despite a 14-point first quarter, Wisconsin fizzled and couldn’t score in the fourth to defend the lead.

Bielema said his team was simply unable to defend against the Huskers’ spread offense, but he doesn’t worry about falling to the same fate against Illinois’ spread on Saturday.

“Everybody in this league runs a different type of spread — Illinois’ spread is a lot different than the one we just saw at Nebraska,” he said in a teleconference on Tuesday. “We play teams that want to run the football using a running back, teams that want to run the football by using the quarterbacks, some blend the two together, and some just want to get in there and pass the football.”

Nebraska uses a rush-heavy spread, but the Illini are a lot more prone to a more balanced offense. Bielema said his team’s ability to defend against a spread offense depends greatly on the quarterback’s tendencies.

Nebraska signal caller Taylor Martinez completed 13 of the Huskers’ 46 run attempts against the Badgers on Sept. 29, but Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase only rushed 7 out of 41 attempts.

Dantonio, Meyer not dwelling on Buckeye-Spartan film-exchange issue

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer upset the Michigan State football program when the Buckeyes sent “doctored” film to East Lansing last week. The Spartans lost to Ohio State, 17-16 on Sept. 29.

The Big Ten requires schools to trade game footage, but the tapes supplied to Michigan State were allegedly edited in a way that made it difficult for the Spartans to prepare.

Spartan defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi told the Detroit Free Press following the loss that the tape was “all cut off” and that he couldn’t see “shifts or motions or anything else” based on the film he received.

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said he had “no idea” about the video exchange, and he maintained that the Buckeye video coordinators are “very standard” in their practices. The Buckeye head coach went on to say that the state of his reputation in the conference “doesn’t concern [him] at all.”

Spartan head man Mark Dantonio didn’t acknowledge his defensive coordinator’s remarks during the Big Ten teleconference on Tuesday.

“I’m not going to go through that right now; I’m going to set my sights on what’s important to us, and that’s winning our next football game,” he said. “What happened on the game field on Saturday translated into winning or losing, and I’m going to leave it at that.”

Fitzgerald: No excuse for losing in October

The Wildcats have the potential to start 6-0 for the first time since 1962 if they can beat Penn State on Saturday. But the program has historically struggled in October.

Northwestern has lost more in October in the past six seasons than the team has in August and September.

“We’re taking the approach of no excuses,” head coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “I’m going to be really demanding on them this month. I’m not going to tolerate the past … We just haven’t done well in this month, and I’m tired of it.”

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