Big Ten Notebook: Michigan and Nebraska try to end seasons strong


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

It’s been a rough season for both the Michigan and Nebraska football programs.

The Wolverines are bowl-eligible and have a 6-2 record, but it sure doesn’t feel that way after the team’s 29-6 loss to Michigan State on Nov. 2. Quarterback Devin Gardner could only find the interception column of the box score, and his team couldn’t find the end zone for the first time all season.

“This was not the way you want to start a five-game stretch on the meat of your schedule,” Michigan head coach Brady Hoke said Monday in his weekly press conference. “It is something that we’re all disappointed with, and everything that we have to do from a coaching standpoint and a playing standpoint is evaluated, and we all need to do a better job, and that’s just part of it.”

The Cornhuskers, meanwhile, needed a miracle to beat Northwestern last weekend, and they got one when third-string quarterback Ron Kellogg III’s pass bounced off a defender and into the hands of his receiver after time expired.

It won’t be easy for the Huskers this weekend — they’ll travel to Ann Arbor for a matchup against a similarly reeling Michigan football team that will have a home crowd willing its team to show them what its capable of.

“The place will be loud,” Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini said in his weekly press conference. “… We have to understand that going in. We have to play that much better to come out of there with a win.”

And it’s not going to get easier for the Huskers. After Michigan, the team will face Michigan State, Penn State, and Iowa to round out the season — all teams with winning records.

“I try to beat into our guys’ heads to control what you can control,” Pelini said. “We have to stay the course, stay the process, and keep working every day.”

Badgers nicked up, but Borland ready to return

Wisconsin recently has suffered injuries to key elements of its success. Linebacker Chris Borland injured a hamstring on Oct. 19, and wide receiver Jared Abbrederis suffered a chest injury Nov. 2 when he was hit while scoring a touchdown against Iowa.

The team also reported injuries to tight end Brian Wozniak, linebacker Conor O’Neill, and center Dallas Lewallen during the victory over Iowa.

“We’ve made a lot of progress, some real positive progress in a number of those kids,” Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen said Monday in his weekly press conference. “But I can’t say anybody’s going to play for sure yet. I can’t say anybody’s not going to play for sure yet, because I haven’t seen them physically.”

Borland, however, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Monday that he plans to play Saturday when the Badgers host the BYU Cougars in Camp Randall Stadium.

“I feel a lot better,” Borland said told the Journal Sentinel. “I couldn’t even run at this point last week, and I’m nearly 100 percent now.”

Minnesota continues successful run

Any questions about whether Minnesota’s upset of Nebraska twto weeks ago was a fluke are quickly being quieted as the Gophers continue to have success in Big Ten play.

The Gophers opened up the season 4-0 before losing to back-to-back games against Iowa and Michigan. Then, head coach Jerry Kill temporarily stepped away from coaching to deal with complications regarding his epilepsy, and the Gophers have won three games since, becoming bowl-eligible for the second-straight year under Kill.

Should the Gophers win this weekend against Penn State, it would be the first time that the Gophers have won four Big Ten games in a row in more than 40 years.

“If we’re able to add more wins, it just shows the progress we’re making,” interim head coach Tracy Claeys said Tuesday in the Big Ten teleconference. “We’re trying to establish new standards here … it would be another great accomplishment just to show that we are making progress to get to where we want to be.”

In today's issue:

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.