Who? What? When? Where?
College Football Recap Week Nine
Once again this week it is Manti Te’o and the Notre Dame defense who we have to focus on. The Fighting Irish strolled into Norman, Oklahoma on Saturday to a roaring crowd and the pressure of the national championship chase. The ND defense used a bend but don’t break philosophy against the Sooners which resulted in another shut down effort. They held one of the highest scoring offenses in the country to just 13 points. Te’o set the tone in the first half with 11 tackles in the first thirty minutes. Plus, Te’o made the key turnover that sealed the game for Notre Dame as he slid in to make a diving interception after the ball bounced off Oklahoma WR Jalen Saunders’ shoulder pads. Some times great players just know how to be at the right place at the right time and Te’o knows just that. Also at this point he is probably running second in the Heisman race behind Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein.
The great football being played across the state of Indiana at all levels of college football. I know this is a broad topic but the way some of these teams are playing right now they need some recognition. We have already mentioned Notre Dame who is now at 8-0 and fully in the FBS national title mix. The Indiana State Sycamores (yes those Sycamores!) have won five straight games after beating South Dakota yesterday 45-14. The Trees are now 7-2 and in first place in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Still in Division I but in the Pioneer League, the Butler Bulldogs have five straight wins and are 7-2 overall. The Bulldogs are 6-0 in the league and are well on their way to a title.
The University of Indianapolis has been hot as well. After losing their first two games of the season, the Greyhounds have won seven straight games all within the Great Lakes Valley Conference. UIndy is in their first season in the GLVC and have already clinched at least a share of the conference title coming off a 48-3 bludgeoning of William Jewell yesterday. Plus they are in the Region rankings now which will put them in the playoffs at the end of the season.
There are several teams in Division III that are streaking in the right direction. Lets start with the #11 Wabash Little Giants who have five straight wins and are tied for first in the NCAC. (On a side note, the 119th Monon Bell game Wabash vs. Depauw is just two weeks away.) Two teams in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference may be on a collision course for the championship. The #21 Franklin Grizzlies have six straight victories all in HCAC play and are tied at the top of the league. Hanover has been on a similar roll and are also 6-0 in the HCAC. These two teams will meet in the final week of the season for the Victory Bell and maybe the conference title.
Lastly, at the NAIA level there are two state schools that are without a doubt championship caliber teams. The Marian Knights are rated #1 in the country for the second straight year and our undefeated on the season. St. Francis is ranked #7 in the country and their only loss this season was a one touchdown game at Marian.
October 27, 2012 Indiana wins at Illinois for Coach Kevin Wilson’s first career Big Ten win. The Hoosiers had not won a conference game since they beat Purdue at the end of the 2010 season. IU has looked much better in the past few weeks but they finally get some quantifiable evidence of it by putting a mark in the win column. The thing that stuck out the most in this game is something that IU has lacked recently and that is the ability to make the key play when they needed to. With a lead late, they tacked on another touchdown when QB Nate Sudfeld connected with WR Shane Wynn for a 17 yard touchdown. Then the defense stepped up and got a stop to close out the game.
TCF Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota is not where the Purdue football team showed up this weekend. The Boilermakers took a beat down at the hands of the Golden Gophers yesterday 44-28. It wasn’t even that close as the Gophers lead 44-7 before they called off the dogs. Purdue has now lost four straight games all in the Big Ten. Out of those four games only the contest against Ohio State was competitive. Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota dominated the Boilers and a year that started with some big excitement and expectations has gone south. This does leave in question the future of Coach Danny Hope and the Purdue football program as a whole.