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Pretty sure you've never seen this before

Last night most folks turned on the NIU / Toledo game in the second half...and it was a great second half. The first half wasn't bad either, featuring back to back kickoff returns for 6 by the same guy.

But, for those that tuned in early, and yes we're talking pre-game, you might have seen something that we've never seen before.

As captured in the animated gif below, before the game, an NIU player deliberately ran into at least one (and it looks like two) member of the Toledo band.  What?

Northern Illinois has suspended the player involved #6 (he's on the far right of the picture) for next week's game against Bowling Green. He was a starting linebacker who had over 50 tackles on the season. 

Intentionally running into a band member???

Tonight's game

Tonight at 8, Ohio takes on Temple on ESPN2, and the Bobcats plan to "blackout" the stadium.

The Owls have found some success on the ground so far this year, ranking 9th in the nation in rushing. 

Likewise, the Bobcats will be bringing in an offense that can run the football having rushed for over 200 yards in five of their eight games this season.

The Temple defense may be the story of the game though, ranking in the top ten in pass efficiency (#8), total defense (#5), rushing defense (#10), and scoring defense (#2 behind only Alabama).

We expect points to be scored and a great game; but 63-60 seems like an unreasonable expectation for tonight's game.

Here's a video of the Ohio players seeing their new black uniforms for the first time. If you've never seen this video, take the time, it's a classic.

Earning his money

Defensively, the Michigan Wolverines (7-1 overall) have allowed opponents to score on just 15 of 25 trips to the red zone through 8 games.  The 60% mark is the best in the country. 25 attempts in 8 games, thus they are allowing an average of 3.1 trips into the red zone per game.

Last season the Wolverine defense allowed 57 trips to the red zone, and opponents put points on the board on 49 of those trips, that's 86% of the time. 57 trips in 12 games last season, thus they were allowing 4.75 trips per game last season.

So, not only have they improved in red zone percentage 86% down to 60%, which is impressive, they also are allowing 1.5 less trips into the red zone per game this season. 

Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison deserves some man love from Brady Hoke and all of the dollars they wisely decided to invest in him

 

Great stat; but we're calling the breakout

Dave Revsine of the Big Ten Network came out with some interesting stats today related to Big Ten teams. One related to Minnesota struck us as newsworthy. 

The last time the Golden Gophers broke a run for more than 40 yards was in 2008, 1,355 carries ago to be exact (easily the longest drought in the country).

The next closest team is Michigan State with 530 carries without hitting the 40 yard mark. 

Coincidentally, Minnesota and Michigan State meet this weekend in East Lansing at noon on the Big Ten Network. You heard it here first, we're calling breakout runs by both teams. 

One other nugget from Revsine, Michigan State has put up an average of 36 points this season when playing at home...yet only 8 points per game on the road. That's a head scratcher (or good defenses you're playing...Notre Dame, Ohio State and Nebraska in this case). 

Post game Update> Unfortunately, it appears that both coaching staffs thought we were calling for breakout pass plays not running plays (each team had a reception of over 60 yards in the game). The long rush for Michigan State was 35 yards and for Minnesota it was 19. There's always next week...

A first for Joe Pa (hard to believe)

Saturday's game between Illinois and Penn State marked a career first for Joe Paterno.

In Paterno's 285 home games, he has never taken the Nittany Lions into the half tied at 0.  46 years at the school...and he's never went into the half with a scoreless tie. 

It's hard to believe that after all of Paterno's years at Penn State there is still uncharted territory to conquer.

The Nittany Lions have a bye week this week before taking on Nebraska next weekend in Happy Valley.

As a small reminder, Joe Pa's squad is 8-1. 

 

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