ILLINOIS: Tim Beckman's coaching debut at Illinois was a successful one, as his Fighting Illini posted a 24-7 win over Western Michigan in the season opener for both teams over the weekend. Illinois has now won seven straight season openers at home, and 15 straight home openers overall. The story of the game was the UI defense, which held the Broncos to just seven points -- its lowest yield to an FBS opponent in nine years -- and stood tall against the run in allowing minus-6 rushing yards. QB Nathan Scheelhaase threw for just 126 yards on the day, but had both a passing and rushing TD to lead UI's offensive charge. The Illini hit the road for the first time this season when they play at Arizona State on Saturday.
INDIANA: The Hoosiers got the 2012 season off on the right foot as they claimed a 24-17 victory over FCS foe Indiana State on Saturday. QB Tre Roberson (26-of-36, 280 yards, 1 TD) set new career highs in completions, attempts and passing yards, and he also scored on a one-yard run in the third quarter. WR Shane Wynn caught a career-high 6 balls for 95 yards, which included a 71-yard TD in the opening frame. Indiana won the game despite allowing the Sycamores' Shakir Bell to rush for 192 yards and a TD. The Hoosiers logged five sacks on the day, and were led by Drew Hardin's 8 total tackles. Indiana heads to New England this Saturday to battle FBS newcomer Massachusetts.
IOWA: The Hawkeyes won their 12th consecutive season opener by slipping past Northern Illinois in Chicago on Saturday afternoon, 18-17. For the Huskies, the loss snapped their FBS-best nine-game win streak. Iowa RB Damon Bullock put the exclamation point on his first career start, as he scored the game's final TD on a 23-yard scamper with just over two minutes remaining in regulation. Bullock finished with a career-best 150 rushing yards, while QB James Vandenberg went 21-of-33 for 129 yards. He was sacked six times. The UI defense didn't allow the Huskies much (201 total yards), in particular through the air where NIU managed just 54 yards. Linebackers Anthony Hitchens and James Morris tallied 8 stops apiece for the Hawkeyes, who kick off their home slate this weekend against rival Iowa State.
MICHIGAN: What was billed as the marquee matchup of college football's opening weekend turned out to be a rout, as the Wolverines suffered a 41-14 loss at the hands of defending national champion Alabama. Michigan, which played without starting RB Fitz Toussaint who had been suspended the day before, got a 200-yard, one-TD passing effort from QB Denard Robinson, but wound up with only 269 yards of total offense compared to 431 for the Crimson Tide. Michigan WR Jeremy Gallon finished with 4 grabs for 107 yards. Robinson, who has the ability to make plays with his feet as well as his legs, scored on a 6-yard run near the end of the first half, but was limited to 27 net rushing yards on the night. Thomas Gordon was high man for the UM defense with 9 tackles, while the unit as a whole was credited with 9 TFL and 3 sacks. The Wolverines open the home portion of their schedule this Saturday against Air Force.
MICHIGAN STATE: Le'Veon Bell ran for a career-high 210 yards and 2 TDs to lead the Spartans past Boise State last Friday night, 17-13. Michigan State, which won its 14th straight home opener, more than doubled the Broncos in terms of total yards (461-206), and nearly turned the trick in time of possession (39:19-20:41), but committed 4 turnovers which allowed the visitors to hang around. QB Andrew Maxwell threw for 248 yards, but he was picked off 3 times. The MSU defense allowed just 37 net rushing yards on the night, and held BSU without an offensive TD for the first since 1997. The Spartans hit the road for the first time this season as they pay a visit to the Central Michigan Chippewas on Saturday.
MINNESOTA: It took three extra sessions to decide the winner, but the Golden Gophers made their 2012 lidlifter a successful one as they outlasted UNLV on the road last Thursday night, 30-27. QB MarQueis Gray went 17-of-30 for 269 yards and 2 TDs -- both to TE John Rabe in overtime -- and WR A.J. Baker caught 3 balls for 101 yards. RB Donnell Kirkwood ran for 81 yards on just 13 carries, and the Minnesota defense allowed just 275 total yards to the Rebels. DB Derek Wells had 2 INTs in the game, and shared the team lead in total tackles with 8. The Gophers won the game despite turning the ball over twice and converting a paltry 3-of-15 third-down opportunities. Coach Jerry Kill's club will play the first of three straight home game this Saturday when it takes on FCS foe New Hampshire.
NEBRASKA: Taylor Martinez threw for a career-high 354 yards and 5 TDs to lead the Cornhuskers to a 49-20 win over visiting Southern Miss on Saturday. It was the 27th straight season-opening victory for Nebraska, which amassed 632 yards of total offense, 278 of which came on the ground. The Huskers' rushing exploits were that much more impressive when you consider starting RB Rex Burkhead missed the majority of the game with a knee injury. Prior to his exit, Burkhead carried the ball 3 times for 68 yards, which included a 57-yard TD run in the opening quarter. Will Compton's 12 tackles led the Husker defense, which limited the Golden Eagles to just 75 passing yards while coming up with 3 sacks. Nebraska goes on the road for the first time this season when it battles UCLA at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.
NORTHWESTERN: In one of the crazier games of the opening weekend, the Wildcats scored a last-minute TD to post a 42-41 win at Syracuse. Win the victory, Northwestern improved to 7-0 in season openers under head coach Pat Fitzgerald, and it marked the third straight season-opening win over a BCS- conference foe on the road for the 'Cats. The Orange, who logged 5 sacks in the game but committed 3 turnovers, easily won the yardage battle (596-337). Three NU defenders were credited with double-digit tackles in the game, led by DB Ibraheim Campbell with 13 (11 solo). LB Chi Chi Ariguzo finished with 7 stops, and added both a fumble recovery and INT to his stat line. Offensively, the Wildcats were led by QBs Kain Colter (14-of-21, 135 yards, 2 TDs, 1 rushing TD) and Trevor Siemian (8-of-11, 78 yards, 1 TD), WR Demetrius Fields (8 receptions, 83 yards, 1 TD) and RB Venric Mark (14 carries, 84 yards, 1 receiving TD, 1 TD on a punt return). Northwestern opens its home slate this Saturday against Vanderbilt.
OHIO STATE: Urban Meyer's tenure as the Buckeyes' head coach got off on the right foot, as his squad throttled visiting Miami-Ohio on Saturday, 56-10. QB Braxton Miller ran for 161 yards -- a record for an Ohio State signal-caller -- and he threw for 207 yards and 2 TDs. Philly Brown led all Buckeye pass catchers with 7 grabs for 87 yards and a score. RB Carlos Hyde added 82 yards and 2 TDs on the ground, as OSU scored 5 rushing TDs on the day. Defensively, the Buckeyes stood tall against the run (minus-1 yard) and they came up with 3 turnovers. LB Ryan Shazier led the team with 8 tackles, while CB Travis Howard logged a pair of INTs. Ohio State, which has now won its last 13 season openers and is 58-7 at home since the start of the 2002 season, will play the second of four straight games at Ohio Stadium when it entertains the UCF Knights this Saturday.
PENN STATE: The Bill O'Brien era got off to a bad start on Saturday, as his Nittany Lions dropped a 24-14 decision at home to Ohio University. QB Matt McGloin, who set new career highs in completions (27) and attempts (48), threw for 260 yards and 2 TDs, but the Penn State ground attack managed just 92 yards on the day. WR Allen Robinson tallied a career-high 9 receptions for 97 yards. The PSU defense played well in the first half, holding the Bobcats to just 3 points, but OU scored on three of its five second-half possessions while the Nittany Lions offense fell quiet. LB Michael Mauti led all players in the game with a dozen tackles, while fellow LB Gerald Hodges finished with 11, and DB Adrian Amos logged a career-high 10 stops. Penn State will try once again to give O'Brien his first win when the team takes on Virginia in Charlottesville this Saturday.
PURDUE: Robert Marve threw for a career-high 295 yards and 3 TDs to lead the Boilermakers to a 48-6 rout of FCS foe Eastern Kentucky in the season opener for both teams over the weekend. Marve, who started in place of the suspended Caleb TerBush, went 30-of-38 on the day, and 12 different players caught at least one pass in the game. RB Akeem Shavers led the Purdue ground assault with 74 yards and a TD on 11 carries. The Boilermakers, who easily won the game despite committing 5 turnovers, held the Colonels to 190 total yards and only 10 first downs. They forced 4 turnovers, which included a 34-yard INT return for a TD by safety Landon Feichter in the first quarter. Purdue can expect a much stiffer test this Saturday when it heads to South Bend to battle in-state rival Notre Dame.
WISCONSIN: It wasn't pretty, but the Badgers managed to win their 15th straight season opener on Saturday by knocking off visiting Northern Iowa, 26-21. Star RB Montee Ball rushed for 120 yards and a TD to help fuel the Wisconsin offense, which finished with 387 total yards. Ball has now scored at least 1 TD in 21 consecutive games, and he has eclipsed the century mark in rushing in seven straight, and 17 times in his career. New starting QB Danny O'Brien completed 19-of-23 passes for 219 yards and a pair of TDs, both to WR Jared Abbrederis who finished with 6 receptions for 84 yards. UW, which dominated the time of possession battle (39:05-20:55), held the Panthers to just 41 net rushing yards and only 3-of-11 on third-down conversion attempts. LB Mike Taylor, who led the Big Ten in tackles last year, paced the Badgers with 13 stops against UNI. Wisconsin heads west to tangle with Oregon State this Saturday.
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