Around the Big Ten - Bowl Recap

Story posted January 5, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Mike Wszolek

The Big Ten was well represented in the 2015-2016 bowl season. A total of ten teams from the Big Ten participated in the postseason, including two teams that only had five wins. Five games were blowouts while the other five came down to the wire.

No. 3 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Alabama: ALA 38-0

Many college football fans thought that this Cotton Bowl game was going to come down to a field goal or a last minute mistake. However, Alabama controlled this game from the start and didn’t allow the Spartans to score a single point in this one. Crimson Tide quarterback Jake Coker was nearly flawless and looked very confident throwing the football. Calvin Ridley also had a spectacular game receiving for the Tide as he caught two touchdown passes, including a 50-yard touchdown catch to ice the game at 31-0. Heisman winner Derrick Henry was held in check, rushing for just 75 yards, but did score a pair of touchdowns. Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook looked off-balanced and confused all night, as he was not able to figure out the Alabama defense. Cook finished with more incompletions than completions and threw two interceptions. The running game didn’t help Cook either, accounting for only 29 yards of the total offense. It’s a tough loss for the Spartans, but they are the Big Ten Champions and made it into the College Football Playoff; something few teams can say.

No. 6 Stanford vs. No. 5 Iowa: STAN 45-16

Iowa returned to the Rose Bowl for the first time in 25 years against a Stanford team that had its preseason eyes on the College Football Playoff. The Cardinal raced out to a fast start and didn’t look back. Stanford put the game away before halftime, heading to the locker room up 35-0. Heisman runner-up Christian McCaffrey showed us why he was just as deserving of the award as Derrick Henry. McCaffrey racked up a Rose Bowl record 368 yards of total offense and two touchdowns, including a punt return touchdown. The sophomore caught a pass on the first play of the game and took it 75 yards for a touchdown. Iowa struggled offensively against a stout Stanford defense, rushing for only 48 yards on 38 attempts. The 48 yards rushing was 144 yards fewer than Iowa averaged per game this season. C.J. Beathard did throw for two late touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough for the Hawkeyes as the defense struggled to get off the field all game against a Stanford offense that was clicking on all cylinders.

No. 8 Notre Dame vs. No. 7 Ohio State: OSU 44-28

The crowd was extremely energetic for this Fiesta Bowl as it was one of the most anticipated bowls of the season between the Fighting Irish and the Buckeyes. Both teams came into the game with a combined three losses by a combined seven points. Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott was the standout star in this game, rushing for 149 yards and four touchdowns for the Buckeyes. DeShone Kizer had an average day as quarterback for Notre Dame, throwing for a couple touchdowns and one interception. Ohio State led the game in time of possession and total yards, and whenever Notre Dame tried to get back in the game, Ohio State had an answer. Both teams will be highly ranked entering the 2016 season.

Also around the Big Ten, Indiana lost a heartbreaker by three to Duke, Nebraska took care of UCLA, and Minnesota defeated Central Michigan. In addition, Wisconsin beat USC, Tennessee blew out Northwestern, and Michigan blew out Florida.

Mike Wszolek is a freshman majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email mewszolek@gmail.com.