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Breaking News: Minnesota's Eric Decker Done For Regular Season

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Tim Cary

Minnesota coach Tim Brewster said today that star wide receiver Eric Decker will miss the rest of the regular season with his foot injury, according to TwinCities.com.
Ohio State vs. Minneosta

Decker has been arguably the best receiver in the conference during the 2009 season, averaging over six catches a game and accounting for five receiving touchdowns.  His loss, obviously, is a massive blow to the Golden Gophers' bowl hopes. 

Minnesota currently sits at 4-4, and assuming a win against South Dakota State and a loss to undefeated Iowa, Brewster's team would need a victory against either Michigan State or Illinois at home to qualify for the postseason.

That task will become much harder with the loss of the Gophers' best player.

Carrying On About Big Ten Football: October 24

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Tim Cary

So far this season, I've watched three Big Ten football games from the comfort of the press box.

I like this.

Especially because press boxes happen to be climate-controlled.

This past weekend, I hadn't applied for any media credentials, and I had visions of enjoying my day off by sitting at home with my two televisions and watching college football all afternoon.

You see, my living room is also climate controlled.

However, I ended up receiving free tickets to the Ohio State/Minnesota game in Columbus at the last minute.  And while watching college football on television is a great way to spend a fall Saturday, watching college football in person is an even better option. 
Wisconsin v Ohio State

Only one small problem.  The Buckeyes tickets, which were generously given to me by my mother-in-law (thanks Betsy!), were in the C deck of the Horseshoe.

And in case you wondered...

...the C-deck is not climate-controlled.

Without any further ado, it's the hypothermic edition of "Carrying On About Big Ten Football".

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Wallace Has Coming-Out Party as Penn State Shuts Down Minnesota

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Kevin Paul

STATE COLLEGE, PA - On a day first owned by Mother Nature, Penn State and senior cornerback A.J. Wallace put in a dominating performance of their own, shutting out Minnesota 20-0 on a rain and snow soaked Homecoming evening.

 

For some, the road of life features more twists and turns, rises or falls, than others.

 

Take A.J. Wallace, for example.

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Penn State Secondary Will Get First True Test with Minnesota's Decker

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Kevin Paul

Entering the 2009 season, one of the biggest question marks for Penn State was the team's secondary, which entering the season lost significant experience from the 2008 roster, with players such as Anthony Scirrotto, Tony Davis and Lydell Sargeant all moving on.

Left was a talented, yet inexperienced bunch, featuring only a handful of returning starts, all from two players in senior A.J. Wallace and sophomore free safety Drew Astorino.

Midway through the season, this group of Lions has held its own, but it goes without saying that the Penn State secondary has barely been tested to date.

Until this weekend, that is, when a more consistent Minnesota offense comes to town, led by the Big Ten's receiving leader Eric Decker (46 receptions for 689 yards and 5 TD's).

Ignore the fact that Minnesota is ranked 75th in passing (205.2 yds/game) and Penn State is 25th in pass defense.  These numbers don't reflect the truth.
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Top Ten Storylines for the Upcoming Weekend in Big Ten Football

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Kevin Paul

It may not be the sexiest list of games slated for the Big Ten this weekend, but it's a week that nevertheless features enough potentially important storylines.  Take the following, which this writer feels could be the most intriguing as the weekend approaches:
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Pat Fitzgerald Taking Northwestern Wildcats To Finishing School

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Kristofer Green

Evanston, Illinois--Once again the Wildcats were in position to win the game.

Northwestern, led by quarterback Mike Kafka, battled in the third quarter to come back from an 11 point deficit to lead 24-21 at the end of the quarter.

But the Wildcats couldn't hang on, allowing Adam Weber to connect for two fourth quarter touchdowns: the first coming off a 13 play, 83 yard drive that lasted over six minutes and the other coming off another late game Kafka turnover.

"I've got to give Minnesota credit," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said after the game. "We had the lead going into the fourth quarter, you've got the game at home, and you've got to put it away, obviously we didn't do that and there'll be a lot we look back on in that fourth quarter where we had a chance to get the job done."

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Second quarter updates from Northwestern vs. Minnesota

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Kristofer Green

Evanston, IL--Minnesota receiver Eric Decker has five catches for 63 yards in the first half, but the Wildcats are not allowing much of anything from anyone else. Both Minnesota touchdowns were scored by Duane Bennett, who has 17 yards on five carries for the Gophers.

Northwestern has dinked and dunked its way to 10 points and looked to add another score with time running out in the first half. Then deja vu struck and Kafka's pass was intercepted at the goal line by Minnesota's Kim Royston.

Second half is coming up with the Gophers leading the Wildcats at Ryan Field 14-10.

Offenses flash then stall in Evanston

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Kristofer Green

Evanston, IL--Just like that. In just over two minutes the Minnesota offense were on the board. After a beautiful pass from Adam Weber to Eric Decker out the Gophers on the one yard line, Duane Bennett plunged for the touchdown on the next play.

Then, the Wildcats went on a 19 play, 76 yard drive that ate 8:46 off the clock. A holding penalty forced the 'Cats from an thrid and one to a third and 11 and Kafka hit Jacob Schmidt who muscled his way for eight yards. But the 'Cats would have to settle for a field goal.

There would be no more scoring as both teams forced three and outs on their next possessions.

7-3 Minnesota at the end of the first quarter.

Live From Evanston for Minnesota vs. Northwestern

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Kristofer Green

Evanston, IL--The sun has started to peek out of what had mostly been an overcast moring here in Evanston.

The Gophers and the Wildcats are about to kickoff in what should be an exciting match-up to start the Big Ten day.

As the Northwestern Band plays their pre-game performance let's take a look at some keys for both teams in today's match-up.

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Twice As Nice: FBT On Location In TWO Different Stadiums Saturday!

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Tim Cary

Football fans, are you ready?

We're excited to announce that gameday coverage on FirstandBigTen.com tomorrow is better than ever!  That's because FBT writers will be in not one, but two different Big Ten stadiums to bring you all the action from the press box...er, press boxes.

The "Twice as Nice" event kicks off at noon with Kristofer Green reporting from Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois, as KG checks out the battle between the Gophers and the Wildcats.  Check FirstandBigTen.com for updates between quarters, descriptions of the gameday experience, and other random tidbits from Evanston!
CFB: Purdue vs Northwestern OCT 18

That's not all, though, as FBT's Tim Cary will be in Ross-Ade Stadium Saturday night for the big "Blackout" game between the Purdue Boilermakers and Notre Dame Fighting Irish.  Since Ross-Ade doesn't have permanent lights, prime-time showdowns are rare in West Lafayette, and FirstandBigTen.com will have all the coverage of the huge game at Purdue.
CFB: Minnesota vs Purdue OCT 25

One day, two games: look for pregame notes, in-game updates, interviews, and of course, a bunch of feature stories coming in the next week!

On top of all the "Twice as Nice" action at FirstandBigTen.com, remember that you can always check our Twitter account at @FirstandBigTen for score updates from all over Big Ten country. 

Is it gameday yet?


Attempting The Impossible: How To Cover Minnesota's Eric Decker

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Tim Cary

If I was coaching against the Minnesota Golden Gophers this fall, my scouting report would be all of three words long.

No color-coded booklet.

No bullet points.

No Xs and Os.

Just three words.

STOP ERIC DECKER.

Minnesota vs. Indiana
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