Owens will miss time because of injury

Matt Perkins

Minnesota’s football team’s defense looked inept in its Big Ten road opener loss Saturday at Penn State.

Early in the second quarter on a Penn State scoring drive, junior strong safety Brandon Owens was injured trying to tackle Nittany Lions quarterback Michael Robinson. The score at the time was 10-0 Penn State.

Senior free safety John Pawielski said Owens’ injury affected the defense’s morale.

“Any time you lose the guy you are used to playing back there with its going to be hard to bounce back,” Pawielski said.

Minnesota coach Glen Mason said Owens is out for this weekend’s game at Michigan with an unspecified injury. Mason said he could not elaborate about the injury because of federal law.

Owens is fourth on the team in tackles with 27, and also has an interception and a forced fumble this season.

Heisman halfback

Gophers running back Laurence Maroney was held to just 48 yards rushing and no touchdowns against Penn State, most likely putting an end to his Heisman hopes.

But there is still a Heisman hopeful at halfback in the Big Ten in Wisconsin’s Brian Calhoun.

Calhoun rushed for 117 yards on 26 carries in a win against Indiana on Saturday that improved Wisconsin’s record to 5-0; he also took one in for his 10th touchdown of the season, a nation-best mark.

But Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez is still receiving questions about the load Calhoun is carrying.

“He had a good game and carried the ball 20-plus times last week,” Alvarez said. “I don’t know what that says.”

Calhoun leads the country in not only touchdowns but also in rushing attempts with 153. Calhoun is also third in rushing yards (727) and rushing yards per game (145.4).

Ohio State travels to undefeated Penn State

This weekend Penn State (5-0, 2-0) will play host to arguably the best team in the Big Ten, Ohio State (3-1, 1-0).

The Buckeyes boast one of the top defenses in the country, while Penn State comes off a game that saw the team run for 364 yards in a 44-14 romp over Minnesota.

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said this game will be as good as advertised because of the similarities between the teams.

“Penn State quarterback Michael Robinson has the ability to run with the ball, and they have some young talent on the outside that can make plays,” Tressel said. “Their defense isn’t bad either.”

Robinson ran for 115 yards on 18 carries against the Gophers, the first time he ran for more than 100 yards in his career. But for as well has he ran, Robinson completed only 41 percent of his passes.

If the Buckeyes defense can defend the quarterback draw, something the Gophers were unable to do, it could force Robinson – not as good a passer as he is a runner – to throw an ill-advised pass.

Healthy Hart for Michigan

Mike Hart returned to the Michigan lineup Saturday against nationally ranked Michigan State after missing two games with a leg injury.

Hart carried the ball 36 times for 218 yards and a touchdown in the Wolverines’ 34-31 overtime win.

Hart’s performance was good enough to earn him Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Iowa linebacker Abdul Hodge was named Co-Defensive Player of the Week alongside Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny. Wisconsin kick and punt returner Brandon Williams was named Special Teams Player of the Week.

Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said Hart’s presence changes how his team performs.

“He means a lot (to this team) from an inspirational standpoint because he is a great competitor,” Carr said.

“I mean there is nothing he can’t do,” he said.