Randle El takes Big Ten honor

by David La

Indiana sophomore quarterback Antwaan Randle El was recognized as the Big Ten player of the week for his performance in the Hoosiers’ overtime win over Illinois.
Randle El accounted for 422 yards of total offense, completed 17 of 30 passes for 265 yards, and rushed 37 times for a career-high 157 yards and three touchdowns.
But it was Randle El’s lone passing touchdown that won the game for Indiana, a 25-yard toss to running back Levron Williams on the Hoosiers’ first offensive play in the extra stanza.
Randle El said that the winning play had been in the works for a special occasion.
“We’d been working on that play in practice for a couple of weeks and you wait for the right time to run it,” he said. “It was just (Williams) out of the backfield and we tried to isolate him on a linebacker. We got that done, the corner fell off a little bit, and I was able to get the ball in before he got over there and we scored.”
Randle El’s 422 yards is the second best in his career behind his 467-yard performance against Western Michigan last year.

Playing the name game
The last time Ohio State showed off a roll call of big names was in last April’s NFL draft. Six Buckeyes were selected, a testament to the quality within the program.
This year the names are lacking. Saturday the Buckeyes lost their grip on a 17-0 lead and went on to lose to visiting Wisconsin 42-17. Ohio State is now 3-2, and 0-1 in the Big Ten.
“We are just not playing very good football right now on either side of the ball,” coach John Cooper said. “Of course that’s my job as a head coach to try to get things straightened out and turned around.”
In an attempt to turn things around, Cooper has begun to do some name dropping.
“We don’t have anybody that’s stepped up and made plays,” Cooper said. “Somebody needs to step up, whether it’s (Ahmed) Plummer or Gary Berry or (Na’il) Diggs. Some of these guys that we know are good football players need to step up and do something, make some plays and get the football team excited.”

Paterno just Lion around
Even after 50 years of coaching on fall Saturdays, Penn State’s Joe Paterno didn’t try to get away from the game last weekend. The Nittany Lions were on a bye-week, giving Paterno the opportunity to trade his clip board for the TV remote control.
“Since we had an off-day, I became a football junkie like everybody else,” Paterno said. “I took a walk, got a haircut and got back at 11:30 a.m. I got myself a salad and sat there and watched football all day. People who saw the Big Ten teams play Saturday saw some great football games.”
Even without a legend on the sidelines.

Record rankings
The Big Ten boasts a conference-record seven teams in the Associated Press Top 25 poll this week. The Big Ten currently has the most top 25 teams of any conference.
Penn State and Michigan lead the conference from their No. 2 and No. 3 spots, respectively. Rounding out the poll is No. 11 Michigan State, No. 17 Purdue, No. 21 Wisconsin, No. 21 Ohio State, and No. 25 Minnesota.

David La Vaque covers football and welcomes comments at [email protected].